Tuesday, November 30, 2010

National Adoption Month and Adopted Ed

I know it's the very last day of the month, but that's okay because I don't believe all these special "months" should be limited and then we don't think about them the rest of the year!

This month I've been thinking a lot about adoption.  It helps that a friend of mine has made it her mission to add to the end of every one of her statuses this month that it was "National Adoption Month" and her birthday!

I'm so thankful that in our culture, or at least with the people I know, adoption is becoming something that is thought of, accepted, and a possibility.  It seems that in the not too distant past adoption had a lot of stigma attached to it, no matter why you adopted (or were adopted).  My parents were actually in the waiting period for an adoption when they found out I was coming along!

At the moment our family is a long ways from an adoption (hello, I'd like to get my nights back first!), but it is something that we've talked about and are open to.  There are a lot of kids out there in the US and internationally that need good homes.


In honor of National Adoption Month I received a copy of Adopted Ed by Darren Maddern from the One2One Network. 

Darren was adopted from England as a baby and this book is way of putting into words some of the things he experienced as well as giving other adopted kids a way to talk about their stories.  It tells the whole story from when he was a baby up to looking for his biological parents from "Ed's" perspective in short rhyming paragraphs.  At the end it includes a list of some pretty famous people who were also adopted.

I think this book would be great for someone with an adopted child as a catalyst for talking about their life experiences.  It could be good for other siblings or even friends to be aware of the feelings of an adopted child.  The more we talk about things the less there is that can be confused because it's hidden.

I do have one pretty big problem with the book though.  Ed is teased at school for being adopted and his mom teaches him a retort, "My parents chose me, yours were stuck with you".  The answer to bullying is never to bully back and unfortunately that's just what this phrase does.  In an attempt to make Ed feel better his mother was teaching him to put others down.  The fact that adopted kids are chosen is very important and does make them feel special, but it should never be at others expense.

So if you're going to read this to your kids or let them read it themselves please be sure that you talk about this point!

And next time you run into a friend who's adopted or adopting, give them a big hug, theirs is a special job!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree...

Thanksgiving was a blast with both sets of parents. We ate and did a whole lot of nothing.
Black Friday was a little crazy with the shopping (that's a story for another time) and then on Saturday we went out for what has become our annual Christmas tree hunting tradition!

Other years there has been little or no snow, but this year we were in about a foot of fresh snow!  So pretty and fun to play in, but awfully hard to actually see the trees under that much snow!

And no, I have no other pictures from this outing... it's kind of hard to take pictures when you're carrying a baby abominable snowman!  A good time was had by all and now, my tree is up and decorated.  Yay!

This is one of my very favorite ornaments.  It's very small, but it reminds me so much of Cory and the love of the blankie!

First tree in our new house!  We put our old table in the living room with our half size tree on it so Noah can't reach it.  Perfect!  And Cory had fun "helping" me decorate.  Really he just wanted to play with his Guido and Luigi ornaments!

26 days until Christmas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving circa 2006
Today we are so blessed to get to spend the day with both sets of our parents.  (I'm so lucky my parents and in-laws like each other!)  I hope you all have a wonderful day with friends and family and remembering other family members gone by.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Baby-Sitting

This is where I set him when I'm in the bathroom fixing my hair, etc.  Not that he usually stays here for long, but sometimes he does and "talks" to me.  I forgot to mention last week that he's fairly good at sitting up on his own now although he can't get there himself once he goes to crawling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I LOVE snow.  I adore it.  I run out and try to catch the flakes on my tongue love it.  I love how it makes everything so quiet!  (as if I can hear the quiet with 2 boys making noise, but I know it's there, especially late at night)
Frozen dried bloom

It's snowing now, as I type.  It snowed a bit on Friday and then melted a bit and got kind of crusty by Saturday.  This morning it had snowed a bit more, but this afternoon it started in earnest.  I went out at 4pm in the fading light to catch some of the normal things around covered in snow.

Still trying to share beauty

I also shoveled the driveway as it had accumulated an inch or so, super fine light powder (oh to wish I could be skiing in it!).  I was outside a total of about 20 minutes in thin cotton gloves and then I had to go in because the tips of my fingers were bone achingly cold.  When I checked the temperature online it said it was 18 degrees out with a wind chill making it feel like 11.  I believe it!

Waiting for spring and little boys to play

I love the snow, but I'm not a huge fan of the super cold!  Every time I walk up near a window in our house I can feel the temperature drop.  Our poor old all-the-seals-are-broken windows that we hope to replace next summer.  I keep turning up the thermostats because it doesn't feel like it's staying warm in the house!  I guess I'm glad I'm finally getting curtains hung and made (especially in the boys room) as that adds a small layer of insulation!

I'm glad that in the morning there will be enough snow for Cory to actually play in... but I'm not sure we'll be going out to play.  The forecast high high! for tomorrow is 13 degrees.  Brrrr!

What's the weather like where you are this week?

PS.  There's a whole lot more now than when I took these pictures!

Friday, November 19, 2010

PSF: Oregon

This past weekend Brian had four days off for Veteran's Day (thanks Dad!) so we went on down to Oregon to visit his Grandparents. It was a bittersweet trip for lots of reasons.

Giants in the fog

This will be the last time we visit Grandma in her house, she's moving to Portland after Thanksgiving.  She needs to, but she doesn't want to leave her house.  It's hard for me to fathom being that tied to one house.  Then again this is the girl who went back to visit her "old" house in Oregon this summer after not having lived there for 18 years...  I hope she likes her new place, smaller and easier for her to care for and having good food prepared for her.

Marching across the land

We did get to stay with our lovely friends in Portland and of course stayed up too late once again catching up.  We're losing our "crash" room to their new baby so I guess we've got to take advantage of it while we can... (jk, love you guys! ;)

Every trip there are more across the landscape

Then we went on down to Grandma and Grandpa's place.  Everyone warned us to not stay long as they don't have much energy anymore.  But I think they're about on the same level as small boys so it works out pretty well for us!  We don't get up early, need naps in the afternoon, and don't stay out late either!

We were so glad to get to go and spend this time with them.  We didn't know if Grandma would make it this long even.  She's pretty weak and the pain meds she's on make her dizzy and sleepy at times.  But she's still Grandma.  I need to remember to write to her as she can't talk anymore.  Afterwards I realized that I felt like she was left out because she couldn't join in the conversation real well.  You don't realize that when someone isn't responding to you you eventually focus your energy on the people that talk back to you.  Not that we didn't intentionally talk to her, but that's just kind of what happens.  In some ways there's not a whole lot to say when you're watching small boys play either.

I'm really glad she had a chance to see Noah again as he has so much more personality now than he did even a few months ago.

I'll miss seeing this church

We also got to visit with my college pastor (who married us) and just talk.  I wish we lived closer!  We have had such a hard time finding a community group as a couple here.  Brian has a guys group (who I knew from high school mostly - weird!) and I have my Mom's group, but we've struck out more than once on a couple's group/life group.  Our church doesn't seem to do that very well even though they claim to try.

Grandpa wanted a picture of Noah playing with his watch to match 
the 2 other Great Grandkids doing the same thing!

Brian went and picked up his cousin Vicki from college for the afternoon so they got to hang out.  They went looking for cousin Becca too, but didn't know where she lived on campus (different schools).  Aunt Priscilla showed up in the evening so even though we mainly went to see Grandma and Grandpa it was fun to see various other family members!  Sometimes I'm jealous that Brian has such a large family nearby.  Mine were always long car trips or plane rides away.   Yes, Mom, we've gotten better in the last few years, but it's just different!

I don't know that Cory and Noah will have much family, especially cousins, their age and that's sad too.  Ah well, I don't think I can control that!

Next week Brian's parents are coming for Thanksgiving so we will love all being together then and hopefully see the rest of the family at Christmas and Becca's wedding!

Now I'm glad to be home and really focusing on getting ready for Christmas!  Yay!  This year I hope I have time to enjoy it before it's gone!  Only 36 more days you know!

Bonus points for anyone who doesn't "know" us and can tell me how we got to Oregon and where we were along the way! =)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

8 Months!

This is my baby...

He's got so much personality now I hardly can call him that!

He is such a people person, first and foremost a Mama's boy, but he loves to be around people.  Example: I went scrapbooking a couple weekends ago and had him on my back in the Ergo for part of the time.  A friend of mine was two rooms away, but he had a direct line of sight through doorways.  He was shrieking on my back and I couldn't figure out why... until she looked up and smiled at him.  Then she went back to work and he started shrieking again.  He just wanted her attention!
He did it again this morning at Bible study when he could see Miss Becky out the door (also one of Cory's favorite people at church).

But really, he just wants to be where I am all.the.time.  Preferably with me holding him.  I gave him to my friend at scrapbooking so I could go to the bathroom and he freaked out.  He will also even try to dive out of Brian's arms if I walk by although he is relatively okay being held by Brian.  But if I put him down and walk out of his sight, oh dear, the world has ended.  It makes getting things done around the house rather difficult.

He is rather fun to play with though.  He loves to play peek-a-boo and if he can move to where he can find you he will.  He does this shriek on the inhale that I don't think I've heard any other kids do.  And only when he's super excited.  It's very fun!

Sometimes I just sit on the floor and try to do a few things while he crawls around on me.  Although he's taken to biting me (thankfully not usually while nursing) and he bites hard.  He also likes to bang his mouth/head onto you for unknown reasons.  Future rock concert goer?

And if he's not too upset about something, but wants me he has started to say "mama".  Yay!

We have no new teeth this month (I think 8 is good for now!) although some eye teeth might be trying to come in, which would explain the biting probably.  I can NOT find the teething toy that Cory loved so we stole the one from our friends in Oregon while we were at their house last weekend.  If I can't find ours soon (I know it's in this house, I washed it and then it disappeared) I will have to order a new one. 

We have finally convinced him that eating is okay although I think he has an issue with textures.  He will eat only pureed baby food.  I even tried mixing a little baby cereal in and he totally refused it.  So much for making my own... although he will feed himself Cheerios.
For awhile he would only eat if he could grab the spoon and put it in his mouth himself, but he was so distracted while eating at Grandma and Grandpa's this weekend that I fed him without him grabbing the spoon.  It makes it much easier for me!  And then I let him chew on the spoon sometimes since that seems to be part of the reason he wants to grab it.

We have a total mover on our hands.  He can pull up on anything, even a wall with nothing to grab onto.  He walks along furniture pretty well and stands with one hand.  He's even started catching himself a bit when he falls and if he can't grab the furniture has sort of learned to bend so he doesn't do a face plant.  Now as soon as he gets the balance down we'll have a walker I'm sure.  No uncertainties with this kid!

I managed to get good pictures this month by banning Cory to his room... poor kid!  Then he wanted his picture taken with animals too.

Oh, and I almost forgot (I'm not sure how) we moved Noah in with Cory last night... the going to bed part was fine, but the getting up at 6am part was not fine.  Noah woke Cory up when he wanted to eat and even though it was still dark out they were not going back to sleep.  We had some tired boys today.  Even with that nap time was a battle and going to bed tonight took quite awhile too... 
But the biggest thing for me is the mornings and if this keeps up I may have to put the pack 'n play in the other room just for after the morning feeding so we all can get a bit more sleep!

We are moving and shaking around here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Driving Baby

Too bad he couldn't have helped us drive... all the way to Oregon and back this weekend.  But he was sure cute!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Want: Blissdom

So yesterday I posted a review that I received through my being a part of the One2One Network.  Today I'm telling you, I really really really (no really) hope that they pick me to be one of the winners of a pass (and airfare!) to Blissdom.
What is that?  Friends and family who aren't really into "blogging" might just want to skip this post. *wink*

Blissdom is a conference started by the lovely Allison Worthington and Barbara Jones - who, coincidentally is the founder of One2One Network, hence, this giveaway.

Blissdom is in Nashville.  I live on the West Coast.  Air fare to get there is prohibitively expensive for me right now.  Let alone a hotel and conference pass.

Blissdom is a small conference and a lot of bloggers I stalk know like attend this one.

Blissdom is a small conference so you have a chance to see people and get to know them rather than getting lost in the crowd.

Blissdom is about the mechanics of blogging, but it's also so much about the community.  This is what I really love: community.

Blissdom is a small conference.  Oh wait, I already mentioned that.  But I'm a small town girl so it bears repeating!  Also, in regards to that whole small town thing.  There aren't a whole lot of other bloggers around (I've met 2) to talk shop with!

If this is interesting to you, you can check out all the details on the O2O blog.  Then again... maybe I shouldn't tell you since I want to win!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Norah Jones ... Featuring Review

I've got Norah Jones first two albums and I love them so when I heard about this opportunity to review her latest release ...Featuring I jumped on it!  Sadly, I was less than impressed.

Of course I should have realized ahead of time that this album is a set of covers of other songs and collaborations.  Many other musicians are included, which is cool, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of new material.  One of the songs I recognized from the albums I have, while another is an old classic.

The songs are described as ranging from jazz to country, hip-hop to rock.  I admit there are definitely different styles to some of the songs, but the overlying theme is still what I'd recognize as Norah Jones style.  Basically if there are smooth, "easy listening" versions of each of those styles you'll find that on this album.

However, the biggest reason I won't be adding this album to my line-up is that a couple of the songs are definitely not kid friendly and way too explicit to be brushed over.  I'm talking particularly about track #10, but there are others I don't really want my son to pick up on either.

If you absolutely love Norah Jones, or have never heard of her, then this album might be for you.  It releases tomorrow, November 16th, but you can pre-order a copy from Amazon (that is, if you're not boycotting them right now!)

All that to say... if you want to give it a listen, I'm giving away my copy.  So just leave me a relevant comment (no "pick me" or "yes please" comments) and I'll pick a winner one week from today.  US addresses only please.

I received this album for review from One 2 One network.  I was not compensated in any other way although I am entered to win a gift card by posting this review.

Friday, November 12, 2010

PSF: Running at Awana

This year we signed Cory up for a Wednesday night Awana program (Wikipedia description). He's in the Cubbies group and so far... he LOVES it!  I was in Awana as a kid, starting with the Sparkies group (for kinders and up) and have such great memories of it I wanted him to like it too!

It helps that Brian is a games helper and the leader for the Cubbies game time...

He makes up games like "bucket head" which basically is run around the circle with a bucket on your head... perfect for 3 and 4 year olds!

The leader stepped right in front of me as Cory was running, sad, but the face is too cute!

The best picture of the night goes to one of my friends cute kiddos!  Really, you have to click on the picture and see it bigger!

Then there is the "team run" or better known as crack the whip!  No one crashed and burned tonight!

It is seriously amazing how easily Cory can remember verses with very simple prompts.  I'm so glad we're doing this, now for Mom to get on the wagon and start memorizing again too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign: TreeTop: Creating a Fruit Revolution

A little introduction:

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco-friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.


I choose to review Tree Top: Creating a Fruit Revolution because it's about a company based in my own back yard.  It was such a fascinating read to discover that this company was born out of a product that used to end up in the dump!

Mountains of apples that weren't good enough to be sold (called culls) would simply be dumped at the end of the harvest.  In 1944 a man named William Henry Charbonneau had a vision of turning those "unsalvageable" apples into juice and an empire was born.  Of course it wasn't officially named Tree Top until it became a cooperative 16 years later, but that's getting ahead of the story!

This book outlines the history of Tree Top starting with the founder through the present day.  It's a celebration of 50 years of the Tree Top company this year.

At times some of the details were a bit over my head, but for anyone interested in the history of an industry it's a fabulous read!  There are also lots of pictures of how things "used to be" and interesting side bar stories that are related to the fruit industry as well as portraits of industry leaders. 


In keeping with the recycled nature of this campaign I'm going to donate this book to our local library.  I bet there will be many in our communities interested in the history of this very local company! 

This book is printed on FSC-certified paper, which means that the Forestry Stewardship Council certifies that the forest the paper came from, along with the manufacturing process, used responsible, renewable practices.

Please go to the Eco-Libris site to find out more about buying green books and being responsible consumers of books!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Book: Little Star

I love getting packages in the mail, especially when they are books!  Yes, I know, I have to give some of them away, but if they are really good I have to keep them!

We got a new book last week that's definitely a keeper.  It's called Little Star and it's a children's Christmas book by Anthony DeStefano. 


“I think I understand!” Little Star cried out. “The baby Jesus is a king! He’s just little!”

A king is about to be born! The stars in the heavens are competing to shine the brightest to celebrate his birth. But when they see the poor family, the donkey, the shabby stable, the stars all think, That can’t possibly be a king. We’ve been fooled.

All except one. The smallest, loneliest star in the sky, Little Star, is the only one to understand what the king was about to bring to the world. But what can Little Star do for him?


The story is a father telling his son the reason why we have a star on top of our Christmas tree.  I won't give it away, but it has a bittersweet ending (it even made me tear up while I was reading it to my son) and my 3 year old didn't want to read it again because he said it was "sad". 

I think he might be a little young to understand the full meaning of the story, but it's a great jumping off point for older kids to talk about what Jesus being born means to us.  We have a star on our tree (well, not yet, but we will!) so I'm definitely keeping this one to read for future Christmases!

The illustrations are gorgeously done and the language is not too childish so adults should have no trouble reading this over again!

This post was written for Family Review Network and Little Star who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Boy Quotes #6

Having a bath the other night Cory said he wanted to "design and fly airplanes when I grow up".  I told him he could be an aeronautical engineer.  He thought that was a good idea (sweet!).

Then he told me he wanted to take care of people when he grew up.  I asked "like a doctor or a nurse?" 
"No, like a daddy".  Awwww!
Then I asked him who would come to his house and make the food and he said "the Mommy" and I said I wasn't going to come to his house and make his food so he would have to learn to cook!  He said he'd wait until he was older to learn!


We were driving and I told Brian I need to take my car in because it's growling when I turn right.  Cory then asked, "Is there a bear around here somewhere?"


On seeing my little wooden foot roller under the desk Cory wanted to know what it was for.  I said it's so Mommy can roll her feet on it when they get sore.  Cory then asked, "So is this full of sore?"

It appears my son is in the take-everything-literally-stage!


Calling a friend on speaker phone and having to leave a message: At the end I hung up and Cory says "Press one for more options".  Think he's heard that a few times?

I can hear my son singing in the other room... "Shoo fly don't bother me, Shoo fly don't bother Daddy" in his little sing song voice and it makes me smile.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Thomas Enthralls

Netflix is our friend when Mommy needs to get something done!  Noah was so interested he was standing by the couch watching.  So I put him next to Cory... yeah, that lasted about long enough for me to take a few pictures!

Monday, November 01, 2010

How to Tame Your Dragon

This was our week of Halloween... well, Halloween candy at least.  Starting with a "candy harvest" at Awana and coming home with a bag half full of leaves!

Saturday night we went to a church harvest party with some friends at their church.  This was the first official dress up night...

I honestly couldn't resist the dragon costume when I found it on sale at Old Navy for $10 last week...

However we've been having to tell Cory that he's taming his dragon, not fighting him as we did just watch How to Train Your Dragon last week!

The harvest party was more like a carnival of sorts and Cory was way more interested in simply talking to the people than actually playing the games and getting candy!

There was also a pint sized Darth Vader there and they had an epic battle.  Unfortunately it was outside in the dark so I didn't even try to take a picture.  When he ran off Brian told Cory to say "we will meet again" and Cory delivered it so well we were both laughing!

I love how Noah looks scared of his ferocious brother in this picture!

Sunday night our church had it's annual Light the Night, otherwise known as Trunk or Treat.  It was massively packed, but we had fun seeing lots of friends.

Once again my social boy was way more interested in talking to all the people at their cars and showing off his costume.  Mom held the bag to collect the candy which he didn't care about until there weren't people to talk to!  We did manage to come home with some candy, but not too much.  Which is probably a good thing considering that the Mom doesn't have as much self control when it comes to chocolate!