Thursday, October 30, 2008


Does it come as a surprise to anyone that Elise wanted to be a Princess again this year for Halloween? Last year she was Ariel, the year before she Belle and she's already planning her Mulan costume for next year. Anyone else see a type A personality in the making?!?

Carson struggled with his costume decision this year. He just couldn't decide on anything. I even took him to a costume shop to get some ideas. Problem was that he was too big for the kids costumes and the adult costumes were too gory.
He almost decided to go as Hillary Clinton (I thought that would be hysterical) but chickened out on the idea of wearing a dress. :)
Who knows what exactly he's supposed to be in this get up. The cape is borrowed from his Darth Vadar costume 2 year ago, the mask is new and he calls the skeletons his buddies "Persuassion" and "Reason."
The kids are out trick-or-treating with dad tonight and we're off to our town's Halloween parade tomorrow night. One of the facts of living on a ridiculously long driveway is that we get very few trick-or-treaters. While I miss seeing a bunch of kids at my door, I am getting a lot done in the quiet of the evening!

The many faces of my son

You may wonder about the lack of pictures of my son from time to time.

This might help explain.

We had a family birthday party this weekend. There were 3 boys sitting at the table and we wanted to get one decent one of all three boys together. As I scrolled through the pictures on my computer screen, it became very clear why I have few decent pictures involving my son.

Just look what he does. (Keep in mind that there were 2 other adults besides me taking pictures so this isn't just for my benefit).

Awww.....doesn't he look sweet? Notice dad's hand on his shoulder, which is probably there as a reminder to STOP doing something.

Pseudo nice smile there...a bit exaggerated, but a smile.

Now the real fun begins...

I do believe boredom is setting in....

So he throws in a dainty hand gesture to complete the picture.
Yup...I have some great pictures of my son. Little does he realize these will make GREAT blackmail pictures some day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carson's School Picture

You may remember that when Elise got her school pictures back, she was very upset with me for forgetting to put a necklace on her.

Carson's school pictures came home on Friday.

I need to remember that 9 year old boys really could care less how their hair looks. We're lucky if he combs out the bed head before leaving for school. By the middle of the morning, he's run around so much that the sweat weighs down the crazy hair (gross, but true).

Next year I'll try and remember to have his hair cut before school pictures.


PATIENCE UPDATE: It was enlightening! I now have a new respect for those individuals who I would classify as having a patient nature. The kids did comment that I didn't yell as much (proud parenting moment there). We were all a little stir crazy by the end of the day. The new water heater wasn't installed until 4:30 so it was a day of just waiting around and bored kids.

Today's task...practice kindness. Phew, that sounds easier than patience, doesn't it?!?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I picked up the book The Love Dare last week on a whim. Let me note that it's a book about saving your marriage and I am in no way implying my marriage is on the rocks! But, rather, this book is about practicing unconditional love, something that takes a great deal of effort on my part on a good day.

The idea is that you have 40 days of "assignments" and the first assignment is to make sure you are practicing patience....all day....and in every situation.

I'll be honest, much of the time, patience is NOT my first response to situations.

I also believe that challenges are put in your path for a reason and that God often has a great sense of humor. assignment is patience today....that was the last thing I read about before going to bed.

Here's how my day looks (I'm sure you'll see some humor in this....keeping in mind that I'm to practice patience....all day.)

  • Perry set his alarm clock for 4:30 and hit the snooze button for almost an hour! And each time the alarm would go off, I'd have to wake him up to turn it off. So, my "testing" came bright and early this morning as I tried NOT to bite off my husband's head for being so insensitive to my sleep needs BUT RATHER keep in mind that he must be so tired as to not hear the alarm screeching on his side of the bed. (Anyone who thinks a teacher has a cushy work schedule needs to spend a week with us...he was getting up at 4:30 to get caught up on grading.)

  • Perry has a football game today (no surprise) but it's away and starts later than usual because of the ACT test. That means he'll be away much longer than on a typical football Saturday. Carson really wanted to go with him but they are playing a team that was involved in a shooting after a basketball game with Perry's team last year. Nope, Carson's not going today and is a little bummed to start the day.

  • The kids are done with soccer so they have no activities (yeah!) but....the water heater when out last night and the new one is being installed today...sometime between 10 and 2. So, not a good day (afterall) to invite friends over or go out to do something as we were originally thinking. Bummer.

  • Since there is no hot water, I'm waiting until there is some to take a shower. I hate not taking a shower first thing in the morning and I already feel smarmy.

  • I'm in major PMS mode today with a nasty headache already starting.

  • We're hosting a big family gathering over here tomorrow and I need to clean my house...with no hot water.

  • The kid in the neighborhood who Carson is having troubles with has told all of the other neighborhood kids that they can't play with Carson. Nice, huh? Mom still thinks this other kid is the victim in all of this. (not feeling much patience here, feeling downright anger at this situation) Carson's best friend lives down the street and is unswayed by this other kid's tactics so hopefully he'll be around today so Carson can play with him. As I've thought about the situation with Carson, I've realized how important it is for our children to have friends from families whose values match our own, particularly at this age when they are starting to become a bit more independent. Our pastor spoke about this a few weeks back but that message has really become clearer lately.

I'll let you know how this patience thing works for me today! Those of you that believe in the power of prayer might want to send up an extra thought for me today!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Have I mentioned that Elise loves homework. Let me rephrase that...ELISE LOVES HOMEWORK.

The other night, she was so darn adorable working on her spelling words. Sure enough, once I grabbed the camera, she decided there was no way I would capture that intent-on-my-homework look.

When we started spelling words with Carson, a friend suggested a dry erase board. It's been a lifesafer...the kids think it's fun and it's much easier to get them to work on their words. Now that I have 2 kids doing spelling words (Elise only did sight words last year), I need to invest in a new board.

Now she's just being goofy.

This lovely pumpkin is the result of an EXTRA CREDIT HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT. (Even BETTER than regular homework in my girl's eye AND it involved some crafting so this was a BONANZA for Elise.) Her task...turn a pumpkin into a character from a book. Can you tell which character? Sleeping Beauty, of course (with brown eyes like Elise!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I declare it officially FALL!

Even though our temps are still hitting close to 70, I'm calling it fall. We went pumpkin picking (at Walmart!), carved the pumpkins and roasted the seeds. Yup, sure signs of fall. Now, if we could just get some sweater weather going, it'd be PERFECT!

Perry and the kids set the bar a little higher in their pumpkin designs this year. Because I have to share the pumpkin seeds with my greedy kids and husband, we did 4 pumpkins so there would be plenty of seeds to go around.

The two on the left are Elise's. She designed a kitty cat face and convinced her dad to carve a unicorn. Carson's are on the right. The odd face is a clone trooper (I'm sure that really needed no explanation).

I'm off to munch on some seeds...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Campus conversations

Working on a university keeps me young and helps maintain my sense of humor. Here are a few conversations I overheard this week:

1. "Well, duh, the only reason we got married was for the dental insurance." I swear to goodness this person was SERIOUS!

2. "Yeah, I way overextended myself last week. I went out drinking Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday." Hmmm..."overextended"? Back in my day, we called it drinking ourselves stupid.

3. OK, not a comment that I overheard, but something I witnessed. My university held a graduate school fair this week, held in the main student union type building. And, I saw where our graduate marketing had fallen short. It was CONDOM DAY at the main store in the building. They even had a jeopardy like wheel to spin...for fancier ones?!? I went back and prompted requested from my dean a CONDOM WHEEL to help with our recruitment. Yeah, she's going to pass on that request....but we did giggle!

4. And my favorite comment this week came from a mom. Someone in my office found a cell phone. My student workers had the brilliant idea of calling the person listed in the contacts as "mom" as surely they'd know to whom the phone belonged. Upon calling and establishing the identity of the phone owner, the mom ASKED IF WE COULD BRING THE PHONE TO HER SON IN HIS DORM ROOM....NOT EVEN CLOSE TO OUR OFFICES. I don't think so! But we'd be happy to call your son's dorm and have him walk over to get HIS PHONE.

Ahhh....yup, it keeps me young and smiling!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tooth fairy alert....for Elise!!!!

Elise had a dentist appointment this morning to fill a cavity. Since her front tooth was hangin' by a thread, the dentist decided to help it along. Teehee...her dentist looks and talks just like Dr. Robert Rey from Dr. 90210. Between his running commentary (you are such a good girl, Elise, we are almost done, just another quick mosquito bite, you are being such a good princess...) and the fact that he looks 12 (OK, maybe 22), I had to stiffle a few giggles!

Hey, what are YOU looking at?!?

Oh, you want to see the gap in my teeth!

One teeny, tiny baby tooth. She has carried it with her all day. I'm surprised she hasn't lost it by now. (Hopefully the tooth fairy remembers to come last night...her track record hasn't been too great around here lately!)

And what has Carson been up to these word...LEGO. Well, 3 words really...LEGO STAR WARS.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tag, You're It!

Thanks Super Mommy (from Me and my two chickadees) for tagging me. If you haven't checked out her blog, you must do so! Not only are her children beautiful, they have the most adorable outfits. Elise would be Hog Heaven in that girlie household!

The Game Plan: Post 7 interesting things about myself and "tag" 7 others to do the same.

My 7 things (hopefully you won't be bored to tears by the end):

  1. I've lived in a very rural small town (pop 250), a big city (Chicago!) and several suburbs as an adult. Couldn't tell you which I liked best because they hit at such different stages of my life and were the perfect setting for each stage.

  2. I hate shots but went through 4 years of infertility treatments. The saying "That which does not kill you will only make you stronger" went through my head each and every time a needle jabbed into me. And during 4 years of infertility, there were lots and lots and lots of needles. I honestly surprised myself (and most of my family) for being able to do it for so long.

  3. I'm fairly outspoken but have a pretty low self-esteem. It's like a psychotic war in my head at times...SAY something...wait, what will they think of me for saying THAT...speak, shut up!

  4. I dropped out of college my junior year and headed back home...800 miles away. Pretty spur of the moment decision....just decided I didn't want to be there anymore. NOT a popular decision with the folks! But, I went back after the semester off and still managed to graduate on time.

  5. I had to sign a pledge in college that I wouldn't drink (among other things) and I pretty routinely broke that pledge....that really didn't have anything to do with my decision to leave, though, honest!

  6. I'm 5'11" and never had any interest in playing basketball. My hubby is 6'8" and played basketball ALL through high school and college. Sadly, our bio son seems to have inherited my husband's height but my athletic interest...or lack thereof! Bummer!

  7. My husband HATES snow and didn't tell me until AFTER we were married. I grew up in upstate NY and LOVE snow. I think this is grounds for divorce, but after 16 years of marriage, I haven't quite gotten around to acting on that. :)

Now I get to tag 7 others to do the same:

Becky from Welcome Addison Grace Xin. Addison is from Elise's SWI and Becky and I recently discovered we attended the same college! How freaky is that?!? She has 2 beautiful bio kids along with Addison.

Sandra from My Daily Grind. Sandra's adoption blog is widely read. She's so honest and open about her feelings and experiences. I had the pleasure of getting to know Sandra back when she was waiting for Jazzie and we were waiting for Elise.

Tammie from On Being Erin's Mother. Sandra, Tammie and I were regulars back in the Feb. 02 Waiting Hearts group.

Vivian from Life with Kerri. I've gotten to know Vivian through Tammie and have loved "getting to know her" via her blog!

The Morris Family from Morris, Party of Four. Another Jianxin SWI blogger. I always love the music on her blog and her very thoughtful posts!

Pipo from VaChina Monologues. I "met" Pipo through Sandra and she's on the verge of receiving her referral from China! Love her humor and honesty!

Lisa from The Wellspring. Lisa and I were friends back in our single Chicago days and we re-connected on Facebook awhile back. Her family is very similar to mine and I love reading her stories! I'm also so lame because I've never posted a comment to let her know I've been reading...SURPRISE, Lisa! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Career Choices

If Elise's first career as Princess doesn't pan out, I think she has a good shot at being an excavator. Especially if it means she can wear a pink sparkly shirt, flip flops and carry with her a pet sparkly dragon.

P.S. Eric, this is the next item that is coming your way!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

She did it!

She did it!

I'm so proud my girl.

I think I was more nervous than Elise. When she got home from school, her first question was if we were still going to the mall. She skipped through the mall, very excited about going to Libby Lu. The staff at Libby Lu did a terrific job. I was very worried we'd have some high school kid piercing her ears (which wouldn't have gone over well with me in my nervous state).

Here she is in the chair holding the new Webkinz I let her pick out to hold during the process. Even at this point, she was still VERY excited. (This is where I asked for a chair so I wouldn't pass out.) She handled it just fine until the actual piercing. They do both ears at one time and count to 5, but do the actual piercing on count 2. I made sure to put the camera down so I could grab her if she started crying, which she did. But, the tears didn't last too long until she was off to look at their selection of earrings to wear once they heal.

Here's the new dragon and her certificate from Libby Lu. Carson came along and held my hand while she got her ears pierced. :)

It's hard to see here, but she went with pink "diamond" hearts. She debated between pink flowers, round pink diamonds or the hearts but the hearts won out.

And here is a bed-headed Elise this morning, still pretty excited about her new bling.

Oh, and for the record, her loose tooth is now hanging by a thread. I think we'll have the first visit from the tooth fairy very soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Earrings....or not?

See those bare necked ear lobes?

They might not be bare necked after this weekend.

Had you asked Elise 2 weeks ago if she wanted earrings, her response would have been along the lines of "never!" She seriously never expressed an interest in having her ears pierced.

(Warning...baring one of my most embarrassing moments here!) I had my ears pierced when I was 13 and I passed out. Out cold. With my very patient dad yelling at me to GET UP OFF THE FLOOR. While I was passing out and could really do nothing to prevent falling to the floor in a crumpled heap...with nicely pierced ears! In the middle of a mall! Can you tell those memories haunt me yet to this day?!?

Well, she's had a change of heart recently due to the following events:

  • One of her new BFF's got pierced ears and came over to play right afterwards. It clearly didn't slow her down one bit.
  • Elise saw the pink "diamonds" in her friend, Vivian's, ear and has been admiring them ever since.
  • She learned that one can have their ears pierced at LIBBY LU. My girl lives and breaths for LIBBY LU so this sealed the deal.
  • She's seeing that lots of little girls in her class already have pierced ears and she likes the bling.
We'll go this weekend to look. She's not fully committed and I'm not pushing her one way or another. If she finds something she loves, I have a feeling she'll go for it. If she has to watch another girl have her ears pierced first, I have a feeling it'll be off.

I'll update you on our LIBBY LU trip later this weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Carson voted!

Carson's school had a mock election because Carson told me he voted for a presidential candidate.

I asked him about it and he said they talked about several issues and the candidates' view on each issue.

The"issue" was most important to him? The candidate with the pet turtle.

That would be John McCain.

Sigh...I guess I should be happy he "voted" at all. And maybe this is how my parents felt when I cast my first vote for a democrat. :)

NOTE FOR MY BROTHER WHO IS STILL UNDECIDED...Carson says go for the guy with the turtle and you can't go wrong. I beg to differ, but you asked for info that might sway your decision one way or the other.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm home!

I'm finally home! I had a great time in Chicago. Good conference, great weather, FANTASTIC food.

I'm not sure if the kids were more excited about me coming home or the goodies they knew I'd bring for them. Carson got some Legos and Elise got a paper doll set from American Girl.

I had mentioned that Santa may be bringing Elise the American Girl doll Ivy for Christmas. I bought Elise the paper doll set that goes with Ivy and Julie (the main character in this historical set).

While I was looking at it from the perspective of Ivy being Asian, I missed that the "historical" timeframe was the 70's! I think I had as much fun as Elise playing with the paper dolls and reading about Julie and Ivy's life back in the 70's. Elise was amazed that I knew about the Brady Bunch (Julie and Ivy's favorite TV show) and had the same type of clothes and toys growing up.

Elise kept asking me if the girls would still be alive today. I kept reminding her that the dolls could have easily been named Gretchen and Kristin and been about her aunt and mom growing up in the 70's! So, YES, it was highly probable the characters are still alive today. :) all of my fellow 40-something (or even soon to be 40!) friends...our childhoods are now old enough to be considered "historical," isn't that nice?

It's good to be home, but I'm off to continue doing laundry....why is it that I seem to be the only one in the household that knows how to operate the washer and dryer?!?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sittin' in a hotel room in Chicago

I love Chicago (you might have guessed). We were blessed to live on the north side of the Chicago when we first got married. Having grown up in a small town in upstate New York, I never saw myself living in a big city. But, I learned that when you put yourself in a new situation, you may find that you really enjoy it!

So this week, I'm at a conference in Chicago. This is a conference I've sent my staff to in the past, but I've never attended. The fact that it was in Chicago this year was the clincher for me to attend. I'm here with 2 co-workers and having a great time. (Sorry to my Chicago area family for not seeing them during this visit...since I'm paying $48/day to park the car at the hotel, I want to get my money out of that parking spot!!!)

And more importantly for my kids, my hotel room is within close walking distance to the LEGO and AMERICAN GIRL store so they are both anticipating the goodies that Mom might bring home. For the record, Elise does not have an AG doll but is asking Santa for the Ivy doll this Christmas. Ivy is the Chinese doll in their historical line. I have to say the store is charming. I think the next time we visit as a family, I'll have to bring Elise there.

I'm not checking my favorite blogs this week due to time constraints. I look forward to getting caught up once I return home.

Update on Carson - I'm really proud of how he's handling this situation with our neighbor. He told me he was going to talk to the school social worker to see if she had any words of advice. I thought that was a great idea. As neighbors, we've always said we'd let the boys work things out themselves, but the other mom keeps getting on Carson for his behavior while not addressing the behavioral concerns of her child. It's frustrating for me seeing my son catch the brunt of the blame, having seen and heard her son do things just as snotty (and more so) as what she's accusing Carson. I don't believe she's hearing the full story from her son, but is taking that as the full truth and not looking any further.

Update on Elise - she has her first loose tooth! I'm so hoping the tooth fairy doesn't have to make her first visit while Mom is away!!!