Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Very Happy Thanksgiving

We had a very very happy Thanksgiving and continued the tradition of gathering with Adam's family!  We went to the Washington D.C. area for our celebrating this year.  We had so many family members there for the weekend ---  it was good crazy fun!  

Here's my little turkey at his Thanksgiving feast at school.  Isn't he gobble-itous!
On Wednesday we traveled to the cousin house where the kiddos got right down to having giggle together!
Then we all met up for dinner.  Poor restaurant, it may never recover from our clan of 12 adults and 10 kiddos!  We had great service and a wonderful time though!

Then we just hung out all weekend, playing, pouting, swimming and just being together!

My Brother & Sister in-laws hosted this year and did a wonderful job of course!  The appetizers were delicious, the drinks were flowing and the dinner was amazing!   They did a new twist on dinner with individual pot pies (soy/veggie based) and mushroom risotto, green beans with almonds, plus many more yummy dishes. 

On Friday we decided to take our 2 downtown via the Metro!  One cousin joined in and others met us there.  What a fabulous time we had!  

We started in the Smithsonian and walked around enjoying the beautiful day.
Then ventured to the Air & Space Museum, requested of course by Sammy!
Where he got to sit in the cockpit of a Cessna and turn the rudders!  He was in HEAVEN!
After that we stopped for a delicious lunch of pretzels & soda - it was just the right D.C. kind of lunch!

Of course seeing the sites for Sammy meant construction sites!  He didn't care two bits about the monmuments...nope, he wanted to see the roller and grader!
But we finally got him off and moving toward the Washington Monument.  (So maybe we promised ice cream if he walked the rest of the way....whatever works, right?)

My sweet boy....

Later that day we went to another cousin house for a big get-together.  There was more food, family and friends there, the kids having a blast and the adults catching up with family and friends alike!

We got our annual "cousins" photo on the couch!  Boy they are all getting so big!
And we got a goofy one as well...
And a final one of just some adorable kiddos.   Love these family times!

Thanksgiving 2012 -  family style!  I'm so lucky to have married into such a wonderful and close family!  Makes me miss my own family, but I know I'll be seeing them soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building a Family...

When I was growing up I knew just how I'd build my family - I had it all planned out at an early age.

     First I'd marry Ken (oh yes, I was totally going to snag Barbie's main squeeze...) and then we'd have 3 or 4 darling kiddos that I would stay home and raise  perfectly.   No back up plan, just that easy formula that was somehow supposed to magically happen.  Planning my future life was so simple at age six.

      But the reality has been somewhat different.  I grew up to realize Ken was never going to leave his Barbie,  being a perfect Mom is impossible and that building a family can be a bit more complicated than I had thought.

     For me it started with the dream of what would come, a foundation poured from hope and love.  But all too quickly that foundation crumbled with heartbreak and loss.  In the midst of rebuilding some desperation was tossed in and I had moments where I thought that having a family could go either way.  There were those days I wasn't sure I could bear the possible let down if it couldn't be done.  It seemed we were building on very rocky ground.

     But not to worry, we added faith to the mix and along with our hope and love it was strong enough to rebuild upon.  And so we continued with a renewed strength and slowly the foundation grew.  With each passing step we became closer in the building up of our first addition.

    It was not an easy task though.  No, not at all.  We had to pass many inspections done by so many different people and deal with invasive walk through's into every corner of our lives.  We had to devise, revise and notarize (not to mention Apostillize...)our plans and papers.  Each document completed, every appointment finished and all checklists checked added a layer to our building and brought us closer to our dream of a family.  Some days it seemed the building of it was happening all so fast, and some days dragged without an inch of progress.  The dream of our finished product often feeling like just that, a dream.  But as we grew closer and closer to completing our building the stumbles, tumbles and hard work were all but forgotten.

     Over the last 8 years we've built our family through adoption, two little additions that I treasure more than anything.  I started on this journey of construction never thinking it would lead down this amazing path.  The building of my family has also been a reconstructing of my heart and soul.

     November is National Adoption Awareness Month, obviously a topic near and dear to my heart.  We don't all build our families the same way but we all become true families still, it just takes some of us a bit longer to get there.  There is a lot of hard work, sometimes heartache and so much waiting involved in building an adoptive family.  We don't get to grow our little ones in our tummies, but we sure do find a way for them to grow in our hearts and minds.

  Building a family has been the most amazing thing I have done in my life.  The end result is truly the most beautiful structure, better than I ever could have imagined producing with Ken!  My little additions are products not built by me, but the love and adoration I have for them sure was.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Party like it's 1972

Oh ya babaaayyyyyyy.....
That is how we roll over here ------- disco-in down and groovin out. 

Or at least attempting to!

Adam threw me a birthday party with the theme of the year I was born.  Only too bad he got the year all mixed up and it should have obviously been an 80's party but we'll let it slide cause I am that kind of gal.  Even with the year off by 10 or so he really threw a fantastic party and went all out with the 72 theme!

My brother-in-law and my nephew drove over 7 hours to celebrate with us!  It was so awesome to have them here, and it meant a lot to all of us!  Thank you guys for coming, it was so special to have you both here!  The kids are still  talking about the fun they had with you!

Here's "the crew" getting ready to dance the night away!

Me and my disco dude!
The wild trio!
And then the party really started!  We rented out the gym at our local JCC and it was the perfect spot!  Our friend (who is also Adam's amazing chef at work) catered the party and served so many delicious dishes.  We also had a DJ and some yummy beverages and it all combined to create the perfect party atmosphere! 

Some  of my favorite pals came, in full costume to help me ring in my big birthday!  Thanks to all of you that came out to celebrate!

 Adam and my friends, James & Melissa -the hippie looking couple featured above- worked together in top secret to create an amazing slide video of my life (all forty 30ish years!)  They even had my Mom & Dad in on it and everything!  The end product is a couple of really wonderful slides set to music.  Let me just say, this is a perfect gift for anyone, I forgot so many moments of my own childhood as well as some really cute moments of my own children.  James also included wedding/honeymoon photos - pictures of family members and friends we may have not seen for years, or that are no longer with us.....magical memories!  Thank you guys soooooo much! 
  And then the fun continued until the wee hours of the night.  (or I guess it felt that way even though it was just 11.  This turning 40 thing and all.....)
 Oh my MayMay...channeling her inner hippie!!

It was such a great night with great friends and my incredible hubby and sweet (and well behaved!) kids. 
 Thanks to all my friends that shared such a fun night.  According to Simone we are doing this every year, she had so much fun!  I think once every 40 is enough, but we'll have to see....

And another special THANKS!!!  to my pal Heather from The Mommyhood.com for taking most of these fantastic pictures!  You and super cool hubby made my night just partying with us, but all the pictures was such a bonus!  
(And F.Y.I - Heather  wrote an awesome book called     Secrets of the Mommyhood     that I will shamelessly tell you all to check out and order a copy of!  It's hilarious and honest and the perfect gift for a new Mommy! )