Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

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

A Well Lived Life?

I saw this list over at The Written Word and thought it would be fun to play along!

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
22. Hitchhiked
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

May Your Days be Merry and Bright!

My wishes for each of you is that your greatest holiday wish comes true and that our nation can unite and come back stronger from this challenging time. I think we are moving in the right direction...

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.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

JoAnn, Kurt and Kelsey

Monday, December 15, 2008

Random Thoughts

Some bullets to tide me over

  • 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.

  • 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

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...

Obviously this is the good...
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 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

A very short, but beautiful post!

this is Kelsey's very first school photo. it blew me away how beautifully she smiled and posed from the camera. what a lovely child she is!

Next in line should be ballet photos.