Monday, December 29, 2008

What's to come in 2009

To China Again We Go ?
Is it true...Can it be...!

If you think you are misreading are not!

Keith & I decided to submit a second Medical Conditions Checklist into our agency for child number 3! We had a little bit of paper work to prepare ~ so far ~ and we will just be waiting...waiting for what I do believe is going to be a long time before we hear anything (if we even do). We also decided that this time around, we will leave the decision up to the CCAA and our agency on what gender will be placed in our hearts and home (we are open to both a little girl or little boy). I know many of you are wondering "What brought this decision on after just arriving home - not that long ago - with our second daughter from China?" And to be honest with you, a lot of the answer to that question is very private, but I can tell you this. ..We have always wanted a large family. Since returning home with Annabelle, life has truly been a wonderful blessing. And since our agency required very little for us to do...we decided to "see" if the miracle of adoption will happen again for us. We have been honest with everyone on this possible 3rd adoption...that it just might not happen. We will give our agency two years to find a match for our family. If in those two years, no match has been made, we will remove our MCC and know in our hearts that "He" has another plan for us.

So for now, the waiting begins again for us. Will we be blessed for a 3rd time? And if we do receive a referral...Will our referral be for a little boy or will we be a house full of girls? Only time will tell....

And in case you are wondering when will I be posting our Holiday photos...I promise, they will be posted very soon...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


(in my opinion ~ this photo states it all!)

As 2008 is winding down, I am taking some time out of our still very busy lives to reflect. What an AMAZING, WONDERFUL, and BEAUTIFUL year it has been...How did we ever get so lucky to have two incredible daughters!

The picture featured above was taken within the first two weeks of us arriving home from China as a new family of four and as Francesca becoming the "big sister". It was taken one afternoon after the girls and I had some lunch at our favorite local establishment . As soon as I saw the photo after downloading, I knew that with a little tweaking it would be a photo that will speak volumes. After getting it just about perfect, I did get it printed up in various sizes for gift giving this past Christmas. It truly is a beauty and I must admit, I am so proud of the end result.

Here's to 2008 that will forever live in our hearts (as does 1997, 1999, and 2005). As I am sitting here typing this...and I look around and see all what we have been blessed with...I am truly wondering what else "the road that lies ahead" has in store for us. I have a feeling it is going to very interesting...Hope you all are enjoying your holiday celebrations with the ones you love most. In my opinion, this is what life is truly all about and what is most important to have within your heart ~ love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Greatest Gifts

Our two greatest gifts!!!! (I don't believe life - for us - can get any better!)

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that "Santa" will be good to each and every one of you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Counting down the days until Christmas and Grandma's Little Helper

Francesca has been counting down the days until Christmas arrives! She so loves marking off the days by using our new Heartwood Creek Musical Advent Calendar with Ornaments. It marks the days leading up to Christmas with this beautiful advent calendar. Starting on December 1st, we removed one ornament a day from its unique hiding place and hung it on the tree above. Wind the key and the tree revolves to the tune of, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Since December 1st, this is the first thing she does every morning. Above are a few photos of our newest advent calender.

As the days are winding down, our household is very busy! Between all the baking, cooking, last minute shopping, and wrapping...I am finding it very hard to find the time to even complete a simple load of laundry. But today, the girls and I did take some time out of our very busy lives and help Grandma make the homemade raviolis (both meat & cheese) for our Christmas meal. Both girls had a blast...but our Annabelle took a real "shine" to being Grandma's little helper...

(Or maybe I should say...supervisor. In the photo above, she was telling Grandma what she needed to do.)
If I don't get a chance to post again until after the holidays, I want to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby Doll!

Annabelle just loves her baby dolls! Between the stroller and the dolls...she is constantly playing with them both! And she is such a good little mommy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Girls...

Oh, how I love these two!
Hey Aunt Amy...doesn't Annabelle have a smile just like Katie's!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guess where we are going?

That's right! Since we had to cancel our September trip, we thought that there's no better time to go than for Francesca's 4th birthday. We finally told her this past weekend about going to Disney for her birthday and she is so excited! She is counting down the days...(and so am I!) We leave on January 17th!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

this time of year...

I so love this time of the year! I am even loving it more now that I have my two girls home with us! Life could not get any better! Francesca has truly "come into" celebrating this Christmas season. She is so into all the Christmas movies & TV specials. She is also so into decorating the house, and is already asking me what cookies we will be baking this year. As for Annabelle, she wants to do everything her big sister is doing so she is hanging right in there with us and is just having a blast! Tonight after cleaning up from supper, I caught the two girls just sitting in front of the Christmas just looking at it. When I asked what they were doing, Francesca replied, "Isn't beautiful, Mom!" (did I ever mention how this little girl can melt my heart!)

This year our Francesca has taken a real liking to that movie that features a little boy who is not-so-sure that Santa exists and that famous train that rides to the North Pole. She watches the movie at least once a day and has me read the book to her always a bed time. I am "hoping" that this year, Santa will leave her one of those special reindeer bells under our Christmas tree...just for her.

I know that this is year that she would truly appreciate that bell and treasure it forever...and I know for a fact that she...just like her
Mommy & Daddy...will always hear the ringing of that bell...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It came into our home like the roar of a lion....

and it is looking like, it is here to stay...We are all sick in the Leonard household. Annabelle has been battling fevers of 102 and belly aches (she is just not eating), Francesca has also been battling fevers of 101 along with a chest cold and bad cough...and me....well I too have been running a fever but I also have a terrible head cold! So what do you do when you are truly stuck inside...with no-where to go....why you make Christmas ornaments! Trying to keep two kids entertained while this infectious bug filtrates our home isn't easy, but we are making the best of it. Just check out the beautiful ornaments both of my girls made for our tree!

I personally think they did an amazing job...and I couldn't be any prouder of my two artists! The minute we were done taking this photo, the girls ran straight over to our tree and placed each of their creations on it. I guess you can say I have two new favorite ornaments this year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Photos of the Kiddos & Christmas around our house!

Here are just a few of the choice photos I taken for this coming year's annual calender featuring my two kiddos and my nephew, Scott Joe (needless to say, I took over 500+ to get the perfect is so not easy with three kids under the age of four to not only be smiling but to be actually looking at you but oh what a great time we had!)

(our musicians)

(in their Christmas jammies!)

(fun time, jumping on the bed!)

Which one will it be, you'll just all have to wait and see!

Now, here are a few photos from around our house. I so love decorating for the holidays! I always start right after Halloween and almost every room in our home has some kind of festive decoration displayed in it! Here are some photos from our kitchen...

(I know you all have seen this one before...)

(Oh how we love these nutcrackers! I can't wait to get my hands on the ones that stand over 6' tall! I am sure they are going fit into our new home!)

(and the stockings were chimney here but we'll have two in our new home!)

(only a small portion of my collection of Dept 56 North Pole pieces!)

Some stuff displayed in our living room...

(I use these poinsettias every where I can. I just love them and it so makes everything appear so festive!)

(a few of the purchases I made on our last journey to China)

I started giving Francesca a music box every year for Christmas...this year's feature her favorite ride, the Tea Cups. Since I wanted to start giving Annabelle something special to mark every Christmas we celebrate together, this year...for her first Christmas home, I got her a Chinese Precious Moments doll (both shown here)

And last but not least (hope I am not boring you) our Chinese student's table even got a little decorations added...

I am going to have to take some photos of our tree this year! Do you know that the tree that we use is actually my family's first Christmas tree ever (it is over 35 year old!) My mom was going to get rid of it a few years ago but I told her NO WAY can she even think about throwing it it now has a place in our home! Just looking at it brings back so many memories...I just hope & pray that my girls are able to build just as many beautiful and wonderful memories and I did (growing up) around that Christmas tree...