Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Thoughts...

  • I keep thinking today is Thursday....I guess I am wishing for the weekend.

  • Last night Kelsey, Kurt and I had our photos professionally taken for our church's photo directory. The photographer was great and got some wonderful shots of our family and our girl! She giggled and mugged the whole time. He was taken with her...of course I know it's all a sales pitch to sell the photos. I bought some and got the proofs as well.

  • I think it's Karmic payback when I finally have a chance to wash the bathroom rugs (I use 2 in my tiny bathroom because I HATE the floor in there) that overnight the steam heater in the bathroom spits the rusty water all over the floor and onthe newly clean rugs! Grrrrr

  • I put in an application for Kelsey to begin pre-school in Sept. It's a competitive school and I was late in learning that I had to apply now. keep your fingers crossed that she gets in there!

  • I think work is going well. People seem to like my ideas and manner of doing things. I wish I trusted myself more in this capacity. I really do like the folks there.

  • I've been waking up before dawn (4:30 or so) worried about the office. Being in charge of an entire state is daunting! Also working through lunch a lot. I've been told that I'm becoming indoctrinated into the organization!

  • I find myself sort of enjoying the longer commute I have now. I don't like stressing out over the daycare stuff...but I like making phone calls or listening to the radio again. And having some room to get lost in my own thoughts.

  • I found myself thinking about my paternal grandmother the other day. She died when I was 10 and I barely knew her. I believe she had a very hard life.

  • She was born in Italy and was married there and began to have babies there. All of them didn't survive babyhood. She and my grandfather came to NJ in the early 1930's and my Dad was born in '32. I believe she had a few other children that again didn't survive.

  • My grandparents landed in Hoboken, which at the time had a thriving Italian community. Then years later, they moved to a more rural part of the state (again with a thriving Italian community) this was important because my grandparents didn't speak English. My Grandfather could speak enough to work, but my Grandmother created a whole entire life in a subset of our state.

  • After my Grandfather died, my Grandmother came to live with us. She moved to a town that didn't speak her language into a family that couldn't communicate with her. All the simple pleasures of, cleaning, shopping, hanging out with friends were denied to her. My Mom isn't Italian and none of us speak the language. We really didn't spend much time with her, she had a separate apartment in our house. It must have made her so sad to give up her home. My Grandmother was an amazing cook and taught my Mom. My Mom gave me some of her recipes so I think I am a pretty good cook too.

Kelsey, one day your Mommy will teach you how to make "gravy" and meatballs and really amazing eggplant parmesean. We will have to take cooking classes together to learn how to make great Chinese food, but you will be a really good Italian cook! :) It will help make you friends as you embark on your neurosurgeon/concert pianist careers! :) I will give you a piece of good advice for the neuro stuff...blood is red, not green! ;)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Years Ago....

Our world turned upside down because this little face waited for us in China.

I will never do anything as important or lifechanging as choosing to adopt our girl.

You can read the account on what went down here:

We celebrated by taking Kelsey to the Live Go Diego Go! show in New Brunswick and then to the mall for some playtime (there are train rides, carousel, and a play town for kids) She had a wonderful time and was a perfect angel.

Daddy and Daughter are off spending quality time together while I do some blogging.
Life is good :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hugging My Girl a Little Closer Tonight....

Two bloggers I've followed for a while recently got referrals for sons from Ethiopia.
These boys were young, beautiful babies, less than 6 months old each.

Heartbreakingly, both of them passed away within days of each other, and within a few weeks of their adoptions being final.

I have cried for the families that waited for these children, sad for their families that had been excited for the new family member. I am heartbroken for the babies of course.

I was really shocked at the 2nd child's passing. I don't think the parents knew he was ill. I think a sick child is every parent's worst nightmare and to have your child far from you while he/she is fighting for his/her life would be the very worst scenario.

Any adoptive parent who is currently waiting or has adopted understands that this very very rarely this does happen. I have heard of children passing away post referral and that process and what happens afterward was discussed with me by my social worker. However, once you have that referral in hand and hold the photos of that little face, emotionally (but not legally yet) that is YOUR CHILD, as real to you as if you had carried him or her inside you for nine months.

Please keep baby Samuel and baby Brighton in your thoughts this week. When I read this today, I called Kelsey close to me and hugged and kissed her tightly. I could not bear it if she had not come home to us.

We went out for a few Kelsey "treats" today. Let's just say I was thinking of those families who can't spoil their sons now and Kelsey reaped the benefits.

We are beginning to investigate pre-schools. Our daycare sitter recommended that we start because they fill up fast for Sept (it's Jan and I can't believe it!) We're also seriously beginning potty training now, got a special kit and everything. Wish Miss Kelsey luck please!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Civ.ic Reflection

I am having my eyes opened to a whole new world.
It is wondrous and tragic at the same time.

Today I was part of a taping at 2 separate high schools in Newark for a grant that was given to our org.

There are 17 high schools in Newark. Some are called "magnet schools" that are math or science or arts related and you must pass tests and have good GPA's to be admitted.
The balance of the high schools are for the children that are "left" and they know it and feel it too.

The two tapings could not have been more different, yet both were at "left" schools.
The first group were 14 years old. They were shy and giggly in the face of the videographer. To warm them up, the group was asked to have a close up and to give one adjective that described them....

Not one of them (17) said anything positive other than funny or tall. Most of them said "annoying" "ignorant" etc. My heart broke for these children! Who could have imprinted those horrible words on them?!? At one point the facilitator asked the question "do you know anyone that has been shot?" Every 14 year old raised his or her hand. I'm 47 and I don't know anyone who has ever been shot.

The kids really didn't have much to say during our taping and we didn't have the best outcome.

The 2nd taping was very different. Different school and high school seniors this time. Walking to get to the school was challenging. We felt as if we were in a war zone. There was literally construction rubble all over the green grass or anything live that was growing. We walked up a few levels of steep stairs carrying our video equipment.

But the kids were alive. They were smart, funny and engaged. During their closeups, the kids each said something that they loved. I was hopeful. The room crackled with their enthusiasm.

But during the discussion, the kids brought up the reason they wanted to change their environment. They wanted to stop the murders, the teen pregnancy, the crime and the shame they feel when they travel out of Newark and tell people where they live. These kids are 17 years old and they want to stop murders first! They openly discussed feeling less than because they feel their school is substandard and not only do they feel it, they've been told it because they're not in the more exclusive magnet schools.

If your child is in school and doesn't know anyone who has been murdered or shot, say a prayer of thanks. If your child has the self esteem to not call themselves "ignorant" or "annoying" then pat yourself on the back for instilling them with a positive self image.

And please think good thoughts for the children of Newark who want and deserve the same opportunities as your children have. Being safe and happy and full of self pride is the right of every single child in our world. If you can do something to help us change the world, ask me how, because I'm going to writing more about this topic in the future.

It will break my heart and make me proud at the same time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Birthday Daddy,
I wish I could call you and sing you the silly happy birthday would be so much fun this year.

I know you can hear it in heaven.
Love and miss you!
Curly Jo

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

So much to catch up on!

Hey Internets!

Today is a big day in our family....

One week ago today I began my job, I am having a great time! It's a wonderful group of people and the mission is admirable! But I am tired and the house could be cleaner and more's amazing how everything goes to heck when you're not at home.

The 2nd (and really bigger deal) is that Kelsey turns 2.5 today. She is an amazing, wonderful miracle in every single way that's important (who needs sleep?)

Her vocabulary is impressive and her diction is very clear

She is a very funny girl

She is considerate and she shares

She loves her family and friends

She loves music, her books, her beloved Dora and Diego (and now the Princesses)

She's a mimic (could get me in trouble!)

She loves Christmas lights

We are very blessed to have her in our lives, as is everyone who loves her!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas Morning... Pictures Worth Thousands of Words

We didn't rise and shine very early Christmas morning, but we were definitely up by 8:30.
The Tree and all the presents before the Kelc-inator launched her attack!

She started off slowly, but picked up steam...

Note the matching red Milk Bone doggie PJ's (Mommy has them too!)

She lavished much love on her new Dora the Explorer suitcase (bought to house her Dora doll collection!)
Stopping to gaze on a doll

Daddy is captivated by her ripping abilities! (also Mommy took all the photos)
Eh, it's just clothes...let's toss them aside
Tana caught a beautiful sunbeam and looked so angelic we had to capture it!

Santa was very good to Miss Kelsey...her favorite easel, her Dora Mermaid dolls and that Duckie game my Mom gave her...

Santa was also pretty good to Kurt and me. I got some charms for my bracelet and a mini digital photo album (credit card size) and the cutting board I've been lusting after (I know, not exactly what you may be lusting for...but I got my job and that was really all I needed!)

Kurt got a mini remote control helicopter, some clothes and we all got a flat screen TV for the 2nd bedroom. Now the poor guy doesn't have CSI and NCIS roll by on channel 2 at night (the co-sleeping means Kurt and I sleep in separate beds right now...hate!)

Next post Christmas evening with Daddy's family!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Better Late than Never....Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful Christmas, thanks in part to my Christmas miracle~
We always spend Christmas Eve with my family...we do a semi-traditional Italian feast (I say semi because before Kurt came along it was completely all fish, but he's allergic so the family changed it to very little fish)

We spent the evening with my Mom, Aunt Audrey and my sister's family at their house. They always put on a great evening and we had a fabulous time.

Kelsey and her Uncle Michael
The cousins gathered at the tree before the presents were decimated!
My sister's beautiful tree...these were all the Christmas Eve gifts!
Kelsey and Mommy all smiles in red
Love my nephew's face~
Kelsey and her new phone
Looking a little intense unwrapping gifts!
Next post Christmas Day!