Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nana's Last Day in Florida

Our last day with Nana consisted of our one year home study with Mr. Leon. We enjoyed our last official meeting with him and hope to meet up with him again.

We picked some limes in our yard so that Nana can take some Florida home with her. She may even share one... maybe. They smell so fresh and .... limey!

We also did some house cleaning and then it was lunch time and nap for AA! Daddy made a tent for AA in the living room from bar stools and a sheet. Not sure what prompted that!

For our last day with Nana we went for a boat ride and boy was it hot! We took a few pictures and then headed off to dinner at our local seafood place on Doctor's Lake, Whitey's Fish Camp.

Bye Nana! Come back soon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Date Nights!

My Mom has gifted us in many ways with her visit, not the least of which has been to keep AA while we slip off for some time alone, sort of a "date" night :)

Saturday night we went to a local (Fleming Island) Sports Bar to watch the beginning of the Florida Gators game. It was crowded - absolutely MOBBED!
We found a couple of seats in the bar area and within a few minutes was joined by others trying to find seats.
We were fortunate to have some very nice, friendly people join us, strangers at first but great football friends in only a few short minutes. Go Gators!! Bill and Yvonne have children and we quickly shared pictures. They were waiting for friends who eventually arrived. DH and I had put our names down for a booth and the hostess came to tell us one had become available, so we grabbed it allowing our "new friends" the extra room.

All in all, we enjoyed the time out with some crazy Gator football fans and with each other!

That was Saturday early evening.... Date Night #1.

Mom came through again on Sunday night.... Date Night #2!
We headed out to our favorite pizza place on Fleming Island only to find it was closed. That should let you know how often we go out :) So we drove a little further to our "other" favorite place.... it was closed too! Date night was fast becoming Road Trip! It has been a long time since we have been out on a Sunday evening and didn't realize that many businesses have reduced their hours.
The next stop was our favorite "non-pizza" place (even though they do have small personal, gourmet pizza's on their menu).
We had an enjoyable hour at Biscottis with their always friendly staff. I don't know how they keep these great people as we have always had the best service, relaxing atmosphere and great food (plus our red wine).

Thank You Elizabeth for keeping our glasses full!

Last photo below: The date-night Queen (me!) reading emails as Hubby gets the chariot ready for our drive home!
Thanks, Nana (my Mom) for keeping AA!! We had some welcomed, fantastic, relaxing fun!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter #1!!

#1 Daughter's birthday is today! We will celebrate with her this Sunday as she, her hubby and our Grand #2 headed to Disney for the day. Hope they have tons of fun!!

This family picture was taken in July in SE Missouri. DD (she's due with our Grand #3 in December!) is holding one of her first cousins while our Grand #2 is on the very left side.
All three of our "kids" were born on September.... Justin, Leaa and we just celebrated AA's!

Happy Birthday Leaa!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Three Word Sunday - Family Gathering

Lots of seafood on the menu!

I was at work when Daddy, Nana and Alyzabeth met with our DD Leaa, her hubby Jesse and our granddaughter Livi; plus our son Justin and our oldest graddaughter Kilee.
Fun restaurant on the river in East Palatka - Corky Bells.... a long standing family restaurant in the Putnam/St. Johns county area.
They all had fun family time together, the food was Yummy and I missed it!! :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The "Pooh Bear" is IN!

Winnie the Pooh is now the "IN" baby to take care of (birthday gift from our friends at Pregnancy by Adoption - thanks!).

Showing him around the yard......

Checking out the very unripe oranges......

Pooh Bear gets his first stroller ride. AA loves to walk her babies!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Conversations With Alyzabeth


Yes, Alyzabeth.

I'm never going to know my China birth mom and dad, am I?

Probably not baby girl.

But it could happen, right?

Yes it could.

Dad? Is it OK to wish it could happen?

It's more than OK.

I get sad sometimes. Sometimes, mad...

That's OK too.

Do you think they think about me?

I'm sure they do.

I wonder what they think about?

Well, I bet they wonder how beautiful you've grown. How smart you are. Most of all, I think they hope you are very, very happy.

I going to tell them in my prayers tonight how happy I am.

Tell them for me and mom too.

I'm never leaving you and Mom.

And we're never leaving you sweetie.

Night-Night daddy.

Sweet dreams baby girl. Don't forget your prayers...

The continuing imaginary conversations of a father with his daughter...

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Values Do Not Always Make For Good Law

And quite possibly, neither do yours...

You really should never push out a post for the sake of generating comments. Something we never have a problem with when posting about NASCAR :)
I always smile when people do respond, thinking I'm the race buff, when it was Aly that brought me to the sport of left turns and 13.2 second pit stops to take on 4 tires, a wedge adjustment and a splash of gas...

All to explain why this post will appeal to me, with most everyone quickly exercising the left click option to go play elsewhere.

My oldest daughter and I were recently talking on the phone. Well, actually we talk on the phone pretty much every day but then what father/daughter doesn't?
DD shared an article she had just read and wanted me to check it out. She went on to say how the writer had helped to crystallize her feelings on a particular subject political and had given expression to her own thoughts in a way that seemed so effortless, so rich. Equally important, DD was impressed with the writer for not feeling intimidated to write what they were thinking. She wished she had more of that resolve, more of the writers courage.
In truth, I found her summing up my feelings of repressed expression on most things political.
It must be genetic.

My only words of wisdom were to pick her battles wisely. To learn as much as she could about the positions contrary to her own that others held fast. Being knowledgeable of their positions would be essential in formulating and expressing her own. To use a sports metaphor, it is the reason coaches and players study game films. To find the strengths of their opponent and their weaknesses.

Casual blogs and FB are horrible places to dialogue on sensitive issues. And on certain issues, dialogue has actually ended. We have passed the point of searching for middle ground. Compromise is seen as eroding one's principles, diplomacy as naive, consensus as fully unattainable.

I was sad after our conversation ended. Sad my daughter was witnessing a time in which Americans continued to place party before country. Sad when ideologue religious beliefs are waged as law for all. Sad she is hesitant to express her opinions for fear of vile pronouncements of being unpatriotic, un-Godly. Sad to witness a time of voices expressing hope for a President to fail in his leadership and calling it good for our country.
Sad that hate burns more intense than love for one another.

Dear sweet, beautiful daughter of mine. Your dreams are not in vain. What you think, has value. Your feelings, do matter. Yet know and believe our shortfalls are never defined as insurmountable. The intolerance's of today, not unlike the injustices of our yesterdays, will one day be made right.
Ours is a great nation. We can and we will be even greater. And with hands, hearts and minds such as yours, the work will continue and the luster and the beauty of her people will shine through...
Love you,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Drama BEFORE the Birthday

While I was baking her birthday cake, we had to sample the homemade cocoa frosting!
Until AA tells me otherwise, we are using Nana Joy's sheet cake recipe for birthday cakes. It is so yummy!

Nana is Enjoying the Florida Sun (and AA!)

AA is making a splash with Nana!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nana is Here!

My Mom is here to help celebrate AA's 3rd Birthday; AA's first on USA soil!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

W.I.S.E. Up - For Kids & Their Parents

Wise Up Powerbook is an informative guide for kids (and their parents) on how to deal with inquisitive and intrusive questions regarding adoption using the W.I.S.E. UP! formula.
As noted by author Marilyn Schoettle, along with others who have reviewed the book, our children will face questions about adoption at an early age and more often than not when we are not around. At school being the perfect example.

Only 29 pages long, the book uses a cartoon format featuring an adopted Owl that makes reading fun and entertaining for your young one.
Check it out!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forever Family Day & New Camera Lens

This continues to be a week of celebrations.
Today we officially celebrate our first "Forever Family Day" Anniversary!

For our upcoming (and last) home study update, one needs a variety of family photos and we never seem to get a picture of the three of us together.
The photo below was taken this past weekend at a family gathering celebrating Nicole & Jordan's engagement.

At least we now have one photo for our update!

The photo(s) above and below were taken with our Nikon D40x. We were taking fairly good pictures but we felt they could be better but assumed it was us; in that we didn't know how to use the camera. Turns out it was that :) and more.

A co-worker (who has this blog) was buying a new lens for his camera and knew we had a Nikon also. He offered his old zoom lens to us, a AF-S NIKKOR 55-200 zoom lens, at a good price and we said yes. What a difference!

Here are two pictures taken with the new lens; we are amazed at the clarity of the water droplets we never saw before.

Cropped and close up!

Love the new lens.....except now, Ford wants a lens like the one my co-worker just bought!
I think we'll just work on learning how to use all our camera's features for now :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Three Word Sunday - One Year Anniversary

Three Word Sunday:

Visit here for all the three word Sunday slide shows!

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Year Anniversary.....

One year ago today......

This has been an emotional week leading up to our one year anniversary of flying to China (today), also of Forever Family Day and also AA's birthday.... all in one week.
I still get teary eyed.
Can't imagine life without our little daughter.

(Congrats to all who are in China now... send them some love, click on the links to the right)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Niece Visited

I shared my snack with niece....

We cooked in the kitchen and made chocolate pudding together....

Yummy, we are pleased....

What could be sweeter.....

I think you are having too much fun.....

Friends forever.......

Aunt Alyzabeth enjoyed a day with her niece, Alivia... :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Son!!

We are going to have fun at the beach today! Happy Labor Day AND a HUGE Happy Birthday to our son!
We need to change what we tell friends about our son's age....... he's now in his "late-30's".
No longer in his "mid-30's". Oh my, how did he get so old (or how did we get so old?).
He is a wonderful son, father to Kilee, brother and uncle. Handsome, hard worker, funny, positive, outgoing, outdoorsman..... and unattached (we're not implying anything here or trying to rush him into anything.... just thought we would throw in his status........).

April 2009:

June 2009:

August 2009:

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Three Word Sunday - Baby Girl's Morning

Love seeing my little girl in the morning light, especially when the weekend is here!

Eating breakfast together.... she has to sit at her "indoor" picnic table.... no more highchair! (since we are expecting another granddaughter, we know who's house the highchair is going to). I can't sit on the picnic table... wonder why! So I sit in the pink school desk chair!

The sun light is very bright as our house windows face full east.

Tomorrow is our son's birthday and family gathering at the beach..... lots of pictures to be taken!
Happy Labor Day weekend! Celebrate the day off from work!