Monday, November 30, 2009

Like many moms, I often plan family outings that I think we will all enjoy and that will also add to my childrens' "memory box" of childhood. I always start our family adventure with picture perfect mental snapshots of how these outings will go. My expectations can often cause disappointment later. Fortunately, I'm able to move beyond the disappointment by replacing those snapshots with the "home movies" of how life really unfolds on a family outing--tantrums, bloopers and all.

So yesterday we set out on one of our family outings. Having spent Thanksgiving with my parents at their cottage in northern Wisconsin, we decided to stop to cut down a Christmas tree on the way back to Chicago.

It was cold. It was wet. It was muddy. The kids were tired...dead tired, and yet I insisted and persisted. It could still be a picture perfect day.

The good thing is, there were LOTS of trees to pick from. The bad thing is there were LOTS of trees to pick from.

We couldn't drive our car to the trees because we don't have 4 wheel drive, so we huffed to the furthest corner of the mud pit farm to find our special tree.

When you're at a Christmas tree farm, it's hard to have perspective. It's really hard to tell how big your tree (and your space at home) is! We ended up with a big tree...a really BIG big, it's going to need a serious shearing just to fit through our door!

Of course, we had to haul our tree all the way back to our car through the mud we had already slid through. My muscles still ache from carrying the tree "just 100 more yards." (I kept telling the kids it was "just 100 more yards" to keep them moving forward.)

So my mental snapshot of cutting down a beautiful Christmas tree and lightly pulling it through the crunchy snow will be replaced by a more realistic memory of dragging an oversized, exceedingly heavy tree through lots and lots of mud. But we laughed...a lot. And at the end of our mud-filled journey, we were welcomed into this little log cabin filled with candy canes, hot cocoa and treats for the kids.

I'd say that's one for the memory box.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

lily in red

I don't know if Thankful Thursday is a widespread blogger trend, but I've noticed the entries on several of the adoption blogs I follow.

I don't typically do Thankful Thursday posts, but today seemed like a really good day to put my gratitude "on paper." Lily's speech has been slow to develop, but I am so thankful that she is finally able to express what she feels in her heart--whether it's good or bad.

Lately, she showers me (and Daddy too) with "I wuv yous" throughout the day. She is still missing several sounds, so these endearing thoughts of hers are cute as can be! Recently, she added "Mommy, I wuv you so muttts," or "I wuv bof of us" (I love Mommy and Daddy) to her repetoire. When she has to do something she doesn't want to do (go to bed, take a nap, go to the potty) she will say "but I yike my Daddy/Mommy" (whoever is NOT taking her to bed/nap/potty).

It is easy to take something such as speech and language for granted and I am grateful today that Lily can finally express herself!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

She's An American Girl

Lily with backpack-edit

It's too expensive.

It's too crowded.

It's too hot--way too hot.

I'm sure there are more "toos" to add to that list, but at the end of the day, the American Girl Store makes many little girls happy. Really, REALLY happy. And who would YOU rather serve as a role model for your daughter--plucky Kit Kittredge who helped her family survive the Great Depression, or Barbie? I guess it depends upon your priorities. Personally, I prefer Kit, or Maya or Samantha.

Lily and I visited the American Girl Store together on Saturday for the first time. We tagged along with Lily's cousins Jenna and Kara as they were going to choose the dolls they would receive for Christmas.

jenna and doll-edit

I had hope that by tagging along with her older cousins, that Lily would take a bit more interest in her own doll. We received a Bitty Baby/American Girl doll from relatives shortly after we submitted our paperwork to adopt from China. We know now that at the time we received the doll, Lily wasn't even born!

In the car on the way home, Lily said "I had fun mama!" It warmed my heart--our first real mother/daughter outing. "What did you like the best," I asked.

"The macaroni and cheese!" she answered excitedly.

Well, maybe she's still a bit too young to appreciate this kind of mother daughter outing! I'm sure she would have prefered the park!

American Girl mosaic

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As Time Goes By.

lily speed sign

I received a surprise phone call from Costa Rica this evening. Surprise because it's been 19 years (almost to the day) since I returned from 3 years there as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Seriously? 19 years? Time has just got to slow down!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Fun

family leaves
Is there a better way to spend a warm, fall day than playing in the sun and the leaves with your family?

The giggles and laughter filled us all with happiness. Sam, who has been having trouble sleeping, said he would remember this at bedtime to chase away his bad dreams.

sam and dad in leaves

It makes me realize that my kids (and most kids) love the little things in life!

lily in leaves

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

My three little trick-or-treaters...

Lily as a kitty cat.

Sammy as a cardinal.

Joey as a vampire. Twenty seconds after putting on his makeup, he wiped it on the back of his hand and smeared it all over his face!