Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Simply Amazing

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Christmas pictures for the year

Every year I get dress a red Santa type dress to wear. She picked this one out and then decided she didn't want to wear it. I found the hat for the doll and said they could look like each other and she went for it. I need to do a scrapbook page of her in her Santa dresses over the past 3 years.

Jess goofing for the camera. What a ham!!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!!
We were up at 5:30 with Mike this morning so he could watch the kids open Santa's presents. Afterward I went back to lie in bed (didn't really sleep) while Jess played with her Leapster and Jason played his Guitar Hero downstairs. At 8:30 I got up and made pancakes for breakfast. I love Christmas - I love shopping on Black Friday. I love wrapping the presents. I love going to the children's service on Christmas Eve. It's a time when I can indulge myself in buying for my kids. They certainly don't get everything they want but they do get a lot at Christmas, some of it practical, some of it luxuries. I love hearing the Christmas story. I love listening to Christmas carols (especially in my truck since we get country Christmas on the XM radio). I love the magic of Santa Claus. I don't understand people who celebrate Christmas but don't allow their kids to believe in Santa Claus. I do realize, of course, that Santa is not the reason for Christmas; that it is our Lord's birthday. But, there is magic in a child's belief in Santa and I want that magic to last as long as possible.
Waiting for the kids to get up
Santa came!!!

Ready to for the next snowfall

Jess's favorite song is Dominic the Donkey. She told Santa she wanted a donkey for Christmas and he looked a little surprised.

On Christmas Eve, we picked my mom up at the nursing home so that she could come to church with us. We went to the 5:00 children's service. It was really nice - lots of carols and Pastor's son read a story about the baby Jesus told by the animals. Jason was an alcolyte and Jess carried the baby Jesus to the manger. I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that but I didn't think having the flash go off would be appropriate at that moment. She looked adorable up at the altar gently placing the baby in the manger.

After church we went out to eat, dropped my mom off and then came home to open the family presents. Typically, we only open one but Mike had to work today so to save time this morning, we opened them all last night and the kids just opened Santa's presents today.

The kids on Christmas Eve.

Spreading reindeer food to lead the reindeer here.

Can't forget the milk and cookies.

December snowstorm - 12/20/09

We had a huge storm on the 19-20th. No school on Monday which was very, very nice. Usually I don't like snowdays because we have to make them up but I got so much done for Christmas; that extra time was really helpful. I was coming down with a sinus infection so I didn't go outside. Mike used the snowblower and the kids played in the snow.

Ready for the snow!


Cuddling with Jack in front of the wood stove. We're getting a lot of use out of that stove this year.


Our Trip to Newport, RI

I took the kids to Newport to see Santa at Marble House. While we were there we also went to The Elms Rooftop and Behind the Scenes Tour and we went to the Astor's Beechwood which is my favorite (too bad it just sold for 10.5M). We had a great weekend.

The key to a good car trip with 2 kids.

The Astor's Beechwood. It's amazing that this was considered a summer cottage and only used 2 months a year. They had dancing at the Beechwood after we toured the mansion. Jason was a good sport.

Santa and Jess discussing footwear at Marble House. She was thrown by the fact that he was wearing more of a St Nicholas outfit with the hood and brown suede boots than the hat and black boots.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Season Happenings

Tis the season to be busy. But it's a good kind of busy. I took the kids to see Santa again at Colony Place and got a good picture to put on our Christmas cards.

We had our annual church fair and I made cookies for the bake table. I saw them in a magazine and thought they looked really cute. Of course they ended up taking longer to make than I thought they would but they were worth the time.
Last year I made advent calendars for the kids. There are 25 little drawers and I covered each in scrapbook paper. I filled the drawers with m&m's, dove chocolates and pistachios.
When I was little my mom took me to Jordan Marsh to see the Enchanted Village. They stopped having it after several years and the scenes went into storage. It was erected in City Hall Plaza for a short time but that didn't last long. This year Jordan's Furniture bought it and did a great job with it. Right after work on a Friday, we drove to Avon and visited the furniture store. The Enchanted Village was awesome. I love seeing all the old fashioned scenes. After we were done with the village, we went to the laser show Jordan's had - Christmas carols with lasers - that was also great. I wasn't sure how Jess would like that but she loved it! It seems Jordan's also bought the recipe for Jordan Marsh's famous blueberry muffins. I bought one - I wished I bought more; it was very good.

Jess at the Clifford tree at Colony Place

Jess, Jason and the wild thing at Colony Place

Jess, Jason and St. Nick at Colony Place

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bittersweet Thanksgiving
My mom was able to come to our house for Thanksgiving afterall. It was good to have her there but bittersweet as well. Things went as well as could be expected. The food all came out very good and we had plenty of it. My mom talked about having to get back to her home to go to work; she was very vague about what she thinks her job is. She kept asking us what time her train would be leaving and we'd explain that we were taking her back to the nursing home and that she didn't need to take the train. Her nursing home is called Oak Hill and the train station near where she used to live is Oak Grove which is where the confusion may have been coming from. Jess hugged my mom a lot and said she was glad she was there. After dinner, we took her home and then Patricia, Michelle, Jason and I went to see A Christmas Carol. That was a very good movie and we had a great time. I got up early on Black Friday (3:15 am) and hit Kohls, Borders, Gymboree, Children's Place, JoAnns, Michaels and Bed Bath and Beyond. I stayed away from electronics places and found the shopping to be quite fun. Afterward, we made fattigmon. That's a Norwegian cookie that was made at Christmas. My grandmother made them and taught my mom how to; my mom in turn taught me. Now I'm teaching Jason. He doesn't like to eat them but he said it was a lot of fun to make them. I let him fry them which was a little nervewracking at first. I think I was in my late teens before I was allowed to fry them. Saturday we went to see Santa at Colony Place. It's funny to see how much Jess loves seeing him compared to how she was her first Christmas when she screamed just at the sight of him.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Is coveting your neighbor's vacation a sin?

I get you're not supposed to covet your neighbor's spouse or possessions but I admit I am very, very jealous of one of my coworkers vacation plans. I think my jealousy started hitting hard right around the time I started making Thanksgiving plans. I know living an hour or more from different relatives makes it difficult to get together on holidays. I planned on having Thanksgiving at my house because I had been hoping to have my mom there and with her health it'd have been too hard to bring her to someone else's house. That's not going to happen at all which makes it just hurt worse. DH's side has plans. Fine, I understand. My sister and niece were supposed to come. Niece wants to go to father's; sister doesn't want to make the drive by herself. So, Thanksgiving will be DH, me and the kids. I'm fine with that, really. Okay, not really but I don't have much choice. Growing up, my mom always insisted I be there for Thanksgiving; it was the family holiday. Since we flew on employee passes, we usually spent Christmas flying or at airports but Thanksgiving was dinner at home with turkey, baked apples, and whatever friends didn't have somewhere to go. My mom's physically still here but mentally she is slipping away faster and faster. This just seemed like a time when I really needed family around. I will still have my family of course, DH and the kids, but I wish there'd be more of us. The nursing home advised us strongly not to take my mom out for the holiday because of the frequent transitions she's had to have over the past 2 months, her paranoia, and her fantasies. So, that sets the stage for my jealous coveting.

A coworker is going on a cruise at Christmas with about 20 people in her family. I know some think I'm crazy but I think that would be the ideal trip - cruises have so much to do that people could do what they wanted and catch up throughout the trip (I'm not crazy enough to think that we should all be doing the same thing all the time). I treasure the memories I have of traveling with my family. I am so glad that my son has those memories of my mother; it hurts my heart that my daughter won't have those memories. I know it'll never happen but that doesn't stop me from wishing.

Monday, November 02, 2009

All Sunbeams and Rainbows?

I was reading another adoptive mom's blog and she commented about how so many blogs portray everything happy, happy, happy. It is true that many of the ones I've read do deal with the happy stuff mostly. Do I think our journey has been all sunbeams and rainbows? No, real life never is but it has been pretty damn good for which I am forever thankful. On the plane over to China, I wondered if we knew what we were doing. Could I handle 2 kids? Could I handle a child with a heart condition? Of course, when I was pregnant I had the same thoughts - Could I handle a baby? What if he does have Trisomy 18 (Jason had a choroid plexus cyst on the ultrasound show up which can be a marker for Trisomy 18)? The things that have driven me the most crazy - Jess coslept when we came home in March until the following September. I would have been fine with her continuing to cosleep but Mike didn't like it. One of us would stay with her until she fell asleep. She'd cry and cry which ripped my heart out and Mike insisted she stay in her bed, not lie on the floor with me. There were nights where I was so tired from working and trying to keep up with everything that I couldn't take the crying and I'd beg her to go to sleep which aggravated Mike. That was probably the worst time for me. Now she sleeps in her own bed most of the time although she does come in with me some nights when Mike's working and that's fine. The thing that drives me the most crazy now is the sibling rivalry and I don't think that would be any different if I'd given birth to Jason's sibling rather than adopting her. They're both great on car rides when they're alone; put both of them in the car together and they're megabrats. My friend's daughter's occasionally watches Jess. People have asked why I don't leave Jess with Jason. I don't know that they'd both be alive when I got home if I did that. They're both great kids but they do have the ability to drive me out of my mind. I just threatened them both with going to bed immediately. I'm not feeling well and they've been together maybe 5 minutes and are going at it. This is why I focus on the happy times - I don't really want to dwell on the times that I'm pissed off; it just makes me feel bad.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Catching Up
It seems like all I do is try to catch up - catch up with work, catch up with the house, catch up with my mom's stuff. Some day I'll be caught up but until then I'll just keep doing the best I can.
Three weeks ago I was in a car accident. I was minding my own business driving to my mom's apartment to meet my sister. Guy came across the double yellow line and hit me near the driver front tire. After scraping down the side of my car, I was spun and my rear passenger side door hit a telephone pole and the window smashed. Thank God the kids weren't with me. I've got some residual pain and a shadow of the bruise is still visible on my arm but nothing was broken and there were no serious internal injuries. My phone had been on the seat beside me and when it got thrown it somehow got stuck on speaker. I was in shock when I got out of the car and couldn't figure out how to turn the speaker off which was frustrating the hell out of me. I couldn't get hold of Mike at home or on his cell. I tried my in-laws since I was in their city but they were out. My sister wasn't answering. The fire department called Mike's work and they finally were able to reach him. I reached my sister when I was in the ambulance and told her I was on my way to the hospital. She left a message for my in-laws. What really hurt was that after trying to call Mike, my first instinct was to call my mom. For those who know our situation lately, that obviously wouldn't be possible or appropriate. But, when you're hurt, you want to call your mom.
My door wouldn't open nor would the window so I had to go out the back door. Thankfully we only had the child safety lock on the other door or I would have needed help getting out.
No window. This picture was taken the next day after Mike took Jess's car seat out so you can't see it covered in glass. When I saw her carseat covered in glass, I nearly lost it just imagining if she'd been with me.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Tonight we went to our church's Halloween party and had a good time. Here are the kids dressed up.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Birthday pics
We went out to eat on the day before Jess's birthday. Here she is ready to go to Bugaboo Creek.
Kissing the moose.

Cake at my mom's on Jess's actual birthday.

Jess and my mom
Jess's Cinderella castle cake for her birthday cake

My little princess

Blowing out the candles

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Jessica!!!

I'll post pics later but since I'm wide awake in the middle of the night I thought I'd update my blog. My camera's downstairs and I don't want to wake anyone by opening the gate (Jess still has supersonic hearing when it comes to that).

Tuesday night we went to Bugaboo Creek to celebrate Jess's birthday. She was a little confused about why we were going out on Tuesday when we'd been telling her her birthday was Wednesday. My mom recently moved to a nursing home and we've been told that we shouldn't take her out for a while because it adds to her confusion. So, tonight we'll be bringing a cake to the nursing home to celebrate with my mom which is why we did dinner last night.

Jess loves Bugaboo Creek. She loves the moose outside, she loves the talking animals and she loves having the waitstaff sing to her and bring her the moose puppet to kiss. We brought her presents with us to open. She loves my camera so I bought her a VTech digital camera for kids. She spent the rest of the night taking pictures of everything. She also got some clothes and an art kit. From Jason, she got a Ni Hao Kai-lan doll - dino dreams. For those who don't know who Kai-lan is, it's a show on Nickelodeon that is like Dora the Explorer except she is Chinese and speaks some Mandarin. Tonight Jess will get an easel and some supplies to go with it that I got for my mom to give her. Sunday is her party. It started out as being a teaparty but is now a Cinderella party. She wants to wear her Cinderella dress and picked out a castle for me to make her cake. All of the decorations she picked out were Cinderella. I think I'm going to get some wand kits for kids to decorate if I can find them at Michaels today after work.

Friday, September 11, 2009

When I woke up this morning, I looked outside at the sky. It was gray and cloudy, much different than it was that morning 8 years ago. There are no words for the horror of that day.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fourth of July
Since our plans to go to Boston fell through, I decided to take the family to Old Sturbridge Village for an 1830's Independence Day celebration. We had a blast! Mike met up with us late afternoon because he had to do a funeral but the kids and I set off early and spent the day at OSV. Jasn and Jess played games like Les Graces (throw a wooden hoop to each other using wooden sticks), Coits (like horseshoes but with circles), and Shuttlecock. Jess loved the animals and the parade.

Around 3:30, we went to the hotel to meet Mike. We stayed at the Scottish Inn. It was very basic and clean (for $53, that's all we expected). We went back to the OSV for the evening festivities. Jason did a sackrace and we listened to the band play. Jess did a cute jig to the music but as soon as I picked up my camera, she'd stop. The fireworks were awesome! Jess absolutely loved them; the look on her face was priceless. Jason said he definitely wants to go back next year.

On Sunday we went back to OSV. We toured a couple of houses and Mike joined Jason in a game of Les Graces and Shuttlecock. Jason and Jess both played tug of war and baseball. Jess got trampled in the tug of war. They tried fishing with bits of bread. Jason caught a fish which got thrown back. On the trolley ride Jason and Jess were picking at each other (what else is new?). I moved Jess to the other side of me which would have been the end of it except that the woman next to me shook her finger in Jess's face and told her to be quiet. Who the hell are you to talk like that to my kid!? Especially when I'm already taking care of the issue! I moved Jess back to the other side next to Jason. The woman yelled at her husband later on the ride so I guess her rudeness isn't reserved for strangers.

Fishing at Mill Pond

Reading the Declaration of Indendence
Right before the fireworks started

Cloud watching
Making the noonday meal

Ready for the riverboat ride

Playing Les Graces