Wednesday, December 28, 2011

merry christmas 2011!

Well, we made it! A long weekend with the family, four dogs (five at one point), a broken water heater, lots of sugar, lack of sleep, lots of excitement!

Christmas morning with the girls (at my parents' house, also known as "another grandma" and grandpa)
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four of the five dogs (and my brother)
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home again, home again (opening presents with mommy & daddy)
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Cora was a "machine" opening gifts. Just three months ago, she lost interest after opening the first few presents for her birthday, so we let Olivia open the rest for her. I don't think she even paid attention to what was under the paper this round. She just unwrapped, tossed the gift aside and asked for more. See the determination in her eyes?
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the aftermath: hanging in her new cozy clothes and playing with her new toys
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And, I know, it looks like the only thing we did to celebrate Christmas was to open presents. (I guess I was just too lazy to get the camera out at any other time! Oops!) The girls had a blast with their grandparents and aunts and uncle, and were sad to leave. It was fun seeing family, especially my brother and his wife who we hadn't seen in two years! And now we're just trying to get back into our normal routine (one with less sugar and lots of sleep!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

nine months ago... (and two days)

We met this little girl.

And here she is now. (again, in her "gotcha day" gear)
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I know! She doesn't even look like the same child. And do you see those sleeves? She's grown!

She is so funny. We catch her dancing all the time, whether it's in the car, on our lap, watching Sesame Street, or just bopping around the house. (My favorite is her Curious George monkey move.) She loves to sing, and occasionally I'll hear her during naptime, singing, "you.... peck.... doo-doo-doo. bum! bum!" (Gramma sings Bushel and a Peck by Doris Day. The girls love it.) Our all-American girl loves McDonalds and she points every one of their restaurants out to me. She hardly ever forgets to say "thank you," although we're still working on "please" when she wants something. (Right now she prefers to whine for it.) She's two in every sense of the word and tests me like crazy.
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She LOVES her "two piggies" If only you could see her bounce around after she's had her hair done...
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She's currently obsessed with "purple" but it's not a color to her. She just wants it. And sometimes it substitutes for the number 10. She doesn't watch a lot of tv, but she does like "Baby Signing Times" and will randomly show me the signs for different words she has learned. (Love that!) She now lets her daddy put her to bed, even though she still cries a little at first, but once they start singing "This Little Light of Mine" and "The B-I-B-L-E", she's golden. She LOVES going to nursery, and starts cheering and clapping as soon as we pull into the church parking lot. (She used to sob and scream.) She has come a long way in these last months.
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She and her sister are best buddies and typical siblings. They scream, fight, hit, push and knock each other over. But they can't wait to see each other in the morning. Or after naps. And her sister simply adores her.
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And that's where we are, 9 months later. Wow.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

why I've been a bad blogger

SEW I have this little hobby... (Inspired by my 2 cuties, of course!) I've talked about it before, but last Saturday, I officially participated in my first craft bazaar! I made little things like this:

and this:

and (my favorite!) this:

I have some of the cutest little models, whom I pay in chocolate. One of them was sleeping, but check out the other!

How cute are you?

Getting ready for the show was SEW much work. (No time for blogging!)

But it was fun!

I've set up a little page to showcase my creations, in case you'd like to see more.

And now I'm taking a little break from the machines. Sort-of.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the pre-holidays

Halloween and Thanksgiving. Let's wrap this up.

This halloween, we took the girls to the local college (that both Brendan and I attended) for their annual Funfest. When I was a student, I used to run some of the games for the kids, so it was fun to take my own kids to the event this year. The girls loved dressing up. They were so excited about their costumes! SO excited! (And of course as soon as we got them in costume and loaded in the van, car seats buckled, someone had to go potty.)

We got a couple "before shots" of the girls. Here's Cora:

And since Brendan doesn't look at this blog, I can totally throw him under the bus. He got a couple really cute pictures of Olivia while someone was going potty, but they were so dark, they couldn't even be saved with editing software. So here she is in action.

They played games and "won" candy. Olivia liked the mini snickers. Picked them out each time.

And here we are!

Cora's First Thanksgiving

Her first meal:

I think she really did enjoy it. I still think it's funny to post pouty pictures of her. She was really excited about dessert.

Now wait.... Where's Olivia??? Yeah, good question. I barely saw her, she was so busy playing with her buddies. That girl loves her cousins. Anyway, by the time I remembered to pull my camera out at dinner, she was long-gone.

Since all the families were in town, we took advantage of this twice-a-year opportunity to get pictures of the cousins together.

Pretty successful, don't you think?

No wait, this one's better.

Oh well.

AND we all got to go swimming together at the local pool! My girls loved it! Olivia did cling to us pretty fearfully while Cora jumped into the water with reckless abandon. But they still had fun and can't wait to do it again.

All right! Two holidays in one post! (I've gotten a little behind on my blogging.) The Christmas post will just have to be extra special...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

how cute....

is she!

and she!

And if this doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will...
Pretty cute, right? (These are not my pictures, by the way. I wish I could take credit, but they were done professionally.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

worth it

So this is what it's all about.

I've mentioned before that adoption doesn't come without complicated emotions, the obvious being that our gain is another's great loss. That's not an easy thing to process, especially if you imagine the roles being reversed... I know that Cora will have incredible opportunities here that she never would have had in her home country. Still, that doesn't magically make things "all better" for everyone...

But we are giving her the most precious gift she could ever receive. This little girl will grow up learning about a heavenly Father who created her and loves her more than anything. More than any parent, biological or adopted. So today we had Cora dedicated in front of our church, acknowledging her as a gift from God and committing to raise her in a Christ-centered home. She's been through a lot in her short, little life, including the transition into our family. It's been hard. But it's all worth it.

(That's our pastor praying for her, and at his side is his wife, who was also my Bible study leader last year. She was with us for most of the ride last year, from the day we saw Cora's face till the day we brought her home, praying for us the entire time. I was thrilled that she was part of this celebration.)

On a lighter note...

Since this was such a special day, I had dolled the girls up and just had to get more pictures! The day had surprising warmed up a bit, so we took our short sleeves down to the local lake/park to play.






I asked the girls to give each other a hug. They refused. I told them I would give them ice cream. Cora bought into that.

Nice hug.


They loved it. They thought we were there to play, even though we were really there for pictures. I just wish they didn't move so fast!



Thursday, October 20, 2011

referral day!

One year ago, today, we saw Cora's face for the first time. Knowing a new list of children had been released the night before, I sat by the computer that morning waiting to see if we might get an email from our agency about a child. We didn't even know yet if we had been logged into China's system (but we were sure hoping we had!) Eventually, I saw an email from Brendan, and all he said was to call him. I found my cell phone to call and he said that our agency had been trying to contact us and asked if I would call them back. (I don't know why I didn't realize that they would try to call us! I would have known where my cell phone was, if that were the case!) Sure enough, they had locked in a file of a little girl for us. I was told that she was a little over a year old, she had a heart defect, and that she was cute. She asked if I wanted to review the file. ("Um, yes, please!!!") and so I waited again for that email to come. (and thankfully it came through shortly) I skimmed the summary about her on the report and went straight for the pictures. Oh goodness, yes she was cute!

And here she is today, holding that first picture we ever had of her (the one that we stared at for months!)
I like this picture better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

sewing for fall

I love to sew! I especially love to sew fun little sundresses for the girls. (I love summer!) So it has taken some time to gather up enough enthusiasm to switch gears and start sewing for fall, but then I found a new pattern (and some beautiful fall fabric that I adore) and my sewing for this season is off to a decent start!

Want to see what I made?







So it's a little hard to see what I made. (Trust me - it's still cute!) The girls were being unusually cooperative during our impromptu photo shoot, and I couldn't help but focus on those sweet faces. Cuties.

ps - I know these still look like sun dresses. I guess I can't help myself. I plan to layer with either a cardigan or long sleeve top to make it work for cooler weather.