Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our first Christmas

What can I say other then we had the greatest Christmas of our lives because we were given the biggest gift we could have asked for, Our daughter Sophia Joy JinTe. We had so many traditions we wanted to continue with her and new ones we wanted to start. Our dreams came true and it was better then we ever thought it would be. Sophia enjoyed the Christmas Eve Mass and the Live Nativity at our Church. She loved the Chinese food we ate for our Christmas eve dinner (that has been our tradition for several years now, it was nice to share it with Sophia). We left cookies and milk for Santa and before she went off to bed we opened her China gift, a Luck drum and new Christmas Pj's That the elves left while we were gone to Christmas Mass...It was a great evening. Christmas morning we have always gotten up had coffee and Cinnamon rolls and we did this year too along with Sophia while she had yogurt and of course polished off the rest of Santa's cookies. She loved seeing all the packages wrapped under the tree. She was so cute going to the fireplace and looking up it as if she was looking for Santa...she had a great time opening all her gifts and played for hours with her new car, doll baby, and eventually the Rose Petal Cottage my mom got her and the play kitchen Riz's parents got for her. Our family had the most wonderful are a few pictures from our holiday.....Enjoy....

Got Eggnog
one of my favorites from Christmas Eve
In the Beautiful dress Aunt Wendy gave her.

She looks fantastic in this green

our angel

Sophia's favorite Christmas Ornament Hand Manny

Riz putting the Kitchen together the kitchen that her grandparents got for her

Sophia finding the new Christmas Jammie's and the Luck drum from China that Santa's Elves left for her while we were at Christmas Mass...

Our Traditional Chinese food Christmas Eve Dinner.

The tree with all the gifts

Sophia seeing the tree and all the gifts Santa brought for her for the first time on Christmas morning.

WOW look at all of this

Look santa left half a cookie behind

Sophia finishing off the cookies that Santa left behind on Christmas morning

I love my new Mini Mouse hat
A Car and and Mini Mouse hat, Life is good
Let me at it...Oooo The Rose Petal Cottage

A new doll Baby

a Pretty new outfit

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Riz and I want to wish everyone a wonderful joyous Holiday Season.
This year for us was filled with more blessings then we can count. Sophia becoming our daughter was the highlight. I am not sure we will ever be able to top that. We are excited to share our first Christmas together as a family of three. People always said to me before I had kids that having children makes Christmas all that more special and now I know what they mean. Sophia Knows who Santa Clause is (although she is not to fond of the real guy, pictures are OK), she loves the tree and all the decorations. She has really enjoyed the cookies we have been baking and has enjoyed unwrapping the few gifts she has received from friends. The last few years we have started a tradition of having Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Eve. We plan to do that again this year and of course attend Mass. We usually go to Midnight Mass but this year we are going to the 6:30 Mass. Our plan for Christmas morning is to get up like we normally do on Christmas morning and get coffee (Sophia will have her morning yogurt) and I will make Cinnamon rolls. Then we will let her open all of the gifts that Santa brought her (and from what I hear it is a sled full). Then Riz and I will exchange our gifts to each other. Later around lunch time my Mom will come down and we will do our gift exchange with her and have some coffee. We are hosting Christmas dinner at our house,we do this most years. Riz's side of the family will come over for dinner and we will exchange gifts with them. We are looking forward to watching Sophia spend her fist Christmas with her family, Our first as parents.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our changing life

Two of my favorite pictures from Family Day..

Six months ago today our lives were changed in the most wonderful way...We can hardly believe that it has been 6 months since we became a family of three. Six months ago today we were standing in a hot room in China, it seemed like it was 400 degrees in that room that day. We were there with ten other families and Zhou. Uncle Zhou is the most wonderful caring man, those words are not nearly enough to describe just how much he means to us. In that room that morning we could all feel the nervous excitement. We all paced the floor waiting our turn, listening for our babies cry, any babies cry. We all had cameras and video cameras in hand taking pictures of each other and of the room. Several of us clung to the "lovies" we would give our children when they were handed to us for the first time. My friend Susan from Atlanta and I broke down in an embrace that still makes me tear up when I think about it. Everything that we had waited for dreamed of and longed for was about to happen in that hot steamy room in Nanchang, China. The emotion of the moment over came both of us. When the first baby arrived the excitement was palpable and everyone clambered to see who she was, which family was going to be united first with their child. It was a family from Ohio, their daughter Abby was there in the room with us all. The joy that they felt in that moment was shared by all of us, along with anticipation for who was next. Would it be us? or maybe our friends from Atlanta, Or the great couple from NYC, or our neighbors from Jacksonville or one of the others? We would have to wait about 30 minutes to find out. That 30 minutes seemed like an eternity, more like 30 hours then 30 minutes. When it all started to happen it was a blur, but from what I am able to piece together from our pictures and video, Chubby little Lucy and Chubby little Stephine were next to come in the room quickly followed by the twin girls, Eleanore and Lily Kate, then finally Sophia was there in the room with us. The moment we saw her we both started to cry. She was thin, hot and sweaty and scared to death. The room was loud and there were lots of people coming and going, cameras flashing and people crying. Sophia had just been driven 5 hours from the Wanzai County Social Welfare Institute on a bus with 4 caregivers. She had been car sick on the way to Nanchang that morning. She was wearing a clean lavender and white long sleeve sweat suit,(remember it was HOT that day at 10 Am it was nearly 100 degrees) white socks and pink sandals. Her hair and been neatly trimmed by her foster mother. Her nose was running and she clung to the orphanage director. They called our Name RIZZO!, Riz and I approached, Riz began to cry, I clung to the Mini Mouse doll we brought for her from Disney World. They checked our passports and our paperwork and then the orphanage director motioned for me to take Sophia. As I reached my arms out for her I could feel the breath leaving my body. I could feel all of the stress and nervousness coming to the surface, the blood rushed to my feet. I could feel PURE! joy and love for the first time in my life. I took her in my arms and embraced her for what seemed like an eternity. I held her close to me, kissed her head patted her on the back and dried her tears. She was scared, terrified was more like it. She had just been handed to two strangers who were crying and kissing her. We looked different, smelled different sounded different then anything she had been used to for the first 14 months of her life. I handed her to Riz who also kissed her head and embraced her close. We talked to the Orphanage director and caregivers about her bus ride that morning, her diet, her schedule. All I could say to them was thank you over and over again. Thank you for the greatest gift, Thank you for caring for this precious child thank you for making us parents. There are no words to express what it is like to stand there with your new child facing the people who cared for her and kept her safe through the harshest of winters, biggest earthquake and one of the hottest summers on record. There are no words to express what it is like to stand there in front of these people knowing you are being given the biggest gift anyone could ever give you. There are no words to express the emotion, gratitude or guilt that you feel in that moment to those people. We did not speak the same language our conversation was brief but our connection is ever lasting. We took pictures with these people and they took pictures of us with Sophia. In that moment our lives were changed, all of us our lives changed in that moment. Ours lives because we became Sophia's parents. There lives because they were giving her up and Sophia's because everything she had know was now gone. Some say that these girls have a "Better life" here with us but the child we were handed on the hot June morning in Nanchang, China did not think so. She was happy were she was, being cared for by a loving foster mother, with the other children in the home. That child was perfectly happy in rural China. Riz and I feel that it is very arrogant for us to say that our life is better than theirs. Maybe better by our American standers but to them their life is OK. They may not have as much, they may be poor but they are happy. Riz and I have enjoyed watching Sophia become comfortable with us and her new life, her new family, but we never want to forget the people from her life before us or that moment when all our lives changed forever in that Hot steamy room in Nanchang, China...... Two of my favorites from now

and a few more for good measure :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ivy Lane Give Away

UPDATE!!!!!! I Won, I Won, I won!!!! Can you believe it I won the Ivy Lane Give Away! I am so excited that I will be getting one of these beautiful necklaces with Sophia's name on it. I can't wait to see it in person. Thank you so much Ivy Lane..

Go on over to check out the give away at Ivy Lane. She has a great a ETSY and EBay store with lots of pretty clothes for children. I love her Hair bowes for little girls hair. The give away is for a beautiful necklace called The cup of Love.. I would love to have that with Sophia's name on it....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Creative Deprivation

As Christmas day approaches quickly. We are struggling to control the AMOUNT of toys in our house, as I am sure many of you are as well. Sophia has been home a mere 6 months and I have already thinned her toys twice. We are so fortunate to have the ability to give her so much. We have the desire of course to spoil her to bits, especially this year, our first as a family. But is that the best thing? IS that healthy for her? I don't know the answers to that, but we are striving to not raise a spoiled brat. We want Sophia to have what she needs and even what she wants so we are learning how to do that at a slower more controlled pace.. The following was sent to me by a friend who I know feels the way I do about raising appreciative, well behaved, giving children....I hope you enjoy it...

As a result of all this stuff and stimulation, kids regard overload as a normal
condition. Anything less--a walk in the woods, making cookies, or sitting in a
classroom listening to a teacher--is boring."

She used "creative deprivation" to raise her children saying that every event
should have space around it, so that the event can stand out and be appreciated.
A simple example is a frame around a picture, which provides a space to make it
stand out from the busy wallpaper.

Until this century, the space occurred naturally. Entertainment and material
goods were hard to come by, so they were appreciated when they came along. A
child cherished his few toys, and music was a special event, because it could
only be heard when musicians were assembled.

The challenge of modern life is that we have to actively create the space. With
mass production, toys are cheap enough to swamp even poorer families. With TV,
videotapes, and video games, flashy entertainment can come into every home 24
hours a day.

The best parents understand that their kids can have too much of a good thing.
They place limitations on the stuff and stimulation. They are tough enough to
slow down the flow of goodies.

Often, people think we refuse to a avalanche our kids with toys because we're
tightwads. But saving money is not the main reason. I just feel there's nothing
sadder than a jaded eight year old.

Conversely, it's delightful to see a kid thrilled by a simple pleasure.

During a rare trip to a mall a few years ago, each kid got a junior cone, which
they consumed in complete silence, savoring every drip. She was very proud of
their ability to enjoy these little treats.

Many parents, seeing their children appreciate junior cones, would buy them
cones during each trip to the mall. Soon, seeing the kids enthusiasm waning,
they would assume they must wow them with banana splits. When those no longer
produce the desired effect, they would move up to the jumbo deluxe sundae..and
so on, until the kids became impossible to please.

She feels that "diminished appreciation" is a barometer indicating when kids
have had too much. Instead of moving up to the banana split, she simply
decreased the frequency of the junior cones.

Saving is a natural by-product of creative deprivation. Not only did she save on
the constant expense of the ever-increasing amount of stuff and stimulation, but
when I do treat the kids, they get the same wow for far less money.

Creative deprivation does have a few rules. Limit the things kids don't need,
but don't limit the things they do need--such as good nutrition and parenting
attention. Second, provide them with alternatives. Our kids have their own
"office" in my office where they do artwork, a tree house they can build on with
scrap wood, a playhouse in an attic, and a selection of Legos and other toys
that demand creativity. If you limit passive entertainment, kids eventually get
beyond the boredom and begin to be creative.

Incidentally, this insight isn't new. About 2500 years ago, the Chinese
philosopher Lao-tzu wrote:

Guard the senses
And life is ever full...
Always be busy
And life is beyond hope."

Very cool

Our friend Carolyn sent this to us and we wanted to share it is very cool and worth the time to view it...

Monday, December 08, 2008

there is nothing like HANDMADE!

You all know that I have had a goal this year to buy Handmade for Christmas. I have been somewhat successful and have really enjoyed searching out the perfect gifts for people. I have found great things on ETSY and want to share my favorite sellers. I also wanted to mention that over on Imagine Alyzabeth An it's easy if you try Alyson has put together her top favorites as well. Our goal is to promote these Artisans and maybe spread the word how wonderful ETSY is. I have been shopping on ETSY for about a year now. My first purchase was a great gift box of Great hand made Burp cloths for my friend Cheri just before she left for China to bring Hope home (that will be a YEAR! WOW! tomorrow). If you shop ETSY or any other Handmade artisan please go over to Alyson's blog and leave a comment about your favorites...

so with no further ado here are my favorites you might see a running theme with mine...LOL

Ocean and Moon Studio ... Mel is a friend and fellow adoptive mom. Her store is small she has much more in her Studio. If you don't see anything you like contact her she can make whatever you come up with. I have seen her stuff and purchased several things from her as gifts. She does fantastic work and everything is very well made and has a uniqueness to it... She has really pretty jewelry made from clay with the characters for different family members in Chinese.

Tiny Tots Baby Boutique ... I bought the Panda onesie it is ADORABLE...

Tip Top Apple Sauce a saucy mix of fashion ..... GREAT hats! Take a guess which one I bought? LOL

Blue Bird Blessings hand made for your little blessing .... I love these for stocking stuffers

Dos Besitos culture and Language hand crafts ..... I love the "Forever Family Magnet set...

Purr Prints ... if you love cats than this is the place for you...

Evelyn and Kate handmade things for baby handmade thingamabobs for baby .... there just isn't a better bib out there... I got one as a gift from my friend Layla and I am hooked I bought a second and have bought several more as gifts for friends and family.

Cottontail a bit of fluff for baby & toddler .... this is the artiest I bought the burp cloths for Cheri from

Daisey Mae Designs little luxuries for everyday life ... I just think her stuff is pretty

Imogen's Garden fresh petals for your little flower ... I wish I could sew like this...

High on Craft ... a great site if you are looking for the perfect soft and cuddly gift or scrapbooking material.

These are just a few of my favorites and I am always on the look out for more. If you have favorites please share. If you are looking for unique well made hand crafted items check out some of my favorites as well as Alyson's over on her blog... and of course always look around on ETSY you are bound to find something you like...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Blog Give-Away

Melissa's Studio
The first is a family that belongs to our FCC group. Melissa is a very talented artist. She has great things and last night she had a nice open house where I was able to get a few nice things as gifts for Christmas. I was able to fulfill part of my pledge to Shop handmade this year.

Go check out these blogs for some cool Blog Give-Aways. This on is a family that we met online during "The Wait". If you are a baker you will love this Give-away

"My Mom Shops" is a favorite of mine for great gifts and great Give-Aways....Keep checking back to this site.

and then there is the MAC Daddy of all Blog Give-aways...Just keep checking here there is some great stuff

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season..

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our 1st Christmas tree as a family of 3

We always get our tree either the day before or the day after Thanksgiving and then decorate it over the long weekend. This year we got ours the day before Thanksgiving, but since we went out of town over the weekend we just got it decorated today. I still have some things to add to it like a few Cloisonne ornaments we bought while we were in China. They are in the attic so I have to get those down tomorrow. We also need a new tree topper so we are on the hunt for a great new tree topper.

More pictures of it decorated coming soon........It started out looking like a Charlie Brown tree but I think it turned out pretty nice......

I think the tree skirt is to small, so I may have to get a new one of those too....