Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Paper has Settled.....

Wow-what a busy holiday season! Over the course of last week, we celebrated Christmas four times. Each complete with a meal and presents.

The first was at my folks house-Grammy and D-daddy to the girls. You'll see pics below of Baby K and G with cousin RJ.

Two days later, we went to R's folks house-Mimi and Papa to the girls. G was so excited about her Julie Albright doll. Baby K received the Bitty Baby doll but as you can see from her pic, it was all about the paper, cards and bows.

Two days after that, we spent Christmas Eve at R's extended family. Each year, everyone gathers at Aunt B's house for food and of course, more presents. This is also the stop where we do the family pics. Each attending family takes a group shot in front of the fireplace. Same spot, same family groups each year-you can look back at each year and see how much the kids have grown (or how much the grown-ups have aged). Baby K was taking a nap this year!

Then we had Christmas Day at our house. According to D-daddy, Santa must have dumped his sleigh in the family room. It certainly appeared to be a lot for two little girls. You'll see the pics of the girls in the red pj's-those are the Christmas morning pics. G received a lot of American Girl accessories for Julie Albright-you have to wonder how Santa knew about that? I got a big pink buggy, oh wait a minute, that was for Baby K. Who looked absolutely adorable riding around in it. I'm not sure how long it will actually fit her and be practical, but it sure is cute.

After all the excitement at our house, we spent the late afternoon at Aunt M's house. You guessed it, more food and more presents. It was an especially nice visit because we got to spend time with our family members, Aunt B and L, who are missionaries with ADRA in Africa and who are home in the states for a couple of weeks while L recovers from an infection.

The final pic is us-we're not all smiling but sometimes with a little one you have to take what you can get:-)

A big thank you to all our families for making this such a great holiday for the girls and for us-We love you all!

The cutest littlest present!

G and cousin RJ

G and Julie Albright

Baby K opening presents :-)

Thompson and Jones families at Aunt B's on Christmas Eve

G on Christmas morning

Toot! Toot! Chugga Chugga Big Pink Car......

The Jones family

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Days Before Christmas

It's hard to believe that it's only two days until Christmas! All the planning that starts months ahead and then the last couple of weeks seem to rush by. This past weekend we got 24" of snow and it's really slowed everyone's pace down a bit, it's been kind of nice, actually. Our geographic area tends to panic when there is a couple of inches of snow so you can imagine that everything and everybody was completely paralyzed for the first couple of days.

December has been a busy month for the Jones family. First, I have finally become totally immersed in suburbia-we traded in the Mercedes for a MiniVan. For those of you who said it was going to happen against all of "my never in a million years", go ahead and chuckle. I have to say that I'm really glad to have made my last climb over the center console in the Mercedes to get to Baby K-as G has reminds me rather frequently, "you're not 18 anymore." All joking aside, the van actually rides smoother than the Mercedes and there is definitely more room in the front seats. R can actually ride comfortably in the passenger seat even with Baby K's carseat behind him.

Next, Baby K had her 8 month pics taken at a local picture studio. See pics below of her and G. I had hoped to get a pic of both girls together but no such luck on this trip (never fear, we'll be going back in April to do Baby K's 1 year pics:-). I did get a great pic of the girls and myself that I plan to frame and surprise R with for Christmas.

G has been busy with school and extra holiday activities this month. She went to her first Daisy meeting-she was so excited to be a part of the troop and to have some of her friends there from her preschool class. The troop leader is fantastic-not only does she seem super organized but she is so good with all the girls. I also took her to some holiday craft classes. At one, she made a graham cracker house, complete with a marshmallow snowman, that has become the centerpiece for our kitchen table.

This past Friday was G's last day of school and her class had a birthday party for Jesus. It was a great way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. Below are pics of Aunt M and Baby K and also of cousin J and the girls. The picture of the cousins is my "once in a million years" shot-all three kids are not only looking at the camera but are also smiling. Note the dress that Baby K is wearing-it was a hand-me-down from some of our dear friends. I have pics of their girls wearing those same dresses. Seems like only yesterday that their youngest was small enough to wear that dress, now she's 3 and going to preschool and their older daughter is in kindergarten. Where does the time go?

Enjoy the pics! I'll try to be a little more timely with the Christmas morning pics-


Baby K

Christmas card pics at Grammy's house

Aunt M and Baby K

The Cousins

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where did Thanksgiving go????

Where did Thanksgiving go? I guess in my excitement to get to Christmas, I missed making a post about Thanksgiving-getting old is hell:-)

G had a Thanksgiving Feast at school and she was a pilgrim. The teachers had put together the cutest pilgrim accessories. Take a look at the pic below-the hat and the collar are fabric and are assembled using fabric glue. A very crafty and quick idea that I'll tuck away for next year.

Our family had a great Thanksgiving. First stop was at my parent's house and then about 3 hours later we went R's families home to eat again. As is the tradition, by the time we make it home, we are overstuffed and miserable from eating too much.

G spent Thanksgiving night at Grammy and Ddaddy's house and R and I took Baby K on her first Black Friday adventure. She was such a trooper! We were not part of that group that was out and standing in line at 4:00am but we did make it to our first stop by 6:30am. This year there wasn't anything that we were on a mission to find, which was nice. We just kind of went to a couple of places at our leisure and if we found something great and if not, no big deal.

R had off a couple of days over the Thanksgiving holiday and we used that time to start getting out the Christmas decorations. We put the tree up and did a little decorating around the house. Not as much as last year because we just don't have the space with all the changes we made in the room layouts when we setup the nursery.

I think R and G are going to put up the outside lights and decorations this weekend so I'll try to get some pics. Of course Baby K and I will watch the activities from the warm inside:-)

G, Baby K and cousin J at the kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast

The cutest little turkeys

A whole flock of turkeys

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Card pics

Two sweaty grown-ups, two whiney kids, one hour and 100 pictures, and we have Christmas Card pics-

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Santa Pics

I know what your thinking-it's not even Thanksgiving and she's taken those girls to do Santa pics. To be honest, I figured I better start pretty early in case I needed to do them more than once if you know what I mean :-)

I'm actually pretty pleased with how they turned out. The individual pics are much better than the pic of both girls with Santa. We did that photo first and Baby K really wasn't too sure about sitting with Santa.

Note the matching outfits-many thanks to my friend K who made that possible :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Has it been two weeks?????

Wow! I can't believe two weeks have passed since my last blog post. Where has the time gone?

I wish I could say we were all recovered and healthy after the icky upper respiratory bug that hit our house but it seems to be lingering, or maybe it is something new. G and I still have or have reclaimed some sinus issues. I'm praying that all four of us will be completely well by Thanksgiving. I'm sure looking forward to made from scratch corn pudding and sweet potato pie-Thanks Grammy!

G is doing well in school and continues to be excited about going each day. Last week she attended a cheerleading clinic taught by the JV and Varsity cheerleaders. It was so cute to see all those little girls out there with the big girls.

Baby K continues to do what babies do-she just keeps growing and doing new things all the time. See pics below of one of her early morning play sessions (and by early I mean before 7:00am).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's the day after Halloween and we're all sick.........

I knew it was inevitable-eventually all of us were going to get sick at one time-this is our time and hopefully our only time this year!

G has caught two colds since school started. The first one missed the rest of the family but the second one has really packed a punch. I got it, then R got it and finally, Baby K got it. It seems to be a really nasty, head cold, upper respiratory thing but with no fever. Of course the exception has been Baby K who was running a fever and so I took her to the pediatrician yesterday (scared witless that it was the H1N1 flu).

This wasn't our usual pediatrician but the doc on call, and he was a nice surprise. I've been recently disgruntled with some things that have happened at our regular docs office and this really got me to thinking about changing-but more on that later.

After checking Baby K's weight-now up to 18lbs-cleaning the wax out of her ears and doing a nasal swab for flu. He announced that the flu test was negative and that most likely the poor baby just has the same head cold/upper respiratory sickness that the rest of the family has.

I was relieved to know that it wasn't the flu but still dismayed that I can't give her anything to make her more comfortable. At least the rest of the family can take over-the-counter cold meds but poor Baby K has to just tough it out. For all those mothers out there, that's code for "Mommy and Baby K" tough it out since Mommy is the one who gets up in the middle of the night when Baby K coughs and wakes up:-)

Thankfully, the girls felt good enough and the weather cooperated for just a little bit of Halloween festivities. On Friday night we went to Aunt Kerry's and Uncle Wes's annual Halloween Party-complete with a bonfire. Note-the girls dressed as cats for the party. On Saturday night we took in a little trick or treating with Baby K going to visit the neighbors in the cul-de-sac and while R and I took her home, Grammy and D-daddy took G around the neighborhood. Note-different costumes for trick or treating :-)

G and the Pumpkin Princess

The girls and their pumpkins

My Kittens

Princess Mulan and her Strawberry

Monday, October 26, 2009

"You're not 18 anymore...."

This morning G and I were having our reoccurring conversation about how I don't eat breakfast. Those of you who know me, know that I have never been a breakfast eater-a cup of tea or coffee and I'm ready to start the day.

G wanted to know if I wanted to share her banana and I told her I would eat it later in the morning to which she said, "You know you're not 18 anymore...."

She obviously has overheard R and I discussing our aging bodies:-)

The Dentist and the "Pumpkin Patch"

Thanks for all of your prayers! G's trip to the dentist was successful! She's still a little sore from the crowns but thankfully she wasn't sick from the anesthesia and didn't have any lasting effects from it. I'm predicting a full recovery within another day-the new Tinkerbell movie seemed to really help the recovery:-)

Each year we go to a local farm to pick pumpkins for Halloween. Not only do you get a good selection of pumpkins to choose from but it also allows for some great pictures. This year we were supposed to go with our friends to Westmoreland Berry Farm and we got rained out. Our next opportunity was G's school field trip and it was scheduled for the same day as her dental surgery.

So feeling a little nervous that I was going to miss my picture taking opportunity, we staged our own little pumpkin patch this past weekend at Grammy and D-daddy's farm. Here's a peek at a few of the pictures. I say a few because out of the over 100 that I took these were the best ones. (I now have a true appreciation for why professional photographers charge so much!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thought Provoking Conversations

In the past couple of weeks I've had a couple of interesting conversations with complete strangers. It always amazes what people will come up with and while I usually like to take the opportunity to educate them on the positives of adoption, sometimes I just have to let it slide.

Take the lady who assumed that I gave birth to Baby K. Those of you who know my girls, know that we do not look even remotely related-there is no match in our skin, eye or hair coloring.

Baby K and I go to our local mall and walk several times a week after we drop G off at school and most of our "walking friends" know about our adoption experience. This one particular morning, we encountered an older lady that we hadn't met before and the conversation started out mundanely enough about how thin I was and how it was such great exercise to walk with the baby in a Baby Bjorn.

This nice lady then started to tell me about her granddaughter who had gained 50 lbs while pregnant, didn't have good eating habits, didn't like to exercise and was going to be carrying that weight for a long time and how lucky I was to have lost it so quickly, blah, blah, blah. Not only was I finding it hard to get a word in edgewise, I was also finding it hard to get away from her. It was at that point when I realized if she was going to talk so harshly about her own family, it really wasn't my job to educate her about mine.

My next interesting conversation was the lady who said, "I just don't understand how a mother could give up her baby?" Again, this was an older lady and so I feel that some of these thoughts can be accounted for because of the generational difference but I didn't back down this time. I told her how much respect I had for both of my girls birthmothers and how difficult a choice it must have been for them to put their girls well-being before their own. I also took the opportunity to educate her on the conditions that these women live in-the poverty and the lack of education-and most likely the conditions that my girls would have been living in had their birthmother's decisions been different.

I'd like to think that I was able to convey how blessed we are to have two such wonderful girls because of these two women who for the most part are anonymous to so many. There is not a day that goes by that I don't look at my girls and see their birthmothers, it's impossible not to, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't say a prayer for these two women who have given me the most precious gifts in my life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The "Car Wash Sweater"

This morning as the kids were getting ready to leave for school, G said, "She's wearing the cutest car wash sweater"-talking about Baby K who was wearing an argyle sweater:-)

What a great way to start the day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We have an artist in the family....

A couple of weeks ago G submitted 2 pieces of her artwork to be in a children's artshow. I encouraged her to do so because I knew that everyone would at least get an honorable mention ribbon.

Well this past Wednesday evening was the Artist's Reception and both of G's pieces placed-she got 2nd place in the Pencil/Marker category and 3rd place in the Mixed Media category. See pics below.

She was so excited that we just about had to peel her off the ceiling! After the reception we went and had ice cream and then you had to just about pull R and I off the ceiling from all the sugar!

Baby K also had some exciting news this week-she graduated from her baby bath seat to a baby bath ring-see pics! She is so much happier now that she is sitting up instead of reclining. Take note of the adorable "kewpie hair-do".

I've also included G's kindergarten school picture. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. This was my first experience with LifeTouch School Portraits and I was pretty skeptical. You have to prepay for the pictures and that always makes me nervous. I did a little research and found out that I could purchase the pictures on CD and the right to reproduce them for less than what one of the small packages cost. The benefit of doing it this way is that I can go to someplace like Costco and make as many copies in the sizes that I want for much less than what LifeTouch is charging and I can continue to reproduce the image for as long as I need to. How come everyone isn't doing this?????

"Stained Glass Butterfly"

"A Ladybug in Spring"

The artist and her work

Bathing Kewpie

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy 1/2 Year Birthday Baby K!

It's official-Baby K is 6 months old today! and it seems like she got a new 6 month old attitude overnight! Take a look at her big girl pics-not only is she sitting up by herself but she looks like she grew hair overnight. Okay, maybe not measurable in inches but it definitely looked "fluffier" this morning :-)

We are so in love with this little munchkin and it is such a joy to watch her grow and discover her surroundings everyday-just wish she wouldn't do it so quickly!

We've had such great fall weather this past week. See the pics of G and R working on what I call "G and Mommy's Bulb Planting Project". G had mentioned planting bulbs a while back and in theory it sounded like a great project. Of course that was pre-baby when we first talked about planting bulbs in the fall.

A couple of weeks ago when G and I were shopping at Costco she spotted the bags of fall bulbs-the bags that contained 90 bulbs. I knew I definitely was not up for putting in 90 bulbs-R will tell you that he still has nightmares from the 500+ bulbs we planted when we moved into the house. So I let convenience completely override my penny pinching self and when G and I saw boxes of bulbs at Ukrops that only had 6 bulbs per box, I knew that we had found the right compromise for the bulb planting project. I splurged and bought 2 boxes:-)

Baby K and I supervised while G and R did all the work (someone had to take the pictues)-now we hold our breath and hope that the neighborhood squirrels don't get hungry!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our trip to the State Fair

On Monday we made our annual trip to the State Fair and fun was had by all. G and Grammy did the rides, Baby K and I just hung out, and Ddaddy and R just followed us around.

The trip to the State Fair is that one day when all nutritional limitations are off-we ate fried candy bars, fried donuts, cotton candy, roasted candied nuts, corn dogs, ginger beer (soda). Lest you think that we didn't have anything nutritional to eat, we did follow all that up with BBQ and chicken for dinner.

The fair moved to it's new location this year which actually put it a little closer to us-a little less of a driving distance but the new space is much bigger than the old one so there was more space to walk. If you are thinking about going, wear your walking shoes and take a stroller for the kids (and maybe for the big people if you have one :-)

Baby K and I hanging out

G and Grammy

Ddaddy and R

G and Grammy take the bumper cars by storm

G and Ddaddy try out the tractors

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Second opinion from the dentist

Yesterday R and I took G to see another dentist for a second opinion. It seems the first dentist was pretty much on target-she is going to need two pulpectomies (root canals), 2 crowns, and has 6 cavities. We're still befuddled over how we could have not known any of this until last month. It really makes you think twice about our family dentist-how could they not have seen even the slightest bit of this?

This dentist also recommended anesthesia and R and I both agree since it involves the root canals and the crowns. It's also supposed to be a 2 hour procedure so even though nitrous oxide (sp?) is an option, the dentist doesn't feel like she would be "under enough" to remain completely still for that long.

All three of us liked this dentist's chairside manner-nice guy, took time to explain and answer all questions, at times spoke directly to G, and his kids go to G's school. His son had Mrs. Copeland for kindergarten last year so knowing that was a big hit for G.

The anesthesiologist comes from Fairfax and only comes once a month so we went ahead and scheduled for the next visit-October 27th. We have our fingers crossed that the two bad teeth will hold out until them. I'll keep everyone posted, but please keep G in your prayers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baby K's Welcome Home Party

Yesterday we had Baby K's welcome home party. Actually it was a celebration of her Marshallese culture. We had Marshallese food, music and I set out the handicrafts that we had bought while were in the Marshall Islands.

Enjoy the slide show.