Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Cookies

Today was Ellie's first time to help make cookies. I chose a time when we would be undisturbed as she is at a stage where she does NOT like to share -- time, attention, cookie cutters, it doesn't matter. There will be NO sharing.

We found these cookie cutters in with our Halloween supplies and few week's back and she's been SO EXCITED talking about making cookies.

I think the pictures tell the tale much better than I ever could.

We are taking the rest to school tomorrow for her friends to eat. I think she had fun! I know I did.

Happy Gotcha/Family Day, Ellie!!

Two years ago Sunday, our littlest member of the family landed in Nashville to be welcomed home by her big brother, her daddy, a MeeMee, a DeeDee and a Nana and many, many other friends and family.

I still remember it like it happened last week.

Sunday we celebrated our family's completion by going out to eat at Mimi's Cafe and then taking a trip to Toys R Us for a special toy -- which ended up being a Disney Princess CD player (the kind that plays those molded plastic cds). Not surprising that the wee one who started out as "The Princess" was celebrated with a GiGi's cupcake that is billed as "The Princess" and then got a Princess CD player. NeeMee and DeeDee got her a bowling set which she has worn us out with asking us to set it up and play with her.

I could wax nostalgic for hours upon end about how wonderful she is, but her head is already big enough! Suffice it to say God could not have picked a more perfect fit for our family and we are all thankful every day for her and Joshua.

Here are a few photos from Ellie's special day.

Checking out the Gigi's cupcakes:

We were also celebrating my daddy's birthday, so we had twice the reason for celebration:

Ellie enjoying her Princess cupcake:

MeeMee and DeeDee with their cupcakes:

Kevin was ready to dig into his cupcake:

Nana got a Banana Pudding cupcake -- yumm!!

And Josh got a White Magic Chocolate Chip:

Ellie getting her present:

Ellie got comfy in the floor to "read" her card:

Josh was taking pictures by this time. Thie one is a little blurry, but Ellie's expression is so sweet, I had to share it.

And how about this sweet one of Ellie and her DeeDee:

Football Season is ROCKING

Where is time going these days? No one mentioned that I would be on the go 24/7 when I "grew up". At least I'm never bored.

Josh's football team, the Joelton Vikings 11/12, have ROCKED this year. Regular season ended with us being 8-0 with our team scoring 295 and our opponents scoring 18. Not one extra point was scored during the regular season game against our boys either. They have been SMOKING HOT!!!

Josh's regular season stats (for eight games) include:
  • 31 tackles
  • 15 assists
  • 5 sacks
  • 4 fumble recoveries
  • 1 safety
Not too shabby, I don't think.

We started playoffs last week and won the first game 26-12. We have another playoff game this Saturday and when we win, we will head to the Super Bowl. This same group of young men won the Super Bowl two years ago and I am SO HOPEFUL for the chance for them to go again.

I'm already saddened that after two weeks, our lives as Joelton Vikings will be over. It's been such a wonderful group of friends to spend the last six years with (half of Josh's life!). Now, we will all go our separate ways with many of our kids heading off to different schools. I can't type this -- I'll be too sad.

NEVER FEAR though: Josh is trying out for the middle school soccer team. Those try-outs started this week and run three days this week. Should he make the team, that will tide us over until baseball season. *smile*

Here are some recent photos of my boy in action.

Josh has even played center a few times this year:

Josh took this team's QB down so hard, I felt bad for him.

It's been a fantastic year so far. The only thing that can make it better is Josh getting another one of those Super Bowl rings!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Years Back ...

Two years ago I was in a third world country in an orphanage filled with babies waiting to find their forever homes. Some of them never would.

Ellie was fortunate. We were blessed.

I remember the hour and a half ride to Tokmok. It seemed so surreal. I had a mixture of butterflies and the feeling you get on a roller coaster when your stomach "falls out" of you.

All I wanted to do when I got there was run into her room and grab her up. I had to play nice, though, and give them donations, cakes, sign her out on a log book.

She was sleeping when I went in. I remember thinking, "Is this really her?" She had grown a bit and changed a little in the five months since I had last held her.

I scooped in and picked her up and she opened her eyes and her face lit up with a smile. What a beautiful, radiant smile she had. While I will never know if that was the way she always woke up there or if it was just getting attention or whether it was, as I like to believe in my heart, that she knew her mama had come back, it was a beautiful moment.

And I cried. Big fat, happy tears of joy that it was finally over. Five long years of waiting was finally complete in this one moment. God had kept His promise to me.

Tonight when Ellie came home from the ballpark all covered in dirt and grime I remembered how very blessed we were to have this girl in our lives. After her bath when she was sweet smelling and clad in pjs, she came and climbed up in my lap and we watched the video I made the day we got her. Normally, she would talk all the way through it telling me who everyone was and asking questions. I don't know if she was tired or not, but there wasn't any talking on her part. I narrated the video and told her how very much I loved her and how happy I was on that day. We pointed out the entire process (thank you AGAIN, Jennifer for all your pictures -- they are such a blessing to Ellie and us!) as it happened. She only asked one question, "Who's that?" of a picture of one of her caregivers.

We are all so blessed -- each person in this family is a blessing from God.

And while we celebrate Family/Gotcha' Day on October 24, the day we arrived home and become a family of four, today was a sweet time of rememberance.

Here are a couple of photos I took today of Ellie at the park. She is imitating her brother who was trying to get her attention and make her smile. Turns out we were the ones paying attention to HER and smiling!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Half Birthday, Fall Break and "Spring Ya'" Day

My life is rolling by so quickly these days that I'm having to combine several big events in our family into one blog post. Considering it's almost 1 a.m. and I really should be sleeping ... well, you get the idea.

We celebrated Ellie's "half" birthday several weeks back by having mini cakes at home. Ellie was all about having cake and a candle. Apparently, so was Josh as he wanted his own as well. Due to the wonderful habit of couponing, we have several mini cakes in our refrigerator that were FREE so I didn't mind both kids having their own. I can't believe my tiny girl is two and a half already. Some of the fun things she is doing now is potty training (we are really almost there with wet diapers, but not so much with dirty ones), talking up a storm, asking "WHY?" several times throughout the day, singing all the time, counting to 15, giving a lot of grief to Josh (including hitting him which has resulted in several trips to time out and several stern lectures), loving on all of us (she says I love you all the time!!), coloring, playing dress up and enjoying everything about life these days (well, except naps and sleeping still!).

Here are some photos of her and Josh celebrating her "half" birthday.

We are in the middle of fall break from both school and preschool/mother's day out. Having both kids at home has been both fun and challenging. We've had a couple of field trips and those have been nice. Bickering between the two of them seems to be at a record high and that hasn't been so nice. And it's over the silliest things: whose going to hold the DVD player in the car, who gets to hold a piece of paper, who gets to pick what to watch on television -- silly.

On Monday, Josh, Ellie and I headed out to Chuck E Cheese. I thought it would be a horrible experience, but it turned out to be quite fun. There wasn't a lot that Ellie was big enough to play on, but she managed to use her 10-15 tokens and "earned" 34 tickets. That bought her a ring, bracelet and a sucker and her life was literally complete!! Josh got a lot of game time in and that's always a plus for him! I have photos on my camera phone, but as anyone knows whose ever been to CEC, you don't want to have to hold on to anything you don't have to -- my hands were full as it was!

Tuesday we went to the pumpkin patch. MeeMee went with us and we had a really good time -- well, right up until she had a flat tire when we left. But even that didn't dampen our spirits as we went to lunch while we waited for the repair truck to arrive!

These are my photos from the day. I hope to get mom's up on here in a day or two as well as she has several I don't have!

To see the entire album (well, the ones I've finished editing anyway) visit here.

Wednesday was pretty much a stay-at-home day. Tomorrow we are headed off to the local park for some duck feeding (and picture taking, I'm sure -- poor kids are SICK TO DEATH of having their pictures made!) and then on the doctor's office to get flu shots for the year. I'll be glad to have that out of the way early this year!

Friday we are going to attempt to go up to Kentucky for a visit to the drive-in movies. We've always said we were going and never made it, but I think we just might make it this week!! I'm SO excited. I don't remember having ever been and I know the kids haven't. They are showing Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me as a double feature. Ellie will PASS OUT long before the second feature starts. I'm hopeful that it won't be too cool.

And, last, but certainly not least: two years ago today (the 14th), I was able to "Spring" Ellie out of her first home, the orphanage in Tokmok, and into my arms forever. We don't officially celebrate her "Gotcha" Day until the 24th because that's the day we got home and became a family of four, but this day is so significant and special to me -- it our day, mine and hers, where we bonded and became mom and daughter!!
And for those of you wondering why there is a (c) watermark across my photos now, it's because ... well, that's a post for tomorrow. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ellie & Josh Celebrate Fall

With the onset of cool weather, I managed to get Ellie into fall clothing and shoot some pictures one morning before preschool. That afternoon, we decided to head over the field and feed Norman and Joker -- the neighbor's horses. I LOVE fall!