Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

So much is going on with the hustle and bustle of the Holidays.
I wanted to take a moment out to update the blog.
I have been away to long and really miss putting my thoughts down here.
I was recently looking back at a few old post and realize just how much I have missed blogging. It was so wonderful to look back and relive some of what has happened to our lives in the past few years. A sort of trip down memory lane if you will. It got me thinking that this blog is much more then about "right now" or about us. It is more about Sophia and preserving memories for her. I always want her to know she was loved from the moment she was thought about. We want her to hold dear memories and traditions of our family. We feel like it is our job to create those memories and traditions for her and then preserve them for her in some way. We have begun to do that in many ways even before this year, the blog being one of them. We have added a few new things this year like attending the Candle Light Processional at EPCOT. We want her to know that the true spirit of the season is about giving to others. We want Sophia to understand that we have a responsibility to others and that giving is not only a responsibility but a pleasure as well. This year we picked an angle off of a Salvation Army tree and shopped for a 2 year old little girl. We have donated clothes,food and toys to a local a charity as well. We know she is still young and probably wont grasp what we are doing but we feel it is important to teach her these things early so they are just part of her normal routine. We believe that we have been blessed with so much and we want to share that where and when we are able.
Our Christmas looks like this so far. Every Christmas Eve we used to attend Midnight Mass at our church but with a small child that is just not possible so we are going to the Mass at 4:30 on Christmas Eve. Our Church does a Live Nativity with the Children's Choir. It is a spectacular Mass that depicts the Nativity Story with the Children in the Church playing the lead rolls, The Children's Choir does all the music and Live Animals come right down the middle of the church. It is truly a beautiful thing to witness. After that we will return home to start to prepare for Santa Clause to come. Riz and I have been having a very none traditional Christmas Eve Feast of Chinese Food Every year since we started waiting for Sophia to join our family. So we will again do that. Then Sophia will get her bath and then into her Pj's That the Elves left her while we were at Mass. Daddy will read "Twas the night before Christmas" and then Mommy and Sophia will leave out Milk and Cookies (Sophia wants to leave Fortune Cookies) for Santa . Sophia told me last night we can't forget the reindeer so I have to get some carrots for them too. Then it is off to bed for Sophia. Mommy and Daddy will have a long night of putting together toys that Grandparents bought her. Everything we got her is already put together :)(Smart mommy and Daddy). Last year was our first year as a family at Christmas, but this year Sophia is very aware of the whole experience and is very excited to experience anything and everything Christmas related. We are so really looking forward to Christmas morning seeing her face when she comes down the stairs and sees what Santa has left for her. We will have Cinnamon Rolls and Coffee (Sophia will have Coco) and just have a nice relaxing morning of watching her open gifts. Our families are coming in the afternoon for dinner and more festivities. It is a good thing we are off for two more days after Christmas so we can rest up after all the fun. This Saturday we are taking Sophia to Disney World to see all the beautiful Gingerbread displays at the resorts. Disney Hollywood Studios has a spectacular Christmas light display every year so we are going to try and catch that as well.There is just nothing like Disney World at Christmas time.
This all brings me right back to my initial thoughts when starting to right this update.
The New Year is coming!
It holds so much excitement for our family and what is yet to come for us. Sophia will be starting Montessori School on Jan. 4th and we are all excited about that.
I normally don't make New Years resolutions or should I say I don't normally stick to them but this year I am going to make one and try very hard to stick to it. I want to update the blog more often maybe once a week or once every other week might be easier to do.
I don't want to miss the details of Sophia's childhood......

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
Happy New Year
a Very
Happy Holidays from our family to yours.
with love
The Rizzo Family

Monday, November 23, 2009

A busy life

Lots going on will post picks later but I thought I would write while I had a chance to catch you all up on what we are doing..

So much is going on right now life is more busy then ever. Sophia is still attending Then Little gym twice a week and loving that. Each time we go she learns something new and comes out of her shell more and more. Friday we were talking about going to Gym on Sat. and she told me she really likes Even (the teacher). When I asked her why she likes him so much she told me because he is cute. LOL Oh no I think we are going to have our hands full in a few years.

Riz and I toured a few preschools in are area and after much consideration and research we have decided to start Sophia in a Montessori school. We just fell in love with the school and the Montessori philosophy. The school that she will be attending has been in business for 40 years and the teachers are all well educated and have been with the school long term. Sophia will start some time between now and just after the first of the year, we are still working out the details. She will go 5 days a week for a half day program. She loved the environment and wanted to stay when our tour was over. We are all super excited to see what happens next for her with school. I of course have been reading everything I can get my hands on about Montessori. I have discovered that there are tons of resources, blogs and groups all about Montessori. It is a subculture if you will.... stay tuned for more on Montessori. Sophia has been learning things at lightning speed and we feel like she is more then ready to be in a learning environment.

Adoption number two is coming along slowly but surely no new news there really. Progress is slow but we will get there. Kim, our wonderful agency rep. keeps us up to date on everything and we could not be more grateful to her. A name for baby number 2 is still forth coming.

Recently one of the families in our FCC group had a Halloween party for the kids. It was great fun to see them all dressed up playing together. We also had a Thanksgiving/ Adoption Awareness month Picnic and had a great turn out for that, over 50 people were there. It was lots of fun the food and the company were good as always. We are hosting a "Cookie Throw Down" on Dec. 5th for the FCC group. It promises to be a messy good time. We will have sugar cookies for the kids to decorate however they would like and for the parents there will be a cookie taste testing. Then we all plan to walk down to watch our Christmas parade (we live one block off the parade route).

I was very productive over the weekend and got the house cleaned and decorated for the Holidays. Thanksgiving we will have our usual morning as a family of 3. Cinnamon rolls and tea for breakfast watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our Pj's. Then we will go to dinner at Riz's parents house. Then home to watch my all time favorite Christmas Movie Miracle on 34th Street (the old black and white one with Moreen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gween. We normally get our Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving but this year we will be spending the weekend with great friends instead. I will need to hurry to have our tree ready before the Cookie Throw Down on the 5th. I have all of Sophia's Christmas shopping done but I still need to wrap them all. She is 100% into Christmas and Santa Clause this year. It is really neat to see Christmas through her eyes. We put away the Thanksgiving books last night and broke out the books about Christmas and Hanukkah. We want Sophia to know the true meaning of the Christmas Holiday as well as teaching her about other cultures and their celebrations. We have been doing lots of holiday art projects around the house too. Sophia is becoming quite the little artiest and has master the Happy Face. We laugh because everything male or female has to have earrings and a mustache. I'll post a picture of her Felt Turkey, poor thing is having an identity crisis..LOL

We are still trying to sell our house with no luck what so ever. The housing market is so bad here in Florida that we have not even shown our house in over a year. We are grateful that we are not upside down with our mortgage and that we are not in the position like so many others. We are still ready to sell and have a new start some place different. If you know of anyone who is interested in a 105 year old Historic House in a nice small Central Florida town not far from the Beach and Disney World(all of the attractions) please pass on my contact info.

We stay in close touch with several of the families we traveled to China with We have developed a close relationship with them all. It is hard not to when you are there for the most important part of a families life. We will all meet for a second reunion in Savanna Ga. this Jan. There will be four families and five little ones gathering this time. We are so excited to see them all again and to spend time together catching up on life.

OK I have board you enough I am sure. I will post pictures tonight..Hugs to all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It has been far to long

Since I was last here posting about what is going on in our lives. I can hardly believe it has been more then 2 months since I last posted here. Several people have asked me if I was going to stop blogging now that we are home with Sophia and I have always said no that I love doing it and I intend on keeping up with it. I still feel that way so I am going to try and get back to it on a more regular basis. The summer has been full of fun things for us. Day trips to Disney World, St. Augustine, The Beach, We had a Reunion of good friends, We had company for a few days when our travel mates the Love family came and stayed with us. We spent time with our other travel mates The Gonzales family and as always with our best and longest friends Matt and Lisa. On top of all of that we had a visitor from Hong Kong, our friend Bruce brought his daughter Anya her to spend the summer with his mom so we visited with them and got to see his lovely wife Elza when she came to retrieve Anya. I have more to share with you all about their visit later in the post.We went on Vacation with our good friends the Hylands to The Great Smoky Mountains and had lots of fun. Riz and I have been busy working and just living with a 2 1/2 year old in the house now. We are having tons of fun with her and love this 2 year old age. Something else that has been keeping us busy is that we have started the paperwork to return to China for a sister for Sophia. We are very close to being DTC and are going back with our good friends the Palumbos who we traveled with for Sophia and their daughter Claire. It has been busy and stressful getting all of the paperwork together for that but we know in the end it will be well worth all the stressful moments. Sophia has been busy too this summer. We attended several friends birthday parties. We got together with lots of families with kids her age and she has been having a really good time playing , learning to share and wait her turn. Sophia is also attending The Little Gym now twice a week and we are all loving that. It is so wonderful o see how much she enjoys it and how excited she is each time we drive up to The Little gym. She is learning so much form Gym (as she calls it) and we could not be more proud of her. She can walk on the balance beam (high and Low) by herself, She loves the rings and the uneven bars. Her favorite is the Ball time and she is learning that the balls are for everyone to SHARE...Sophia's vocabulary has taken off this summer and we now have a little chatterbox in the house. She is now talking in sentences and putting more and more words together everyday.She is talking a mile a minute, her memory blows us away and her comprehension is, well lets just say we are watching what we talk about around her now... LOL... We have started preparations for the Holidays already. The house is decorated for Halloween and Sophia will be attending a few Parties and of course we will be Trick or Treating. Her costumes this year for the first party she will be a Ballerina, the second she is going in a Toga (as a Greek Goddess) and for the big night she will be her FAVORITE Disney Character Mulan (Pictures to follow). We will be going to the Pumpkin Patch this weekend to pick a pumpkin to carve and to get some great Fall pictures, now if only the weather here in Florida would cool down. I picked out her Christmas dress yesterday it is really cute and we plan to have her pictures done soon so we can send out Christmas cards ASAP. Sophia has been talking a lot about Santa Clause (Gaga Clause) a LOT! and we can't wait to see Christmas through her eyes this year. Now on to the pictures from this summer. I promise to post the Pumpkin patch pictures and Halloween pictures as we get those done and I am going to make every effort to update more frequently...Thanks for sticking around and being interested in our life as a growing family.

These are pictures from our summer I hope you enjoy them

A Day at the beach with the girls. Sophia, Allyson, Ashley and Lisa (no pictures of me or Lisa it is forbidden to see pictures of us in a bathing suite LOL)

One of our many trips to Disney over the summer this time we stayed at Coronado Springs they have a great pool and Sophia loves to swim there.

We rode the Choo Choo Train at Downtown Disney. Sophia loves to ride any Choo Choo train ..

Sophia got her ears pierced over the summer courtesy of Uncle Mike and Cousin Travis

My Best Friend, Lisa and I took a road trip to get some of the Paperwork done for our second adoption. We had a great time and it was a fun day
State Certified Paperwork Done!

On an other trip to the Magic Kingdom over the summer . She loves the carousel too

Photo Shoot for the Dossier
and 1 year post placement visit.
Random cuteness

She is developing her own style and we love that.

We attended our good friend Mary Alice's Birthday party at a GREAT Splash Park.
I bet you guessed it was Barney Themed right?

On an other trip to Disney (EPCOT this time) Sophia met her IDOL Minnie Mouse. She was so cute and not sure what to do but she talked about her the rest of the day.She is fearless
We spend lots of time at the park letting Sophia play and once a month or sometimes more daddy takes Sophia there and they spend some quality Daddy and Daughter time.
Our FCC group had a Moon Festival celebration at the beginning of Oct. The girls are all so beautiful and are developing such great friendships.

Our first taste of Fall this year was on our vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains.

and Sophia discovered the electronic horse and loved it so much she road everyone we would come across..

We were with our good friends The Hylands.
Sophia and Hope are 3 days apart in age and life long friends.

I had a few more pictures I wanted to share with you all from The Love's visit this summer but after 4 times trying to get them to load I have given up. I will share them in a separate post in a few days....They are so adorable...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

"Random acts of kindness"

I Facebook Friend sent this to me and I Love it,I had to share....

a friend of mine told me about how she and her kids loved doing "random acts of kindness" in order to foster a love of giving. We thought her idea was so great that we have decided to promote it every quarter. The first week of July, we encourage you to do one random act of kindness in order to spread goodwill to others, and also to remind people that millions of children around the world live each day as orphans.

To take part, here is what you should do:
1) Print off the image on this blog, and cut it out as a small "coupon" or postcard. (if you double click on the image, it should load it on your computer in a larger size)
2) During the first week of July, pick a moment to do something kind for someone. Some suggestions include paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru line, buying a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at a coffee shop, helping someone with lots of groceries load them into their car, etc. Be creative!
3) After doing your kind deed, give the person your "kindness card". If you are in a drive-thru line, simply give it to the cashier and ask them to give it to the next person in line while telling them that their meal is free. Then you can turn around and wave at the unsuspecting person behind you with a huge smile as you drive away.
So many people in this world are having a hard time and could really use a pick-me-up. You will never know how your random act might have given them just the encouragement they needed that day. It ALWAYS feels good to give, doesn't it? Invest just $5 into surprising someone with random kindness the first week of July, and help spread awareness about all of the children who go to bed every night without parents to love them. You will be adding a moment of giving to the world as well, and no act of kindness is ever wasted. Do a fun deed the first week if July and then come back here and tell us how it went!
(Warning: our friends who have done this with their children say their kids absolutely LOVE doing it, so be prepared to have some extra cards printed and in your glovebox! What a great way to teach our kids that giving to others is a blessing.) Have fun!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friends for life

During the 29 month wait for Sophia I was very lucky to bond with an amazing group of women. We met on the Jan2006yahoo group early on in the wait and forged a friendship that none of us ever expected. We come from different backgrounds, different walks of life and different areas of the country, but our common bond was the adoption. During the wait we met on several occasions to support each other. The bond we share has only grown deeper with the addition of our children. Our support for each other has moved on from supporting each other through the long unexpected wait to supporting each other through the adjustment of becoming a family. We all talk on a regular basis so meeting for a reunion was only natural. We have all been home now for some months. Riz and I being the longest at one year now and the Smith's being home just a few short months. We started planning this get together months ago and out of 14 families 10 were able to make the weekend in Amelia Island Florida. The weekend was more wonderful then we thought it was going to be. We spent time together at the beach, eating out, shopping in Amelia Island and "Hall Way cocktail parties" but I know I speak for the others when I say the best part was seeing all the girls play together. Each girl has their own individual personality and all are beautiful. We shared stories of our trips to China and of our parenting since becoming moms to these sweet girls. The weekend was over to quick but we ended with the promise that we would start planning the next reunion soon and for a much cooler place next year we are thinking New Hampshire. Erik and Kathy Crisman live there and offered to host next years event. Here are a few pictures from the most amazing weekend......We also celebrated our one year Family Anniversary while we were at the beach......

Friday's BBQ Me and my friend Karen
She had the best ride all weekend
My Friend Stephe and I at dinner Sat. night
My good friends Kathy and Stephe
The girls from
left to right top row Emma,Sophia,Qiao,Hannah
left to right bottom Mary Alice,Giorgia, Kaelie,Meili,Lily and Lexi
I may be partial but they are all so beautiful.
(Mom to Emma, Kathy made each of the girls a "Pillow Case" dress. Thanks Kathy)
Sophia wanting to take MORE pictures
Sophia trying to plant a kiss on GiorgiaMy beauty
A family pictureThe girls in their matching Green Lady Bug dresses (Thanks Stephe)
Sophia with her first Family Day anniversary gift. Two jade bracelets we bought for her while we were in China.Mommy and daughter on our first Family Day AnniversarySophia's buddies Kate (Key) and Claire (Care)
Family Portrait on Family Day
The Love of a Family....