Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A white Christmas!

Last week we flew to Vermont to celebrate Christmas with my family. The drive from the airport to the house was a bit snowy....
These look like black and white pics, but there really not. This was coming through Franconia Notch in NH.

That night Santa came with lots of presents for my special little girl. I guess she must have been pretty good this year! Her prize possession, the BFF singing Barbies!

Christmas night my brother and his family came. Poppa and the girls made reindeer food with oats and cinnamon and sparkles, and flung it into the night sky. The wind was whipping pretty good and we all went running into the house with sugar and sparkles in our hair, eyes...everywhere. But the deer LOVED it, and that night we actually had 9 in the yard!

We all made a snowman. He is an interesting fellow (like the zucchini mouth?) Simone wanted to leave plenty for the deer to eat and thought they could snack on a squash!
**Lauren, we thought he could be pals with your "snow dude", what do ya think?**

And the girls loved sledding down the back yard, I think we pulled them maybe 15 or so times. All the parents slept well that night! It was so much fun, amazing how snow can create such wonderful memories!

And isn't it cute, my folks holding hands...

I got the girls matching PJ's. They had such fun together! This was the first year they really played together, being a year and 1/2 age difference. Simone enjoyed having her little cousin around and can't wait to see her again.
We even went on a sleigh ride in Stowe, VT. It was really incredible and both the girls had big ole grins on the whole time.

But it sure was cooooold and I forgot my hat! Silly Tennessee girl!

We found a great little English Pub for lunch there too! You know I'm all about the food!

So now the festivities of Christmas are past and tonight we celebrate ringing in the New Year (if I can manage to stay awake!) I guess it's time to look back at all that has happened in 2008 and look forward to all the new things in 2009. It was a very good year... it has been amazing watching Simone grow so much and learn so many new things, and of course all of the preparation for our next little won ton coming home have both filled me with memories of a great 2008. I am excited to see all the new and exciting changes 2009 has yet to bring. (and YES, still waiting on the us something to look forward to next year!)

Happy New Year everyone!

Peace and joy to you all tonight...


Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays to all!

Simone is a pretty lucky little girl, she gets to partake in many traditions and aspects of this Holiday season. Our family has started our holiday celebrations, as last night was the first night of Hanukkah. We will celebrate this "festival of lights" for the next seven nights by lighting a candle on the Menorah at sundown. And yes, Simone will open one small gift each night...what fun! We will also share in the celebration of one of the most important holy days of the year for my parents. It means so much to us to be there with them, and although we don't celebrate the religious part, we are thankful Simone (and our next little one) get to see, understand and learn to respect other peoples religious beliefs. And of course we'll have a late night visit from the other big guy, you know the one who is jolly and has a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Naturally he comes to Grammie & Poppa's each year since they have a Christmas tree and all that snow!
For us the holidays are a wonderful reason to get together with our families, and celebrate not only our beliefs in religion but our love and appreciation for each other. I have so very much come to look forward to this time that we all get to wind down, relax, recharge and enjoy each other. I hope all of your holidays are blessed with love laughter and family, good food and cherished memories! J
Oh and that beautiful Menorah Simone is holding was made by her wonderful teacher as a gift.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The two halves of my daughter's heart

So I pick Simone up yesterday from school and as usual we clean out the folder full of her artistic creations of the day. In the bottom of the folder were two pieces of pink paper with some coloring on them. Simone insisted we take them, too. I said of course and asked what they were. She told me "it is a heart, my heart, but it's now in two halves". I asked why, what happened? And she responded "well, one half is for my China Mommy, who could not keep me, the other half is for you, my real Mama, the two halves of my heart. This pretty one's yours because your so pretty and this one is for her...because it is". Wow. I asked as we were getting into the car if she had shared her heart story with anyone, like her BFF, and she simply replied "nope, just you". I then asked if she wanted me to hold both halves, to keep them safe, she said "yep" and that was that.

Now any of you who know Simone may not be too surprised by this little story, she is very bright and very intuitive and as my Mom once put it "deep". But as her Mama, and as an adoptive Mom (and adoptee) I wonder just how deep this all is. I wonder how much thought went into her heart? I hope it is a good thing and shows she trusts me to hold something so precious for safe keeping (now where did I leave that any way - I'm just kidding!). I hope this means she is understanding what we read and talk about, and I hope it means she will continue with this confidence in us as her parents, and her trust in us to be able to discuss her feelings and thoughts with us openly.

But I worry, too. Do I talk about it, about adoption, too much with her? Or is she just trying to gauge how it all fits together? Is this maybe a sign that she feels grief or the loss of her Birth Mother, and if so, will she always feel it? Or is this her way of keeping her "China Mommy" in her life, in her heart? Perhaps she is testing out where in her life, and our lives, that other unknown person fits.

But the most important thing about this heart is what it has shown me, even if for her it was just a random thought, an idea that left her as quickly as she thought it up. Because for me it was a reminder that no matter how much I love and adore my precious daughter, and no matter how often I just forget that she is adopted- that she is not flesh of my flesh, that She will always remember. That for her there are these two other people who will forever share in the miracle of my daughter's very being, that they will always hold a piece of her heart, and she theirs. And yes, I am thankful to them for the gift that I have received in Simone, and as much as my own heart aches for the choices they had to make, it rejoices in the fact that I will forever be her Mama. And for me that means "although she did not grow under my heart, she definitely grew in it".

A box is never just a box

Nope, it can be anything you want it to be. A train, a cottage, a puppet stand or just a place to hang out. In a cool coincidence my wonderful pal Lisa got a delivery in a big box this weekend, as did we. Her daughter decided the items in the box were great and all, but that the box itself was even better! Well, Simone decided that exact same thing. When I saw Lisa's blog entry that mentioned all the fun her little one had with her box I figured I'd share our fun as well.

First we cut a hole in it, so it became a car that transported her and her special stuffed animals around, and then she decided to bring a pillow and a blanket in and watch TV laying down, using the hole as her viewing area. It was later used as a space ship, which she landed in the living room and was "Sabrina the visitor" for all of bath time. (Sabrina of course tried to get away with things Simone's Mama would never allow!) Simone decided we should paint it, which was great fun. And it then became the engine of a train, we had 2 build-a-bear boxes, a shoe box and a basket all attached with beads and masking tape to make the completed train. It didn't physically move anywhere, it was all just pretend...

So a box is just a box unless you have one key ingredient that can change it into whatever you want it to be, and that's imagination. (and of course paint sure helps too!)

And in adoption news....a big ole nothing to report. We did find out that our coordinator will be on a personal vacation from tomorrow until Jan 7, so from what I can gather there will be no referrals during that time. So if we don't hear today (which is most likely, the office will need to get updates and news of hearings and rulings to those that have their babies waiting, of course...) then it will be after the New Year. I guess I can stop jumping every time the phone rings between 4 & 7 PM for the next few weeks anyway....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cookie Rules

So, my dear friend Suzy sent me this in an email... I'm sure some of you are aware of these very important rules for the Holiday season, but I felt it was important that we all go over them one more time, mainly because between the stress of the holidays and the stress of this adoption, well, I'll be eating A LOT of cookies. And yes, Christmas cookies do go well with a nice Pinot Noir...

Christmas Cookie Rules
1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven,
it has no calories because everyone knows that the
first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie,
it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you are making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend.
Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, rule #1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone, and being the friend that you are makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories.
Red ones have 3 and green ones have 5 - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. Cookies eaten while watching Miracle on 34th Street have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

And finally...
10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule! (and possibly my favorite!!)

Enjoy your cookies! J

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OK, so it's like this...

I'm in a kinda funky place. It's hard to explain, it's like I've been so busy checking items off my adoption to-do list that I've left out, forgotten or misplaced something. You see, with Simone I so desperately wanted & needed a baby, to create my family. And I had all the emotions in place. The yearning for a family, the bated breath excitement of the wait, the elation of the referral, all there and at my disposal, and I freely used them all and enjoyed those emotions. Now don't get me wrong, I still desperately want our next little addition, and to complete our family, but I can't seem to find the emotions that go with all of it. I guess I can't believe, now that we are "on the waiting list", that I can get that magical phone call that will again change my life, all of our lives, at any time. I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be feeling now, I haven't bonded with this not yet existing in my realm baby. So what do I do when the call comes??? Will I finally feel it all, will I cry and blubber (as I am known to do, watching commercials even), or will I just say "great, thanks" and go on like it is an order being confirmed? What should I feel?
I do feel nervous, anxious and a bit cranky...but I don't feel like this is all real yet. Maybe that is it, reality hasn't quite sunk in (don't know how, I've gone through all the steps in my little checklist- I've opened up my entire personal life, medical history, family history, all emotional scars have been shown and analyzed, I've gotten fingerprinted twice, proven I'm not a criminal, produced documentation to back all of it up, and I think I've even been prodded a can I not feel the reality?) Ok then, so when will I feel it, when does it sink in?
And here's my other dilemma, all of the what ifs...what if I'm not a good Mama, should I risk putting another child through this? what if Simone doesn't handle a new baby well? (she is my baby still, how can I break her heart?) what if we get a referral and the Birth Mom changes her mind? what if they decide we aren't suitable to have another child and we sit in this limbo of anxiety for years? what if... oh the list in my head goes on.
And maybe, just a slight maybe though, I am a bit dramatic. I never denied that is a huge part of who I am -blame my parents, they allowed freedom of expression in our house... but I truly do lie awake at night with these thoughts swirling through my head.
So my entry has turned in to a full blown ranting, and now I feel a bit better! I guess I will spend the rest of the day getting all these emotions in check and preparing myself that no matter what, the call will come, and I have a feeling I'll get it right. How can I not, it'll be the moment we officially "meet" the newest Friedman! I'm sure all the amazement and awesome feelings will pour on out. Wow, you all are probably hoping the call does come soon, how can you stand me like this for 3 more months!! J

Friday, December 5, 2008

And all about Thanksgiving!

Yep, it has officially taken me this long to recoup from the turkey celebration (a/k/a stuffed squash celebration for all my "veggie" family memebers) It was crazy, hectic and tons of fun for all! We had, let's see...Adam's parents, his 2 brother's, 2 sis in laws and 4 kids total, his Aunt from Fl and her 2 grown kids and both Aunt & Uncle who live here. 5 adults and 5 kids all sleeping in our house, 18 total for dinner, we were wall to wall people- it was so great! Simone just loved having all the family here, and having her cousins at the house was a super fun time. Simone LOVES family and is so comfortable with all of them, its just wonderful to see all the kids together. Of course it made me really miss my folks and my bro, sis in law and niece. Many moments I thought of them and wished they too could have been here (but that's another holiday! Christmas!!)
We took tons of pictures, but I'll just post a few here.
All the kids (first time ever we got all of em!) ... & Adam's bro's & aunts.

Adam's bro & niece ....& Princess Simone, and finally worn out princess!

More princesses ....And Me & my sis in law

Cousin & Uncle ....and the Cousins!

the playroom will never be the same!.... And Simone, Auntie & Nona

I hope everyone had a great holiday! It was a reminder to me of just how wonderful family is and how lucky we are to have such great families on both sides! Now, let's get our babies referral in! Once we have that I can start thinking about Hanukkah & Christmas (yep, optimistic we'll get it before the holidays actually start... it's possible) J

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We are on "THE LIST" !!!!!!

Finally! The Wait to Wait is over. Now we are just OFFICIALLY WAITING! We got logged on the wait list 12/01/2008. So now we can get a referral at any time. There is one other couple on the list (another Jen, ironically!) and they were logged in on the same day as us. How cool is that!
So this is a little different than with Simone. For China were were "DTC"- remember Dossier To China (or logged in) July with a ton of other folks. All July referrals came out within a two-three day span. Well, except ours, our agency did not get matched (Simone wasn't quite ready to meet us yet, so typical of her!) and we got grouped in the August DTC's and got our referral when that whole group did. Oh what a happy day that was!
OK, so this time we are the only two couples "logged in" for either gender, so when a baby (Or it could be twins...) becomes available he/she will be referred to one of us - who ever the parents are supposed to be- and then when the next baby comes they will be matched with their parents. So the call could come tomorrow or in a few months (YIKES either way!) The great thing is that we are logged in and ready to welcome baby #2, or at least admire his/her/their picture until our family day (where we will finally get to hold our sweet baby in Taiwan)-which will be 3-6 months later. (sorry, correction- 4-6 months...I was on some medication when posting {strep throat, yuck!} but I think 4 is the soonest) When we told Simone we were logged in, she smiled real big and said "so we can go pick my baby brother up now, today?" If only it were that simple... J