Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Merry Christmas A Week Later, but I have been SICK! I am still not fully recovered, but at least today I've been up, did a little organizing and have been thinking about everything I wanted to do this week and haven't been able to get done. I started downloading photos from the camera - but the battery died and its recharging.
Oh well. I wanted to end this year with a post about positiveness.
This year is going to be one of challenges. I am going to challenge myself to take more time to focus on the joy in the little things. Cherish what I have and what I love and work very hard to keep our life on track here @ Casa Hoppe.
I am also going to challenge myself to be a little healthier and more patient. 2009 will be a great one for Kelsey and its going to be exciting to see her continue to grow and learn and take life on..
We have a warm and lovely home, great family and friends and each other. We have the love of our family and I think that's the most important thing you can ever have.
I hope each of you is similarly blessed this year.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The things I have done are in BOLD!
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (hope to one day)
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant.
I'd better get crackin' on the rest - I don't have have half done!
Take a try and let me know how you do!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We are happy, healthy and employed. Our greatest wish came true 2 and a half years ago and is the most joyous part of our lives.
JoAnn, Kurt and Kelsey
Monday, December 15, 2008
- Thursday was my Mom's 75th birthday. My sister Janet and I took her to an early dinner and then to the NJ State Theater to see Kenny Rogers. We joked about going, but really, it was a great show. Kenny is a great entertainer and was very funny. Plus he did several sets of his hits and then several sets of Christmas songs/carols. All in all a good time.
- One of the songs Kenny sang (as a duet with Wynnonah Judd on video) is "Mary Did You Know" which is a song about the Virgin Mother. This was a new song for me and one of the lines moved me incredibly "Mary, did you know when you kissed your sweet baby that you were kissing the face of God?" Wow. It made me tear up for 2 reasons. First of all, perspective. Think of a new young Mother in an ancient scary time. Giving birth in incredibly humble beginnings. In an unbelieveable way. And then, that sweet baby face - the face of the Christ. Could she have known or even imagined?
- The 2nd reason that line in the song made me tear up is I immediately imagined kissing my baby's cheeks. While I realize my beloved Angel Face is not a "real angel" I was thinking about how miraculous her birth and adoption is to our family. She is a living breathing act of faith to me. And a miracle in many ways. She brings our family such joy and happiness. Everytime I kiss her face I say of prayer of thanks.
- However, Kelsey's sleep difficulties continue to challenge us. She needs to sleep at least 10-12 hours at a stretch in order to be her usual sunny self. However Kelsey doesn't like to go to sleep until after 9 and sometimes she'll push past 11pm. Yesterday (Saturday) was a really bad day and all of us cried, got angry or were very frustrated.
- Amazon.com is my hero this holiday season - so many great gifts at fairly inexpensive prices. Hallelujah!
- Kelsey talks in her sleep - sometimes she sings in her sleep. I find this much more amusing than when she kicks me in her sleep.
- I have baby lust. I think this is normal as Kelsey is almost 3.5 years old and while a little girl - she isn't a baby anymore. While I love my girl - I miss her babyhood. I didn't think this would hit me because I am an older Mom and we didn't go through the normal biological process - wrongo! Hopefully it will fade soon.
- Work is going well - in a few days we will come to the first anniversary of my Christmas miracle.
- I made incredible cookies on Saturday for the Church's annual cookie walk - oatmeal with raisins, craisins and white chocolate chips - they are soft chewy bites of heaven. i never thought this kind of cookie would ring my chimes - I'm such a chocolate girl...but I've been craving oatmeal raisin - but only if they're soft and chewy.
- For the first time in many years I am not hosting Christmas day. I'm okay with someone else taking their turn.
- The house is mostly decorated. I was going to do much more (and I have MUCH MUCH more) but I decided to keep it on the down low this year.
- We did the tree Saturday evening and Kelsey had a great time looking at the ornaments. She hung many of them and keeps going back to the tree to touch and play with them. We didn't have anything breakable (as in glass) but I don't want her to think of the Christmas tree ornaments as toys.
- Hopefully your holiday season is going swimmingly and your shopping is done and you're thinking of having a wrap party.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Kelsey saw Santa and had a wonderful time sitting on his lap and telling him what she wants for Christmas. She was so excited to meet Santa. She was as good as gold and had a great morning!
Even better than this photo are the ones we took this afternoon at Target. We'll get those next week, but God, they are BEAUTIFUL! She looks like an angel with an impish grin and her dress is perfection! She loved it and felt like a Princess!
the Bad...oy....an innocent visit from our new heating company to clean our old furnace/boiler resulted in an emergency shutdown of the whole system. We need a new boiler installed this week (hopefully Tuesday) because tomorrow the old asbestos is being removed from the basement.
The Ugly...the freezing cold weather plus the furnace --and the $$$$ involved. Luckily my MIL is an angel and is helping us out. I'm going to add one more ugly - the economy ---please don't get worse, Kurt and I need our jobs!
I'm going to focus on the positive - new furnace/boiler is more efficient plus more economical. And we can probably take this off the taxes. Plus our girl is gorgeous and is looking forward to Christmas. I got our miracle last year so as long we are employed - it's all good.
p.s. Merry Christmas Honey, hope you like your new furnace/boiler!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hopefully you ate wonderful food, surrounded by friends and family and those you love. You may be thankful for the opportunity to make plans to do "Black Friday." Please enjoy and spend some $$$.
I have to say I had a lovely day planned, full of great food, family and friends. But I was hit by the trifecta of hormones (you ladies know what that means) sickness (crabby 3 year old and me) and lack of sleep for a few days. Wow....that made me a crabby, ungrateful, overwhelmed biatch.
Here's what I am grateful for...
My Trophy Husband - he puts up with my crabby moods and still wants to be married to me
My Beautiful Daughter - she fell asleep @ 7pm tonight (too bad I caught a second wind @ 8 or I would be joining her.
My Family - for pitching in when I was completely stressed out, tired and overwhelmed by the idea of clearing that massive table...yikes!
I have a job, some money in the bank and am looking forward to a more stress free holiday season. This gal needs her sleep...nuff said!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
WHAT IS YOUR NAME: JoAnn
BOY NAME: James
4 LETTER WORD: jack
GIRL NAME: Jennifer
A COLOR: Jade
SOMETHING YOU WEAR: jacket
BEVERAGE: jack daniels
SOMETHING FOUND IN A BATHROOM: john
A PLACE : Jamaica
INREASON FOR BEING LATE: jalopy broke down
SOMETHING YOU SHOUT: JERK!
go ahead, try this!
fyi...I gave up on Nablopomo a while ago...oh well, I gave it a shot!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I always have a side joke and say everytime I'm in an electronics store "got any Wii's?" and every single time the sales person shakes her/his head and says no sorry.
Not today! The TRU guy says "yes we just got 5 delivered today! Want one?" Before I know it I am handing over my credit card and one of those elusive little suckers is paid for and in my shopping cart! Then of course, we had to buy a few games. I let her choose a Disney Princess game and an Alvin and the Chipmunk game. She loved them!
Daddy of course, wasn't too happy with me, but I wasn't really proud either (bad economy + non profit job = not spending frivolously anymore) but Kelsey had played the game at my sister's and loved it...and I rationalized that we could have family gaming nights/friends over for Wii...
I'll have to take some photos of Kelsey playing Wii and post them. Oddly enough Kelsey and Kurt loved the boxing game that came with the game.
So Folks that have Wii's...love them? Can you make any suggestion on games?
Friday, November 07, 2008
I missed you all, I didn't have my personal laptop with me so I had to rely on other's links.
The conference went really well. Maria was wonderful and we had fun getting to know each other (plus a lesson from me on composting!)
We have some great leads and on the way home I called into Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer and name dropped our org. It was fun :)
I got home a little after 7pm, traffic wasn't too bad. I called my Mom on the way home and she told me her friend and neighbor Pat had passed away. RIP Pat... you were lovely to me and my girl.
My family really missed me. Kelsey and Kurt were delighted to have me home!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
You have a long hard road ahead.
I hope every American gives you the support and respect you deserve.
Please don't let us down, we need you.
p.s. Corzine...worst at the state level or federal level? Hard choice to make.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It's raining like mad in NJ and the traffic was hideous! I am here for a teaching conference!
I miss Kurt and Kelsey like crazy! I got some noodles from a small bar, but there's a karoke bar next door, and LOL the singing was hideous! Now, I am not a great singer but I don't force my voice on strangers!
I hope this conference is successful!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
I have to hand it to you, showing a marathon of West Wing right before election gave me pause to think about a lot of things.
When I watched that show, I felt a deep sadness that our President wasn't Jebbidiah Bartlett...a smart, scholarly man who surrounded himself with smart scholarly people who passionately CARED about their jobs. (Does that sound like anyone you know running for president?)
And clever of you to showcase the ones where the President is being called names (socialist!).
It has me thinking and re-thinking my position...and makes me very happy to be in my present position where I am working for social change (in schools) and in the legislature.
When I told my father I didn't want to go to Law School, he asked me what I could do with a political science degree...I said Teach, work for a political institute, work in government or be a lobbyist.
Well I don't teach (but I do train) I work for a non profit and do political/community organizing, work WITH the elected officials and am in the process of creating legislation. Plus I do this with some of the adoption work I do as well.
So, political science degree, not too shabby! :)
Kelsey and I will be voting tomorrow (I make the selections - she pushes the big red button that officially captures my vote) and I have some thinking to do...
So thanks to Bravo for some soul searching on my part.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The TH and the Angel Face both have colds.
I have to be in AC for a few days for a conference, so everyone has to feel better pronto!
We spent our last day in DST at ballet school and then we came home and did some garden clean up, raked leaves and cleaned up/used our pine needles in the garden beds...I love reusing something people would just throw out :) It was pretty warm (low 60's) and it felt great to be outside...the whole backyard looks great and ready for sleep now.
the bad news is that I re-injured my knee and it hurts more/differently than last time. I've tried to rest it since yesterday...(see aforementioned AC trip coming up) I really have to get to the Dr...I think I"ll do a PTO once the AC trip is done...I have a few things I can combine in one day.
2 days down, 28 to go :)
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I love the way she keeps her hands up while she's singing. I also found it funny the way she got distracted starting the ABC's.
Kelsey isn't a child who loves to learn (YET!) She has a great imagination and loves loves LOVES to "pway" She adores pre-school, I believe for the social interaction and the new toys. She loves ballet for the fun barre and the songs she's learning.
Right now she is a healthy, joyous child who loves nothing more than to love, play and run around. Her favorite things are "us days" (when it's just Daddy, Mommy and Kelsey) But I know she is a smartie...and she doesn't forget anything important to her. (like if you've promised her something (like a puppy when she turns 5) She has a great sense of direction...
Kelsey, you are one smart cookie...you just need to add that love of learning to your repetoire and you'll be all set.
Here are some random things we've done lately...She became a cow
Kidnapped all my autumnal decorations (notice the pink Princess potty that plays music when she tinkles)
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Shameless plug for a really neat book called "Entertaining Simple" that I found on a Blissfully Domestic Sister site called "Restyled Home"
To meet the criteria, I have to include, a shot of the book (above):
A shot of one of the photos on her blog (how could I NOT choose the choco cupcake?) YUM!
Plus a photo of the author.
I also need to tell my legions of fans (LOL) that this book "Entertaining Simple" can be purchased at bookstores across the U.S. and Canada; include the following link to Matthew's website: http://www.entertainingsimple.com/index.php?option=com_flippingbook&book_id=2&Itemid=1 .
Wish me luck...this blogger's site is always a pleasure to view and I really hope I win! :)
Friday, October 03, 2008
Kelsey has been mildly foot obsessed since we brought her home. The girl has always loved her feet touched, kissed and tickled. If you do Footy (her left) you MUST do Sister (her right).
Kelsey and Kurt named her feet and this is seriously how we refer to them. They do pop up at odd places...like at the dinner table. And they have their own unique voices. You can have a conversation with Footy or Sister or Footy AND Sister.
I completely enjoy the relationship with Footy and Sister. Oh, and 30 year old Kelsey...you better be referring to your feet as Footy and Sister because if you don't, I will be writing their names on the bottom of your shoes forever!
Ah, the imagination of a little girl....
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Kelsey loves to dance and has been excited about taking dance lessons for a while now. We are so fortunate to be able to give her these things...and she really enjoyed herself. She even showed me a "new move" from her dance class. Not that I'm prejudiced or anything, but our girl is graceful and flexible. I hope she enjoys this and does well...but even if she's a spazz, she'll always have these memories.
A seriously beautiful dancer
Gracefully executing her steps (prior to a single class!)
With her class
Future Prima Ballerinas and future good friends!
The little girl sitting next to Kelsey is her friend Maeve, who is the daughter of my good friends Gretchen and Tom. The little girl on the left is Maeve's good friend Kelsie. All 3 girls are born in the same month, July 2005. The little girl in the middle is Alaina who is a classmate and friend of Maeve and Kelsie's.
Pre-school is still going well. Added bonus is that Kelsey is falling asleep well before 9pm every night. SCORE!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I took the morning off so I could send my pre-schooler off in style! We woke up at 7am and she began singing with happiness that she was going to pre-school and would play and learn to count and learn her colors.
We had breakfast and then came up and got dressed. After she was dressed, Kelsey looked in the mirror and proclaimed that her adorable kitty shirt was for "babies" and she demanded a big-girl shirt! She knocked my socks off with that reply, but we quickly found a replacement (her sparkly monkey shirt apparently fit the "big-girl" category.)
Then we finished packing her lunch and her school backpack. LOL it was too heavy for her to carry! But she kept her spirits very high indeed!
We drove to the school singing and arrived at the school. Kelsey ran to the other children in the line and said "here I am friends!" and couldn't wait for her turn to go into the classroom. Finally (for her) the doors opened and the kids lined up in the hallway. Kelsey couldn't wait to go into the classroom and barely stopped to give me a hug and kiss goodbye. I turned away, holding back a few tiny tears and went to the "boo-hoo" breakfast (I only had coffee!) and chatted with the other parents there. All the kids in Kelsey's class did great and I left after an hour. Whew!
(however, the school director warned that pre-schoolers often have delayed crying and next week and the week after would be the real test)
After work I rushed back to pick up our pre-schooler from the aftercare program. I was told that Kelsey did very well (although she doesn't like kids in her "space") and we went home. Kelsey fell asleep in the car (a 5 minute ride) and slept the whole night through missing dinner. When I opened her backpack I found that she didn't eat very much lunch either. I am going to write the teacher a note...Kelsey is a good eater and was probably distracted...she didn't eat much breakfast either. Our girl can't miss meals...she's a peanut!
Kelsey had a great first day at school and is looking forward to tomorrow when she goes back.
Tomorrow I will fill you in on Kelsey's first day of dancing school...another home run! :)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
btw, I leave for DC tomorrow for a short (35 hour) trip and Kelsey has said to be at least 6 times..."You go on business trip?" and when I say yes, she says "You miss me?" It breaks my heart every single time...of course I hug her and tell her yes and that she has to be brave for Daddy because he'll be sad....
I presume this gets easier...but I am not happy about boarding that train tomorrow!
Monday, September 01, 2008
Onto the photos!
Our Brave Girl on a Pony!
Obviously this is not The Renaissance Festival! We decided to go to Turtle Back Zoo today instead. Kelsey's First Carousel ride where she's not riding in the sled!
My very cute and not dark hair! Kelsey is pondering the question when Mommy asked her "I know I am fat, but do I look "old?"
Eating the worms in her "dirty" dessert!
On Sunday evening we went to a block party at our good friends house. We had an amazing time, great food, wonderful friends and fantastic music! Little Kelsey and I really danced up a storm. Thanks Sue for inviting us!
Kelsey and I baked cupcakes, frosted them and decorated them for the party. She's so funny. When I let her cook or bake with me, I pull up a kitchen chair and put a pillow on it so she doesn't slip. As soon as I mentioned it was time to bake, she went right over, pulled the chair and got the same pillow. She has an incredible memory --when she wants to.
Oh, and we have an "official" potty trainer on board...she's gone almost twice a day (except for today when we were out all day) I am betting within one month she's done :)
We decided that a full size or twin bed really won't fit in her room, so we're just going to replace her bedding with Ariel Mermaid and get an inflatable mattress for her room, so we can sleep in there until she feels comfortable. She knows we want her to sleep in her own room and she wants to...she just can't do it without me currently.
What a great weekend! We had a blast!