Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve
I usually dread New Year's Eve. With a capital "D." You always feel like you should go out but don't know what to do. Too many choices or too far or no babysitter. Big Daddy T is in Atlanta. No problem for him. He likes going out. I was happy to sit here alone, with 1/2 my crew and not give a second thought about what to do or where to go tonight. Call me lame. I don't care. Maybe I am lame. Well, maybe I will give it a second thought and this is what I think:

I WOULD HATE TO: go downtown Altanta to see "The Peach Drop." Bad parking, too crowded.
I WOULD LOVE TO: go to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-a Bowl and see GT play LSU.

I WOULD HATE TO: go to Times Square to see "The Ball Drop." Too crowded. I'm too afraid of terrorists.
I WOULD LOVE TO: watch "The Ball" drop from the balcony of a lush hotel suite overlooking Times Square.That sounds like fun!

I WOULD HATE TO: go bar hoppin'. I'm too old to stand up for hours, fight for a stool at the bar, be polite to strangers, shout over loud music and pay $9 for a crappy mojito.
I WOULD LOVE TO: go bar hoppin' like we did in Arizona... really nice hotel bars with plush seating, good views, nice music, attentive waiters and pay for good beer in a frosty glass.

I WOULD HATE TO: go to a friend of a friend's party. Call me a royal snob (or worse) but I just cannot stay up past midnight making small talk with strangers about work or kids or the economy or the weather. I don't want to dodge some drunk crazy person going around trying to kiss everyone at midnight. I'm not going to spend the night on someone's couch and I don't want to have to wait for a safe ride or tote a bunch of wasted adults around.
I WOULD LOVE TO: Go to a friend's/neighbor's house... watch T.V... play games... drink... laugh... talk... and then I could sleep in their guest room or walk home.

I WOULD HATE TO: be in the car with my kids tonight. If I'm not where I need to go by dark... I don't go. Man, do I need a Xanax or what? All this nervousness is making me nervous.
I WOULD LOVE TO: celebrate New Year's Eve on vacation. I like to travel. It would be fun to be in a snowy cabin somewhere or on a Caribbean beach. Ahhhh... maybe next year???

HAPPY 2009 FRIENDS!!! Wherever you are... BE SAFE!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Mother has been a Mama for 36 years today. And to celebrate we had dinner together (with my Daddy) tonight. It was so lovely. I love you Mama! And Daddy... thank you for my flowers.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Carol's Christmas Candy
(It's to die for!)
Last week I received a gift from my friend Carol. It was homemade candy. When I arrived home at my house I suppose I was busy carrying Dreamgirl inside or groceries or something and left the candy in the car. Later that afternoon I got back in the car to go pick up the big kiddos from swim. Feeling a bit hungry & needing a snack, I remembered the homemade candies from Carol in the backseat. Risking an accident I turned around in my seat, taking my attention away from the road and towards finding the chocolaty snack in the back. Bringing them up to the front I initially thought them to be chocolate covered peanut butter drops. But upon biting into the first one I 'bout ran off the road! It was a most unexpected deliciousness of creamy coconut and nuts covered in thick, dark chocolate. I think I said "Oh my gosh!" outloud to myself. POP! into my mouth went another... then another... and another. Finally I told myself I should save the remaining candies for dessert after dinner. I twisted the bag and put it in the passenger seat. Then I grabbed them again, untwisted the bag and POP! POP! POP! ate the others up by the time I arrived at the pool. SOOOOOOOOO... all that to say.... if you LOVE coconut and chocolate and yummy, gooey goodness.... try this recipe for an amazing holiday treat. And... they make great gifts... like Carol gave to me. Thanks C.K.!
P.S... Iced Sugar Cookies barely beat out Red Velvet Cake as the favorite holiday treat among readers. RVC is my F*A*V*O*R*I*T*E cake and don't think I'm gonna let the holidays go by without sharing my Mama's recipe. But for today... make the chocolate... yummmmm....

Carol's Christmas Candy

2 boxes powdered sugar, sifted (I use a little less than 2 boxes so they are creamier - maybe about 1 3/4)
*1 can sweented condensed milk1 stick margarine or butter (I used butter)
*2 tsp vanilla
*2 cups chopped nuts
*1 cup flaked coconut
Directions: Melt butter, add sugar, milk, coconut, vanilla, nuts. mix well. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet and refrigerate over night.

Chocolate coating
*12 oz semi sweet choc. chips (Recipe calls for two 12oz pkg chips, but one was just enough)
*1/2 bar parafin wax
Melt together in double boiler. Dip balls with toothpick and place on waxed paper. cool. It helps to keep them cold before dipping so just take a few out of the frig at a time to dip. Makes about 120.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's Daddy Doing?

Two weekends ago, on a wet, cold, rainy Sunday afternoon we went to our neighborhood Home Depot to get our Christmas Tree. That probably sounds really lame to all my friends up north who get to go to REAL fraiser fur tree farms... walk in the snow, go for a genuine sleigh ride and let the horse pull it back. Ahhh... that sounds dreamy. Anyhoo- here in west, central Georgia we do the best we can and for us this year it was HD! Big Daddy T wanted to go shoot guns with my Daddy so he was very prompt in getting the tree inside so he could go play. My Dreamgirl was probably thinking "Lawsie, what are these crazy folks up to now???" but she found it quite amusing and wanted to get up close for a good look at this American Christmastime tradition.

First, she circles the tree and is surely questioning why we have brought a tree inside the house."

Next, she walks over to see why Daddy is laying on the floor UNDER the tree.
"Strange indeed," she whispers to herself.

She sees this may take a while and decides to have a seat. May have been because of this conversation:
BDT: "Is it straight?"
Me: "No a little to the left."
BDT: "Now?"
Me: "Oh I'm sorry, I meant right."
BDT: "Now?"
Me: "No... too far right go back a little more left."
BDT: "Now?"
Me: "Try spinning it a little left."
BDT: "&#(*@() @&$(*Q)@& #@%$^#!!!!!!!!"
Me: "It's looks great honey, just like that!"

Now, she gets brave and decides to venture under the tree herself!

She decides watching Daddy put water in the tree is a bit boring and come closer for a hug.

Or... maybe to play? Attack Daddy!

Nah... a hug sounds better.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Catching Up
Oh my blogging friends. Here I am. I am alive. And thankfully... I am well. So where have I been? First of all... I hate my computer. It's slow. How slow??? This slow.

As slow as a slimy, creeping snail.

Or, as slow as you may go if you had to follow this kind gentleman up a flight of stairs.

And definitely as slow as this 3-toed sloth is at getting up & getting going!

So having bad equipment is frustrating to this Blogger who likes to use pictures in her posts. Perhaps this guy will help me out:

And I've had a bit of writer's block. I've been uninspired. For so long I used this blog as an outlet for the frustration I had with waiting for Dreamgirl. Then, after returning home I was so joyful I used it to brag and spill all the details about her. Six months later I'm settled. No longer desperately needing to vent my fears and questions and anxieties about an impending adoption and a bit calmer from the hysteria of those first few months as a proud new mama. But I do like my blog. I love to scrapbook but don't find much time to do that either. This blog sort of acts as an on-line, public scrapbook of my life... my children growing and our adventures. So here I am... back in the saddle.

So... during my "va-cay" we celebrated our SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY with Little Miss Dreamgirl. Can you believe it? Six months she's been ours. Six months since that day she walked into our lives in the arms of an orphanage nanny. Six months since we stepped of an United airplane as a new family... tired, jet-lagged and unsure of how our transition would go. And we made it! It feels like she's been here forever! And yet, at many times I am so aware of how much time we missed with her. She's growing so fast... and to think of those 9 months she grew without us watching. I am still mesmerized by her... I catch myself staring at her... her big, brown, almond eyes... her tiny, little, peanut body... her beautiful thin fingers. She's so smart. She's funny. She's mine.

This is what our Dreamgirl looked like this time last year:

This photograph was dated 11/27/07. November 27th was Thanksgiving Day this year. Saying we're thankful to have her home is a gross understatement!

And here she is six months later at 9 months old, sitting on a bed in room #1320 of the Gloria Grand Hotel in Nanchang, China... only about an hour after we got her. I can't imagine what she must have been thinking!

And look at our beautiful, big girl today. She's stunninginly beautiful if I do say so myself.

Be back soon, friends... and I promise!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Guess Who We Met... FINALLY!

Last weekend My Dreamgirl and I finally got to meet the long-awaited, highly anticipated Miss Kai. Her amazing Mother invited friends over to meet her beautiful baby only 2 days after deboarding a 30 hour flight back from Vietnam. I was in a coma the weekend after my trip... numbly glued to my couch wearing pajamas wondering if I would ever be the same... and Kai's Mama was radiant, energetic and beaming as she introduced us to her daughter. Kai is healthy, happy, adjusting beautifully and settling into her world here in America.
Hello beautiful Kai... we've waited so long to see you and have you safely at home. Kai is 2 months & 10 days younger than My Dreamgirl.

Kai & Dreamgirl seemed to connect like old friends. I hope they are friends forever!

Hey... where'd those smiles go, you pretty girls? They both look like "Oh geez... here they go again with those flashy thingie mabobs. We wish they'd give it a rest already!" O.K. sweet girls, back to your play... so THANKFUL, espcially this week, that you are both H*O*M*E with your families!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

I Have Become my Father
Every grown child has a moment when they say something or do something and it hits them... "Oh my gosh... I heard my Mother say that a million times!" or "My Dad did the same thing when I was a kid!" That happened to me this week as I found myself unable to throw away a bottle of hand soap that had just a little bit left in the bottom. I unscrewed the top of the old bottle AND the new bottle and flipped that old bottle upside down and let the unused contents slowly drip into the new bottle... totally emptying the old bottle. Growing up my Daddy did this with ketchup, dishwashing soap, syrup... basically, all bottled products. And there I stood in my very own kitchen now doing the same. What do you do that your parent always did? Anything?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Love It!

This is my Oprah-esque post about some of my favorite things. Today's feature is ZAPPOS! Ever tried it? is an on-line shoe store that has available just about any style & size of shoe, boot, sandal, slipper, high-heel or tennis shoe for men, women & children. It's awesome! Now... this is not a discount shoe site. You won't find any real terrific bargains BUT... here are the super-duper benefits of shopping on Zappos:
  1. FREE shipping BOTH ways. They send shoes to you free & if they don't fit you print off an UPS shipping return label... at home... and drop the box off at the nearest UPS store... which in my case is right next to Publix, to which I go just about on a daily basis. So, the price you see is the price you pay!
  2. They are delivered to your door via UPS at LIGHTNING SPEED. Lightning I say. When you check-out choose the FREE SHIPPING option... which says like 3-5 business days. Do not be fooled by that. THE SHOES WILL BE AT YOUR HOME THE NEXT DAY! It's amazing... it's like they have tiny shoe elves who work through out the night and fly on Santa-like sleds to bring them straight to your door. I ordered my mom some Ugg boots. They arrived at her home around 5 p.m. They were too small. I took them home with me after eating supper with she & my Daddy and after my kids went to bed got on the Zappos site and ordered her a bigger pair. This was like 9 p.m. The new boots were at her house by 5 p.m. the NEXT DAY! For FREE! And then I returned the smaller pair... for FREE!
  3. They will credit your credit card quickly. This company is about CUSTOMER SERVICE and they've got a loyal one in me for FO SHO!

    Did you know there are NO early detection devices for Pancreatic Cancer. PC is often known as a "silent disease" because in it's early stages it produces NO easily recognizable symptoms. Therefore, PC is usually not diagnosed until it is in ADVANCED stages. Warning signs to look for include weight loss, jaundice, pain in the upper abdomen and/or back and diarrhea.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Did you know Pancreatic cancer research constitutes less than 2% of the National Cancer Institute’s federal research funding—a figure far too low given the severity of the disease. And that my friends, is a F*A*C*T!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting to Know Big Daddy T

I thought I'd let you get to know my Baby Daddy a little bit better this Friday afternoon. Besides keeping his laptop & cell phone in a holster permanently attached to his waist, he is a huge SEC college football fan, loves to make variations of tuna fish casserole, hates my cats and is a procrastinator. I'm not sure exactly what to blame the procrastination on... it's not exactly laziness or full-out rebellion... here's an example. This is verbatim, a text message I received from him after he left out of town for work this week:

"I meant to tell u to stay away from the police cause our tags r expired... just watch in ur mirrors and avoid..."

Now his birthday is at the FIRST of October and he had all month to get the tags. Instead, now I in addition to picking kids up, dropping kids off, referring fights, passing back snacks to a baby who hates the carseat, playing DJ... I have to be on the lookout for cop cars and then "avoid." I'll do my best.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween 2008

Well, I'm a little slow getting these Halloween pics. up... seems like I'm slammed these days and seems like little Miss Dreamgirl doesn't exactly like entertaining herself while I waste the day away on the computer... go figure? Anyhoo... here's our recap. Let's begin a couple weeks before Halloween... on a sunny, Wednesday afternoon when my 3 big kiddos convinced me it was a good day to drive to the nearest "big-ger" town to purchase their Halloween costumes. Party City looked like downtown Atlanta at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon... it was a ZOO! With all 4 kids in tow we managed to manuever through the crowds and get the costume each of the Big 3 wanted... for the bargain price of $139.00. That's right... (BDT don't call me or text me or have a coronary... the money's already gone and it ain't comin' back!) When did Halloween become so expensive? There's hardly any money left for poor 'ol Santa Claus now!!! Well, they were all happy & excited and I was happy it was over... but little did I know... it wasn't over. My Baby Boy's jumpsuit needed to be hemmed... big time. My Firstborn's costume was really for a woman & had boob darts for the "woman" who would wear it & her big boobs... my boobless 10- yr-old was mortified and demanded that I totally reconstruct the dress to get rid of the boob darts & gathers... oh and while I was at it could I possibly make the skirt gold instead of turquoise? And finally, Pretty Kitty was a bit too rolly-polly for her "Disco Dolly" dress and even my smallest girdle didn't help enough. So I found myself reconstucting that dress too... adding shiny hot pink panels on the side for extra "comfort." My early start and $139.00 seemed in vain as I put the final stitches in the costumes just hours before sunset Friday afternoon. Whew! But it turned out good and they were thrilled... doesn't that make it worth it???

Here is My Firstborn starring as a modest "I'm embarrassed to have my picture made alone" Egyptian Princess.

I gulped hard when her make-up was complete... she looked so grown-up... and so beautiful. Where'd my baby go?

Here's my Pretty "I'm never embarrassed to have picture taken & will offer you 100 of my own poses" Kitty. She looked glamorous as our Hippie Chick!

See? She's a supermodel when the camera comes out!

And My Baby Boy as "The King"... Elvis. He was an absolute hit! Poor girls totally got the shaft when neighbors answered the door... everybody looooved Elvis! He does look pretty awesome doesn't he? Here he's giving me his "thankyaverymuch" pose.

An upclose smile for Mama!"

And where??? you may ask, is My Dreamgirl on her First Halloween looking all cute in her fuzzy, wuzzy bunny rabbit costume? Here she is....

Here she is. Uh, huh... that's right... asleep. I asked Big Daddy T to watch her while I got the Big 3 ready, fixed dinner, etc. and this is how he did... he let her fall asleep and therefore miss the entire event. Nice. That's my payback for the $139.00... we're even!

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Did you know that Pancreatic Cancer research is at the level TODAY where breast cancer research was in the 1930's??? That's pretty pathetic for the cancer that has the highest mortality rate among all cancers!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's November Again!
November is PANCREATIC CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. I try not to get so sick of all the breast cancer awareness attention that the media bombards us with. I have a grandmother & great-grandmother that had breast cancer... and heck, I have breasts! But, watching my mom fight PANCREATIC CANCER for the last 20 months has made me acutely aware of how scary and dangerous this type of cancer is. This month I will inform my readers of some facts to help you understand this devestating disease better.

PANCREATIC CANCER FACT: 75% of patients with Pancreatic Cancer will die within one year of diagnosis.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Waiting for Kai

I have a dear friend here in my small town. This friend and I have only seen each other a handful of times. We've never been to each other's house... we've never gone shopping together... we've never done a "girl's weekend." This friend and I have a bond, though... despite our busy schedules, different social circles and activities. You see we are kindred spirits because we're both adoptive mommies who have shared the same cup of wanting, waiting and desperate hope. We know the feeling of living on the computer desperate for news of our little ones across the ocean. We know how the other has sat in an empty nursery that waits for the baby to needs it so desperately. We know the agonizing fear that our daughters may not have what they need and the powerlessness of being able to help them. We know the hours the other has spent on their knees praying unceasingly for God to open the doors behind which our little girls waited. We know. We just know. While close friends surrounded both of us as we waited & waited... offered encouragement... pleaded to help... only those who have walked in the same shoes truly know the specific feelings and desire and fear associated with international adoption. My adoption journey was rocky. And my friend's has been the same. Soon after I returned home with My Dreamgirl in June I met this friend for lunch. That day she was hopeful to travel to Vietnam "any time now" for her daughter Kai. That "time" was much longer and more agonizing than she ever imagined. The end of the story is that finally, Kai is coming home. My friend and her husband overnight have received final approval from the USCIS and now boarding that plane will be sweeter and more joyous than it ever could have been this past summer. Congratulations to my sweet friend. My Dreamgirl & I cannot wait to meet your long-awaited daughter and celebrate with you today!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Recently, through Facebook, I was able to reconnect with an old high school friend I probably haven't seen or talked to since our high school graduation on a muggy June night in 1991. I knew this friend had left the South to pursue a new life out West, while I created my adult life here in the Peach State where we grew up. Upon becoming my friend's "friend" again on Facebook, I was able to view his children... beautiful girls... and cute, seemingly well-behaved dogs (unlike mine) and then I got a glimpse of this...

This breathtaking photograph is a picture of his backyard. As in... what he sees when he looks out his backdoor. I was in awe. The scene was so beautiful and idyllic that I immediately was jealous of the beauty & peace that surrounds his family everyday in their home. Gorgeous. With a capital "G." And as the days passed... as I walked around my house looking out upon my backyard... I wondered where did I go wrong? Let's look out my backdoor and see if it compares to the Colorado beauty of my friend's.

Greeting you when you walk out my back door is the brown shag rug that belongs in my big girls' room. My cat pooped on it one night... right in front of me. I freaked!!! and threw the cat & the rug out the backdoor. I haven't called the carpet cleaner out yet to sanitize it so on the back porch rail it waits.

Next is a trash can that is overflowing with empty cat food bags. Does Big Daddy T need an invitation to empty it's contents into the dumpster?

Here is my cat responsible for the aforementioned pooping and eating of the cat food once contained in the peach bags.

Here's another picture of my friend's backyard. Look at his dogs playing happily. The mountain stream flowing through the property. The picnic tables set up on the manicured lawn.

Here's my backyard. My naked pool, which is growing colder by the day and spending autumn collecting leaves that fall from the trees that surround it. Another summer passed without us finding time to landscape around it. The pool equipment stands unhidden for the world to see... like a zit on the face of my pool area. Nice, huh?

Here's a hole that My Baby Boy put in my deck last week. Oops. Glad that the outdoor fireplace screen will now spend the winter covering the hole rather than shielding us from the sparks of the fire. Looks like that fireplace screen has spent one too many days in the rain.

Sitting side by side on the holey deck I saw one of my good cereal bowsl... wonder which baby left that out there... sitting next to one of my snorkle fins. There is no telling where the fin's partner is. It appears the kids confiscated this one, used it in the chlorinated pool & left it to weather in the hot, beating Southern summertime.

This bowl has been out in the backyard long enough to become a yellow jacket graveyard. I wonder what it's like to drown in Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk?

Do you see any cereal bowls, dead insects or forgotten area rugs in this picture?

And finally, the creme-de-la-creme of the backyard: the trampoline. We have a broken down Pottery Barn patio chair. I guess they still use it as a ladder to climb up on the trampoline. We have a bike that will soon suffer the same fate as the fireplace screen & snorkle fin... (note to self: remember to remind kids that Santa sees how his gift is being treated... could produce a month of good behavior.) And the protective green spring padding that has been tossed aside onto the ground. Guess my kids are now "too cool" to have their little fingers & toes protected from the pinchy springs.

So until I find the time to create a dreamier backyard... perhaps I'll blow this photograph up & place it in my window as my inspiration and share in the beauty of my friend's yard... all the way back here at home.

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