Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again,
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

(I used to love to listen to this song sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks as a little girl).

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had a very nice one and traveled about an hour away to my parents, my 3 siblings and their families managed to make it. It's always fun to catch up and my mom always pulls off this huge event so well. You know I brought my camera and didn't take 1 picture!

Christmas has changed a fair amount from when I was growing up in the 1960's and 70's. I'm kind of old school about it all and don't start decorating for this holiday until after Thanksgiving....

So decorate we did this weekend! My assistant Grace helped me bring out the bling to welcome our favorite holiday.

Being married for 20 years now, we've got quite the collection of Christmas decorations...some old, and some new. My kids have their own trees in their rooms and I let them pick out what they'd like. Will has a Lightning McQueen tree and Grace's ornaments are mostly pink and purplicious in color and very girly girl...we give them both a new ornament for their trees each year. We still have to put up our live tree and most likely that will happen next weekend.

And it's not only our house that looks festive, so does my blog. A huge thank you to Lisa for helping me with the new design!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

counting my blessings

Gratitude consists of being more aware of what you have, than what you don't. ~ unknown

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. ~ unknown

In this season of gratitude, and before I get so busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday with my own family I wanted to write about what I'm thankful for. It's easy to get caught up with tasks and lists of things to do at this time, and I think it's important to give thanks for the many blessings in my life. Friends and family come to my mind first, the people who support you, think you're the best thing in the whole wide world and are there for you in hard times and good times...always. I'm blessed to have dear friends and family who love me unconditionally. But what I'm most thankful for is my husband and children. I'm not a perfect person, just someone who keeps learning and growing everyday and trying my best. The greatest gift I've been given is being a mother to 3 children and I thank God for that opportunity everyday. I hope I can help the 3 of them to have a love of learning, to laugh, and to find beauty and joy in all things. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

this and that on a Monday

  • Life's been crazy busy on many levels. I've been neglecting my blog greatly(I'm sorry) but will do a post about Thanksgiving on Wednesday.

  • I had my last 2 outdoor photo sessions this weekend before the snow flies here. Thankfully I got them in because we're supposed to have a measurable snow on Wednesday. I guess I'm ready for the next 5 months of Winter, as ready as it gets.

  • I've really enjoyed taking pictures of families and it makes me happy when they love the results.

  • I'm thinking about setting up a little indoor (using our guestroom) studio to start taking pics. I'd set it up after Christmas.

  • Speaking of! it's coming up quickly. I have started my shopping.

  • Yesterday it was 58 degrees outside so we put up our outside decorations, and my favorite wreath is on the front door.

  • I originally was hosting Thanksgiving for my entire extended family, was planning the menu and then last week my Mom decided she wanted to have it at her house. Thanks Mom!

  • What are y'all doing for Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ William Michael

I absolutely adore that you can see the reflection of me taking his picture in his eyes. That's where every mother should be...front and center in their child's eyes.
Will loves Lightning McQueen, cars and trucks and he'll even play Barbies with his sister Grace.
Will is hilarious pretty much all of the time...he thinks he's a comedian and laughs at all of his own jokes. ;)
About 2 weeks ago I took William out to check a possible new location and I shot this series in front of these wooden doors at an old stone church out in the countryside. You can see the many facets of his personality.
Last June we had Will evaluated by an adoption attachment specialist. I was interviewed
by the therapist, she observed the 2 of us interacting together and him playing with toys over several sessions. She was also able to interview him, I was amazed what she could get out of a 3 year old. The evals and testing took about 2 months to complete. I'm relieved and so thankful that Will does NOT have reactive attachment disorder. His tests do show he has Sensory Processing Disorder and in the last few weeks his symptoms have worsened some and it's obvious to us that her diagnosis is correct. Next week he'll have a new IEP and will start OT for fine motor and his sensory issues. I'm thankful that I got the ball rolling to have him tested and we have some answers. As parents we are our children's only voices and their advocates. I'm a huge proponent of early intervention and screening of all adopted children, especially those who lived in an orphanage or foster care situation.
They are especially high risk for sensory, speech, fine and gross motor delays. We are blessed to live in a state that has outstanding schools and early childhood programs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I heart faces ~ Autumn Beauty

This week's theme at the I heart faces blog is 'Autumn Beauty.' Here's my picture of Grace taken about 3 weeks ago. I loved the movement of the leaves, the expression of pure joy and of course that gap toothed smile of hers...
Please check out the I heart faces blog for more amazing entries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November ~ National Adoption Awareness Month

I've written quite a bit about adoption on my blog. In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness month, I asked my husband Dan to share some of his thoughts. I'll be writing myself about adoption later in the month.

I've always loved children and children have always loved me. I assumed when I got married I would have a dozen of them. As life progressed, I was never blessed with biological offspring. I was able to be a father to Nick (Gail's biological son) and being a parent is the greatest joy you can ever have. When Gail suggested we take a look at adoption I was cautious and curious. It is a leap of faith to give your heart away and the risk of pain is real. You don't know what your child will be like, if they are truly healthy or if they will even like you but the same could be said of biological children. I thought of the handful of people that I knew who were adopted and the few people who I knew that had tried to adopt. The mixture of experiences was no different than a sampling of any collection of lives. With raising Nick and having to share him with his biological father, I preferred a different approach for our next child. The foreign adoption route felt like the best one. First came Grace and then William. If I could have picked them out in a store or made them myself, I couldn't have gotten better children than the ones I have. All three of them are unique, fun, special and sweet. My life has been enriched forever. I never dreamed that a road I never knew could take me to such a joyous place.

Adoption is often considered as a final option after several attempts have been made to have biological children. Sometimes it's the only choice that can be made after the child bearing years have passed. Occasionally, it's the preferred choice in place of having biological children. Whatever the reason, it is a beautiful process. To give a child a family when they have none is a true blessing for all involved. Yes, there are times that are challenging but that is true for any child in any family. Children should be loved and be able to love others. They need a solid foundation of trust, acceptance and unconditional love.

There are times that I feel sorry for my children's biological parents because I'm getting all the delight that they could have had. I thank these people for giving my children life and I promise them that I will give their children a chance for a great life. At times I feel sorry for my children because they will have questions about who they are and how they came to live with us that I will never be able to answer. All I can do is take them in my arms and love them...unconditionally.

Friday, November 6, 2009

the winner!

Grace drew the winner for the PW cookbook and Michelle of Searching for Sophie won! Congrats Michelle...we are so happy you won and know you'll love the book. I'll get it to you right away, I promise!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Twenty years ago I married my best friend and soul mate...we lived in the SF bay area at the time and were married in a small ceremony by a justice of the peace. We each had prior marriages (him for 2 years and me for 5 years). I had my son Nick with my ex. Dan happily took on an 'instant family' and life went on. 20 years later I can say that what we have experienced has been awesome. We have moved quite a few times, traveled, raised children (and still are), laughed, loved and cried. It has been 20 years full of fun and life. I can't remember being bored or regretting anything along the way. There have been challenges- it is life after all- but nothing that ever made me want to share this road with anyone else. We have another 30 -40 years left and I'm looking forward to it. So tonight we'll raise a glass of wine or champagne to celebrate 20 years together and wish for continued happiness for the rest of our journey. Thank you Dan for taking a leap of faith with me and Nick and... Happy Anniversary! xo

Monday, November 2, 2009

a November giveaway!

Like probably most of us out here in bloggy-land, I'm a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman ...Ree Drummond. I've been reading her blog for quite a while and this uber talented woman seems to do it all... whether it's decorating, cooking, gardening, photography and homeschooling... you pretty much name it, she can do it well. She is very funny too! Anyway I'm giving away a brand new copy of her newly released cookbook. I like that she's put many of her recipes from her blog into one book that also includes stories of life in the country and her own photography. If you'd like a chance to win please leave a comment and if you are not linked to your own blog please leave your email address so I can contact you... I'll be sending your book right away. We'll be drawing the name of the winner on Friday...good luck!
© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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