Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This isn't the new project

But this was a project from a fun day with friends at a paint-it-yourself store. It was difficult for me to let Kamryn just go at it . . . after all, I had a "theme" in mind for her little shirt. I'm bad I know. I did let her do what she wanted after I stamped the princess crowns on.

Now Kamryn "poses" for the camera! Oh my!

The artist at work! This is so much better than taking paint out at home:)

Thanks Tina for emailing me the pictures from the store from your camera phone!

My boys meet Mary Grace

One weekend my mom and I and the boys went down to Carmel. My mom and I went for Mary Grace's baby shower. The boys went because they were so excited to meet Mary Grace! It was a nice weekend with friends even though we drove through horrendous storms half the trip there. You should have seen me running into the hotel with a inside out umbrella that was no help at all! The boys slept at friends house's so my mom and I were able to stay up late chatting both nights in the hotel. I miss that . . . even though it's nice being back home and close by, I really liked when my parents would come visit and stay for days at a time.

We're excited about having visitors next weekend! Kevin's dad & Dianne, and his sister and new brother-in-law will be coming up from Florida. It will be a fun, busy weekend.

Keep posted to see the latest project we finished! How come having company puts me into the quickest action?

Kamryn hanging out with friends

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Speaking of birthdays . . .

June 2nd was my Aunt Bernice's birthday. It was a Tuesday. Tuesdays are the day that my mom and aunt go stitching at Carillon with their Carillon friends and sometimes they all go out for lunch before they stitch. So this Tuesday in honor of my aunt's birthday, Kamryn and I decided to join them. (after all, years before Aunt B lived in AZ and we couldn't celebrate with her!)

It was nice to meet the sweet Carillon ladies! Kamryn thankfully was pretty well behaved except for the deliberate small salt and pepper mixing on the table. Grandma and Aunt B tried to keep her entertained since they were sitting by her. Kamryn enjoyed the attention from everyone so much that she drew everyone pictures. Then during lunch, Kamryn got up, walked past me and went right up to Phyllis and wanted to sit on her lap! Phyllis graciously let her even though she wasn't finished with her own lunch. And then she graciously shared her french fries with Kamryn even though Kamryn's basket of fries sat untouched. Thank you Phyllis for being extra kind!

From what my mom tells me, Phyllis faithfully read our website while we were in China and continues to faithfully read the blog. (Hi Phyllis!) In my mom's words, she is Kamryn's biggest fan. Kamryn obviously became quite fond of her too. She definitely felt very comfortable around Phyllis, and I'd say she bonded with her! It was very cute. Kamryn and I hope to join them all again soon. After all, Grandma's friends are our friends and we love to eat lunch out!

I have a teenager!

Today was Matt's 13th Birthday! Yikes! Kevin and I are parents to an official teenager now. Matt is such a good kid if I don't say so myself. I just pray that he continues to be a good teenager through all of his teenage years! (he's all sweaty because he was outside in the yard playing ball with Brendan)

Yes, Kevin had to share the father's day spotlight with Matt. We had my parents, Aunt B, Mel and Gavin over for a barbecue. What a great dad to grill on supposedly his "day off."

Hunter's birthday was last Friday so Melanie sat in the theater with Matt, Hunter and Brendan and saw the movie, The Hulk, while Kamryn and I saw Kung Fu Panda with our friends Heather, Hannah, Kaitlyn and Josh. Then we had a family celebration at my sister's house.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kevin's Uncle Bob turned 80

So his cousins threw a birthday party for him at a restaurant up near O'Hare. We don't see Kevin's extended family very often, and since we've been back in Chicago, we've only seen some of them once last summer. It was nice to see everyone again and introduce Kamryn to some of them who had not met her yet. There was a band playing so Kamryn had a ball dancing with everyone.

Kevin's cousin Roberta adopted her daughter from China I think 9 years ago. (because Mary Claire is close in age to Brendan.) I remember meeting Mary at a family party when she was just a toddler. I remember thinking way back then that I too would like a daughter from China.

The cool thing the night of the party (other than celebrating Uncle Bob's 80th bday) was that Kamryn went with open arms immediately to Mary Claire. Mary whisked Kamryn around on her hip the whole night and took great care of her. I was sitting by them at a table and Mary said to me, "she has small eyes like me." I replied, "yes she does, and you are both beautiful." One of Kevin's other cousins reminded me that when Roberta first told Mary about us adopting from China, Mary said, "oh good someone in the family who will look like me."

I am glad they have each other. There is definitely a special bond between the two of them even though there is an age difference and even though they don't see each other very often. They are cousins. They are family. They look different than all of us. But to each other, they look the same.

The boys didn't know that daddy had cousins with boys around their age. They had fun hanging out together even if it took most of the night to warm up!

End of the school year picnics

I am fortunate enough to live close to my mom for a number of reasons, but at this time of year, especially because she is able to babysit Kamryn! Because of her help, I was able to go on a field trip with Brendan's class and then another day to Matt's school for his 6th grade picnic.

Back in Carmel it was no problem volunteering at school because I didn't have a little one at home. I enjoyed being in the classrooms with the boys and helping out at school functions when I could. They liked me being there. It amazes me really that B still wants me to go on school trips with him. It makes me feel good that he does really want me around. I know the day will come when he won't.

During Brendan's picnic at Indian Head Park, the classes rotated between different events; water balloons, softball, kickball, etc. Brendan wanted me to play kickball so lucky for me I actually kicked the ball really hard and ran to first base. I could have made it to second, but I didn't feel like booking it. I'm just glad I didn't embarrass and disappoint my son in front of his entire class! He was happy after the game, and told me, "good thing you had on gym shoes." Ha! He knows that's a rare thing. I only wear my gym shoes when I am working out. Otherwise, it's usually cute sandals of some sort. I definitely couldn't have played kickball in sandals without getting hurt.

Matt's picnic was at his school. My mom joked with me that day before I left that I didn't have on my gym shoes to play kickball. I knew that I wouldn't be asked to play kickball with the sixth graders. Sure enough. I was right. I barely even saw Matt. The only time the parent volunteers saw the kids is when they were in line getting their food. Then the kids quickly ate and ran back out to the field to play whatever they were playing. It was a nice time for me to mingle with other moms and meet some new people though.

Reaching Hearts in China

My friend Becki is in China right now. No, not there adopting a baby, (she did that once already - see Addison's story on my blog roll) but she's there with a group of women helping out in an orphanage just because. Just because their hearts are so big. Just because they want to spread the word of Jesus and sing Jesus Loves Me to the children. Just because they are wonderful women!

When Becki told me that she was going on this mission trip, I felt that twinge of "Oh I want to go too." Then reality for me set in, and I just knew that I couldn't do it. The trip is expensive (little did I know then that through hard work and fundraising, the trip gets paid for), and I seriously don't think I could leave my kids for 12 days. I have a hard enough time getting a sitter for a much needed date night. (I need to work on that I know because spending time with your spouse is pretty important too!)

When I found out that Becki was going to be in an orphanage in Shangrao, I was so happy . . . and then felt terrible that I maybe didn't pursue this further. Kamryn is from Shangrao. They are not at the same orphanage where Kamryn was, but they are not too far away. I do look forward to going back to China someday.

Becki I am praying for you and the rest of the group and am there with you in spirit! I love the photos on the website. I bet you are loving it. I think if I were there, I would want to bring every child home with me, and I'm sure you will feel the same way.

Here's their website!

Reaching Hearts In China

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Project #3

Potty training Kamryn

It seems to be a never ending thing. Finally, I decided to try something that always worked with the boys. Bribery with money. It seemed to be working. We have what I call her "money bucket" and every time she goes, she gets some change for her money bucket. When it adds up, she can buy a toy.

She did great for a week so I bought her the Dora backpack toy. She continued to do so great for many weeks that I slacked off and didn't give her money anymore. I thought we were past that. But today she had a really bad day. I guess it's time to bring out the money bucket again.

Project #1 & #2

My sister had an Uppercase Living Party a while back, and I finally put up my phrase and other design. Well, okay, Kevin helped me, I must admit. It wasn't hard to put up but it was a bit of a challenge especially for one person. (I did hang my mom's saying by myself though.) This was harder though because I chose a more intricate design and bigger stuff. Anyway, I love them!

The first one is a reminder to myself to not stress about the everyday little things and to plan more "moments" and have fun. It says, "We do not remember days, we remember moments." How incredibly true!

The second was a design I chose for a difficult wall to decorate. When you walk into our powder room, the first thing you see is the sink. When you are sitting on the toilet, you are looking at that blank wall next to the sink. I can't really hang anything there because the door opens to that wall and plus we'd hit something with our elbows as we wash our hands. So this solves the problem. It gives the ladies something to look at and it's flat on the wall!