Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

(Francesca enjoying some time outside while it was snowing! That's our new Mickey & Friends giant snowglobe we have displayed in our front yard...)

(Is that Tony Stewart I see driving that car?'s Francesca! Thanks to Grandpa & Grandma C. who came in for an early Christmas visit this past weekend, this is what they got Francesca for Christmas this year! Wow...this is going to be fun!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Still Counting....


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My little helper and I are in love with...

....our new Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mix Master (in the glossy cinnamon color)!
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I have been asking for one of these for the past few months and after finding an amazing deal on one...I just had to buy it for myself as an early Christmas gift! Now, I have to admit, I have never been into baking or cooking before Francesca came into our lives, but since she has been home, I am always finding myself in the kitchen trying out new recipes (so far, I have made more goodies these past few weeks than I have over the past 30+ years of my life and according to my family, who are always so willing to try everything I make, swear that the end products are really great!). This year is the first for Francesca and I to try making some things together from scratch. Last week we made Chocolate Chewy & Peanut Butter-Marshmallow Bars and some pumpkin cupcakes. I didn't take any photos because I was too worried about what we were doing, but today when we were making the home-made pumpkin sweet & spicy breads for her teachers at school...we both got into the action & I finally got some photos! We had a blast and Francesca loved being my little helper for the day! She jumped right in wanting to help in such a big way. Just wait to you see the photos below....

My little helper...
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("It's looking good, Ma!")
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Now this is a photo that Francesca wanted to take...not bad for an almost three-year-old!
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I have to say, with the holidays right around the corner, our lives have been very busy! My grandmother aka G.G. is finally coming home today from the rehab center and Grandpa & Grandma C are coming in this weekend for a quick visit with the grandkids....and we are still counting on Aunt Amy, Uncle Owen, and Katie to come in for New Years's. I finally got all of our presents wrapping done (with the exception of Francesca's) and I am just finishing up on my baking (which I am sure I am going to have to do more of this coming weekend)...and I have to make the sausage & peppers for Christmas day and my bread bowl & dill dip for Christmas Eve, which will both be celebrated at my Mom's house. I am going to try to get some more photos posted to the blog over the next few days. I have some great ones of Francesca outside...checking out her Mickey Mouse & Friends snowglobe that are priceless.


Here is a photo of the sweet & spicy pumpkin breads fresh out of the oven!
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(of course, Francesca had to get into the photo action...she is just so proud of what she made for her teachers!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank You Sara!

As you may know (being that we are currently LID for Sofia in April 2007), I am a member of the CCAI April 2007 LID yahoo group. It is basically a support group for families going through their adoption and who are signed up with CCAI as their agency and are LID in April 2007. The group is a ton of fun...and I have met so many wonderful people there. One of the things that often happens to make the time past faster...during this long and very unpredictable for the members of the group to sign up for swaps that are design to get to know one another on a more personal level and to also let each member know that they are not alone out there in the process. I signed up for the 6 month "Secret Pal Gift Exchange" back in July and have been swapping gifts with my Secret Pal...who I figured out very quickly, I was also her secret pal. Her name is Sara (I am sure you heard of me referring to her many times on this blog before). Not only did Sara and I have each other in the Secret Pal exchange, but something more happen along the way...we became great friends! Our 6 month run has ended this month, but I know that this is only the beginning of our friendship.

I wanted to show you guys what I have received over the past six months for Sofia!

There are a ton of books...which being a great fan of just perfect!

There are a ton of hair bows...which Francesca feels that she can wear now...which we told her she could, but that she must take care of them because they are for her little sister, Sofia.

There is even a ladybug tote bag filled with all kinds of goodies for Sofia to enjoy and a pair of ladybug sandals for her to wear during the summer months!

But best gift I received was a sterling silver beaded bracelet with Francesca & Sofia names on it! It is just a little something for share with my daughters for a-life-time!

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Thank you Sara for being such a wonderful "secret pal" and just for being the beautiful person you are inside & out!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Breakfast with Santa!

This past Saturday, we made plans with Grandma, Auntie, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Scott, and little Scotty to have breakfast with Santa at Wegman's. When I first asked Francesca if she wanted to go...she flat out said "NO", but as the date approached, she was really excited about going. Her only request was that she would not sit on his lap. I told her that she didn't have to, unless she wanted to, but I also told her that she did need to be nice to Santa...she needs to say hello and not whine or cry so the other children could enjoy spending time with Santa during his busy season. She was totally on-board with the whole thing.

Saturday morning as we headed to Wegman's, she was just so excited! She kept telling me exactly what she was going to say to Santa when she got her chance with him. Keith & I were still a little nervous, even though she seem so into it...just knowing how Francesca can be. Anyway, we ate our breakfast (which was so yummy!) and waited for Santa. When he arrived, Francesca was very excited to see him. He made his rounds to each table, taking time with each child present. While Santa was making his rounds, I was holding Francesca in my arms...showing her and explaining to her exactly what he was doing (he was not only talking to the other children, but he was handing out candy to them). When he headed to our table, she was a little shy about him coming over to her, but with a little "coaching" she said "Hello" to him and took the candy cane he offered to her. Than without any "coaching" she said to him, "Merry Christmas!". I was shocked! Santa went onto another table as the tears starting rolling down my face! I could not believe this is the same little girl who would scream her head off whenever someone would say hello to her (now she still does do that, but not as much or as bad). After giving her a lot of kisses and hugs...and telling her how proud we all are of her for being so nice to Santa, she asked if she could see him again. I asked her if she wanted to sit on his lap and she said, "NO" while Santa was getting ready to take his seat in the sleigh for some photos, I asked him if he could spare a little time for my daughter so she can tell him what she wants for Christmas (since she will not sit on your lap and of course, he said yes!). Francesca than told him that she would like to have some toys and a flashlight for Christmas. His response to her was that he would do his best to get her want she wants and than he patted her on the head.

Once everyone started lining up for the photo opportunity, Francesca than went to Keith and asked him if she could go see him again. So off in line they went. When it came time to get into Santa's sleigh, Francesca wasn't crazy about the idea, but was willing to go. That only lasted about 1 minute because once she realized what was happening, she put her arms out to Keith and started crying. Once she was removed from the sleigh, she was back to her normal self. As we were putting on our coats to head home, Francesca turned to me and ask, "No more sitting on the sleigh, OK Mommy?" And I told her as long as you don't want to, you don't have to! What a kid!

It is a day I will always remember....

Francesca and Mommy waiting for Santa!
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"Here's my CandyCane from Santa!"
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Sitting in Santa's sleigh...
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one minture later...realizing she was actually sitting in Santa's sleigh...yikes!
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(check out that face!)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Guess who stayed up past her bedtime the other night?

You guessed it...Francesca!

As you may know, Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer was on Tuesday night starting at 8PM until 9PM.

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Francesca is usually in bed by 8PM...the latest by 8:30PM, but since she really seems to be into Christmas this year (into all the Christmas shows, all the decorations, and all the festive songs & activities) I thought it was perfectly OK to share a full hour with my daughter, watching Rudolph (and letting her stay up past her bedtime)! We both climbed into my bed and got all cozy under the covers. We each had two pillows to support our heads and layed side by side watching the TV. We had such a blast and she loved it!

When I finally got her to bed at around 9:15PM, all she kept asking me was, "Ma....We do that again...soon...tomorrow?" How beautiful is that! (Luckily, I DVR'd the show, so yes, she can watch it tomorrow as well.)

Here are some photos of her watching Rudolph the following day...she has been requesting to watch it every day since seeing it for the first time Tuesday night! As you may notice, she is playing with the Rudolph characters that were sold a few years back by CVS in celebration with Rudolph's 50th Anniversary. Keith purchased the whole collection back than (running around to almost every CVS store from Virginia to Pennsylvania just to get them all), but seeing how Francesca is loving the fact of playing with all of them was so worth it!

Her favorite ones are Rudolph and Clarice which she was playing with at the moment the photos were taken! She wasn't too crazy with me trying to take her picture while she was watching it. (as you can see from the photos!)

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another Holiday Tradition and Tongue Curling!

Don't these look good!
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Every year...since our first Christmas together so many years ago...Keith and I started the tradition of making cinnamon buns on Christmas morning to enjoy once the present are all open (we also put on another pot of coffee to have with them)! I don't know how this tradition got started...but we have enjoyed eating cinnamon buns every year since!

I was reminded yesterday, while at the grocery store, that I have to pick up some before it gets too late!

on another subject...

Can you curl your tongue?

I can...Keith can...and Francesca can!

Check her out!

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(when you ask her, "Give me a curl!" that's what I get...way too cute!)

(now she is just being funny)

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Gotta love it!

I wonder if Sofia will be able to curl her tongue too?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The first SnowFall of the Season!

On Sunday morning, I woke up to Keith's voice telling Francesca that it was snowing! Francesca was so I was too...that we couldn't wait to get outside & have some fun! Since we do live on a "Main Street USA" type of street, which is normally sometimes busy, we never get to play out in the front yard, but because of the snow, no one was we not only had fun playing in the backyard...we also had fun playing in our front yard and walking up & down the sidewalks as well! It was such a peaceful & playful morning that I totally enjoyed with my daughter!

(and all the while we were playing outside, Francesca was singing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"!)

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

I need your help!

I am just so upset!
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As most of you know, my mother-board and hard drive crashed on me some time ago. I had one of Keith's co-workers look at it to see if anything can be saved (all my photos from the past year were on it)...since I didn't back up anything. It was always in "the plan" to do it, but never got around to it. Anyway, from what we were told, there are "people" out there who can get the info off the hard drive, but Keith's co-worker wasn't able to do it. Has this happen to any of you guys out there? I am so upset that words can't even describe how I am feeling. Everything from this past year is gone! If you guys have any advise or if you know where I can get my photos off the crashed hard drive, please let me know! I am willing t pay anything just to have those precious photo saved.

I also have photos saved on, the hosting site to which I post my photos on the blog from, but they are all saved in a low resolution...(saved as "best to fit the web") is there any way I can get them off photobucket and saved in a better resolution or printed from there in the low resolution with them looking good (photobucket does have a service where you can purchase the images that are saved as photos, but will the low resolution affect the photo quality) . I am at a loss here!

(and yes...I learned my lesson...I need to back up my what I save on my hard drive)