Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fab Finds & Favorite Things...

Outside of huggin' and lovin' on Leah, I do have a life. A dinky one albeit, but it's still something. And it's not very deep either. I love Target, catalog season (it's here!!), decorating, cooking, bubble baths, shopping, salon visits and chatting it up with best buddies (Shawn & Mom too!).

I rarely watch TV, but I do have a can't miss show and lucky for me, it's coming back for a third season (Bravo, Nov. 6 10 p.m.)..."The Real Housewives of Orange County" Anyone ever watch? Shawn can't stand it, I LOVE it--it's decadent, on the other side of materialistic and plain fun to watch.



Also, just had to share just a few of some fun blogs from my "favorite things to do" list:

Unbelievably good cooking/party ideas: Mud Pie Gourmet, Your Heart Out

Hosting Parties/Home Decor: Hostess With the Mostess, Stephmodo, absolutely beautiful things, The Inspired Room, Bella Pink Cafe


Shopaholic Stuff: Holly's Plate, Design Mom, Slave To Target

That should get you started if you have any interest at all in this stuff.
So much to peruse through, so little time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I've been inspired...



For about 2 months now, I've been planning our meals for the week prior to going to the grocery store. It's been lots of fun, I don't have to think anymore and we buy only what we need at the grocery store, saving big time bucks on going out to eat and wasting food. I think we eat better too.

It all started from finding the organizing junkie blog site, it's a great source for ideas on how to keep organized and you can find some yummy recipes.

So get inspired with me and join the bandwagon! I would love to find new recipes and share my favorites with my blogging buddies...wanna join me?

Monday: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread and Salad

Tuesday: Beef Stew, Cornbread (Jiffy, of course!)

Wednesday: Deluxe Potato Ham Bake, broccoli, applesauce and croissants

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: My Day Off

Sunday: Pork chops, Au gratin potatoes, peas

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cinema Saturday

I love to go to the movies. It's one of my favorite things to do. I love eating popcorn, getting a large coke, nestle in and taken away for two hours. I don't even care what I see either. I'd like it to be three stars because I believe heavily in the Roger Ebert star system, but I've been known to see some really pitiful "not even close to a star" movies because I'm married to Shawn.

Good news for me, Grammy Re and Pop Pop have recently moved within walking distance to a movie theater, I might have a chance of getting back to the movies on a more regular basis...who hoo!

I've decided I'm going to start sharing my love of the movies and post some favorite clips of movies. This clip is from one of my favorite love stories, critically acclaimed, "House of Flying Daggers". It's a gorgeous, haunting romance with beautiful costumes, dance and action scenes. The movie is in mandarin with English subtitles.

Mei (Zhang Ziyi),the lead character is blind, and in this scene she is performing a stunning dance. Rent this movie if you have not seen it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.



Here's a another clip, if you are interested in seeing more (***warning, spoilers if you haven't seen it yet)....

Bring Me Hope

A little thing I do on the side is share our adoption story and educate families on adopting from China and my agency, CCAI, at information seminars across the state.

It has been a rewarding experience to share the joy adopting Leah has given us, and we've met some awesome people too. Since the wait has slowed to a crawl, I haven't done too much promoting lately but did present at a seminar this morning. I used this beautiful video during my presentation, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. If you haven't seen this...grab a kleenex. I've watched this video a bazillion times and I still blubber. It's mostly because this video is about bringing hope to a child in need, and now, as a parent to one of these children, I know it's THEM that bring hope to us. We rescue each other.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Potty Time!


As a first-time mom, this whole potty business was kind of daunting to think about. I just figured she would let me know when the time was right. We put out the Dora potty about 6 months ago to help her start understanding the concept, but I didn't feel she was ready for prime time yet.

But this past week, something's changed...a light bulb has gone off. With the help of Ariel underwear and the kitchen timer, I think Leah has got this one whipped.

Late last week, I put the timer on every thirty minutes and when the buzzer went off, I'd run her to the potty. She thought it was hilarious and went every time. A few days ago she's started just telling me when she has to go, so the timer went bye-bye. There's been dancing, singing and lots of high-five's and "Mama is so PROUD of you's" all week long. We just may have a potty-trained little chic on our hands. Shew, that was easy!

Tonight, I was baking cookies, and the timer went off. Leah ran from the living room and said "hurry, hurry, time to go potty!" Talk about Pavlov's Dog.

Second exciting (at least for me anyway) news is that in February, I get to host a Matilda Jane trunk show. I've never been a Tupperware or Pampered Chef party kind of girl. But this...now this gets me going. I LOVE cute clothes for Leah, it's easily identified as my addiction.

Matilda Jane has just very cool, eclectic clothing for little girls and women. The owner travels around to art shows in the mid-west and only sells her unique,funky clothing at fairs or through trunk shows. The trunk show I will be hosting will offer her spring line. So, if you are interested in coming to my little shin-dig or ordering, stay tuned for the date.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"C" is for Cute

The cheese wasn't the only thing that was grilled at lunch. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Daddy Day

Every other Monday, Shawn is able to stay home with Leah through flex-time at his job...pretty cool, huh? It's definitely comes in handy and really wonderful that they have that special time together where Shawn reverts back to bachelor days and it seems that no rules exist. It's kind of sickening and cute at the same time.

Want pizza for breakfast??....Why not?

Don't want to take a nap??.....You got it babe!

Watch 15 back-to-back episodes of Dora??...Anything for my girl!

Daddy day means ALL FUN, ALL THE TIME.


It's no secret that Leah has Daddy WRAPPED..and with no shame...he freely admits it. But do you blame him? She's pretty darn cute and awfully lovey-dovey.

Shawn and Leah have this little thing they do now...where in unison they both yell..."We're buddies, we're amigos...we're PALS!" And that they are.

On this rare occasion, I was invited to partake in a Daddy day and met them at the park on my lunch hour. And yes, Mamarazzi keeps a camera in my car for just such an occasion.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Near and Dear to My Heart


"Holding up half the sky one day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air. "What are you doing?" asked the elephant.The hummingbird replied, "I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall." The elephant laughed cruelly. "Do you really think," he said, "that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?"The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, "Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do."— A Chinese Folktale

Half the Sky

Tonight, Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky, along with Chinese orphans, was voted the choice to carry the torch in the summer Olympics in Beijing. How wonderful is that? This organization has become near and dear to our heart. I encourage you to support Half the Sky's mission to provide nurturing care for orphans remaining in China. Another excellent organization doing awesome things in China is Love Without Boundaries.

Also, I've been meaning to post about this for awhile...several months ago, just days before I was sending a care package of blankets and toys to Leah's orphanage which I thought would be our ongoing way of giving back to her little sisters in her orphanage, I found a very disturbing article on Brian Stuy's China adoption research site about Leah's orphanage that was shut down just days after receiving Leah on May 8th of 2006.

An excerpt...

"Where was this child found?"

....."Officially, adopting families were given to understand that the Youyang orphanage was not providing adequate care to the children and that they were moved for their own protection. Others were told that the numbers of children being found in Youyang was not sufficient to justify a district facility, and that Youyang was closed for financial reasons. None of these reasons, however, stands up to analysis.The Youyang orphanage was located in a mental hospital in downtown Youyang County. It had two baby rooms, one large main room, and a smaller side-room. Ten caregivers were in charge of caring for the children. From February 2004 until May 2006, the Youyang orphanage adopted 110 children internationally, more than many other orphanages in the international adoption program. With little overhead, it would seem that the adoption fees ($330,000) would have been more than sufficient to keep Youyang’s program viable.




Just after Chinese New Year in 2006, representatives from the CCAA Office in Chongqing paid a visit to the Youyang facility. This was the first time any officials had made the 6-hour trip from Chongqing to Youyang, located at the eastern-most border of Chongqing Municipality. Following a tour of the facility, the representatives expressed appreciation of the care the children were being given and praised the general appearance of the facility.



The Youyang staff was proud of these glowing reviews. Three months later, in early May 2006, the CCAA field-office paid another visit, but this time they were critical of the staff and the care. The orphanage staff was stunned, given that nothing had materially changed in their facility in the intervening three months. Four days later, in the early morning, ten vans pulled into the square in front of the Youyang County orphanage.



The vans and personel were from the Fuling orphanage. While many of the Youyang staff slept, they began to load the 56 children into the vans. A serious altercation ensued, and the caregivers stood weeping as the children were taken away. All of the staff watched stunned as the vans drove down the road and headed to Fuling."

Whoa. I know the Orphanage Director and all her nannies adored Leah and her crib mates and they were well-cared for and loved. It was shocking to read that Leah's orphanage was shut down for political reasons and children were transferred to another orphanage in Chongqing and given false abandonment stories. What do you think about that?



Posing with Leah's Orphanage Director on Gotcha Day.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fall Has Arrived!




For larger pictures, click here.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Personality

Leah's got plenty of it. First and foremost, she's a survivor. I have no doubt that Leah made it out of that orphanage in China through her strong, determined spirit. She's a fighter in every sense of the word. And while Leah is a beautiful little girl with gorgeous big eyes, flawless skin and shiny hair...it's her charming personality that wins over her fans the most.

She is just the cuddliest little thing, gentle, loving, kind and a hilarious little fashion plate (she LOVES shoes, dresses and anything sparkly). When it comes to learning, she's literally a sponge, keenly observant and curious about everything. There are so many things I love about precious Leah. She's an amazing person. We just don't know how we got this lucky to have this child in our lives.




The total package!

Other News...

We did it (insert applause here..cause it took a lot of guts). Shawn and I went on our first overnight trip to New Orleans without Leah. As expected, it was tougher on us than it was on her. She was a having the time of her life with her beloved Grammy Re and Pop-Pop, there to serve all her whims and wishes. Thank you Grammy Re and Pop-Pop!

We had a awesome time, but both of us were scrambling to get back to our happy, funny, lovey girl. Pathetic, I know...but come on...look at that little cutie pie!