Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Need a Snow Day?

Do you live in warm weather and miss the snow?  Do you have fond memories making paper snowflakes as a child?  Or do you just love the intricate details of one of God's most beautiful, artistic creations?  If your answer to any of these questions was "Yes," then the following site is just for you.

One of our fun creations!

Using just your computer mouse you can create some beautiful snowflakes.  Go try it, you will definitely be hooked... we are.  Just click the "Need A Snowday" box below to be directed to the site.


Need a Snow Day?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trimming the Tree

After putting this off for too many days, we finally trimmed our Christmas tree this evening. The Baby Butterfly was extremely excited to see all of the lights and ornaments. She seemed giddy the entire time, giggling her way around the room. The Ladybug was the big helper throughout the evening, making sure all the ornaments found their way to the tree.

The Butterfly doing her best to help with the trimming of the tree.

As I streamed the lights around the tree, I lit the first strand of white lights so that I could see there they were resting in the tree. When I turned on the lights, the Ladybug "oohed and ahhed." But, what made me laugh was when I turned on the red lights to complete the tree lighting she looked in awe at the beautiful lights, came over to me, wrapped her arms around me and said, "You are the BEST mommy in the world!" Hard to believe that some simple Christmas lights would evoke such a reaction. I am on cloud nine now!

After getting the lights on the tree and streaming some garland through the branches, it was time to decorate the tree with ornaments. I did the unpacking while the Ladybug did most of the trimming. She loved every moment! However, as she was carefully placing each ornament on the tree, I noticed something... the ornament placement was determined by her height and where she could climb to get up higher. Of course, after she went to bed, some of "Santa's helpers" visited our house and fixed the ornament placement by evening them throughout the tree.

Our lopsided tree.

The tree after "Santa's Helpers" moved some ornaments around.

Upon opening our ornament boxes, the Ladybug found her baby Santa hat.  She sighed and said, "Ahhhh, I wish I was a baby again.  I really want to wear this Santa hat."  I looked at the tiny red hat and immediately thought the baby would look adorable in the hat, and since this is her first Christmas with us, the monogram is perfect... "Baby's First Christmas."  I recalled at that moment the first Christmas we spent with the Ladybug and how special that moment was for my husband and I.  We had waited so long to be parents, and in November 2006, just one month before Christmas, we were blessed with our darling Baby Ladybug.  Now, just four years later we are again are feeling so blessed to be the parents to another beautiful baby girl, this time our Baby Butterfly.

The Baby Ladybug in her Santa hat in 2006.

The Baby Butterfly donning the very same hat in 2010.

The Baby Butterfly did her best to help her big sister. She handed some of the ornaments to her sister and played with some other ornaments when she got bored. Not to fret, she seemed to love the time with her family and giggled each time a new ornament was placed on the tree (yup, there was a lot of giggling going on this evening!).

The Butterfly helping to unwrap some ornaments. 

Playing with one of the ornaments.
Checking out a fun bumble bee ornament... seeing if it tastes like honey.

Looking carefully at the bumble bee.

The Ladybug admiring the bumble bee ornament last year, 2009.

After the tree was trimmed I placed the Baby Bug next to the tree to look closely at my favorite ornament, a little Chinese girl next to a small pagoda. I took a photo of the Butterfly looking at the ornament and I remembered that three years ago I took a similar photo of the Ladybug next to the same ornament. It is so neat to see both girls enjoying the same ornament.

The Baby Butterfly admiring the Chinese girl ornament.

The Ladybug in 2007 admiring the same ornament.

Enjoy a few more photos below of our evening. We had a great time and are now looking forward to the joys this season will bring.

 The Butterfly happily trying to place an ornament on the tree.

Looking at the lights.

An excited little girl.

Oh happy day!

Our silly girl with her adorable crooked grin, excited about the Christmas season.


Perspective and a Laugh

Just because we all need a little perspective every now and then... and a good laugh.

Some of you may have seen this story and/or picture before. The picture has landed in my e-mail at least once before now. However, I have never seen the description attached with the photo. My oh my does a change of perspective help with understanding what was going on in the mind of this young girl. The story is as follows:

Students in Mrs. D's first grade class were asked to draw a picture of someone they admire. A girl handed in the drawing below for her homework assignment.

The teacher graded it and the child brought it home.

The next day the girl returned to school with the following note addressed to the teacher:

Dear Ms. D.,

I want to be perfectly clear on my child's homework illustration. It is NOT a picture of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint surrounded by male customers with money.

I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we
made in the recent snowstorm.

This drawing is of me selling a snow shovel.


Mrs. H.

See what a little perspective can do??? Just remember, there are always two sides to a story!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Festival of Lights

About eight years ago, my husband told me he had received a job offer from a university in South Dakota. My immediate thought was, "uhhhhh... where?" You see, at the time we lived in sunny San Diego, California, and "small town U.S.A." seemed very far away from where we were at that point in time, and honestly sounded a little bleak. However, we took the time to visit the school, the city, and the surrounding area, and we knew this place in middle America was right where we wanted to settle down. Don't get me wrong, I loved living in San Diego, but I was ready to make the move to a smaller city (town) and a slower pace.

Jump ahead eight years and I love where we live, though many people who have lived here do question our sanity and motives. A very close friend has often joked, "Who the heck would move from San Diego TO South Dakota? Only thing I can think of is someone who is part of the Witness Protection program... yup, that is the answer!" No, we are not part of the W.P.P., and as a matter of fact moving to one of the coldest states in the U.S. really was a conscious choice, REALLY!

Honestly, we love it here. Not having to plan our days around traffic is an absolute blessing. And, all of the little things that we took for granted in a big city are things that we cherish here. One example is the annual Festival of Lights Parade that the city has hosted since 1998. In the early evening hours on the weekend following Thanksgiving, local businesses and organizations make their way to Main Street on a personalized, lighted float. Despite the often cold temperatures, we love the event because of the small-town camaraderie, lively music, and wonderfully creative, lighted floats.

The Ladybug and Butterfly boogying during the parade.

This year marked the first year the Butterfly was given the opportunity to enjoy the event (I still find it hard to believe that she has only been home with us from China for just over four months). Being a wee-one barely a year and a half, she had no clue what was going on when we left the house all bundled up (thankfully, Daddy had just purchased a nice, warm, thick, winter coat that provided the much-needed warmth for the Bug).  Then when we arrived downtown and decided to plant ourselves on the edge of the street, out in the cold no less.  The poor thing really seemed concerned because we weren't moving on. Fortunately, to keep us warm we brought a couple blankets, hats, mittens, and some nice and warm apple cider. Though the cider helped to divert the Bug's attention from the cold for a bit, what made all the difference in her ambivalence toward the evening was the moment she saw and heard the first float.

Daddy and the Ladybug enjoying the parade... with angel 3-D glasses!

We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening together as a family, watching each of the fun, silly, creative, and beautiful lighted floats pass by. Whenever a float passed with some fun, upbeat music, the Baby Bug started boogying and rocking out in her stroller. She was quite a sight with so much enthusiasm.  The baby Bug had a great time all evening... she loved it! I am thoroughly looking forward to the coning years as we continue this tradition of enjoying the Festival of Lights.

The Butterfly rocking out to the great music.
A fun entry this year... believe it or not, singing toilets.  A total fan hit!

The Ladybug and daddy enjoying the parade.

Some of our local nurses enjoying their time away from the hospital.

Our favorite entry from our local Air Force base.  One of the airmen actually sang with the float, what an amazing voice.  So happy to have these men and women serve our country.

Although we adopted our girls internationally, this float asking for support for local foster and adoptive families really touched my heart.  We are all part of a special family.

Members of the fire department provided lots of lights and music for all.

A fun "Shop Early" float, with perfectly timed lights and music, from UPS.

The local HOG (Harley Owners Group), leading the way for Santa.

Santa, enjoying the crowd on the last float of the parade.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this spectacular parade and helped to make this wonderful city a great place to live.


Sunday, November 28, 2010


'Tis the season... for sisters!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Pigtails and A Snow Princess

Two very different things happened this week...
1. The Butterfly's hair is finally long enough to put her hair into adorable little pigtails.
2. It started snowing and the Ladybug is so excited to play in the snow again.

The Butterfly just four months ago.

Over the last four months our baby Butterfly has changed in so many different ways, not the least of which is physically. She has gained weight, gotten a bit taller, and her hair has finally grown. Now, the last is my favorite because I can now put her hair into pigtails. Yup, you guessed it, I love having a girly-girl. I have on in my beautiful Ladybug who loves to dress up in frilly dresses, play princess, and wear make-up (when I let her!). She is the epitome of a girly-girl. What was awesome (for me anyway) was that when we brought her home at just 8 months, she already had tons of hair that I could play with. And, boy did I play! As a matter of fact, her nick-name in China happened to be "Baby-Big-Hair," she had THAT much hair!

The Ladybug at 13 months.
The Butterfly, on the other hand, had very little hair when we brought her home at 14 months old. I was able to put a little bow in her hair, which inevitably fell out just a short time later. I did what I could by adding bows just to make sure that my little girl looked like a girl. But, there was no way that I could make any ponytails with her thin, whispy hair. It just wasn't going to happen.

Move ahead four months and I am now finally able to do a few fun things with her hair. We often do the "Palmtree," as we call it, with one pony on top of her head. And, finally this week I was finally able to pull her hair into two pigtails on either side of her head. Now, you must understand, this is my favorite hairdo on my baby Butterfly... and in fact, it was my favorite hairdo on the Ladybug as well. I am guessing that it has something to do with the fact that one of my favorite Pixar movies of all time is Monster's Inc, and when the girls have their hair in those cute pigtails, I am reminded of one of the main characters, Boo. That little girl from the movie just warms my heart, so it is no wonder that when I see either of my girls with little pig tails, I get a very warm and content feeling inside. Ahhhhh.

Boo from Monster's Inc.

The Butterfly, and her adorable crooked smile... (just like her sister!).

Now, onto the other thing that happened this week... winter finally arrived. As a matter of fact, winter arrived with a vengeance. Just two weeks ago we were enjoy some unseasonably warm weather in the mid-seventies. And trust me, we were loving it. Now, just two weeks later, the temperatures have dropped to single digits and we are all in shock! I know, we should have expected this, but it happened so quickly that we are all just not quite acclimated yet. Seriously, this weather sucks! But, not all is bad, for at least one member of our family anyway. The Ladybug is thrilled with the weather and so excited that she can now finally play out in the snow. So, this afternoon when she and Daddy arrived home from school, she put all of her snow gear on, bundled from head to toe, and headed outside to play.
The Ladybug, just in from "playing" in the snow.
What the Ladybug wasn't expecting was that Daddy (with his snow blower) was ready to play too. The first couple times that he "threw" snow in her direction she laughed and continued to play, but soon her playful demeanor waned and she realized that it was actually pretty cold outside (single digit temperatures will do that to you), and the snow all over her made it even worse. She eventually made her way back to the house, knocked on the door, and this is what I saw...

A Ladybug who has had too much "fun."

 My happier and warmer Bug.

Poor thing. I guess that Daddy played a little too rough. Don't worry though because just seconds later, after defrosting a bit in the warmth of the house, she was able to smile from ear to ear just thinking about how much fun she will have in the coming days.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Evolution of Emotion

I recently took Christmas photos of the girls, which included some photos of the girls together as well as apart. The photo shoot proved to be a bit difficult for the Baby Bug... she just doesn't enjoy professional photo shoots, even if they are being done by mommy. Don't get me wrong, she loves getting her picture taken and always hams it up as soon as I pull out my camera. However, she hates being posed, and quickly gets frustrated when she is posed for photos. So, my time with the little one was minimal, but I was still able to get some nice shots.

What was fun to see was a full gamut of emotions: happy, exuberant, sad, serious, frustrated, and more. My favorite photo is one that looks like the Baby Bug is in "Time-out," pouting." Truth be told, she isn't, but I like to think that I got a great shot of my kiddo in trouble.

The Ladybug was just the opposite of her sister. She loves the camera, and is such a natural. I love having a little model in her and thoroughly enjoy clicking photos.

What I love even more is that the two girls are becoming so much closer. When we were in China, the Baby Bug wanted nothing to do with her sister what-so-ever. She only wanted Daddy and I, which surprised us. We figured since the baby had lived in an orphanage for the first 14 months of her life, and because the Ladybug looks a little like the other children from the orphanage, that the Baby Bug would naturally gravitate to her new four year old sister. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, it wasn't until this last month that the baby finally learned that her sister isn't half bad. And now, she seems to be making up for lost time... she follows her older sister around everywhere.

Both girls are so cute together, and always, usually, often, get along without whining, crying, or hair pulling. In all actuality, they really do like each other (most of the time) and enjoy playing together. I am so happy that the baby finally came around to see how awesome her sister is. I can only hope that they will stay close... though I know full-well that they will likely go through the normal ups and downs that most siblings do, so I am not holding my breath. Ahhhh, I am just happy that neither has put the other in the hospital yet!