Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taking a break and some favorites

I've been thinking about taking a break from posting on my blog for a little while and today made the decision to do it. I really don't have any clear explanation about why I feel the need to have a break, I just know it's necessary. We are all well, I need time to think about some things. I'll be enjoying my children and taking pics of course. Don't know how long I'll be gone and I'll probably be reading blogs and maybe commenting. The above 3 are a few of my favorites from this week when we were outside in the snow. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Play day

Okay be the Goalie and I'm going to play Center...

Um...what is this thing?

Croquet anyone?

Hey, what IS Jie Jie doing over there in the front yard?!

Oh I see...making another one of her snow angels.

...and eating snow again?

What? She's making snow cones?

Let's go inside now and have some hot chocolate. Yum!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cabin fever

So this is the time of the year that I start to get a bit whiny...and truly wonder why we live in Wisconsin when Dan could easily get a job in San Diego which is a huge area for Biotech. So why do we live in a place of the 'never ending Winter?' It's because the area where we live has some of the best schools and medical care in the country, not to mention easy access to Chicago and so many friends and family nearby. I get a major case of cabin fever in late February. So do my kids, especially Grace. Yesterday when she begged to go outside and play in the new snow I had to oblige. It was 18 degrees with a single digit wind chill. She went to make her snow angel and her facial expression in one of the collage pics show her feeling a tad bit cold and maybe not so sure of her decision to lay down in that freezing cold stuff. Of course Grace being a kid managed to forget about it and stayed outside for half an hour. BTW 'date night' went fabulously well...when Dan and I got in the car and left for the restaurant, it was just so quiet. Quiet...what a concept and very much appreciated now and then for me. You sometimes forget in the task at hand of raising children that there is a relationship between mommy and daddy and that does need to be taken care of too. So believe me there will be more date nights in the future! And Mr. Will did extremely well. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finally Friday!

It's Friday(or almost) and I thought the above pic of Grace jumping on the bed pretty much represents my feelings that the weekend is near. We've had a busy week and February seems to be flying by. Will started Speech services 2 weeks ago, he goes twice a week and loves it and adores his speech therapist. We've all been healthy(so far) this month and I can't remember having a February like that for several years. We met with our social worker for Will's 6 month post placement visit. Our little boy was engaging, sweet and polite. Our social worker and I spoke at length about how far he has come and how much he has healed. Will is a brave little boy to take that leap of faith and love us. We actually have been together as a family 7 months tomorrow. And finally, I have an anouncement to we're not adopting again, well at least not right now. Dan and I are going on a date! Alone. Just us. No kids. A real date at a real restaurant with a reservation. And not a 'kid' restaurant if you know what I mean. I can't remember when we were last on a date but I know it's been at least 7 months ago. Will is ready for a babysitter and he'll do quite well I'm sure. Happy Friday and hope your weekend is extra special.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My new addiction seems to be this camera, which I suppose isn't a bad addiction compared to some of them out there. Sunday afternoon Miss Grace was in a compliant mood and we shot these in some good indoor light(or as good as it gets in the Winter here). I remember before we received Grace's referral and it was close to arriving that I was anxious. The anxious part of it for me was not raising another child, it was loving another child. I recall asking my mother, "How could I love another child as much as I loved my first...Nick?" I loved Nick with all my heart. Now I realize what a silly thing that was to be anxious about. Love isn't grows and grows. Everyday I love this little girl more and more. And she is so easy to love.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This and that...

These are some pics I've had for a while and intended to post and never quite got around to, so just put them all together. Just a bit of our Winter inside times.

I call the above collage, "Flight of the naked Barbie doll."

Will sitting inside a stepstool that we keep in our bathroom for the kids to wash their hands and brush their teeth at the sink. This boy loves to play in it.

They play for hours with this puppet theater and crack us up frequently with the little plays they make up.

This was the end of one of the 'shows' and Grace was saying 'bye-bye.'

Will does play Barbie with his Jie Jie pretty frequently. He is usually Ken(here he's the groom) and Grace is Barbie(the Bride). Sometimes Will is surfer Ken. Will doesn't seem to mind who he gets to be.

Before we left for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I had the 2 of them sit like this for what I thought might be a cute shot. Will decided to stick out his tongue....

And finally Miss Grace looking closer to 12 and not 6 and a half.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden. ~ Claudia Ghandi

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 9, 2009

No Hands But Ours

The No Hands But Ours web site was started by Stefanie of Ni Hao Y'all. Stefanie is momma to 8. Yes, I said 8 children, 4 bio and 4 adopted from China. Besides being super woman she's a caring, empathetic person who is passionate about waiting children in China and had the idea for this web site to educate, encourage and be a resource for anyone interested in adopting a child with medical special needs. I recently wrote our family story for the web site and how we came to adopt Will and go the special needs route. On a personal note, adopting a child with a medical special need was something I never thought that much about in the past. There was one obstacle for both Dan and I and it was FEAR. Fear of the unknown I suppose, could I do it? What if I got so attached to a child and then something terrible happened? Having a child biologically or by adoption is always a leap of faith and we took that leap of faith last February when we changed our request with CCAA from a healthy female as young as possible to a boy or girl with a cleft lip and palate. William appeared on our agency's list and we asked to adopt him. We cannot imagine our life without this little boy in it now. When I look at my son I don't see the faint scar on his upper lip, I look at his sweet face and see the whole person, his personality and who he is...inside. I don't like the label or term 'Special Need.' It doesn't define who he is at all, Will's cleft lip and palate is just a very small part of him. I encourage you to go the the site and see what Stefanie and many other parents have done. Please read some of the family stories. If I have inspired one family to do this, I will have done my job as a person to help a child who needs a home. Because that's what adoption is all about...children who need a family.
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."
~Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's all about the love

I'm wondering if you can have an addiction to banners because I think that's a new one for me. Of course my shopping enabler friend Lea helps me find new ones that I MUST buy from etsy. I found this one recently and now the 2 of us are looking for Spring or Easter banners, so if anyone finds them maybe you can give us the heads up. I love Valentine's Day and don't have many decorations for it so thought it was fun to make our mantel look a little more festive for that day of love coming up very soon.

Friday, February 6, 2009

In the kitchen with my 2

Grace is a Brownie for the first time, technically she's called a 'Daisy.' She loves being a Daisy scout and it's been very fun for her. This week it was her turn to bring a treat so the 3 of us made cookies on Monday. Grace is here unwrapping all the chocolate kisses. I think for every 4 kisses she unwrapped, she ate 1.
I enjoy cooking but LOVE to bake and would everyday if I could. Grace seems to also love it as much as I do, from the time she was quite young I've included her in the kitchen. It helps with math skills as far as measuring amounts and seeing how much a cup or half a cup or a tablespoon really is. At age 6 she gets all of the ingredients ready and puts them in the bowl of the mixer. Of course she has to take a break to lick the peanut butter off the spatula. Above are our finished cookies, a classic recipe that I remember my mother making, in fact I know she still makes them.

Now little Will's way of assisting is to jam 2 kisses in his mouth, below you can see how much he enjoyed them!

Peanut Butter Blossoms:
48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. 2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Enjoy the weekend! We have a busy one coming up with more CNY get togethers.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And the winner is...

This morning before school we put the names of everyone who wanted to be in the drawing for the I Am Blessed necklace in a bowl...

Grace drew....Ashley of Waiting for Lilly! Congrats Ashley! I hope you love the necklace as much as I have. I'll have another give away coming up in a few weeks. This has been lots of fun for us.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Please help the Starfish Cleft Foster Home

William at age 3 mos. before his lip repair. He had just come to live in his foster home.
William with his new lip! Doesn't he look great....a chubby and happy baby boy!

Children with medical special needs are near and dear to my heart and especially those affected with a cleft lip and palate. William was not in the Starfish Foster Home, but another one that was similar. People like Amanda of the Starfish Foster Home in China and Deena and Mike of Will's foster home are on the front lines making a difference. We donate to Will's foster home and also will be supporting a cleft affected child from Amanda's. I chose to put Will's before and after surgery pics here to show what a difference these places make in a life for a child. Please read my friend Kimberley at the Seventh Diamond post from her blog. If you'd like to help please contact her.

Amanda was contacted a couple of days ago by the Director of the orphanage in her area. There has been a large group of infants left, many with cleft palate issues and the orphanage has no room to take them in. There are 12 who are due to be released from the local hospital in the next couple of days with nowhere to go. Amanda has been planning to open a Cleft Palate Home in the distant future when funds were in place, but because of these 12 little ones, she is converting the volunteer quarters into a the Cleft Palate Home and will take in these 12 babies. She only has funds to support them for 3 months, so this is where we come in. We need approximately 72 families to come forward who are willing to sponsor a child for $25.00 a month. It costs approx. $150.00 a month for Amanda to feed and care for each child, so it it will take 6 families to step forward for each child. Or if a family is willing to contribute more, that would lessen the number of families needed. This would be a year commitment. Amanda will send out updates to the families and photos of the sponsored babies.The amount is totally tax deductible and the donations will go through the STARFISH CHILDREN'S SERVICES and the tax number is 20-4682816If you are part of a woman's prayer group, or work with a youth group, perhaps you would consider having your group sponsor one child for a year.

If you are willing to come forward as a sponsor family or group, please leave a comment below or e-mail me at A new blog is being created for the home and we will have all of the details to you soon. But we need sponsors quickly, because these children are being released to Amanda in a couple of days if we can get everything together. If you have ever sat in your living room and wondered how you could make an impact, this is it. Amanda is moving forward not knowing where the money will come from. These 12 children need a place to heal and grow. I need help finding approx. 72 families who are willing to contribute $25.00 monthly to support these children. I don't know that many people, so if you all could help spread the word about this project, it would be wonderful. So far 7 families have come forward to sponsor children...thank you! 3 out of the 12 children are completely sponsored.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chinese New Year (part 2)

Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate CNY. It's amazing how many families in our little town have children from China.
Will was in a great mood and it didn't take much wrangling to get him in his red jacket and pants that we bought for him last summer. He's dancing in the above pic.

Our CNY celebration will continue next weekend with Grace's travel group. Please remember to sign up for my 300th post give away(previous post).

© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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