Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cheerleading Clinic....Rocket Style

This morning Zoe is attending a cheerleading clinic for girls pre-school (age 3) through 8th grade. It is being led by the high school cheerleaders here in town as a fundraiser. Zoe has been talking about it non-stop for the last week. (Those that know her realize this is right up her alley!) Anyway, this morning when I woke her she was bright eyed & couldn't wait to get going. She jumped out of bed & went straight to the bathroom to get dressed, brush her teeth, wash her face, etc. (Why can't she do this on school days?!) She has to be picked up at noon & then be back at the gym this evening at 6:30. All of the girls will be performing at tonight's varsity boys' basketball game. We have the batteries for the camera & camcorder plugged in so we'll be good to go for tonight. I will be sure to post numerous pictures & possibly a video (if I can figure out how to do it!) in my next post!

PS - This is my 90th post. I'm planning on giving something away for my 100th post. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creating Memories Just Like Mama Did

Yesterday - once again - Zoe & I were both off from school because of the snow. We ended up getting about an inch more of ice & 7 more inches of snow on top of the 4 we already had. Needless to say, Zoe was just itching to get outside & play in the mess. Finally, after lunch, Paul decided he was going to work on the sidewalk & driveway so Zoe could join him. You can tell she had a good time.

Running (or at least trying to) from Daddy....

As he starts to dump snow on her....

Falling forward....

She's safe!!!!!....

Making a snowball....

The finished product....

I have such fond memories of playing in the snow as a little girl: Building a snowman, snow ball fights (expected when you have an older brother), hot chocolate, toast in the oven, etc. One time a group of us neighbor kids built an igloo that was so big four of us could fit in it at a time. We tried talking our parents into letting us sleep in it, but they didn't think that was a good idea. So, instead, we had a great time playing in it for about 3 days until it eventually melted.

However, my most favorite thing to do on a snow day was always to make Snow Ice Cream with my grandma. Tuesday night while watching the snow fall I shared with Zoe how I enjoyed adding the ingredients while Grandma stirred everything together. Of course, I also had to describe how yummy it tasted when we finally got to eat it.

So, last night after having a warm bath & getting her pj's on, Zoe & I sat out to make Snow Ice Cream. I found Grandma's recipe & luckily we had everything we needed. Zoe & Paul took a big container & scooped up some snow outside. Then, the fun began:

Adding ice cream to the bowl....

Daddy acting like he's going to take a bite....

Stirring up the snow, milk, sugar, & vanilla....

& stirring....& stirring....

Tasting it for the first time....

It's so good - gotta get every last drop!....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Little Miss Beethoven

Several months ago Zoe decided that she would like to take piano lessons. Right after we arrived home with her my dad gave us a piano. Paul & I didn't know how to proceed with lessons because we weren't really sure that she would be serious enough about it that it would be worth our money. So, instead of going with the "expert" in town, we chose to have Zoe receive lessons from our 8th grade neighbor girl Lyndsay. And, we are thrilled we did! Not only does Zoe loves Lyndsay, but she enjoys piano lessons & most importantly loves practicing. In fact, we rarely have to remind her to practice. She picks away at the piano just about everyday & goes over her flash cards that Lyndsay made her. Last night as we were watching the snow & freezing rain come down, Zoe sat down at the piano & practiced for about an hour. Enjoy these pictures of our Little Miss Beethoven in the making:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Playing in the Snow with Daddy........

Zoe & I had another snow day today. No school for either of us. Yahoo! I received my phone call last night about 10:20 so it was nice knowing that I didn't have to get up early this morning. The way things are looking we might be off again tomorrow. Overnight we had freezing rain & lots of snow. In fact, this morning we woke up to about 4 inches of snow. However, it's not over. The second round of winter weather has arrived. It's been freezing rain for about the last three hours & is supposed to continue with more snow (possibly up to another 4 inches) throughout the night. So, no school tomorrow? Could be!
Zoe has been bugging us since last nice about playing in the snow. I've been a little hesitant about it because she seems to be battling a cold/sinus infection. After much persuasion (from her & her dad - who's the bigger kid here?!) I finally gave in (& I'm glad I did.). Zoe & Paul had a blast. Her 10 minutes of being cold while freezing rain was pouring down was well worth it. She even said, "Mommy, thank you so much."
Here's a few (okay, I should say a lot of) pictures from their adventure:

Just getting started....

Zoe's trying to kick Daddy with snow...

(Love this picture....)

Making snow angels...

& a snow ball...(with a smile :)

Daddy got her in the face (on accident)...

She can barely contain her excitement...

Get him, Zoe...

She's having a great time...

She got him down...

& won't let him up...

My little snow playing princess...

Why is he hiding his face?...

Snow angel...

Look at the determination on her face...

She's gonna get him...

She got him...

Headin' back in to the house after a fun day in the snow...

Monday, January 19, 2009

On a Lighter Note.....Politician Zoe Gwen

Last night as we were in bed, Zoe came into our room & wanted to know if she could sleep with us. Given the circumstances of the last week (see previous two posts) Paul & I reluctantly said yes. With Zoe laying between us, I was reading & Paul was channel surfing.

All of the sudden I hear Zoe say, "That's Barack Obama" (as she sees the replaying of his pre-inaugural celebration yesterday). Paul replies by telling her that she's correct & that he is going to be the President come Tuesday.

She thinks about that a few minutes then says, "Yeah, & he's going to take all of our money & give it to people that don't work!"

Of course Paul replies that she's right (as I am giving him the evil eye!).

A few minutes later Zoe then says, "The government is also going to raise our taxes, right daddy?"

He replies (I'm still giving him the evil eye!) once again that she's right.

Zoe then just looks at me, smiles, & says, "We didn't want him to be President, Mama. He's going to start printing money & just give it away with nothing to back it."

Now, I am not into politics at ALL! But, as you can tell, my husband very much is. Can you guess what party he favors?!!!! (I think there's a little bit of brainwashing going on behind my back!!!!)

Answered Prayers

We received the call late last night (about 11:45 PM) that my father-in-law Bobby had died. As much as he struggled these last couple of weeks, it is a blessing for him to be relieved of the pain & anxiety that he was enduring. Just want to thank each of you who continued to pray for him as well as our family. The next few days will be quite stressful, but we know that Bobby is in a much better place.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Holding His Own

Thank you to so many of you who have left such nice messages & are praying for our family. My father-in-law Bobby is holding his own. Doctors have now taken all oxygen & medicines away. This morning he became unconscious & his breathing is now very labored. We do know it is just a matter of time. Please continue to pray that Bobby will be overcome with peace. He was still very anxious before losing consciousness.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Asking for Many Prayers

As I write this post I am awaiting the death of my father-in-law Bobby. I don't mean to sound disrespectful or harsh, but it's reality. (And, that's what you get with me. I tend to tell it like it is. Not always a good thing, but that's me.) My father-in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer. Within a month's time the cancer has spread to every part of his body except his liver & colon. Unfortunately the last few days we have seen just how harsh this disease can be. Bobby is no longer aware of his actions nor his comments. With every breath we wonder if it will be his last. Doctors have informed us there is nothing more to do & it should not be much longer until he dies. In fact, they are now giving him two different kinds of medicine just to make him comfortable. Bobby knows that the end is here & as a result he is very anxious & nervous. We are hoping the new medicines will ease his anxiety & give him a sense of peace. Would you please keep our family in your thoughts & prayers as we face many uncertainties the next couple of days?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tinkerbell Hannah Montana Style & Other Happenings the Last Few Days

MONDAY NIGHT after gymnastics Zoe & I attended the 7th & 8th grade girls' basketball game of my students. It was fun watching the girls work so hard & try their best even though they came up short. However, Zoe's highlight of the evening was meeting the opposing team's mascot.

Once arriving home from the game, Zoe had a few minutes to play before getting ready for bed. This is how she came out of her room: Tinkerbell - Hannah Montana Style!

TUESDAY NIGHT I had a meeting in my hometown to discuss my 20th (Yikes!) high school reunion scheduled for this summer. Paul was attending the AC/DC concert so Zoe & I ended up staying in town & going to my cousin Haley's basketball game. As always, it's fun watching her play. It brings back so many memories of my own playing days for the same coach!!!! (who is retiring this year by the way!) Here's a picture of Haley shooting a free throw. (Sorry the picture is not real good. We were sitting very high up & the lighting was awful)

Zoe got a little bored during the game - she had already finished off her popcorn - & asked if she could take a few pictures with my camera. (Sure, it's only my most prized possession, but go ahead!) So, here's what she came up with:

(the girl's head in front of us!)

(my sweater)

(& a self-portrait!)

I did manage, however, to get a few good pictures during the game:

Zoe & Brittany (Cousin EJ's girlfriend)

Little Miss Zoe posing!

And after the game:

Zoe & the best player of the night - Cousin Hayley!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gettin' Rid of Clutter & Tryin' to Organize

One of my New Years Resolutions this year is to get rid of the clutter around our house. It seems that I have a little bit of my grandma in me in that I am somewhat of a Pack Rat. (not like her by any means though!) So, what do I mean? Well, I've started my "spring"cleaning already. I am tackling one room at a time & getting rid of things we don't need, haven't used or worn in a while, etc. So far, I have two Rubbermaid containers full of clothes that will either be listed on ebay or given to a local charity. (& that's only half way through Zoe's closet)

I love to scrapbook but haven't taken the time in a while to sit down & do it (probably because I it takes too long to find exactly what I am looking for). However, I keep buying supplies that I will one day get to. So, I am hoping when I get to my scrapbook area (it'll be a while because it's in the basement & I still have 5 rooms to finish upstairs) to organize it in a way that I could work on projects a few minutes at a time or for hours. I want to be able to know where all of my supplies are & be able to go right to them without waisting too much time looking for that perfect sticker, brad, etc. What I would really like is to have a storage company come in & set up the perfect scrapbook/hobby room.

How about you? Is getting rid of clutter & reorganizing part of your New Year's Goals? I know I have a ways to go, but it's driving me crazy & needs to be done! I keep thinking how nice it will be when I'm completely finished & the clutter (or as my husband calls it - the overflow) is gone!

Gotcha Girl

We have always celebrated Gotcha Day in Zoe style. In other words, we let her choose what we do for the day (unless it's a work day), what's for dinner, etc. Well, earlier in the week we asked her to choose the day's activities. So, here's what our day was like yesterday:

* Stay home all day in our pj's - going nowhere

* Homemade french fries for lunch

* Play Wii bowling- I might add that she kicked my butt!

* Order pizza for supper

* Have a slumber party in the living room with popcorn, homemade milk shakes, & watch on of HER movies

I might add we fulfilled all of these. She was one happy girl all day yesterday. In fact, she kept calling herself the Gotcha Girl!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

4 Years Ago Today............

Paul & I woke up in Hefei, China with excitement & anticipation as we were about to meet our 15 month old daughter, Chu Young Wen. It had been a long journey to that point, but thankfully God had chosen us to take a different route to parenthood.

We enjoyed breakfast with the 6 other families who we had traveled with us & were also about to meet their daughters who were from the same orphanage, Chuzhou Welfare Institute, & then we all journeyed to the conference room at our hotel where we would wait for the girls to arrive. Paul & I will never forget that moment when the girls & their nannies entered the room. It was breathtaking. Each girl was being held by her nanny who immediately sat down & waited for the reunions to begin.

Our first glimpse of our sweet little girl:

She finally looks our way with a little coaxing from her nanny!

We were the third family called to meet our baby girl. Paul & I had decided that I would be the one the nanny handed Zoe to. What an emotional event!

She finally calmed down (for a little while!).

Handing her off to Daddy while Mommy filled out some paperwork. (Not sure if she was trying to get a swing in!!!!)

And the tears begin again.........

Once the paperwork for the orphanage was complete, we took Zoe back to our hotel room & began bonding. We first took off the numerous layers of clothes she was wearing & changed her diaper. For quite some time she sat in a chair & just kind of watched us with an uncertain look.

Who are these people & what are they doing here?....

Daddy giving her Cheerios & feeding her some baby food.

She kind of liked the idea of us giving her food.....

Just taking it all in........

Later while holding her Zoe fell asleep in my arms. As much as I wanted to keep in her in that position, I had to lay her down because Paul & I both had some paperwork for China that had to be completed before that night's meeting with our coordinator.

(She often sleeps like this still.)

Once she was awake, we gave Zoe her first bath. She didn't know what to think of the running water so I ended up taking her first bath with her. We then got her dressed & enjoyed playing with her the rest of the evening.

What a cutie!

It's hard to believe that Zoe has been a part of our lives for 4 years. It seems like yesterday we we became a forever family. As you can imagine, she is our pride & joy & the love of our lives. To this day we are amazed how blessed we are that Zoe was chosen to be our child. People have told us many times how lucky Zoe is that she has us. We tend to disagree.....We are the lucky ones - Lucky that we have her!

Happy Gotcha Day, Zoe! We Love You!