Friday, September 30, 2011

Some People Dream

The following photo has been making its way around Facebook recently. I saw it and froze. How, after seeing this, can anyone think that the problems we face everyday are not minute compared to what others face in elsewhere throughout the world.

"you hate your life, while some people dream of having your life"

For the past month I have been having a pretty difficult time at work. Nothing major, but the added stress has really been getting to me, so much so that I have been bringing the frustration home with me each and every day. I have never been like this before for such an extended period of time. Yes, we all have a bad day here and there. But stress that just keeps building every day for well over a month... I'm just not used to it, and honestly I am not dealing with it very well. Many of you out there reading this do know the added stress that the adoption process can bring to people. I have lived it! But, I'll tell you that the stress involved with adoption at least brings with it much joy at the same time (or at least eventually). Just look at my two little loves. They are the joys in my life (as is my dear husband). So what is making this stress so different and so much worse? Probably the fact that there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel or much joy that accompanies it. Thus, my total frustration. Frustration that I pray each night will go away, to no avail.

So, yesterday I saw this photo and I froze. I froze right where I was, just stunned. I think I needed to see this, to help me see the bigger picture in life. I realized that everything that has been causing me so much frustration and stress is nothing compared to what other people in many other parts of the world face on a day to day basis. I am truly blessed. Blessed with a wonderful family, a roof over my head, a wonderful career that I do love, and loving friends. It is so easy to dwell and focus in on the minutiae that fills our lives. And, that minutiae is where I have been living for the last few weeks. Until yesterday...

I am already feeling better. Even co-workers have noticed. I will not let my recent frustrations get the best of me. I am going to enjoy my job, my children, my husband, and my life. I have so much to be thankful for and I am going to thank God everyday for what makes my life wonderful. Yes, I will still have stress in my life, I am just not going to let it get to me any more. Ahhhhhh...

Sometimes we just need a little perspective to thrust us back into reality. Hello reality!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Morning Opposites

Each morning the girls are awakened to get ready for school. Because the girls leave for school at the same time, one would think that the baby would get out of bed first... after all, she has more time-consuming things which involve her parents that need to be done before she walks out the door. Things such as changing diapers, cleaning her tushy, "helping" the little independent girl get dressed since she "must do it by herself," cleaning up after breakfast (total messy eater), as well as all of the other normal things that the rest of us do to get ready every morning. But, that is just not the way it goes around here.

The girls are total opposites when it comes to waking up in the morning. The Butterfly wakes up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, happy to see her parents, squealing with excitement, and ready to take on the day.

The Ladybug on the other hand takes about 15 minutes of cuddle time before she can even open her eyes... yup, 15 minutes despite the fact that Daddy puts some juice in hand which she sips to get her going (I am thinking about spiking her juice with some sort of caffeine soon to help with her lethargy... wink, wink). Thus the reason she needs to be awakened first.

This morning I after the Ladybug had her 15 minutes of cuddle/wake-up/open-her-eyes time with Daddy, he want to the Butterfly's room to bring her out so that she could spend a little time with the family before getting ready for school. As soon as she appeared in the living room she squealed, "Mommy!!!" Honestly, that is the best way for me to start my day. Hearing her sweet little voice squeal with joy when she sees me warms my heart every time. I just LOVE it! today though, I giggled with I saw her. The pig-tails that were left in her hair from the day before were turned vertically, pointing in opposite directions. She was so cute!

I cherish simple mornings like the one I enjoyed today. I want to keep them close to me and remember them forever. It is the simple things like a squeal and smile that just warm my heart and make me entire day wonderful. Thinking back to the time before we had children, I longed for little ones in my life for so many reasons, not the least of which, I really wanted to be a parent. But now, after experiencing every day with these wonderful little girls, I could never have imagined that it would be the simple little things like a morning routine that would make the most difference in my life and make it worth while.

Silly, grumpy, tired little girl in the morning.

Happy, cheerful girl in the morning.

Both girls after a little bit of Daddy time.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Chickens are Coming!

We have been in the process of getting our landscaping done for the last few months. Finally, this last week the entire process came to a close... we now have a landscaped yard! Grass, rocks, plants, and some trees. Ahhhhhh, I am so glad the dirt is gone! But, the week before the complete yard renovation, the landscaper suggested that we visit our local nursery to choose a few trees and plants that we liked. No big deal, right?

The four of us loaded into the car and headed out to the nursery. This is the middle of September in the Midwest, so how crowded could the place be, right? Wrong! We barely found a parking place on the edge of the property which left us wondering, what in the heck is going on at a nursery in the middle of September? When we got to the door we found out immediately, a farmer's market and pepper roasting. Yum!

We wandered in as the sweet smell of freshly roasted peppers wafted past. So far, this was a great visit! We made our way through the nursery, past the pepper roasting, and out to the area where all of the trees and bushes are located. We wandered around for a bit, then were approached by an employee who answered many questions and offered some great suggestions. During this time, the girls wandered in and out of the aisles of trees, playing hide-and-seek with each other. They were in heaven! They even got to try some apples off of some of the trees (the leading reason why we are now the proud owners of an apple tree... plus, more to come in Spring next year!). After a few minutes the employee thought we would probably like to see some trees a bit farther back on the nursery lot. He said that he would meet us there (pointing to a particular area of the lot) while he went to go grab some food for the chickens. Wait... did he say chickens?!?!? Hmmmm...

We walked over to the particular area pointed out to us by the guy and started looking at the trees, but I swear that I must have misheard the guy because I definitely didn't see any chickens. After a few minutes, the employee returned, with a cob of fresh corn and an tomato in hand. Yup, I definitely misheard him, chickens do not eat tomatoes. It was at that moment that he started calling for the chickens, the same way someone would call for a dog... "Here chicken, chicken, chicken!" And that's all it took to make them all start coming out of every nook and cranny within the trees. About twenty chickens trotted eagerly toward the employee who folded back the corn husks and handed the cob to the Ladybug. She looked at him and asked, "What am I supposed to do with this?" We all laughed. She soon learned to hold the cob out for the chickens who feasted on the fresh, raw corn. I asked why he brought the tomato, to which he said, "The chickens like tomatoes too!" He handed me the tomato and sure enough, the chickens came running.

Interestingly, there was even a half-chicken, half-turkey hybrid. Daddy commented that if we could mate that bird with a duck we would have the perfect Thanksgiving meal of a turducken! You can see the half-chicken, half-turkey in the photo below... they are the ones no feathers on their long, red necks.

We stayed in the area, feeding the chickens for about thirty minutes. The Ladybug loved every minute of it... a "chicken whisperer" in the making! Unfortunately, the Butterfly didn't quite have the same reaction. No, she screamed at the top of her lungs, terrified the feathery creatures were going to peck on her instead of the corn. The only thing that made her feel better... Daddy of course! (I did ask they employee why they had chickens in the nursery. Turns out they were purchased a few years back to get rid grasshoppers and other bugs that liked to nibble on the plants. Cool!)

Notice the Butterfly running toward Daddy, crying for help!

To answer your question, yes we did choose some wonderful trees and bushes that are now planted in our yard... Woohoo!!! But, the day was so different than we expected, so much better than we expected. We thought we would go to the nursery, pick out a couple trees and leave, thirty minutes tops! Not... even... close. We ended up enjoying a great petting zoo-type of experience with the girls feeding the chickens and playing hide-and-seek in the trees. Of course we did enjoy some of the freshly roasted peppers and all of the fresh fixins' (homemade salsa and chips!) that were oh-so-delicious. Honestly, who knew that our local nursery was so awesome! Okay, silly question... we are probably the only people in town who didn't know how cool this nursery is, but we know now and you can be sure that we will be back often!

I don't want to post about the landscaping quite yet, but I did want to share one photo from the day they landscapers rolled the sod. The Butterfly was so excited to watch every minute detail of the happenings of the day. She walked out on the patio, still in her pajamas, apple juice in hand and just gazed at the transformation taking place before her eyes.  Truth be told, she was also grooving out to the music playing from the stereo they brought with them to keep them going throughout the long day!  I snapped this photo of the Bug, watching one of the workers, who was also watching her off and on dance excitedly to the music.  You can see him in the photo, looking at the Bug, smiling as she is watching his with great, big eyes.

Yup, we enjoyed a couple of fun days.  I love where we live!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When I take photos of the girls I just "click" away! These two kiddos move at lightening speed and getting a good photo of them is sometimes very difficult.

Case in point, the evening of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. After the girls donned their beautiful, Chinese outfits, I took them outside to our doorstep to take some photos. I prefer to take photos in natural light since I am able to capture the natural shadows that fall so beautifully across softer faces. But, with natural light comes the possibility of movement in the photos... especially with very wiggly children. Add to that the difficulty of getting the two of them to smile perfectly at-the-exact-same-time... well, you get the "picture!"

Below is the series of events from that evening. Each time I view the photos I chuckle. I love how the Ladybug is doing everything she can to get her sister to smile perfectly, and the Butterfly is fighting it with everything she has to not smile. Then, she looks away, or makes a silly face.  The Ladybug, getting a bit frustrated, starts to smile a rather pained smile. Seriously, I only have two children. How in the world do people with several more kids do this and get a great photo? Photoshop, it has got to be Photoshop! Anyway, what am I to do? Just giggle and sigh...

(Note: Don't forget, these are the outtakes from our little photo session. They are not perfect, far from it. They are just some of the photos that make me smile because they captured the moment. They just weren't "perfect" enough for the final cut.)

I just love these girls... silly, grumpy, boogery, snotty, serious, and giggly faces and all! All of these faces are what our days are filled with from morning to night. And I wouldn't trade them for the world!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Lantern Festival, 2011

I am a little late in posting this, but we did celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon festival a couple weeks back. For those who do not know, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is the second most important festival in China, after the Spring Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is similar in significance to our Thanksgiving Day, and is one of the few "reunion" holidays where families gather together with loved ones, show their love for their loved-ones, enjoy the beauty of the full moon, and enjoy some delicious moon cakes (cookies in our home). This year, the Ladybug and I made another batch of our yummy moon cookies which was a great way for the two of us to spend some great, quality time together. the Ladybug is becoming such a great chef (baker in this case), and made sure to be a part of the entire process.

Following our afternoon of baking, we went to a special place in the hills where many hot air balloons ("Hot Balloons" as they are called by the Butterfly!) were lighting up in the beautiful, clear night sky. This was such a special way to begin our celebration of the Lantern Festival... watching and enjoying some VERY LARGE, hot air lanterns! We stayed there in the field for over an hour enjoying the the visual symphony as the balloons synchronized their lights with each other. Simply beautiful!

The following evening, the girls dressed up in their favorite Chinese outfits, we all grabbed our homemade lanterns (something we created last year for the festival), and took to the streets of our neighborhood. We visited some of our good friends in the area, offering them some of the delicious cookies the Bug and I made the day before, told them we were thankful for their special friendship, and wished them a wonderful Autumn. It was so special for us to share this Chinese holiday with our friends, who loved our visit and were inspired by our enthusiasm for continuing this tradition.

Following our walk around the neighborhood, we settled in back home and reminisced about all the reasons we are thankful to be a family. It was a very special evening for all of us. One that we all look forward to celebrating again next year.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting There

Hi again!!!

This is just a little post because a picture is worth a thousand words. We are getting there... and apparently in total comfort!


Sunday, September 11, 2011


It was bound to happen, we just were surprised when the Butterfly walked up to the TV one evening and loudly squealed, "Doctor Who!!!" Honestly, we didn't even think that she knew the program let alone the main character. Silly kid walks around the room "Who-ing" all the time now.