Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This is pretty much a "rant" post. I post it in honor of my first daughter, Sara, and her two beautiful boys, Brennen and Christopher. Why? Well, that's the easy part. Her father has yet to do even as much as a free online Christmas card to her and her family. No phone call, no family plan, no presents... NOTHING! He's not homeless, poor, or mentally ill. He's as capable as anyone who reads my blog. He's an example of WHY I'm not with him.

The part that really burns my bum is that Sara is his ONLY biological child. I have the love of both a biological child and an adoptive child. He has ONLY one biological child and then children who are a part of his life as long as he is married to their Mother. Last Christmas he was present and available after a divorce from wife #2. Everyone who knew them just knew that his treatment of Sara was due to HER (me included) but this year he remarried and didn't even tell Sara he was getting married until the DAY after. Recently, he and his new wife bought a tanning salon. He has had the presence of mind to ask her to work for free in exchange to TAN and bring the boys to work with her. She did this in some sort of distorted way of trying to gain some relationship with him. Well... Christmas rolls around... no phone call... no plans... no Christmas card... NOTHING!

You can say that the Mama Bear in me is present but it irritates me to no end to know that he in essence ignored his own biological child and his only biological grandchildren. I promise it is not about gifts. Christmas is in my mind about God's greatest gift to us. His only son sent to take away our sins and give us eternal life in heaven. We celebrate Christmas as a time that God gave us Jesus. We celebrate with family during this time and give gifts as an expression of our love for them. For him to not give a single thought to Sara and her kids just grates my last nerve. Sure she is 27 years old but to me she will always be my first little girl. And those precious babies born to her are as precious as she is. Instead the person he choose to express his affections to is a family that he has spent less than a year with. How sad for him that he can't recognize the special daughter he already has!

It's really hard when you become a parent. You really feel you must protect your child no matter what, no matter their age. You don't see them as adults, you see them as your child. You want everyone in their life to love and show affection the same way you do. I feel this way with both my daughters. I feel this way about my grandsons as well. And when "family" is involved... it's harder to stomach. Biological or not... family is family. Each night as we take Lexi to bed, we look at the picture above our mantel and say "goodnight family". Family is important but it takes ALL members of a family to communicate and give and take to make it work. No one wants all carbon copies of each member but respect and love is necessary. And when people can't make that work... I just feel so sorry for them. I'm in no way saying he should NOT be appreciating his New family but in no way should he ignore the one he has. I feel no difference in the love I have for Sara or Lexi. They are my daughters. Geoff feels the same way. He loves them both as if they were our own flesh and blood. That is the mark of a true father. Anyone who ignores the preciousness of either of my daughters will get the same reaction as I have tried to convey in my post. You can't get me without either one of them. In fact, we are all family... me, Geoff, Sara, Lexi, Brennen, and Christopher and extended family as well.

EX better not run into me anytime soon.... and I'm fighting the urge to call him and make him cry!

Sorry for the rant... but this Mama Bear is ticked off!


New Haircut

PM... (you tell from that milky tongue that I snatched her bottle away to get a smiley picture!)

I took Lexi to get a haircut in Glennville by Cheryl today. We've been trying since before Thanksgiving to get those bangs trimmed. By the time today rolled around she needed a shape up all over! We tried to get it cut at a place in Virginia but they wanted $17.00 to cut her bangs (it was a specialty shop for children) and at that point all we needed was bangs. So finally I took her to Cheryl that has done my hair for two months now. I really like her. She is sweet as pie and so kid friendly. We took Lexi to a mall shop the week before Christmas and the only person available was a woman with black hair... spiked in the front and shaved to the skin in the back with silver eye shadow dressed in stiletto heels and all black clothing. The second Lexi saw her she cried. We tried her sitting in my lap but she just cried harder. The Goth-chic never spoke to Lexi or even acted as if she wanted the business. So kuddos to Lj for recognizing a weird chic! (I use chic loosely as she was WAY too old to be trying to pull this look off!)

Just let me say she sat so still for Cheryl! She's never done this well before. She was just an angel! No crying, no tears, no drama! Just what Mommy prayed for! Little Lj can spot a little kid loving mommy!

We visited Nana and Papa before and after the haircut. Then I brought home a very unhappy child (she did not want to leave Nana and Papa). We decided to try to cheer her up with some New Year's Eve sparklers. I couldn't believe that she was not afraid of them. This is my VERY LAME attempt of capturing the moment. (anyone with camera advice to get this perfect shot... please bring it!) We really want a cool New Year's Eve picture with her! Like an American Express commercial... Lexi in our arms on the eve of a New Year... PRICELESS!


I'm not the only one who plays with Lexi's pictures!

Melissa MUST teach me how to do this!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Playing with Pictures

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One Year Ago..

Savannah had an underground fire that forced Geoff's office to close and he was able to coincidentally come home just in time for our first glimpse of our LEXI! (for a full walk back through that day click here) I can't believe it's been a year since our referral. Even more unbelievable is the transformation of Lexi. These are the pictures we gazed at and just fell in love instantly! She was 9 months old at the time this pictures were taken.

And now.... at 23 months... 10 months with us... our even more beautiful, even more loved Lexi.

We love Lexi as much as life itself and are so glad we survived the wait and the entire adoption process. I have a picture frame in my bedroom that says "Adopted to Bless Our Family".

Blessed is what we are.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Lexi's First Chore

She's learning early and loves the responsibility! What I didn't show in the layout was that afterwards, she insists on giving Sable a treat. Sable loves that very much! And by the way, Smokey unlike Muffin does not mind being fed by Lexi one bit! Muffin is a spoil sport!


For the love of "Blanky"!

Today after Lexi on her very own went and got her pink blankie out of the crib before her nap I thought it was "safe" to put the green one in the washer. I even told her I was going to take and wash it. She didn't complain until she heard the water rushing into the washer and then came screaming into the room in protest. I showed her the wet blanket and told her it would be okay that she had her pink one to sleep with. She settled down and took her nap with pink blankie instead of the green one. So after she got up I took her to the dryer and we took out the green one. My goodness was our little one happy! She sure loves that blanket! She also LOVES this outfit that Ms. Fair gave her from work. I've had to "pry" it off her every time she has worn it so tonight I just left it on since she had a late bath and never went outdoors She loves it so much she will fight us tooth and nail to get it off. She was even happy to get dressed today once she saw it was what she had to put on! Who knows... it may be May before we can stop her from wearing it!


Refrigerator of Happiness

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all the photo cards and today I decided to take a picture of this years. We are running out of room! But every time I look at it, I am reminded of all the happiness and joy that so many of my Panda friends and I have enjoyed this Christmas. All of us endured the long wait together and now we enjoy watching each others' children blossom every day! So to all my Internet China Adoption Friends... I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I look forward to our next reunion as well as hearing about all the new milestones our precious little China babies will experience. We are all truly blessed!


Avoiding Breakfast

Lexi has so been off of her eating schedule! We've had a hard time getting her to eat much at all. She does best when it is just her and one other person in the room. This morning I fixed her some eggs and strawberry cream oatmeal. She did everything in her power to avoid it. It was funny but she finally did eat about half of what I had fixed her.

Climbing up in the WRONG chair.
Hiding UNDER the table.
Playing Peek-a-boo!

Starting to give in.
Climbing into the right chair.

Finally deciding to eat!

Humm... not so bad Mommy!

And this outfit was NOT put together by us. Lexi demanded to wear her tutu with the wrong PJ's. At least the colors match! This girl certainly has her own ideas about things! I'm looking forward to spending some time with her this week without having Christmas preparations to do.
Right now... I guess I"m off to watch some Barney with her!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Photo Favorite



New Look!

It seems funny to do a blog makeover with a winter theme since we get such little cold weather here but oh, well. I took these header pictures of Lexi yesterday at Mom's with my new 50 mm lens! Yea! I finally got a new lens for my camera!

And I finally changed my blog signature using the extra special gift from Melissa. For Christmas she made me a year's worth of signatures to use on the blog! I love them! (Okay... her too! LOL!)


First Christmas With Lexi

We had so many pictures I thought this would be the easiest way to share. We had a fabulous Christmas!

Lexi got up about 8:00. Before we got her up, we quickly mixed up Hashbrown Casserole and popped it in the oven. Then I walked her out while Geoff waited with the camera. She dove right in with no prompting! I wish he could have captured the look on her face when she discovered that TMX Elmo could move and talk. It was as if she thought he was alive for real! We got so tickled with her because she loves new clothes but not on Christmas morning! Every time she opened a box with clothes in it (as opposed to toys), she would slam the box back shut and say "back". She did the same thing with her stocking. It was not interesting enough!

When breakfast was almost done we called Mom and Dad and the came over to eat with us and see what all Santa had brought Lexi. It was such a joy to watch her on Christmas morning. At one point, she took both Mom and Dad's pointer fingers and made them go into her room to dance with her to her Christmas tree. She insisted they take off their shoes first. It was so funny. I can still see the big smile on my Dad's face as he danced with her. It was precious.

After Mom and Dad left us, we called Geoff's parents on Skype. They are in Italy with Geoff's brother and his family this year. Lexi opened a present from them, showed them some of her toys and played with her Daddy in the floor as they talked.

After talking with Geoff's parents Lexi and I went down for a 3 hour nap! I couldn't believe how exhausted we were from all the fun! I had planned to make a big Chinese dinner in honor of Lexi's culture but we only ended up making Pot Stickers and Asian Style green beans. We had fortune cookies. Being the "dipper" Lexi is, she dipped her cookie in soy sauce!

We finished Christmas with Sara, Chris and her boys yesterday afternoon. They had so much to do on Christmas day with other family that we decided to wait until the day after. I can't believe how much our family has changed since last Christmas. We've been so blessed. I can't imagine life without Lexi. Lexi loves her "sissy" and her nephews! She has just brought so much to our family and I thank God for her everyday!

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Christmas Eve Part 2

After leaving Mom and Dad's we headed home with one little wound up child! We came home to discover new PJ's for everyone. They must have been delivered by one of Santa's Elves! We changed clothes and began with nighttime routine with a few changes for Christmas Eve. We were going to have a fire however, the weather had turned very WARM so if we were going to do that we would have had to turn the air way down! So we decided to skip the fire and the hot chocolate. We read Lexi a very simple version of The Christmas Story and then tried to read The Night Before Christmas (too long for short attention spans!) Somebody was getting tired so I rocked her to sleep. Only when I came out of her room did I remember the wrapped doll and book that I had planned to let her open! I told Geoff I was tempted to wake her up but let it wait for morning.

We began preparing for Christmas morning and finally made it to bed about 11:30. I don't know who was more excited... me or Geoff!

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Christmas Eve At Mom's

For as long as I can remember we have opened presents from each other at Mom's on Christmas Eve. We all continued this tradition even as we grew up, got married and started our own families. This year Shirley and Chris did not make it but we did have Kelly here. All in all we had 19 family members! We always begin with a Christmas Feast and then move on to presents. This picture was taken of Lexi just before we started. You would never have known that this was her first Christmas. She took to opening presents like a pro. She even helped pass out presents to everyone. I wish I had video of her opening her first present. It was an Elmo sing-a-long toy from Carolyn's family. When Lexi saw what it was she lifted her arms and screamed "yea!". It was too cute!

We saved a few extra special presents for for Mom and Dad until the end. I made a photo book of Lexi's first 10 months with us. I began with the referral picture and then Family Day in China. The book is just precious and it was all I could do NOT to give it to Mom and Dad when it came in a few weeks ago.

Click here to view this photo book larger

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Mommy's Little ... Mind Reader!

I'm going to try to get caught up on my holiday posts today. I have TONS of pictures and so much to tell! We've had so much fun with the holidays this year. It's amazing how much Christmas spirit you can feel when watching through the eyes of a child. Of course a 3 1/2 year wait for that child and then FINALLY having her here for Christmas sure helps too!

So here's a cute story that I don't want to forget. I didn't snap a picture though!

... On Christmas Eve morning, Geoff and I were finishing up breakfast and sitting at the table talking. Lexi as usual finished in record time and was down playing. I had ONE more thing to make for Christmas Eve... a batch of sugar cookies. Mom had given me a new recipe to try and I was reading it over. It had a picture of the cookies on the page. At one point Lexi got up in Geoff's lap and must have watched me looking at the recipe because when she got down from his lap, she disappeared in the kitchen and came back with 2 handfuls of cookie cutters! It was too cute. Our little girl is "one smart cookie!"

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 09

Blessed... precious... awesome! Couldn't have been more perfect. More details will follow but for now these three words will have to do!

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Almost Christmas Eve... but yet....

we embark on the Eve of the Terrible Twos! Today Lj is 23 months old! It's hard to imagine and even harder to face as I want to enjoy every baby moment I can. BUT.... B-U-T Lexi has other ideas. She is everyday showing more signs of Independence which in many cases = defiance! Ouch! Just this morning, she who wanted a bath so badly and did such a great job washing her own hair but then threw a major tantrum when I washed out the shampoo (bad mommy!), decided to throw another one when I took her out of the growing cold water.... only to insist (so unfair!) on NOT putting on a diaper and clothes! She ran from me after I managed to put on the diaper and hid in a corner as I drug her out to put on a shirt as she kicked and screamed. Putting on jeans was worse and warranted a stay in good ole "Time Out!". After just about 30 seconds she was saying, "UhhhPPPPP?" I let out up and we talked about what got there in the first place. However, lessons are hard learned around here as demonstrated tonight while we tried to put on Pj's she wound back in good ole' time out! Of course she is never there more than a few minutes and she totally understands but I have to admit in some ways it is comical. She really is a little stinker who has mastered the art of controlling Mommy and Daddy! (FYI... Daddy is more fooled than Mommy!)

I just keep saying that I CAN'T wait until she understands the concept of "You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I'm telling you why..."

Oh.... I don't really wish for those days but I sure look forward to some parent trickery! LOL!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Lovin' Christmas Gifts!

Yesterday a very dear friend (Angela) at school gave me not ONE but THREE outfits for Lexi for Christmas. Since two of the three were holiday outfits she wanted Lexi to have them now. So last night while Mom and Dad were over, we let her open her present. We were very surprised that she seemed to just "know" how to open the present. She ripped the paper and even the box! And when she finally got to the outfits she began to lay them down and match the tops and the bottoms. LOL! Could this be early signs of organization skills??? (I hope so!!) After she got all outfits out she tried on ONE of them for us and then she was "ALL DONE!" I happened to snap this picture at the exact moment she decided to hunch her shoulders. It was too cute. The outfits were just adorable and just what we needed for the holidays. She's all set now with Christmas dress from Mommy and Daddy... Christmas PJ's from Nana T. and 2 everyday outfits from Auntie Angela!

The holidays are so exciting for us this year! I have to admit the last week has been tiring and overwhelming as we prepared to end school for 2 weeks but today after passing out gifts and learning that my gradebook could wait until January I began to relax and I'm feeling the spirit of Christmas. I can never express how much the addition of Lexi to our family has blessed us. I can't wait to see her with the family on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas Day. I can't wait to teach her all about the reason of Christmas and all the traditions associated with it. I can't wait to see Christmas from the eyes of a child again and enjoy the anticipation of the holidays.

Tomorrow we plan to take her to the mall... (AH... hate the last minute crowds but ...) and we will let her ride the Christmas Train in the mall. She loves trains so it's a must do even if we have to fight the crowds to make it into Savannah.

One more quick story and then I'll stop... yesterday I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and said to Geoff as we got ready for work that I couldn't believe that I still did not have a present for him. He pointed to the video monitor and said "there's my Christmas present". I feel the same way. Our life is complete at the moment with her here and no gift can surpass her presence and each morning I wake up and punch the button on the monitor that lights up the screen and I take a few minutes just looking at the sleeping Asian Beauty in her crib (what more a perfect way to begin a day!). I quickly told him that I understood BUT that "sleeping Christmas present" needed to have a gift for her Daddy on Christmas morning. So on Monday morning, we will head out to first have breakfast with the Carr's at McDonalds and then go shopping. (Can't wait to see the boys and of course their parents again!) Who knows it may end up being the perfect day and we'll have lunch "on" Daddy too!

Homemade Gifts were a Hit!

This picture is deceiving as it looks smaller than it really is. In reality, it held an entire batch of my sugar cookies. Now Lexi and I have to make more for our family and of course Geoff's secretary. She covets my cookies every holiday season and when I make them for her she hides them from her family! LOL! I make them from a recipe that I found in a magazine when I was about 14 years old. I've had it ever sense. It's not meant to be rolled and cut out but I do it anyhow very carefully and it makes fabulous cookies! I hope this will be one of the many things I pass down to Lexi. Not only my recipe but my love for baking and more importantly the spirit of giving to others.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cutie Pie

Still lovin' some hats!

Today Mom kept Lexi late for me so that I could finish making some homemade gifts for some extra special friends at work. What I could normally knock out in 2 after work days now takes much longer! I am not sure without Mom helping if I could have pulled it off. I'd post the pictures of my homemade gifts but FIRST must give them and then let everyone in on the fun.

Lexi got to open her FIRST Christmas present today from Ms. Fair! She was awesome! She totally gets the ripping of paper and loved to find what was inside! She gave her 2 Christmas outfits that she needs to wear now so she told me to give them to her. Lexi loves them! I can't wait to post pictures but tonight I'm just too tired! But certainly Lexi LOVED the new outfits especially one of them...

I promise I will update with pictures soon!

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