December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Bear!!

A few weeks ago one of my seniors at school was having 'girl' troubles. He asked me how I knew that I was marrying the right guy? I didn't even have to think about my response I told him that I knew Big Bear was the right one for me because:
  • He made me feel comfortable from our very first conversation
  • He makes me laugh
  • He is always trying to grow and learn
  • He gives me confidence when I need it most
  • He helps me be a better person
I know I am extremely lucky to have found such a person to share this life with. This coming year I know our relationship is going to change, but I feel that it will only get stronger. Sure there are going to be some rough moments as we both try to figure out this parenting gig, but there is no one else I could ever imagine taking this journey into parenthood with!

I love you! Happy Birthday!!!

December 30, 2009

It's FINALLY Our Month!!!

April referrals are starting to hit!
It seems surreal, yet so very exciting to see families that I have 'known' for four years finally seeing the face of their daughter!! I am so excited for all the April Families! It's finally our turn!
Congratulations to all the families who are seeing their baby's face for the first time!

It is wild to think that there are only nine days ahead of us. NINE DAYS!!!
It is starting to seem real!

December 27, 2009

Boy! What a Christmas!!

Christmas 2009 will definitely go down in the memory books as one of the strangest Christmases we’ve had in the eight years we’ve been married. I’ll try to give the short version recap.

Three Weeks Before Christmas

Big Bear and I just couldn’t get up the gumption to put up any decorations. We didn’t want to put up a tree. We didn’t feel like pulling out any of the Christmas decorations. Nothing.

Finally we decided to get some wreaths for outside. We also decorated the light pole with a string of lit garland. We figured this way we didn’t look like total Scrooges. Of course the neighbors on both sides of us put out HUGE holiday displays this year.

Christmas Week

Santa came early to our house. First he stopped by with this for Polar Cub:

At first I had a bit of buyer’s remorse while waiting for ‘Chilly’ to arrive, but after opening the box and seeing just how adorable he is, I am so happy Santa delivered him! Look how much my nephew enjoys him too:

Christmas Eve

Big Bear and I always celebrate Christmas Eve with my side of the family. My brother and my nephews usually come in from Chicago. We go over to my parents' and have a wonderful dinner.

This year Big Bear had been fighting a nasty cold all week, and it hit hard on Christmas Eve. He felt so awful that he even tried to get into a doctor, with no luck. So, sadly he didn’t go to my parents. It just wasn’t the same with out him. We had a nice time, but I left pretty soon after dinner.

Christmas Day

Big Bear’s mom makes a big breakfast on Christmas morning. Then we all sit around the tree and pass around gifts. It is fun.

This year Big Bear’s brother –who spends the night at my in-laws with his girls every Christmas Eve – woke up with a horrible case of the flu. My mother-in-law called and told us early Christmas morning. She said she wasn’t going to cook, but we could still come if we wanted to. Both Big Bear and I decided that it would not be a good idea since he had such a cold. He didn’t need the flu, too.

Big Bear did feel better by the afternoon, so we went over to my mom’s for surf and turf. I can’t talk about the turf, but the surf was oh so good!

Day After Christmas

Big Bear’s mom called and wanted to make breakfast. Big Bear and I picked up my nephews and we all went out to the farm. It was a lot of fun. We spent the day with my nephews, Frog face and Turtle nose. We played games back at our house, went to the mall, and had a wonderful day! It was the best day of the entire week!

Here is Frog Face pushing Turtle Nose on the tire swing out at the farm

Such a crazy mixed up Christmas could be karma for not decorating and not feeling any Christmas spirit this year. It could be because Big Bear was so sick, and I was fighting it off all week. In my heart, though, I think it is because we are both so ready for the next chapter in our lives. There have been too many years spent dreaming of Christmas morning with a little one in this house. I feel that deep down we just wanted to get past this holiday because the next big event for us – God willing – will be our referral! Hopefully we will get it before Easter.

December 24, 2009

Thinking of Polar Cub...

Merry Christmas Polar Cub.
Though you are not in our arms tonight,
You are in our hearts ~
tonight and Always.

December 23, 2009

Baking - Day Two

Sugar Cookies
The recipe I use, and will ALWAYS use, for sugar cookies was my grandma's recipe. Every holiday she would pull out a huge Tupperware cake carrying container that she'd turn upside down to hold lots of cookies. My dad would always tease her about pulling out the same cookies from the freezer every year. Yet, we always knew she baked and baked for the holiday.

I started rolling these out late last night. I looked at my bag of Christmas cookie cutters and the only one I wanted to use was the star. My grandma had one exactly like it. I guess I was feeling a little nostalgic last night. I ended making all stars. Maybe next year I'll go back to the Santa Claus and Christmas tree cookie cutters. This year stars seem to be appropriate.

Big Bear and I had these treats a couple of years ago at a friend's house. I looked up the recipe on-line and made them last year for the first time. These are the easiest candies to make, yet they seem to disappear the fastest of all the candies. Last year I received more compliments on these than any other cookies. I wouldn't give out the recipe because I'm embarrassed to tell how simple, but what the heck ~ it's Christmas. I put the recipe for Snowballs at the bottom of this post.

Sonja Hennies
These cookies are another family tradition. Many call them thumbprints, but I have always known them as Sonja Hennies, not sure why. The picture is misleading. There is only 1/8 of a teaspoon of jelly, yet in the picture it looks like so much more. My mom always made these using grape, strawberry, and apricot jelly. I used to buy a jar of apricot jelly, but it always went to waste and I would end up throwing it away just to buy a fresh jar the following Christmas. Now I make strawberry and blackberry. (sorry Mom)

Peanut Butter Balls
I remember when I was in high school a lady brought these peanut butter balls to a Christmas party my mom and dad had. Everyone loved them, and my mom asked for the recipe. Peanut Butter Balls have become a tradition ever since. These are my brother's all time favorite, so I will always make them for him. They are a pain to make, but it fits because he has always been a pain, too!
(Love ya, Bub!!)

Peanut Butter Blossoms
I remember my Aunt Sue making these way back when. I have been making them for years since. There is nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter! :o)

Spiced Pecans
A friend of mine from Chicago made these pecans and they are the BEST!!!! I usually make several pounds a year. I make a pound for my family and a pound for Big Bear's family. Usually Big Bear takes at least a pound to work. I made these last night for his Christmas lunch at the bank today. I'll make more in the morning. I love to make them on Christmas Eve morning. They make the house smell so good.

1 16oz package Oreo cookies
1 80z package cream cheese, softened
1 120z bag white chocolate chips

Using a food processor crush Oreo cookies.
Mix in cream cheese.
Roll mixture into balls.
Refrigerate until firm.

Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler
Dip balls into chocolate.

I told you they were ridiculously easy! I drizzle the chocolate over them, that is the most fun part of the entire process!!

My heart is just not into Christmas this year. I didn't want to make any cookies this year. I am not making nearly the variety that I usually do. Now though, I am glad I made the cookies I did. They are tradition, they are family, they are love. Love that has been passed down from my grandma, my aunt, my mom, and one day will be passed down to Polar Cub ~ whether she likes it or not. :o)

December 22, 2009

Busy Baking - Day One

As usual, I didn't finish everything I wanted to yesterday. There are just never enough hours in the day. I did get these cookies done and packed away

If you like dark chocolate Midnights are amazing. They are a pain to make, but so good with a hot cup of black tea!

Ricotta Cookies
I borrowed this recipe from Lisa last year. My nephew LOVED them so much he wanted me to make another batch the day after Christmas last year.

Chocolate Chip
I know these don't look like the typical chocolate chip cookie, but they are good. These are the only cookie Big Bear asked for this year.

Cherry Winks
These cookies have been on our families' Christmas table for as long as I can remember. My grandma and then my mom made them. These are my favorite of all!

I also made the peanut butter balls and snowballs, both of which I need to dip in chocolate today. I made the dough for sugar cookies and for Sonja Hennies. I have more to do today, so I better get moving. The chocolate should be melted so I'm off to dip snowballs!

December 21, 2009

Snow & Cookies

On Saturday we had our first good snow of the season. We didn't get anything like east coast, but we did have about six inches. It was so pretty.
When I snapped this picture Tucker and Bailey were sitting by the fence looking really cute. They heard me and moved. :o(

I swore I wasn't going to bake cookies this year, and then I was asked to 'do a few'. I went through my binder trying to pick a 'few', but it was so hard. It seems that everyone in my family has a different favorite. How could I not do everyone's favorite?

I am not doing as many this year, but I think it will be a busy few days.

So far...

I have my 'To Do List' ready...
The ingredients are all accounted for and ready...
I'll try to post updates as I go along.

December 19, 2009

Smart Dogs

My Aunt Sue sent this in an email. I just had to share.
I sure wish my pups were this handy!

December 14, 2009

Aunt Judy

On Saturday my family lost one of the sweetest people I have ever known. My Aunt Judy passed away suddenly, unexpectedly. I still can’t seem to grasp the thought that she is gone.

Aunt Judy had the most tender heart. I don’t believe she ever said an unkind word about anyone. I have many special memories of times spent on Aunt Judy and Uncle Bill’s farm.

I remember:

· learning that you never set the egg basket down in the chicken house. If you do the hens will attack the eggs. I still feel bad about all the eggs I lost learning that lesson.

· watching Aunt Judy, and several women from church, butchering chickens with amazing skill. Chicken bodies were flying one way and heads the other. What a sight!

· climbing the fence to the hog pen with my brothers and cousin and learning the hard way that there is a hot-wire that must be stepped over. I can almost feel the buzz from the wire that knocked me on my keester in the hog pen. (Go on and laugh, I do – now.)

· a cold day in December many years ago when I went to watch as my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, and several of their friends work all day butchering hogs. That is a day I will never forget.

· standing for nearly an hour at the stove stirring the contents of a big pot so my aunt could make bodae. Not fun at the time, but it was a task I am glad that I experienced. Not many suburbanite kids like me get to have such an experience.

· many Easter Sundays spent around the kitchen table with my cousins and brothers laughing and cracking Easter eggs on each other’s head.

· sitting under the big tree out by the house on lazy summer afternoons chatting and laughing the hours away.

These are just a few of the many memories. I will always treasure the time I was able to spend with my family in southern Illinois. Aunt Judy will truly be missed. Judy was an angel here on earth. As hard as it is to comprehend that she is gone, I know that she is a true angel up in heaven.

December 13, 2009

Late Night Surfing...

...only leads to trouble!

Look what I found:
Wouldn't this be just perfect for Polar Cub?!?!

It isn't a necessity,
but it's so cute!
It is pricey,
but wouldn't it be FUN!!!

Oh! How I wish Santa could deliver this to our house on Christmas Eve!!

December 9, 2009

Smiles Are Contagious...

In class we are reading A Christmas Carol. In today's chapter one of the lines from the Ghost of Christmas Present was how '...laughter is contagious...'. I was truly impressed with the discussions that followed about that phrase when we were discussing the chapter.

Therefore, I have decided it's time to move the last post down the page and spread some holiday cheer. Thank you for all of your comments, email, and texts. I am very thankful for all of you.

I know that this song has been around the emails and blogs, but I just love it. Those reindeer are hilarious!!!

Happy Christmas!

December 8, 2009

Peaks and Valleys

A long time ago ~ long before Big Bear and I were married ~ a friend told me that marriage is a series of peaks and valleys.

Little did I know at the time just how true are those words.

I just wish that the valleys didn't come along when the peaks are rolling along so blissfully peaceful. A nice stroll to the valley would be much more pleasant than the jumping off the ledge that seems to occur.

Thankfully the trek back to the peak is worth the effort, no matter how hard the journey can be at times.

December 6, 2009

Happy St. Nicholas Day

I still dream of the day we will celebrate St Nicholas Day.
Maybe next year.
Happy St. Nicholas Day!!

December 3, 2009

It's Official...

It has taken a full year, but all of the Marching Pandas are out of here!!! No offense to any of you, but in the nearly four years we have been waiting I have never been so excited to have a month completed.

Next up are the Flying Tigers! Flying Tigers is the name of the April, 2006 LID Yahoo Group. This morning I had over 25 emails from the Yahoo Group! Excitement is in the air, and it's not Christmas excitment.

I can't wait to start putting those blue X's on the April calendar.

December 2, 2009

This Just In...

The rumors are flying that CC@@ has sent out referrals and that they have finished March!! This is HUGE news!!!

If this rumor is true then there are only seven 'referral' days ahead of us! SEVEN!!! (I'm not counting the two weekends.) That could mean a February or March referral!!! I'm hoping for February, but as we all know never hope when it comes to the wait.

As soon as I know for sure I will check off more of those calendar days!!! Woooo Hooooooo!!
Congratulations to my friend Kaycee and her family!!! They will get to see their daughter's picture soon!!!!

December 1, 2009

Not My Cup of Tea

In this post I told you about the “Winter Meltdown” the YMCA was offering. I was nervous, but excited about attending. I have needed something to ‘click on my switch’ to lose weight.

Unfortunately, this program is not for me. The people have all been really nice, and I did learn a few things, but - as I feared - I am the only one with a significant amount of weight to lose. Everyone there is mainly doing the program so they don’t gain weight over the holidays.

Because of this I think the program is much more lax than I was hoping it would be. I don’t mean to whine, but we were told that we would weigh in private. Nope, they weigh everyone right in the front of the group. Yes, that’s fine if you have 20-30 pounds to lose, but it is just too difficult for me.

My Type A personality would have lists and charts to keep everything in order. After getting on the scale they would write it down on the back of a sheet of paper. Everyone’s weight was listed on the back of a different sheet of paper. How in the world are they going to keep track properly? Am I being too critical?

On the good side, my ‘switch’ has clicked back on thanks to joining the “Meltdown”. Other than the excessive amount of martinis my sister-in-law and I consumed on Thanksgiving I did pretty well while Big Bear and I were in Chicago. ;o) Also, thanks to the Y, I have tried several of the toning classes they offer and a ZUMBA class. After I got over the feeling of having two left feet during the ZUMBA class I really enjoyed it and plan on attending more classes.

Even though I won’t be attending the “Meltdown” meetings I still plan to Meltdown. I have been working on adding variety to my clean-eating meals. I have increased my distance during my walks already. Good things are happening and instead of getting the cheers at the Y, I am going to bore you with it here. :o)

November 25, 2009

A Mother's Prayer

This afternoon I have been thinking about Polar Cub as I clean. In my heart I know that she is waiting on the other side of the world. I logged onto iT*nes to start playing some music. In the recommendations was a song "A Mother's Prayer" by Carn*e W*lson and J*m Br*ckman. The short 30 second preview had me in tears. It is so close to my prayer for Polar Cub that I say every night.

I cannot get over the timing of this song being in my recommendations and my thoughts I have been having all day. It is so ironic to me because the only thing I have purchased lately is Bon Jov*'s new album. So why is this song in my recommendations?

I searched for Carnie's version on YouT*be, but couldn't find it, I did find this clip and again I was floored because it is so close to my prayer.

May God grant you peace in the midst of a storm.
May God give you strength when you are forlorn.
May the light that's within you shine like the stars.
... May angels surround you...
As you rest in God's care, I will rest too
knowing that Jesus is watching over you..

Lord bless our baby and let her heart know love.
Please keep her from feeling fear and alone.


November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Feasting Begins

Today Big Bear's family is having their Thanksgiving celebration. My mother-in-law plans it this way so that everyone can be there, and then on Thanksgiving we don't have to eat two meals. Also this way Big Bear and I can head north to Chicago for Thanksgiving with my brothers and not worry about how to divide the time.

This morning I was up early. Why is it on school days it kills me to hear the alarm at 4:15, but now that I'm off I wake up without it at 4:13? Anyway, I got up and made my first pumpkin pie of the season. I usually make a couple of pies over the Thanksgiving holiday, but this year we have reservations for dinner so I won't be making pies. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that yet. This will be the first year since I have been baking the pies for Thanksgiving that I won't be baking a pecan pie.

Hmmmmmmm... Hadn't thought about that one.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to spending the week with family. I wish I could say with confidence that this will absolutely, positively be the last Thanksgiving without Polar Cub, but after last week nothing is certain. I will continue to hope, dream, and pray that she'll be here next year to eat her first piece of pumpkin pie!

November 20, 2009

Just Because...

...there is nothing better than the giggles of a kiddo to brighten the day! This is Big Bear and our niece, Miss B.

Thank you EVERYONE who has emailed, sent a text and commented. Today is much better. As someone in the April LID group said, "Time to put the big girl panties back on and carry on!" That is just what I plan to do.

Thanks again! The support you all offer is always amazing. I couldn't do this without you!

November 19, 2009

Enough Already!

· The Olympics
· Not enough babies to fill needs
· Increase in domestic adoptions
· Scandals
· Too few internationally approved SWIs
· Swine Flu
· New policy changes for adopting parents
· Large numbers of waiting dossiers
· Not enough workers at CC@@
· New Director

These are just a few of the possible reasons that have floated around in the adoption community over the last several years as to why it is taking so long for referrals. I am sure there are more reasons out there that I have forgotten.

Today we can add a new ‘reason’ to the list. There is a new director at CC@@ and he is unable to sign off on anything until the transitions are made. Needless to say there will be no referrals for the month of November.

Over the last few years I have tried to be very careful with what I post in regards to our wait. I have not wanted to ‘upset the apple cart’ while we are waiting, but good Lord! How much are we supposed to take? How long do I continue to bury my head and take it while our lives are on hold? EVERY time I start to feel that things are moving forward I get slapped back down, and it seems slapped down harder each time. Why don’t they understand that they are dealing with peoples’ lives? How long must we sit on the sidelines waiting to get in the game? Why are we always watching from a distance with a smile on our face, as we continue to wait.

This emotional roller coaster is Hell. It is torture. Just a few months ago we thought we had a chance at a December referral, January at the latest. Now we have this rumor that there will not be any referrals for November. This is the second month CC@@ has skipped in the last three months. No explanation, no concerns for others, just suck it up and deal with it.

Of course that’s is what I’ll do, again. I’ll suck it up and wait because:
· it will happen when it’s supposed to happen
· it won’t be that much longer
· everything happens for a reason
· be patient a little while longer
· I can’t stress about what I can’t change.
If you think I am being sarcastic here, you’re right! I am so sick and tired of hearing these phrases. I understand people don’t know what to say. Hell, I don’t know what to say to others. I feel horrible for the people who are closer than we are. It is even worse for them.

Today the tears are flowing and I’m pissed. Tomorrow will be a new day and life in waiting will continue.

November 17, 2009

Winter Meltdown

The ‘Winter Meltdown’ has begun. Two weeks ago I signed up for a program at the YMCA. There are 50 people who will be competing to lose the highest percentage of weight. For the next seven weeks I will be working hard to melt some of me away. Last night was the first meeting and my fitness test. I was pinpricked for a couple of blood tests, weighed, and a before picture was taken. The evening went quickly. It was tough, but I learned quite a bit.

The requirements are to attend a minimum of one cardio and one toning class at the Y. There will be a meeting every Monday night. We will also weigh-in on Mondays. If you miss a class you must pay a dollar, and for every pound you gain you will pay a dollar. At the end the person with the highest percentage of weight lost will receive the money.

The fitness test wasn’t too awful. I did complete it, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish. For the first tests I had to do push-ups and crunches. I had to do as many as I could in one minute. Then I had to walk/run 1.5 miles. This girl doesn’t run. I never have, I don’t enjoy it ~ No, I HATE it. I envy people who can run, I wish I could run, but it just isn’t my thing. I was very thankful when they said we could walk or run. Over the next seven weeks I need to improve in all three tests.

The most interesting comment made last night was how they deliberately chose this time of year to start this program. Gina, one of the trainers, stated that the average person will sit down and eat 3,000 calories in a single holiday meal. That sure makes me stop and think!

I got up this morning and went for a walk and free weights. I have healthy meals planned, so I am set. This week is going to be the most challenging for me, I think. Once I get into the routine of it all it will be easy, until then Big Bear may be living with a grouchy polar bear.

November 15, 2009

Miss B & Miss C

Our nieces, Miss C and Miss B, came for a short visit yesterday with my mother-in-law. It’s always fun to see the girls.

After the girls left there was a conversation in the car about Polar Cub. My mother-in-law, Nanan, told us the story this morning, and I just have to share. A little background note, Miss C is seven and Miss B is four, she’ll be five in December.

Miss B said, “Nanan, we are going to have to take the baby to your house to teach it English. I just don’t think I can speak Spanish.”

“Miss B the baby will be Chinese, not Spanish,” Nanan stated, after she stopped laughing .

“Ooooooo!” Miss B says, “I really don’t know how to speak Chinese.”

Miss C comes to the rescue when she says, “She will be just a baby B, she won’t even know how to talk!”

It still makes me laugh! Love Those Girls!!!

Miss B ~ Halloween 2009

November 13, 2009

Wait & Weight

Two of my least favorite words are wait and weight. Isn’t it funny these two homophones can cause such frustration, anxiety, and down right ANGER?

It is quite obvious why wait is a trouble word, being that we have been waiting for China to call for nearly four years. Secondly, if you know me or read my old blog then you know that the second weight is also a bone of contention for me. It is a battle that I have been waging ALL of my life, and one that I am sure will continue for the rest of my days.

It is said that there are underlying issue when a person battles with weight. Sure, I guess I could blame stress at work, stress of the adoption, family and friends, or even food manufacturers, but come on ~ REALLY!?! I’m a big girl. I don’t feel the need to blame anyone but myself.

Calories in ~ calories out, I know the formula. It is just a matter of following that formula and sticking to it. There is my problem, STICKING to it! When I am regimented and strict with working out and with my diet I have no problem seeing the pounds fall off. I just can’t seem to find the middle ground. If I’m not working my ass off, I’m not working it at all. I get lazy. I enjoy sleeping past four in the morning. I enjoy eating. I enjoy spending the evening with my husband making dinner and watching a movie or TV.

When I am in the ‘healthy mode’ something happens, I can’t explain it, but it is as if a switch is turned on and I’m ready to ‘get healthy’ again. I start working out and eating better. Everything seems to click. Then I will stumble and the switch is turned off. Before I know it, the pounds are creeping back. I am stuck in this sad, never ending cycle.

The switch has been off for a while, and I am waiting for it to click back on. I have the most important reason in the world to want/need to get healthy but I just can’t get into it this time ~ no matter how hard I try.

I have absolutely NO desire to be a fat mom. I am already going to be a ‘mature’ mom. I want to be a healthy mom who can and will do anything with my girl. I want to be around for a long, long time. I need to find that damn switch, but it seems so far out of reach.

Last week a coworker forwarded an email that she received from the YMCA. The Y is going to have a ‘Winter Meltdown’. It sounds like it is going to be a version of The Biggest Loser. It is open to people who would like to lose 20 or more pounds. There will be special cardio and toning classes, private weigh-ins, and incentives given for highest percentage of weight lost.

At first I was so excited. This sounded like it was EXACTLY what I needed to do to flip on my switch again. I tend to be a little competitive (cough, cough), and not doing something to the best of my ability is not my nature. I was excited when I first read the email. I made myself seriously think about it for 24 hours before rushing over to sign-up.

The next day I did stop into the Y afterschool to sign up. As I was walking back to my car I thought, “What the Hell did you just do?” I began to think, ‘what if I am the only person who has more than 21 pounds to lose?’ and ‘This time of year?’ Are you crazy? We are weeks away from pumpkin pie, holiday parties, and Christmas treats. HELLO!?!?! I figured I had a week to let the dust settle and wrap my brain around all of this.

Wednesday night I received a phone call from the Y. They wanted to set up a time for a fitness test. Fitness Test????? No one said anything about a fitness test? Good Golly? Stress level rose a little higher…
To get me through this I think about the fact that hopefully not too long after the holidays are over we will be receiving our referral. I seriously do not want to be miserable traveling to China, all the while wishing I would have, should have, could have done something about my weight. I know I won’t be where I want to be before we travel, but I will have a head start.

This program will be a good thing, as long as I am not the ONLY one with more than 20pounds to lose. It will keep me motivated even when I really want that piece of pecan pie. I’ll share a piece of pie with Polar Cub next Thanksgiving.

Monday is the first meeting and my fitness test (Oy!). Hopefully this will be what finally helps me flip that bloomin’ switch. Will I bore you all if I post about it here? Part of me wants to post, but this is one of those topics I am never sure if it’s too much information. What do you think?

Time to get it in gear!

November 11, 2009

Remembering Veterans

Today the students at the school where I teach put on an amazing Veteran's Day assembly. The band, choir, and orchestra performed. There were Veterans present from wars past and present. Speeches were given by the principal and a Veteran who graduated from our school several years ago. He has served in Afghanistan and just came home this past March. The entire student body sat silent as he told the stories of two fallen soldiers he served with while in Afghanistan. It was an amazing moment to have over 1,000 high school students sitting in complete silence.

There were many other moving moments in during the assembly. Listening to the the band and orchestra play The Battle Hymn of the Republic gave me goose bumps. At one point they played Procession of the Patriots. The audience was asked to stand if they had a family member who has served, or is currently serving, while the hymn of the branch they served was played. It made me teary to stand in honor of my dad while Anchors Away was performed.

I will never truly understand the sacrifice these men and women give while serving our country. I do know that I appreciate their service, and would like to say, Thank You.

November 9, 2009

Posting vs. Status Updates

The blogging world, as I know it, is slowly but surely dwindling away. People are not blogging like they used to in the past. I have taken several breaks from blogging because at times it is difficult to come up with topics to write about. Other times I have written a post and then not posted because I think it is either too much information, it was written in a heated moment and I shouldn’t say it, or I don’t think anyone really wants to read my mumblings. There are the families that are home now and have much better things to do than sit in front of a computer. I KNOW I will be one of those who won’t be on the computer much once Polar Cub is home.

Not long ago two of my friends signed off with their last post, at least for now. When the last friend did, I literally cried reading her last post. It was extremely sad for me. There are several blogs that I have followed for a long time and they are like a little piece of home to me. When I read the blogs it is like catching up with family. These two blogs, even if the posts were less frequent, always made me happy when I saw there was a new post.

Lately everyone is moving to Faceb00k. FB is a quick and easy way to say what is on your mind or what is going on in your world. You can reach many people at once, and check up on all of your friends on one page. It is quite convenient.

In the beginning I really liked FB. Slowly, I am becoming less and less of a fan. For me there are too many people. People I have NO clue who they are will ask to be ‘friends’. Why do strangers want to be my friend? Isn’t the definition of a friend someone you know and like to spend time with? If I don’t know you how can I be a friend?

When I first started on FB it didn’t bother me to write about anything. Now I think twice because I wonder if some guy I went to high school with really will give two hoots about whether or not I baked cookies, had a crappy day at work, jumped in the river, or what ever it is I put on my status update.

People from work now are asking to be friends? How can I complain about work if there are a half a dozen people who are now my ‘friend’ on FB? Most of these people I never really speak to at work, why do they want to be friends on FB?

There are things I like about FB. I have been able to catch up with several of my cousins and friends from college and high school. I like FB because I can check on my friends and see what is going on with them, or see pictures they upload.

For me blogging is a much better way to express feelings and emotions. It is a good way to vent or share how excited I am about a situation. It’s hard to get true emotions on FB. My friend K put a plea out several weeks ago for people to come back to blogging. K, I’m coming back.

November 8, 2009

No Better Way...

There is no better way to spend a Saturday than with friends.

Yesterday I headed north and spent the day with my friend Sandra. It is so nice to 'hang out' and chat the afternoon away. Of course there was a little bit of shopping, Sandra has the best shopping places around!

Later that afternoon PIPO and PIPA joined us. What a cutie patootie PIPA is!!! Boy! That girl has some rockin' kicks!

Before going home we all went to dinner. It was so much fun! I wish I would have brought my camera. I only have a couple of shots from my phone and the quality isn't great. I did snag one picture from PIPO that I LOVE! It's a good picture of all of us!

I had such a good time at dinner that is wasn't until I stopped for gas on the way home that I realized that I didn't have my debit card. Luckily I was able to call the restaurant and the manager had it. I had to drive back, about 30 minutes, get the card, and then start home again. All in all it only added about an hour to my trip which wasn't bad. I am just glad I realized it so early in the trip. Can't imagine going without my debit card. Big Bear probably wouldn't mind it missing for a while, though.

Thanks for a wonderful day girls!!!!

November 7, 2009

It's NOT Just a Name!

Choosing a name for your child, I have learned, is a very sensitive, personal issue.

When I was little I had a couple of names that I was certain would be the names I would use for my children. I became attached to the names. Then they were shot down in an instant while trying to choose a name for our little one. I know that it wasn’t an intentional blast. I never made it known that these cherished names were a long time dream. It still stung a bit.

Right from the beginning of our adoption journey Big Bear and I chose a girl’s name. I really liked the name, but it never could replace my treasured names from long ago. It was a name thrown out in a frenzy of names and we both thought, ‘that works’. Had this adoption wait been only a few months long I have no doubt our daughter would be called by that first name chosen.

As time went on I realized that our first choice of a name really didn’t ‘speak’ to me. I couldn’t treasure it as I did the names of the past. I didn’t think about calling that name. It was just a name. Slowly I started to plant the seeds of change with Big Bear. It wasn’t well received. Unlike me, he had begun to treasure the name.

In the meantime we needed to choose a boy’s name, just incase. This happened much more easily one Sunday morning. The boy name spoke to me. I have loved it from the moment we put it together, and still do.

A few weeks later I had told some friends the name we picked if we received a referral for a boy. The first comment, the only comment, I remember hearing was, “why would you pick THAT name?’

At first my heart sank, and then my blood ran hot! How could anyone not like this name? It was after that I really began to realize how names are such a personal and sensitive issue. It cuts to the core when negative comments are said about the name you are planning to give your child. I know in the past I have made a face, or a comment when someone has mentioned a name they are planning to use, never realizing how personal it is, and that I may be hurting feelings. For that I feel terrible and am sorry.

It was after that comment towards our boy name that I decided the names we choose would be held close to the heart. People may still not care for the names we select, but hopefully they will see that beautiful picture and not give a hoot about the name.

That’s my thought any way.

November 5, 2009

In An Instant

On October 14th I learned the hard way that life, as you know it, can change in an instant.

In the early hours of that Wednesday morning, my good friend was awakened by her husband. He was asking to go to the hospital. They thought that he had a kidney stone and it was trying to pass.

After some tests were run there was a kidney infection. Sadly, the doctors also found large tumors on his lungs and liver. By the end of the week it had been determined that my friend’s husband has Stage 4 esophageal cancer with tumors on his lungs and liver.

Just typing this makes me cry. My friend and I have become very close over the last couple of years. I see her every day at work, and we go out to dinner at least once a month. Only our dinners are never just hour-long visits. We usually end up sitting and chatting the hours away. It is not uncommon for us to suddenly realize that three or four hours have passed, and yet we still have so much to say. We frequently joke that we are sisters separated at birth married to brothers who were separated at birth ~ because our husbands are so much alike.

My heart aches for my friend. I wish there was something I could do. We did manage to get together last night for a couple of hours. It was so good to see her. She mentioned how amazed they are at the number of people who are sending thoughts and prayers for them. It made me think that even though there aren’t many people who still read blogs, maybe one or two extra prayers could come from those who still do read this one.

If you don’t mind, please keep Greg and Pam in your thoughts and prayers. It's the only thing I know to do for them right now.

November 3, 2009

Four Years Ago

It is hard to believe that four years ago today I got into my car and drove to a small town near Cincinnati. I met a complete stranger, got into her car and drove to another stranger’s house. We then drove to Detroit, Michigan to meet a third stranger.

I often think back to that Friday night in November and wonder, “What were you thinking??” Then I think about all that has transpired over the last four years, and I am so glad that I took that leap of faith four years ago.

One distinct memory I have of that weekend was standing in the hotel room talking about the adoption timeline. It makes me chuckle now to think how hopeful, and yet naive we all were oh so long ago.

Each year I think about the trip. An adventure that started out on a cold, dark November night, but ended with such fun, laughter, and four strangers who became friends. Little did I know at the time, but this little journey would lead to meeting several other wonderful women. It’s amazing!

Here we are four years later. One mama is home with her little one. One mama is in China right at this moment getting to know her little one, and two of us are still hopeful ~ just not as naïve, I hope. With a bit of luck by the five-year anniversary all four of us will be home with our little ones.

Such a GREAT beginning!!!

November 2, 2009

A Good Thing

A week ago Big Bear and I both woke up feeling like we were getting a cold. Right away I started taking Esberitox. My mom told me about this a while back, and I swear it is the best stuff out there. For me it works a lot better than Airb0rne.
Any time I feel like I am coming down with something I start taking this as soon as possible. I honestly think it has helped me several times. Last week I still had a stuffy nose, but nothing I couldn't deal with. Big Bear, on the other hand, was down and out. He really has had a hard time getting over this cold. I tried to get him to take some of the Esberitox, but he didn't believe me. He ALMOST said I was right, almost. :o)

Right now I can only find Esberitox at a health food store and Whole Foods. It is a little expensive, but I really think it is worth it!

Hannah Day!!!

My good friend, Catherine, is in China and early this morning (EST) she met her daughter Hannah!!! I am so excited for Catherine and Hannah.
Congratulations my friend!!!
To see more wonderful pictures please check out

November 1, 2009

Oh! I don't think so...

I LOVE animals! I gave up eating meat, because the thought of eating Henrietta, Wilbur, or Daisy is just not my thing. A couple of years ago I saved a baby black snake from one of the horse stalls, because I didn't want to see it killed. I love animals and don't want to see them harmed.

I LOVE rodents of all sorts! Especially...
...and don't forget Jerry!

But I do have my limits! This morning I found some evidence that we had a little visitor last night. The culprit: Mr. Field Mouse!
Don't get me wrong Mr. Mouse I don't mind seeing you outside in the field, in a stall, or at the zoo. I will NOT, however, tolerate you in my house. Thank your lucky stars there is no evidence of you in the kitchen or this would be an all out WAR. For now it's just a battle, so you better scurry and look for a warm place some where else!

You have been warned!