Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fabulous Kids!

I know it's been a while since I blogged. I guess life gets busy, but I have lots to share...beginning with information about my fantastic kids! See the slide show below about their academic and art awards. In October, both Hannah and Zach were on the Principal's List because they made straight A's. Zach was also recognized for making a perfect score on the math portion of the CRCT while Hannah's art earned an award in her class.

I am so proud!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

L'shanah tovah! (Happy New Year!)

Today was the Jewish New Year. L'shanah tovah! The kids and I decided to take our spiritual journey outdoors with the animals at the Yellow River Game Ranch. We had a wonderful time. Being with the animals, especially being able to be that close with the beautiful deer, put me at peace. This was especially important because yesterday I learned that my 31 year-old cousin, Rachel, passed away. She battled cancer for over a year and was diagnosed right after she had her baby, Adina, who just celebrated her first birthday last month.

May this year bring health, happiness, and peace!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Zach's Birthday Party

In the afternoon, Zach's friends met at Laser Quest. Although the boys had a wonderful time, I think Hannah, Tim, and Scott had just as much fun. Uncle Scottie was first in line to get in to the actual laser room. Dana and I played air hockey, and I think the pregnant lady actually beat least once. It was a little loud in the place, so Big Bub, Little Bub, Auntie Dana, and I went for a walk while the boys and Hannah played. All in all it was a wonderful, exhausting day!

Hannah's Birthday Party

Yes, I'm a little behind on my posts. On Aug. 25, we had a two header birthday day; Hannah had her birthday party in the morning, and Zach had his birthday party in the afternoon. Above are pics from Hannah's party at Build-a-Bear. It was truly fun and all friends and family were in attendance, including Big Bub, Little Bub, Grandma and Papa, Auntie Dana and Uncle Scottie, Aunt Amy and Uncle John, and Kelly and Jaden.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zach's Belt Ceremony

Zach being helped by a higher belt to change his green belt to high green

Zach taking off his green belt....It's time to move up!

Master Choi hands Zach his certificate for completing all requirements to earn his high green belt.

This past Tues., Zach participated in a belt ceremony for his high green belt. It is a very nice presentation that follows a belt test that includes bowing, drum beats, and a person with a higher belt helping with the changing of the belts. We are very proud of him!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A New Addition

Snickers, making herself at home....

It's strange having a kitten after having cats for so long. Snickers will eat heartily and play and play. Then, she will sack out and take a nap.

Yes, I'm crazy. After Zach's belt test and getting my hair cut on Sat., I meandered over to PetCo to gather some pet supplies for our current four-legged brood. Well, of course, the Humane Society of Lawrenceville was there adopting out dogs and cats of all ages and breeds (mainly mixed). They had many kittens up for adoption. I held a couple of small kittens, but they just did not seem right; they were more interested in escaping than playing with me. I also looked closely at some of the adult cats. Since we have three other animals, I wasn't sure how "adaptable" they would be. Then, one of the "foster" parents directed me over to the cage of Sara Begonia. She was between 3 and 4 months and was supposedly very affectionate. I took her out and held her. Amid all of the chaos of dogs barking and people walking around, she was content to sit on my lap and play. She also purred really loudly. That was it; I called Tim and the kids to make sure it was okay, and I brought her home.
Well, she has only been here for a day and she rules the roost! She is not afraid of the dogs and does not want Oliver around her. (Yes, she does remind me of Katie.) She has definitely made herself at home. Because of her unusual markings (I was initially attracked to her personality and not her beauty.), we named her Snickers.

Belt Testing

Zach, preparing to do his palm...notice the concentration.

Zach did a fabulous job breaking the board with a jump, spinning reverse kick.

Saturday morning, Zach tested for his high green belt. He did a wonderful job, really putting effort and force into each and every move. We are so proud of him! Notice his black uniform. He committed himself to the black belt club which basically puts him on a faster path towards earning his black belt.

On Tuesday, he will have his belt ceremony and receive his high green belt.

Friday, August 17, 2007


This week I am very thankful that my friend and colleague, Rebecca, is okay. On Sunday night she was car jacked and assaulted. The assailant either pushed her down or hit her on the head. Regardless, she went from her feet to her head in seconds. Then, he punched her in the face and held her down by the face when she tried to scream and kick him. He then tore her pocket off and grabbed her keys. She was able to save her fabulous Coach purse as her attacker fumbled with the keys (maybe not the smartest move, but a victory none the less). The scary thing is that she was in a well-lit parking lot in Buckhead.

She had to get 5 staples in her head and had some swelling and bruising, but there was no internal bleeding. Plus, on Tuesday night, she learned that they had found her car with two men in it! They arrested the man that fit her description. On Thursday, detectives visited her at home and she was able to identify her assailant from a lineup.

Although she has some physical and mental healing to do, she is going to be okay. When I talk to her each day, she amazes me with her strength and positive outlook.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Difficult Week

Some weeks are just harder than others; aren't they? This past week was one of them. Hannah complained of a stomach ache all week. She did not have temperature or any other symptoms, so I do not know if it was due to tiredness, stress, or truly a little bug. To make matters worse, it was over 100 degrees most days last week. Because it was so hot, I picked the kids up from school on most days.

My week was also stressful. I had two big projects due for Monday and worked many hours past my 40 hour week. While I finished most of my work by Friday, I did have to work for a couple of hours this weekend. However, Hannah and I did squeeze in some shopping time too. We even stopped at PetCo to check out the animals up for adoption, but I'm just not ready yet for another cat. Tim and I also worked on the basement. It is amazing the amount of junk you accumulate over 14 years. I hope it doesn't take another 14 just to clean it out....

Perhaps it's just starting school (for all of us) and the fact that it's so hot. Regardless, I am looking forward to a much better week!

Monday, August 6, 2007

At the Lake

This weekend we went to visit Tim's mom and dad at their house on Lake Sinclair. It is Tim's dad's (Papa's) birthday today, so Tim's brother, John, our sister-in-law, Amy, our niece, Kelly, and our grand-nephew, Jaden, were all there. It was a lot of fun to visit, catch up, and play on the lake. Below our pictures from the weekend.

The birthday boy, Papa....

Jaden looking so cool after a swim....

Ms. H, the bathing beauty....

Amy and Mom enjoy the sights of the lake from the shore.

Jaden and John chilling out on the hammock...
The kids had a wonderful time playing on the "Delta." This is a triangle-shaped float with a space for sitting in the middle. Hannah and Zach took turns riding on the Delta as Tim pulled them "steaming fast" over the lake. The one that did not ride during a turn was the lookout for the other and let Tim know if he or she had fallen or needed help.

Tim and "lookout" Zach get ready to pull Hannah on the Delta.

Hannah, getting ready to ride....She had no fear!

Even the dogs had fun at the lake. Rex was very interested in fetching his tennis ball but would knock it out farther into the lake when he went to retrieve it. He was getting braver and braver in the water as the day progressed. Since he's not a strong swimmer (He sinks like an anchor.), I had to keep a close watch on him. (He did not like wearing his pooch preserver.)
Daisy, in turn, wore herself out making sure her "people" were okay. The kids would jump off of the dock and she would yelp at them. Then, she would run around to the shore and swim out to them to make sure they were okay. One time she even jumped off the dock after them....(She did only do this once.)

Rex waits patiently for his ball to get within reachable distance while Daisy watches to make sure her "people" are swimming to the shore okay.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Friday

Hannah and I attended First Friday this month at Joan and Scott's house. It was a small group, compared to other First Friday meetings, but it was extra special with the arrival of two new babies from China, Mia and Ally (left). Mia was active, loving the sound of her squeaky shoes on the floor and running and playing while Ally was definitely more shy. We heard wonderful stories about both trips to China (They traveled within a week of each other.) and viewed pictures of the trips. There was even a special "Congratulations" cake, which Hannah and Ally particularly enjoyed. It is nice getting together with families in all stages of the process, so we can learn from and support one another.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

First Day of School

Yea! Yesterday was the first day back to school! Zach and Hannah are in the fourth grade this year (hard to believe). They are also at a new school since our system decided to re-district students. On Monday, Tim, the kids, and I attended open house and met their teachers, both very nice. Even though the kids were excited Wed. morning, they were also a little nervous. Hannah was actually a lot nervous; however, by the time she arrived at the bus stop, the tears were gone.

My handsome young man, Zach, before leaving for the bus stop

Beautiful, cool Hannah and all her gear, waiting for the bus

Even though Amber lives closer to another stop, she joined Hannah at her bus stop. Her presence was great for calming Hannah's nerves. She is also in Hannah's class this year.

Zach, Amber, and Hannah....beautiful smiles!

The boy pose: Matthew, Andrew, Zach, and William - William is in Zach's class this year.
Both Hannah and Zach had a great first day! They came home all smiles with stories about their teachers and what they did. Zach also made a couple new friends....

Big Brown Envelope

Two days ago we received the "Big Brown Envelope" from the American Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. Basically, all the envelope contains is notification that the Department of Homeland Security has sent our adoption approval to the U.S. Consulate in China and more paperwork for Tim and me to fill out and bring to China in order to obtain our child's visa to travel to the U.S. The city of Guangzhou will be the last stop on our adoption trip. Many people who adopt do not receive the "Big Brown Envelope" (We were told not to worry or be upset if we don't.) and just fill out the paperwork when they are in China, but it was exciting to receive in the mail. It marks another step in our process!

Below are what the first couple of lines of the cover letter read. Thought you might like to see:

"Congratulations! The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services recently notified U.S. Consulate Guangzhou that the Department of Homeland Security has approved your petition to adopt an overseas orphan...."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Family Fun Day at the Pool

This past Sat. was Maple Creek's Family Fun Day. The subdivision rented a huge slide that emptied into a pool. While the kids certainly enjoyed it, I think the adults had more fun. I wish I took pictures, but it was certainly a sight to see. Tim and I did join in, and, of course, were the first to get hurt. Tim, not following good safety procedures, did not wait for the person in front of him to clear the pool before he slid. In order to avoid wiping out his neighbor's legs, Tim put his feet down fast at the bottom and twisted his ankle. I, in turn, went to put my feet down at the bottom and split my toe nail on a mat at the bottom of the pool. We were quite a pair!

In addition to the slide, there were tents and tables set up for a barbecue lunch. They even served hot dogs in which they bought 100 for $10. (They were actually good.) It was truly fun hanging out and catching up with friends.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's a Girl!

We found out yesterday that Dana is having a girl! While we would be happy with either sex, it will be nice that our "Della" will have a girl cousin close to her age. Although the wait time just seems to be getting longer and longer, the girls should be within a year of each other's ages. I'm just thankful that she is healthy....and I can't wait to go shopping!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

Tim and I traveled to Las Vegas last week for an AP National Conference and for some R & R. I don't remember the last time we went away for a few days with just the two of us. It was a great time for us to reconnect and just have fun. The first day we walked through many of the hotels on the strip; they are like little towns on their own. While I was at the conference Fri. and Sat., Tim gambled (played in some poker tournaments) and layed out by the pool in our hotel...It was only a "cool" 107 degrees! At night we ate at wonderful restaurants, shopped, and gambled a little more. We even were able to buy third row seats to Cirque de Soliel's Mystere. It was a wonderful show!

All in all we had a great time, but I don't think I would choose to go back for vacation. I much prefer the beach and only 95 degree weather. :o)

Tim and I ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in The Venetian, the hotel we stayed at. This was our first night in Vegas. If you look closely, you can see the canal behind us where singing gondola drivers carry people through the streets.

This is one of the singing gondola drivers. In the background you can see the streets of the Venetian where many shops resided...including Ann Taylor, my favorite.

Our room was a suite, very nice. This is the king-size bed we had.

This is a view of our room from our bed. The suites were very nice and spacious.

The photo above is just a small portion of the outside of the Venetian. It was beautiful, but also gaudy...a little like Disney World.

Above is just a small piece of the famous Ceasar's Palace. Hotels went on for blocks.

The Mirage is the hotel where Sigfried and Roy used to do their famous animal act. When you enter the hotel, you see this beautiful white tiger.

Sigfried and Roy also developed the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. They actually had their first live dophin birth there this year. Above, you can see Duchess, the mother, and Seargent Pepper, the baby dolphin. You can sit right on the edge of their tank to view them.

Lions were also at the exhibit... were beautiful tigers. See how close I got?

Tim and I ate at Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, the second night we were there. The atmosphere was great; people ate in boats....The food was good too.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sad News....

Returning home from St. Augustine was bitter-sweet. While it's always good to come home, we came home to a household one animal short. I had to put Katie, our seventeen and one-half year old Calico, to sleep yesterday. She stopped eating when we were gone and started having seizures. (She's diabetic.) Unfortunately, she never recovered from them.

This is a hard loss for all of us, but especially me since I've had her since college. She was a good friend and will be missed....

The picture above is of Katie with Maya just a few weeks ago.

St. Augustine Vacation

Zach and Hannah in their favorite place, the ocean...

The bathing beauty herself...

The kids rode their boogie boards in the surf every day.

We just returned from a wonderful week of vacation in St. Augustine, FL with Dana and Scott. The sand and sun were warm, and the ocean was a perfect temperature, refreshing. The kids and men spent mornings on the beach boggie boarding, swimming, and building sand castles (See above.) while Dana and I walked on the beach and vegged in our lounge chairs. A particularly great picture of her vegging with her "baby bump" is below. The men even woke up early a few mornings to surf.
In the afternoons, we walked through the old city, played mini-golf, shopped, layed by the pool and swam, and ate at wonderful restaurants. Tim and I even took Zach on one of the ghost tours one evening. We had fun listening to the stories and taking photos with our camera phone, but no spirits appeared...that we know of.
We've been going on vacation with Dana and Scott for five years now, (We did skip a year.) and the best part is just spending time with each other. Although we keep in touch via emails and telephone calls during the year and see each other briefly on holidays, it's a wonderful chunk of time for us to reconnect. This year was especially fun with Dana expecting. She looks beautiful and, as long as she ate often and on time, she was happy. I can't wait for the arrival of my niece or nephew. I know Dana and Scott will make the best parents.
From Hannah:
The alligator farm was the best! Maximo was a lazy crocodile. I got a stuffed crocodile at the gift shop named maximo. Plus, I got a webkinz for winning the coloring contest ( I gave it to Zach since I already hade a basset hound.) But I got a webkinz dalmation named Amanda.

The surfer dudes before hitting the waves one morning....

Dana and her 15 week "baby bump"....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fun with Friends at Big Canoe

Zach and Matt wade in the lake.
Zach prepares for the final stretch of the rock slide.

Hannah begins her trip down the rock slide.

The motley crew: (back row) Hannah, Maya, Myles, and Matt
(front row): Zach, Emma, Alex, Catherine, Sydney and Sara

Monica, me, and Stacy catch up at the pool.

Maya and Hannah pose after an exciting rock slide ride.

Alex and Myles play at the pool.

Emma, Maya, Sara and Hannah play Marco-Polo and do tricks in the pool.

What a fun day we had! We traveled this past Sunday to Big Canoe (approximately 1 hr. and 45 min.) and visited my college buddies and stayed all day. We journeyed down the rock slide, played in the lake and pool, and peddled boats on the lake. The kids had a great time! (See pictures above.) I think the best part for me was just spending time with good friends and catching up on each other's lives. It is amazing to me that even though we don't see each other often and are usually terrible correspondents, it is like no time has passed when we get together. I have known most of these people 20 years, and I'm so thankful to have such good friends.
Stacy commented to me when she looked at all of our children sitting at the table eating dinner together that we've made another group of us. She is so right. It warms me to see Hannah and Zach playing and getting to know this group of friends, and I hope they continue to grow these friendships as they mature.