Friday, November 30, 2007

Ending of the Month

Today is the LAST day of NaBloPoMo. I actually enjoyed the postings and hopefully will keep it up for a while (also have to finish the gardening posts)



Kelsey, Kurt and I went to the mall to pay a visit to Santa. Kelsey loved the lights, tree and the "concept" of Santa, but when we went to sit her on his lap, she rebelled. Santa was very nice, and said about 3 that does happen. At least she was willing to sit on Daddy's lap and give a nice smile for the camera. And then the nice photographer was able to edit Daddy out, except for the hand on Kelsey's butt. So, in the future, Kelsey, Santa wasn't copping a feel, it was Daddy holding you. I do have the original photo disk as evidence.

Happy 30th Birthday Uncle Rich, we wanted Kelsey to record a special video for you (for some reason, she thinks the words Uncle Rich are very funny and laughs hysterically) but she wasn't in the mood to be on film. We'll try again tomorrow!
Thanks to the readers who stuck this out with me and for any new ones that crossed my path during this time, thanks for coming. Feel free to check me out now and then, and as always, respectful and/or kind comments are always appreciated! (even if you disagree with me!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why I will love this man forever!

Kelsey's had a tough week because Daddy was in Chicago. He made a few of these short videos for her to watch so she wouldn't miss him so dreadfully.

We made it through the week and are about to leave for the airport to pick him up. And he gave me his permission to post this....

He's a wonderful man and a wonderful Father! Feel free to giggle along. And how my living room looks so narrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gardening Part 2

We rejoyced in Audrey's demise (our crazed knarly wisertia) and I began to look at the landscaping.

Although our property is narrow, it is long and has some interesting "nooks" where the house juts out. We have an old dutch colonial and I thought the cottage garden look suited it best.

But where did I start? I began in the front....so all could see.

I am one of "those" people who need symmetry in their decorating, so I put one nikko blue hydrangea on each side of the entrance steps. They seemed to flourish and I got excited! The woman who had a "black thumb" for houseplants was actually keeping plants alive in the garden.

I weeded out the front and got rid of the half dying stuff. I also planted a few hostas. Hostas are really cool because there are many species and they all look slightly different. Plus, they have a low/wide profile except when in bloom, where they have tall bracts with oddly shaped flowers.

Then I became a little deranged and took on the rest of the front, back and side gardens simultaneously. What a mistake! When you are in the process of creating a garden everything is a mess. I had front, back and side messes! In order to accomplish anything in creating a garden from scratch you have to have:
1) patience
2) lots of money
3) a great plan to execute
4) lots of time or someone to do all the manual labor
5) great vision

I had none of this...just the vague concept of having a cottage garden. The great thing about cottage gardens is that they look slightly tangled up and "messy" so I really was on my way to accomplish this!

Did I say seven years later I am still working on the gardens?

Thomas Jefferson once said at the end of his life (and he was an old man when he died!) that he was an old man but a very young gardener. I take great comfort in that...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Something isn't Right...

I am not myself right now. I am missing the "sparkle" of life. I'm doing housework, tending to my family, decorating and keeping the traditions of the holidays, cooking (and eating!), but I am missing the intrinsic part of myself that finds the joy in life.

Is it because Kurt's been traveling so much in the last few weeks? Am I not getting enough sleep? I am not calling my friends or keeping up with other obligations outside the house.

I believe I am getting close to obtaining a great job that is the right path for my career. It is an exciting opportunity and I have a huge final interview next week. In the interview process, I do sparkle, so not worried about that. What has me feeling strange is that I am already becoming nostalgic about staying home with Kelsey and enjoying the "freedom" I have.

But in reality, that "freedom" is actually a fiscal jail where I don't do much because I am trying to be frugal. There are days when I do not step outside the house. A big day is when I go run an errand or go to the foodstore (the highlight of my week)

I had 2 job interviews today - on was the beginning of our conversations (not keeping all my eggs in the basket above - just in case) and one was the 2nd interview at a truly magnificent non-profit in NY. I love the organization (you all know it...think of cookies :) and the job was a tremendous opportunity to shape the direction of this very giving org. However, the job is in NYC. I went to the first interview last week, in the cold and rain. I hated every second of the commute. I got into the shower this am dreading it....I got dressed and looked very spiffy...dreading it...drove all the way to the park n ride and when I pulled in I thought "damn, I'm here" and then I drove around for 15 minutes (missing 2 buses) while I looked for a parking space...finding none. So I said "this is a sign that this is just not meant to be" and I called the person, cancelled the appointment and just said this is not the right time in my family life to be working in NY.

I spent a lot of time debating this with Kurt this past week, because it truly is a great job (with very good money) but Kurt travels a lot for his job and there are days when he leaves at 4am and comes home after Kelsey is in bed. I can't depend on him for backup if I am stuck in NY. My daycare provider is a private one and closes at 6pm. There is no way we could make that work. Plus, my time would be compromised withe Kelsey and I would be more tired than I ever was (the last time I commuted to NY, I was 35, not married, lived very close to the city and was exhausted...how much harder would it be now?)

So, I made what was really the "easier" choice for me....decline the interview and NYC.

I seem to be always choosing the "what's easiest" path right now. Last night was a perfect example... I was supposed to attend our adoption support group meeting. I am taking over as one of the facilitators and I have a bookcase to donate. But Kurt's traveling and can't be here to watch Kelsey, so I was going to have to take her (6:30-10pm) and it was raining. All that added up to Kelsey being fussy after her nap, so I decided it would be best if I didn't take her out, past her bedtime, carrying the bookcase and trying to drag her up the stairs to the meeting. And I missed a great meeting. And probably look like a loser (and someone who doesn't keep her word!) to the retiring facilitator.

And a sitter (especially on short timing) was not an option. We haven't left Kelsey with anyone except her daycare provider - and 20 months later she still cries when I leave her, I worry about leaving her with a sitter or even family until she's a bit older and understands that we're coming back to get her. Right now, its not an option I consider.

Oh well, done whining. I hope next week all works out and I'm back to normal.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Waited my whole life for moments like this

Kelsey is getting so mature! She puts on her socks or slippers if her feet are cold and tonight she took her pants and put them in her hamper without being prompted!

We took some video of setting up our tree the other night. Kelsey was a great help putting up the ornaments. I have since learned that she's discovered and loves candycanes.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How to Create a Life Worthy of Your Child...


One of my favorite bloggers, posted a thought that stopped me dead in my tracks last night. She wrote it almost a year ago, yet it will burn in my mind for a long long time. Let me enlighten you the way I've been feeling.

"It’s gratifying to work alongside "her spouse" in crafting a family life worthy of "her daughter" and the childhood memories that are still just a twinkle in her eye."

I both really love and really hate it when someone takes a thought that had been milling in my mind for a while and translates it beautifully to the written word.

I really love it because it galvanizes what's been rolling around in my mind and I feel validated. But I hate it because I have "writer's envy" and am a touch competitive ;)

It's not all the "things" that you give your child that will give him or her a happy childhood and guide him or her on the path to secure, grounded adult. It's security, stability, consistency and experience that will do the deed. Culture and traditions are an important part of that.

More than anything else I want our girl to be grounded and emotionally healthy. I want her to thrive and remember her childhood with pleasure. Not that we gave her things like a cool toy kitchen, TMX Elmo or enough plastic Dora toys to fill a landfill (because we have) I want her to remember when we took her apple picking or had tickle fights or played with Daddy's "guys" and spun in his office chair. And the thousands of other memories we will create in the future.

All because we were lucky enough to become her parents.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guilty Pleasures....

1) Househunters on HGTV and realtor.com. I love to shop for homes (ones I can afford and ones I'd like if I win the lottery)
2) Chocolate in any shape and form :) Perferably milk without nuts
3) Sleeping in on a Saturday! I cannot remember the last time I've done that
4) Arranging my daughter's toy kitchen. How compulsive of me!
5) Wearing your PJ's all day long
6) Shopping online rather than hitting the malls!
7) Planning out the fantasy family room and kitchen in my fantasy home once I've won the lottery (it's going to be cozy and warm, but large.
8) Good cleaning products - a must if you're going to clean
9) Watching Gene Simmons Family Jewels on A&E
10) Reading my blog rolls every day...they are LONG! I've loved reading this month because of NaBloPoMo, many of my favorites are posting daily!

In a vast break in tradition, we began decorating for Christmas today. We put up and decorated our tree. Normally we don't do this until December, but I thought it might be fun for Kelsey to have the house decorated longer. She loved putting up the tree and putting on the ornaments. Her particular favorite are the apples. (Photos tomorrow)

Kurt's been busy making videos of her and him together, so while he's traveling on business next week I can play them for her. She's been very attached to Daddy recently and will be very sad next week.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gardening part 1

I never thought for one moment that I'd ever be interested in gardening. I am not an outdoors-y person and I'm not into getting my hands dirty. My parents weren't big gardeners and we never spent time in our yards except to swim in the pool and BBQ.

When Kurt and I bought our home, I was secretly happy that it had a very tiny backyard. When we were looking at the house, I asked Kurt if it bothered him and he said "no, less grass to mow."

We looked at the house in April, when the front yard was in bloom. There is a beautiful dark pink dogwood tree in the landscape and I was thrilled to have some mature trees in the yard.

We moved in July and had a busy, but sad summer (Kurt's father died less than a month of us moving in) and I changed jobs in October and then again in January.

In the early spring, I saw a lot of daffodils in the side yard. We also had that dogwood tree and some iris. I thought it was cool and wondered what other surprises awaited us. In June my patience was rewarded with peonies, white like the ones in my wedding bouquet. They smelled incredible! I was becoming interested.

Our house is over 80 years old now. It has some tall mature trees. Oddly enough, when I looked at the overall landscape, there really wasn't very many evergreens and perennials and no real landscaping plan. The backyard was a disaster in terms of planning. We had an old rusted swingset and white rocks by the garage. And we had an old flagstone patio that was narrow and pushing up. It wasn't fun.

The one thing we did have in the backyard was "Audrey" a very old twisted wisteria. The scent of the flowers was heaven, but the bees loved it more than I did. Combined with the ancient lilac trees, it was Bee Heaven...rough for Kurt who has an allergy to bees. Audrey, was a menace in the tangled landscape of our small backyard...I would have never called it a garden then.

We decided to kill Audrey (named for the plant from Little Shop of Flowers, not my Aunt) She didn't go easy. We cut off all her branches and it sprouted new ones the next day. We were frustrated. Audrey had these long shoots that went under the weeds/grass and came up on the other side of the yard. Audrey finally met her demise after cutting off all her limbs down to her stubbly stump and then pouring boric acid all over her. We also poked holes in the dirt all around her and poured the boric acid in there as well. It worked.

Meantime, I began to realize that I wanted a pretty little garden. Our backyard in less than 10 feet wide in some places (we have a large brook - almost a river in our backyard and our property extends halfway into the brook) I bought a book about plants and began to read Better Homes and Gardens in earnest. We couldn't afford a landscaper and honestly I began to itch to do it myself...how hard could it be?

Seven years later, I'm still working on it ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We Gather Together....

To Ask HIS blessings...


Had a wonderful day, very low key.

We went to my sister's family's house and had a delicious feast. (I did the sweet potatoes, carrots and the appetizer)

Kelsey loves her cousins and their warm and fun home.

She also loves watching the Macy's Parade.


I am so grateful for all the opportunities in life, the ones I've done well and the ones I've screwed up. It's not what's handed to you, but what you make of what's handed to you that counts.


Be kind, pay it forward and practice random acts of kindness and senseless things of beauty.


Of course, the two most important graces in my life....


>


Love you both madly.

Having a wonderful life!

Thank you God :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Love Hurts?

Remember the old J. Geils Band song? It was a pretty great song.

Well, today I'm talking about child to parent abuse! My rough and tumble daughter is only 28 months old, but here is a laundry list of injuries she's caused ME!


1) bruised ribs

2) black eye

3) knocked out my tooth - had to get a root canal and a fake tooth!

4) sprained back

5) fat lip

6) numerous black and blues on my legs!

7) She uses my chest as her own personal rock wall! I'm lucky I'm not mishapen!

Most of the injuries were from when she was much smaller. We tend to lounge around on the bed a lot. Kelsey used to throw herself on us, which is how I got the bruised ribs and the sprained back. When she first came home, if she got upset, she used to throw herself backwards in anger, frustration, etc. and that's how she cracked my tooth and it broke the next day. AND the black eye AND the fat lip (on the same day!)

My poor husband is lucky that he has family jewels anymore, she is always jumping all over him.

Kelsey of the future...OUCH!!!! Love shouldn't have to hurt so much!

I originally tried to make this posting a little tongue in cheek, but decided it really wasn't that funny.

Happy Turkey Day All

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday Evening...




Check out http://www.freerice.com/ it will challenge your vocabulary while donating rice to indigent people. Post your best scores in my comments section
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Yesterday Kelsey and I ran a few errands. Our first stop was the post office. I was putting together a box and she was standing right next to me, chatting with the post office personnel and enjoying the new experience. She handed me something saying it "taste bad" my heart stopped as I realized she picked up an Advil off the floor (thinking it was an M&M) and licked it!

Thank God she didn't like the taste and had not broken the coating off. I called her Pediatrician and was told as long as she didn't eat any of the Advil not to worry. I saw the lick marks, but the name on the pill was clean and sharp. I cried in the car afterwards to think that this might have killed her if she hadn't disliked the taste. It would have been a quick pop in the mouth and gone. I might not have seen or known until it was too late. Kids put things in their mouths. I am very watchful about medicines at home, because Kurt and I take them ---but we don't take them in front of her. In fact, when my Mom was staying with me a few weeks ago, I asked her NOT to take her pills in front of Kelsey because I didn't want her to think taking pills was anything fun.

I was upset at the nameless person who was careless in dropping their pill and at the same time grateful it wasn't anything worse (I've heard a story of a 2 year old dying from taking one low dose blood pressure pill from the grandparent's stash) I was also upset with myself for not catching it before it got in her mouth.

Request of the day...please please please, be careful when you take your medicine. If you have it, make sure you don't keep them in containers that small children could easily open (believe me, they are watching you and can mimic your movements easily!) And when you are in a new environment, take a quick scan on the floor before you put a small child down to play. You may save their life.

Kelsey is fine, thank goodness, but I know that her angels were watching her yesterday!
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I went on a job interview today. In NYC. I would love the opportunity, the money and to work for such a well known organization (very prestigious) but I DO NOT WANT TO WORK IN NY! Been there, done that for 12 years and I don't think I could make the commute work for Kelsey's daycare situation. I have a 2nd interview next week. The commute was a total drag in the rain. However, I haven't gotten that much exercise in while, so if I had to take that job, I might lose a few lbs. I'm praying the alternatives I've been working on will come to light.
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Kelsey and Tana were playing bubbles tonight and Kelsey was blowing the bubbles and Tana was popping them. It was very fun and cute and they both enjoyed themselves!
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I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and watching the Macy's Parade with Kelsey.
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Kurt will be going away on Monday to his end of year Chicago trip. Kelsey will not have a good week because she's been very attached to Daddy recently. When she's sad because "no Daddy" we carry his picture around and call him on the phone - alot. I'm going to ask him to record a few videos so I can play them for her when she's feeling extra sad.
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To Tita Glo, so happy that you're feeling better! I'm sure you and Mom are having as fun a time as you can while you're recuperating! My Aunt Audrey just had a triple heart bi-pass on Monday and is recovering well.
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Mom, Kelsey has been asking for her Lola and is looking forward to seeing you soon! The photo above is just for you and was taken in MA this past summer.



Monday, November 19, 2007

National Adoption Month

Hey All,
November is National Adoption Month and the 17th was National Adoption Day.

I need to say something very important here...
If you are in the process, have adopted or considering adoption, please find yourself a support group, especially one that takes into consideration all the parts of the adoption triad (birth parent, adoptive parent and adoptee) the most important things I've learned about adoption I have learned from adoptees and from birth parents. I was STUPID ignorant and the group gently and carefully educated me in how to be the parent of an adoptee.

I'm going to put a shameless plug here for my own group in NJ, called CHATS (google it :) and I'd love to see you there.

From my own part of the triad, Adoption is the best thing that has happened to my DH and me. We sing its praises and are so grateful for this amazingly perfect child for our family that China graciously allowed us to parent. (I guess they wanted me to never sleep again! ;)

But, as happy as we are, we know there will be darker times. One day Kelsey will understand that she's lost her first family, culture, language, etc. And we don't have any real answers for her because of the circumstances of her adoption and China. It makes me very sad that one day she'll lose her innocence. I've been reading and trying to educate myself on how to handle this one day. I hope that I'm up to the task.

One of the things that drew us to China adoptions is that they are closed and protect the adoptive family from contact. I realize now the easiest thing for us is the worse case scenario for our child. A newer friend of mine is the adoptive Mom in an open adoption. While she has her own challenges, there are so many positives to the open adoption. I wanted to pursue a domestic adoption, but we felt it was important to have a child who is Asian. Plus, we were told due to our own particular case, it would be a very very long time to wait.

To Birth Moms (hopefully Kelsey's Birth Mom, but that's probably not realistic) please know that educated Adoptive Moms recognize your pain and respect the choice you've made in making an adoption plan for your child. I honor Kelsey's Birth Mom by raising her to be the best woman she can be and to give her opportunities for her soul to soar. I hope she is at peace.

To any adoptees that may read this blog. If you are struggling to find your first family, I hope you receive the tools to do this (I truly believe this is your right) and that your reunion is a joyous one. I hope that your adoptive family doesn't feel threatened by your birth family and understand how important it is to know where you come from. I respect and admire each of you that have stepped in front of a group of strangers and friends and shared the deepest parts of your personal story. I learn so much from you and am so grateful that you are guiding my way on how to deal with the issues that will arise in Kelsey's life later on.

To Adoptive Parents - we are a passionate and dedicated bunch who will call a congressman at the drop of the hat for a stranger in trouble) and will write letters when needed. Most of us have had years of longing/waiting for a child to love and are so thrilled, humbled and grateful to FINALLY be parents! I hope we can all remember that we are 1/3 of an amazing group of people who have come together to create the child we dearly love.

Happy Adoption Day Kelsey, your Daddy and I love you more than anything else in this world and would do everything in our power to keep you safe and happy.

I hope this post makes sense :)

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Extreme angry rantage to follow.

I decided not to publicly comment on the Sandi Shelton incident because it was heartbreakingly sad and it had gotten really intense.

I have shed a lot of tears for Sandi and Dennis and their daughter Hannah. Unfortunately, I could empathize a little too well. If you want to read their story click here http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071118/NEWS01/711180602/1001/news

Sandi and Hannah are home safe and sound with Dennis' ashes. I am happy that their tragic story didn't become even more tragic and they can begin their mouring process in private.

In reading that post and its attached comments, I became infuriated at some of the comments that were published in this sad sad story.

One a**h*le had the nerve to say that Sandi should feel guilty about adopting their daughter in China and causing the death of her husband and if she had adopted an American black child her husband would still be alive!

FIRST of all, until YOU have adopted a child (or are in the process), you have NO RIGHT to give YOUR opinion on how others choose to build their families. WALK A MILE IN AN ADOPTIVE PARENT'S SHOES BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH! CASE CLOSED...

SECONDLY, the American adoption system is NOT easy. China when we adopted was easier and pretty much a done deal if you met their requirements. People are so ignorant about adoption, especially American adoption unless you are going through the process yourself. "Having a Friend who did it" is not enough, believe me.

I applaud anyone who parents a child, any way, either a bio child or via adoption. It is the most incredible rewarding, hardest thing you will ever do to become a parent. I am digusted by a "human being" who is so hateful to kick this family in such a sad time of their lives.

If anyone had ever said that to me, I don't think they'd be able to open their mouth again anytime soon.

"Whatever" there is a special place in hell waiting for you.

Reaching into the Archives

It's cold, rainy and boring today. We went to church, did some food shopping and then came home to chill. (literally!)


I've decided to reach into my archive of memories of the not too distant past for today's posting. About a month ago, Kurt and I decided to take Kelsey into the city (that's Manhattan for some of you) to AMMH (American Museum of Natural History) to the Butterfly Exhibit. I'm sure most of you know what that is (hot and humid environment is created and live butterflies live and fly for the general public. We went on a Friday, and it wasn't very crowded and we got a lot of up close and personal time with the "flies" as she calls them.


























I was worried that Kelsey might be frightened or too hyper for the exhibit, but she was perfect, enjoying the exhibit but not grabbing at the butterflies (the way another boy close to her in age tried to)

She liked the museum, so we'll try another one in the next few months

Tomorrow, a post of National Adoption Day (which was Saturday)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hours Later....

Hey all,
If I've missed a posting, I still consider it important to catch up (tho' not the point of NaBloPoMo)

We got all spiffed up and went to Target to get our photos taken. We chose a tri-photo in green. When Jodi (our photog) asked us what we wanted to write, two writers had a hard timing coming up with:

Happy Holidays!
From Our Home to Yours
The Hoppe Family

LOL....

Anyway, Kelsey looked beautiful...she's a very photogenic child. And Kurt? SO Handsome...We decided to both wear black sweaters and jeans, so our Christmas Angel in her fancy dress stood out. My DH rocked the house in his handsome-ness...he looked like a movie star! :)

And I am no longer a hair straightening virgin. Did it this am. And between the new shampoos and sprays that help your hair flatten and straighten, I now have the hair I've always wanted! (its a little dark in color, so you can't see movement in photos, once I have a job again, I'm going for a few highlights) or else I look a little like Mary McFadden (Google her!)

Photos will be at Target on 12/1, so I will post our family photos in Dec...take it from me, they are cute...

another short one...

Kelsey gave me her cold, so I medicated myself up last night and missed posting. Sorry!

I want to talk for a moment about empathy...I think there is definitely inbred of how empathetic you are, but it can also be enhanced or learned.

Kelsey, realizing that I wasn't feeling well tonight, kept hugging me telling me "feel better, okay?" she also wanted to snuggle with me (didn't want to let her do that) but she said "hold my hand" and we both fell asleep holding hands. She's learning that she's not the only one...I think that's pretty great for a 2 year old! I want her to be empathetic to the world and to want to help make it a better place!

She spent the day at her babysitter and Kurt picked her up last night, letting me hang out under the covers (they went to get Chinese food for dinner) and then we all curled up to watch Ice Age.

Kelsey was an angel last night...Mommy really needed the good behavior.

Today, Daddy got Kelsey up, played with her, got her washed, dressed and fed. They're now both at Gymboree shaking their sillies out. When they get home, we have to decide whether to reschedule our photo shoot.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 Minutes to Go....

My daughter fights sleep the way McCarthy fought Communism...I'm spent!

NaBloPoMo is halfway done and I've enjoyed it so far...but it's not easy.

I've had the same dull headache since noon. 6 Aspirin and 4 Advil haven't helped.

I'm done

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Girl Isn't Model Material!

Not that she's not beautiful...we firmly believe she's more beautiful than Heidi or any of those highly paid VS models...she's just doesn't have the temperment!

We're having our family holiday photo shoot at Target on Sat, so I wanted to try on a few holiday outfits we had for her. Sadly for our tiny peanut, she still fits into her 12 month outfits last year!

The first dress is adorable (Thanks Jim and Judy) but actually felt a little small on her.

The burgundy outfit is cute, but not dressy enough (perhaps our Advent dinner outfit)






The red sweater outfit would have been the winner, but I didn't get the matching skirt (couldn't find her size) and the one I tried to use doesn't match (too burgundy)

So by process of elimination, I present Kelsey's Christmas photo dress, black velvet top and burgundy skirt with black embroidery.
I got it last year at Macy's. It's a 12 month (sigh)

As you can see, my "model" wasn't interested in making the camera her best friend and it was all I could do to get her to sit for the quick shots I did get.

Today, unfortunately, she woke up with a slight cold (runny nose and low-grade fever). the outting I planned for her, her first movie, (The Bee Movie) is postponed until she's feeling better. Oh well, my girl had a fun day watching Dora hanging out with me and eating chocolate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picky, Picky

You may agree or not with my thoughts on this topic. I'm okay either way because I'm the one who gets to make the final decision for my daughter.

I really don't want Kelsey to have non-Asian dolls for now. There may be a time when she's older that I'll allow her to have other races of dolls, but right now it's all Asian all the time.

I get really unhappy to walk into a toy store and see the plethora of blond/blue eyed dollies and zero Asian dolls. I am very happy to see AA dolls, as I know this took decades to get there. I would have HATED to be an AA Mom in the 80's and '90's and not be able to give my child a doll that looks like her.

Except for Dora the Explorer, there are zero Latina dolls that I see in the market place. (don't get me started on American Girl...they won't see a penny of my money until they get the Asian dolls right..they are not Caucasian faced dolls with dark hair and eyes!)

I've asked my yahoo support groups if they feel the same way...some do and some don't.
it's all about positive self image. I remember being a child in the '60's and not having a Barbie doll that had dark hair...and not being happy about it.

It's going to be hard enough on Kelsey to grow up and have positive Asian identification having a Caucasian Mommy. (We are extremely blessed to have Daddy's Filipino family in our lives...it will really help her to know she has family that look like her).

I know there are mail order places to buy Chinese or Asian dollies and if you look hard enough in a retail store, you can find one or 2. Kelsey has a few of these (Sonya Lee, Chinese New Year Barbie, Magnolia).

Last year my Mother bought Kelsey a Little Mommy baby doll for Christmas. I didn't want to keep it because it wasn't Asian (not too picky about being Chinese as opposed to Asian) but I ran it past my yahoo group and decided to see if Kelsey liked it. She does like it and plays with it, but again, she was only 18 months old last year. Now she looks in the mirror and sees her pretty straight dark hair and those beautiful eyes and calls herself "pretty!" I want to protect that positive self image with everything I have.

I would like her to have a baby doll for Christmas from my sister's family. She's not big on Internet buying and I think it's sad that the only way she can buy an appropriate doll for my child is to get it online or via catalog..sad..sad...sad.

Funny comment, a few times little girls have seen my Chinese daughter with her classic bob haircut and yelled out "There's Dora!" (as in Explorer) who is really my daughter's magnicficent obsession.

Motherhood is kicking my butt this week

I missed a day....I'm not going to curse myself out, because I was not at the spa, shopping or having a fabulous time...I was being a full time Mommy to an energetic two year old.

Sometimes I have all the patience in the world and sometimes I need to bite my tongue hard. Monday was the latter. I think it also had to do with coming off the weekend and having the house be a little less organized than usual. I hate that. Plus it was freakin' cold yesterday.

To sum it up:
Mommy - short tempered (for no real reason)
Kelsey - had a fun day, but ignored Mommy when she told her to clean up her toys and to stop whining for the millionth time
Daddy - worked extra long day yesterday

Today should be better and I will have another post to catch up

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

These are a few of my favorite things outside being Kelsey's Mommy
  1. Gardening - I love digging in the dirt, making beauty and planting (plants, trees, flowers) I love it all. Kurt calls me the "plant 'ho" because I am never happier than when playing in garden centers.
  2. The beach - any time of year...I need that connection to nature and the feeling that whatever is going on in my mind and life is infinitely smaller than the ocean. I just exhale and breathe in the sea air and it calms me. I am happy to say I have swum in both Atlantic and Pacific oceans
  3. Fashion, used to be in the fashion industry, now I love to look at the magazines
  4. The Gilmore Girls...Tuesdays at 8pm will never be the same without Lorelei and Rory. I have loved that show from the moment I saw it.
  5. Home improvements/decorating. How many women are excited by a visit to Home Depot or Lowes? Me! I need a project soon!
  6. Cleaning my house to Aretha - fun, loud and you move!
  7. Chocolate...my drug of choice
  8. Coffee! I am a dunkin donuts woman (detest the *$)
  9. Snuggling with my cats. My purr boats are wonderful creatures
  10. Going to Church...another reminder that it's not all about me!
  11. Meeting my own expectations - not too easy!
  12. Spending quality time with Kurt...distant memory, but I remember that I love it!
  13. Organizing my closets in the beginning of the seasons...sick but its so satisfying and makes you feel like you can rule the world!
  14. Entertaining family and friends
  15. Christmas - decorating, baking, shopping..love it all!
  16. Music - so much a passion of mine that I need a break from it occasionally. I especially love interesting music played in my earphones. I am a music for mood person

16 things with less than 4 minutes to go! NaBloPoMo, I'm doing it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just Random Thoughts on a Saturday Evening

  • Kelsey has changed her attachment to all Mommy all the time, to Mommy and Daddy. The angels are singing in heaven, because it means a break for the old Mom ;)
  • I got my haircut today. I wanted a "posh bob or pob" but the hair on the side needs to be a bit longer, so I got a modified Bob. Me likey! And my hair is dark again too.
  • I need to set up some appointments for adoption lecturers, actually will need to set the calendar for all of 2008. Hoping my fellow facilitators will help
  • I am very cautiously optimistic that something will happen on the job front soon. I've had some interesting things happen this week
  • We have an appointment to take photos for the holidays next weekend. I have 4 outfits that I want Kelsey to model before choosing one.
  • Tomorrow we have a meet and greet with the local FCC event in Wayne. Looking forward to meeting a new crowd of folks.
  • Ran into a friend from my old job at Target today. She is doing well, and her son is adorable!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thank you Oprah!

Today was a very enjoyable day considering we did very little. Kelsey was a happy girl today and actually let me work on a few projects. Additionally, she took a nice long nap on the couch, so I had time to enjoy a relaxing lunch, talk on the phone and have a phone interview.


I had the idea for a post about how wonderful I think my niece and nephew are to play so well with Kelsey. They are the perfect mix of rough-house and gentle with her. She climbed all over them, ran around like a crazy girl and laughed her head off. She loves her cousins very much!

At 4pm, I was going to turn on one of my guilty pleasures, reruns of Charmed, but I saw a preview of an Osmond special on Oprah, so I tuned in.


I admit it...I'm in my 40's and adored the Osmonds when they were in their heydey. I can sing all the words to "One Bad Apple", "Puppy Love" and "Paper Roses" and I think it was sweet and innocent music in the odd period of time in the '70's.


It was wonderful to see their family grow. Oprah said their immediate family of kids and grandkids were over 100 people!


Kelsey and I danced to the music and had a wonderful hour, so I decided to post about that instead.


Here's a great photo of the day Kelsey and I spent yesterday with my sister and two of her children. The kids play well with Kelsey and she adores her older cousins.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Need A Genie

I have decided I no longer need to win the lottery to make my life perfect. I now need a magical Genie to grant me 3 wishes. What would I wish for? (yes, world peace, etc. but I am referring to personal right now :)

  1. I want to be where I am in this life, but be 35 again (don't ask how old I am...just know that I distantly remember 35 :) AND be in good health. (this has to be one wish)
  2. Yes, greedily, my 2nd wish is to win the lottery. However, I share well with others and would definately bestow all my family and friends and key non profits near and dear to my heart with cash! Winning the lottery would also allow me to adopt another child, which is something I would dearly love to do (especially after my experience today---stay tuned for tomorrow's post!)
  3. My third wish is for my daughter. I want her to be as happy and carefree in the future as she is now. I hate hate hate the idea that someday soon she has to go through the torture of wondering why she is adopted and why her first family left her. This should never have to happen to a child.

Maybe my wish should be that every child is born into a family that wants, needs and can support her. And every person about to bring a child into the world is capable of doing so, can support the child and is loving. Maybe that's how world peace starts :)

p.s. please send good thoughts into the universe for my Aunt Audrey who has a heart surgery tomorrow and for my dear friend Rachel's Dad who is facing some medical challenges.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What I've Learned About Myself in the Last 18 months


  1. I could never, ever hit a child...even while wrestling her on the floor trying to get her teeth brushed.

  2. I am lazier than I ever realized until a certain point and then I want everything done now

  3. I am impatient when it comes to new life chapters

  4. I am a sucker for the tears of my daughter...nothing makes me feel like a loser more

  5. I value experiences over things now.

  6. I really wish I had become a teacher...everyone should take some teaching credits in high school or college (typing be damned!)

  7. I am a fierce Mama when someone crosses us or even a perceived cross

  8. I need to be more strategic in how I approach things before I do them. I could have done quite a few things differently this year

  9. I really like daytime TV too much

  10. I don't want to clean the bathroom today

  11. Blogging has become my new reading...I can do it in the dark lying next to my child

  12. I need to run my home the way I run a business.

  13. A genuine kind word really makes my day sing.

  14. I am completely addicted to shopping

  15. Never dispute a good routine

  16. Few things feel as good as a hot quiet shower

  17. I love to stroke my daughter's sleeping face while lying next to her. Her face is perfection.

  18. I could not be a parent without my husband. He is without a doubt the most important person in my world. He is my rock, my touchstone, my supporter, my confidant and my best friend.

  19. Bonus...I have a wonderful support system. I have the best siblings in the world and friends and acquaintances who are great. I am a very blessed person.

Here is perfection awake and happy. This is last year's Christmas photo and the new ones are scheduled a week from Saturday. I love that she smiles with her mouth wide open and her whole face engaged...just as I hope she takes on all life has to offer!

p.s. I finally got a few auctions live on ebay! And someone's bid on one of them! Here's to more stuff out the door and cash in our pockets!



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Baking Cookies with Kelsey

Kurt is away on business this week and Kelsey is very sad about that. She wakes up crying for her Daddy and says she is "sad" and "hurts" for Daddy. We talk to him a few times each day to help her. He'll be home on Thursday. Kelsey loves to look at photos of herself on this blog, so I thought I'd post about baking Halloween Cookies.


First you start with your ingredients (hey, I have a busy toddler - I don't do scratch cookies anymore!)







Next find your toddler hiding in the living room, drinking her "Pablo sip" (yogurt smoothie) and wearing the Pampered Chef kids' apron you bought years ago!
Make sure you get TONS of the Sprinkles on one cookie...
Maybe chugging straight from the bottle is better?
Hmmmm....nothing says cookies like chugging sprinkles straight from the bottle
Note cool red flower hair bow on the arm...the epitome of style for toddlers :)


Keep pushing the cookie cutter into the same piece of dough many times...if once is good then six times is better!
Make sure you leave some of the black sugar you ate on your lips for effect

Show Mommy how much fun it is to eat all the sprinkles in the jar!
Sprinkles on the cookies?!? How'd that happen??

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. When cookies are cool, pick all the sprinkles off, eating them and ignore the cookies at all costs, leaving them for Mommy and Daddy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Parents to Be! Learn from my Mistakes!

I've been Kelsey's Mother since 3/28/06 and we've been home since 4/7/06. That makes it 19 months since we've been a family.


Some children are independent and want to play alone, sleep alone and will let their parents have a few minutes to themselves. Kelsey is not one of those children. She prefers to be in our company and prefers to be with both Kurt AND me together. If she has to have only one..it's Mommy Mommy Mommy!!!! This isn't something we've taught or encouraged. This is the way Kelsey came to us. Actually I like the fact that she likes being in our company. I believe she is well attached to us, because she is also willing to play in other environments without us and with other children as well. If she were not willing to play with others and in other places, then I'd be concerned.

However, I've made some major miscalculations since becoming a Mom and thought I'd share my learnings with you. I've tried to make this a little humorous, but I'm actually serious about what I say below.


1) Fix your older home's wiring before bringing home your child. You'll want to have an air conditioning in her room. Do not think that she'll be happy in her room in the fall if she summers in yours.

2) If you don't want to co-sleep with your child, don't bring her into your room. She will wake up earlier and earlier in her sleep cycle to get back to her big bed.

3) If you have a king size bed and have the opportunity to buy a new bedroom set, don't downsize to a queen. So what if your smaller master bedroom is overwhelmed by bed? So what if you have to roll 3 times to snuggle up to your husband? Pretty soon that room will be taken up by a horizontal sleeping toddler.

4) Don't allow your toddler to fall asleep to your 42" plasma TV in your room. Nothing else in the house can compensate for that much fun.

5) Don't give your toddler sips of your coffee or soda no matter how cute she is or how much she begs...your pediatrician will not be amused by the stories.

6) Don't feel guilty about leaving her with a trusted friend or family member while you spend some quality time with your husband. Children thrive in a happy family and no one's happy if Mom and Dad don't get some alone time.

7) Don't change the crib to a toddler bed too soon. And change it back as soon as you realize there's no way in heck that she's gonna sleep in the bed by herself, no matter how many Dora the Explorer sheets, blankets or toys she has in there.

8) Don't kick your spouse out of your bed because the 3 of you can't sleep in the queen sized bed with above mentioned horizontal sleeping toddler. Even if she is a heat seeking missile and wants to be snuggled next to you all night. Sleeping alone on the couch or futon in the spare room will not be good for your marriage.

Kelsey is happy and thriving. Kurt and I are sleep and snuggle deprived. I am currently researching ways to get our child out of our bed for good. If this doesn't work, Kurt and I may have to move into her room to sleep at night.

p.s. one of the most important things I did right.....never give her non-washable crayons or markers. She colored on herself, her new table and chairs and on my living room hardwood floor (which are over 80 years old!) while I was writing this blog post. Because of my foresight, it came up easily with a wet paper towel. Kelsey also didn't like having brown marker on her and called it "boo-boos" so I don't think she'll be doing that again soon.

Good to know I am doing something right!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Stuff....

I colored my hair myself on Friday, darker than it's been in a while. It's also longer than it's been in a while too and shaggy. I need a haircut, but my stylist will yell at me for coloring my hair darker and by myself. Oh well, I need the 'do fixed soon.

  • I am looking forward to trying digital scrapbooking. Kurt's got a program that I can use and I am hoping its easier than normal scrapbooking. I'm also hoping that I get the same feeling of satisfaction from it.


  • Since I'm not working, I've been doing a lot more cooking. I recently found a recipe for a kick-ass stew. I hated stew as a child, but now because I'm the one cooking, I like it.


  • I'm such a hypocrite. I hated that October was unseasonably warm, and now that November is getting colder, I'm not happy about the cold weather. I need to get out in the garden and get rid of leaves, do a final cleaning and mulch, but it's hard with Kelsey (we are not fully fenced in) and I'm getting lazy about doing the work.


  • We started our Christmas shopping on Friday. It felt good to get something accomplished, but I am so used to buying whatever I want (within reason) for Christmas. It really upset me to have to think about spending $30. That used to be nothing.


  • I decided that I want my kitchen to have a coffee theme. The thing about that is that it's a green kitchen - which doesn't easily lend itself to the coffee theme. I found a few coffee things with green in them. One I am particularly proud of is a set of prints I scored on ebay. However, the prints are 9x9 and it is challenging to find reasonably priced black frames for 8 prints. So I bought some clear contact paper and wrapped the prints. They will go up on the soffit with velcro until I can find the size frames I need for cheap (less than $5 each)


  • Speaking of ebay, Kurt and I decided to get rid of some things there. Mostly Kelsey's clothes which are way too small now. I sorted them, now I have to press them, write up descriptions and post them. Maybe Tuesday or Wed. I am excited to begin this, but feeling a little overwhelmed at the whole thing (I wrote up one thing and it seemed to take forever!) I know I have to do this a little at a time :)


    1. Tell me one new thing about you this season!



      p.s. I want to thank Colleen, Missy and Jimmy for writing me and saying things to pick my spirits up. I know I'm a little sad now, but I also know that it just takes one thing to get me going again...I know this isn't hopeless and I will find a new job soon! And hopefully Miss Kelsey will sleep in her own bed again one day!



      I leave you with a shot of Kelsey in her Indian princess costume enjoying the bubbles at Gymboree

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      Saturday, November 03, 2007

      Looking into the Soulless Eyes at Walm*rt

      Well, I did it. And I am not proud or happy with myself. I went to the bowels of hades that is our local Walm*rt in NJ. I have to say, they recently revamped the store, so it looks very nice (and people, it is less than 3 years old!) but it's the people that are the challenge...

      Seriously, they must pay next to nothing for the employees they hire. Cashiers who are TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONES ON PERSONAL CALLS WHILE WORKING! Every single cashier I saw within a 5 line radius had their lights blinking for assistance. They didn't know how to process credit cards, they couldn't ring up the Halloween merchandise that was discounted and they didn't understand English.

      Even the head cashiers didn't know how to ring up merchandise. The woman in front of me bought 2 inflatable Halloween thingies, and they were each $12. The discount was 75%. Neither the cashier or the head cashier could figure it out. The woman buying the item told them and then I told them. Each one was $3. SAD. What a horrible example of NJ education system.

      I watched the cashiers carefully. Each one had dull and sad eyes. Soul-less. Walm*art is a place I normally avoid when I can, but I had heard they started their holiday sales early, so I wanted to take a peek. I don't think I'll be making that mistake again. I feel dirty and sad when I leave that store.

      I've heard that those stores are wonderful in the South and Midwest...not at the 3 I've been to in NJ.

      What did I end up standing in the checkout lines for? Downy and contact paper.

      p.s. Kelsey fought nap time again and finally passed out at 5. Bed time will not be fun.

      Friday, November 02, 2007

      Reclaiming myself

      I began this blog in October of 2006. I wanted to create a place to capture my thoughts, musings, ideas that tickled my fancy, plus glimpses of our family life. I created this space for Kelsey to read when she was older so she could see the real me, not just Mommy.

      Somewhere I got off track and it became all Kelsey all the time.

      While I love the main topic of this blog very much, I realize that I have fallen short of my own expectations of this space. Sometimes real life does follow cyberspace and currently I am awash in being Mommy all day all the time...I feel I have lost myself as a person and have become "JoAnn, the mommy of a daughter who was adopted in China." This person can be boring, insufferable and tiresome. I don't like her.

      I realize that my own interests have to take a back seat to Kelsey's needs, but do they have to disappear altogether? Can I tell you the last book I read for my own pleasure? nope. Have I had dinner with Kurt alone since we became parents? Nope.

      If I weren't in this job search, I think I would be more able to handle this because I would have the distraction of work and it's rewards to keep me focused. But I all I have is the distraction of the job search...and right now it's not good. I realized this week that I probably won't have a job by Christmas. That blew me away in a bad way and I got angry and nervous, all at the same time. It's been 3 months since I got laid off from the y.

      So, to sum up my current mood:
      1) Angry, sad and nervous
      2) Frustrated
      3) Realizing that I'm boring
      4) Anxious and determined to change

      Today, Kurt came back from a short business trip and we put Kelsey in daycare today. Normally all I do when Kelsey is in daycare is clean, cook and job hunt. Today, I am going to do a few things that feed my soul in addition to looking for a new job.

      Kelsey,
      I know you get upset and cry because you don't want to be separated from us. However, what you don't realize yet is that if we don't take some time away from you, we won't be good parents to you. Moms and Dads are people with their own needs/wants/desires and sometimes we need to focus on what makes us happy so we can translate that happiness to parenting. If we don't get that break, we can grow to resent it and that would make us not very good parents at all. In fact it is such a bad example of parenting that I wouldn't wish that kind of parent on anyone, much less you! In fact, if you learn that you shouldn't lose yourself when you get married and create a family, that is one of the best gifts I could ever give you!

      Love,
      JoAnn (also your Mom)

      Thursday, November 01, 2007

      Welcome to NaBloPoMo!

      NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month is a month long effort on many many bloggers account to post every single day for one month (Novemeber)

      There is no other rule to joining. You can check out many fellow bloggers to see if you find someone's blog interesting/intriguing. If you find someone else's blog facinating post a comment and tell me so. http://nablopomo.ning.com/

      Some folks feel that the quality level of blogging will go down this month as people struggle for content. I am hoping that the opposite is true because I am hoping to get past the "gee isn't my daughter great?!?!" posts and actually get to something else for a change (sorry Kelsey!)

      Of course, I will not be doing that immediately, because I have a few posting/events lined up of experiences we've had in the last week..I've been hoarding them for this project. :)

      Yesterday was Halloween...
      Kelsey repeated her Indian Princess costume because:
      (a) Mommy still NOT WORKING!
      (b) I bought it big last year and it still fit
      (c) I wanted to compare what she looked like year over year

      Last year Kelsey was 15 months old and didn't walk, she had never seen Halloween before and had no clue what candy was.... This is Kelsey circa 2006





















      Now Halloween 2007 is a different story...same girl, same outfit, same good friend taking her Trick or Treating...but different attitude!

      Kelsey is very aware of Halloween, is a full fledged toddler who walks, talks, loves to eat candy, especially chocolate and lollypops and knows what she wants.

      After waking up from her nap yesterday afternoon, Kelsey quickly got dressed and we grabbed her Elmo treat bucket to go meet our friends. Kelsey decided to "prime" her basket and grabbed a few treats from our goodie bowl. She had a great time walking up to the houses and saying trick or treat (and thank you!) and putting her treating in Elmo.

      We were out for about an hour and a half and she got a haul of goodies!

      A church up our street decided to have a "Trunk or Treat" in their parking lot. That meant that parishioners decorate their cars, got into costume and handed out candy. I thought this was brilliant because it was safe, fun, and kids could make a haul with just doing that. Unfortunate, they began at 5:30 and I needed to get our Indian Princess home for dinner (My Mom was home manning our door for Trick or Treaters) Next year, we may just do a few houses and then that...literally up the street!

      So this is the current Kelsey...she had a great time and is eyeing up the candy!





      Big difference in a year, huh?

      One more funny thing...when the trick or treaters came to our door, she gave out the candy, but then told me she was mad at me for giving away HER stuff! She thinks all the candy in the house is hers...silly girl, all chocolate belongs to MOMMY!!!!!

      Thus ends my first NaBloPoMo post...how'd I do?