Thursday, January 29, 2009

My New Obsession! and An award from a longtime friend...

My new obsession is shopping for some new items for our new house (which I am hoping that we will be moving into April). My theory is out with the old and in with the new! Our current decor in our PA home is very country/antique. Both styles fitted our home so well, but after seeing the same decor for so long (we have been here 8 years) I am so ready for something new! As you all know, I have this love for Vera Bradley and all "her" fashionable creations. Lately, I have been checking out some of the designer rugs that are featured with her famous patterns! Here are a few of my favorites!


"Yellow Bird"

"Mod Floral"


"Mesa Red"

Since I have only seen construction plans and "work in process" photos of our new home, I am holding off until we make that trip to Maryland and see what will what room! As I stated above in this post, I am totally changing our interior decor. My goal is to mix in the many Asian pieces that I have collected over the years (especially the ones from our two trips to China...yes I did a lot of shopping over there!) and the many of my Italian family heirlooms that have been past down through the generations. It should be an interesting combination, but I am thinking it will work. Now if only I can find an amazing sale that is being held on these rugs...(I just don't like paying full price!)

(OK onto next topic...)

The Friendship Award...

My longtime friend Colleen over at The Nut House (you can find her at gave me this truly beautiful award. I am just speechless and truly blessed! I can't begin to express what this blog has meant to me and my family since I started it. For me, it was to document Annabelle's adoption, but since starting it back in August 2006 (when we started our paper chasing for daughter #2) it has become so much more! I know I don't have many followers of our blog, but to me it is not about the quantity, but the quality...Who does follow our blog mean the world to me and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Getting this award means the following: These blogs are exceedingly charming.These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award.

"I am going to break the rules here a little bit...instead of me tagging each person...I am just going to list some people ~ who I would have never met or been reunited with if it wasn't for this wonderful place called "the world wide web" ~ and who really mean the world to me. These are the few that are truly faithful to reading our blog and who I know will be soon seeing their names listed." (if you guys want to take a stab at it...go right ahead...but just knowing how busy my life is right guys may be experiencing the same thing. So I am taking some consideration and changing it up just a bit.)

To the friends we love...

Uncle Owen, Aunt Amy, and Kate who don't have a blog but so need to be mention first...they are truly family to us! If it wasn't for a cut off date ending on the 30th...and two little girls half way around the world waiting for us in the same orphanage...we would have never met. Faith is a beautiful thing! We LOVE you guys so much!

Sara at Football & Fried Rice: Our friendship is truly unique! For two people who have never met face to face, we sure do a lot of chatting it up! Someday my friend...someday, we will finally met ~ face to face... (you can find Sara at )

Lisa at The Long Road To China": Wow...what can I say! Who would have ever thought that only a few months ago, we didn't know each other and look at us now! Can't wait to see you all again ~ very soon! (you can find Lisa at

Rina at "Journey to Annalisa" : You guys are just so great and through this wonderful world of adoption have become family to us also. Annalisa is truly beautiful....inside and out (just like you are!) Here's to next year's trip to Disney ~ we are ALL going to be there! (you can find Rina at

Sue at Biddle Bloggers: Since meeting during our first adoption and their second adoption...traveling together back in 2005...and us completing our second adoption and them starting the journey for their third...we have stayed friends. That to me is what this is all about! Luv ya, girl! (you can find Sue at

Tiffany at "Journey to Our Little Fortune Cookie": Even though we too have never met, we share a bond between my daughter Annabelle and her "waiting for" son Levi (New Hope's Justin). I know we will meet someday and I can't wait to follow along in your journey to bring home Annabelle's little brother...(you can find Tiffany at

The Best Girlfriend Anyone Could Ever Ask For ~ Gina (who also doesn't have a blog): Being friends since grade school, we have been through so much...the good times and bad, the boyfriends and break-ups, the loss of loved ones, years of school, moving away and coming home, and now marriage and babies! It is amazing what we have been through when I think back and how much our friendship has grown. You are like a sister to me and for that...I love you!

Al, Lori, and Hannah (who also don't have a blog): Our time together over the past few months (since meeting after that very long journey from NYC to Beijing in that crazy van ride) have truly been a blessing! Who would have ever thought we would travel half way around the world...only to meet someone who grew up in our own backyard. Here's to an amazing friendship that I am so grateful for!


My Mom & My words are truly needed for what you two mean to me! You guys are my rock!

And there you have it! Since I know I won't be posting again until...probably Sunday (I have some cute photos from our visit to Chuck E Cheese that took place during this past week to post)...I just want to wish you all a wonderful, safe, and stay warm weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our Chinese New Year 2009 Celebration!

This past Sunday, we celebrated Chinese New Year 2009 with a day of food, fun, red envelops, and family! The day started off with the girls getting a red envelope from us along with a amazing Chinese children animated DVD, "The Panda & The Magic Serpent". Both Francesca and Annabelle had such a great time and just loved all the celebration activities we had planned ~ all day long. Coming from a very traditional Italian family...if you told me a few years ago that one of our important holidays would be Chinese New Year, I would have said you were crazy, but just look at us now! Since coming home with Francesca back in November 2005, we have been celebrating CNY in a BIG WAY! Not only is it important to our girls but it is also very important to us.

The always ~ the menu chosen was chosen by Francesca!

The main dish...Fettuccine Alfredo

My grandmother's famous Roasted Tomatoes

and Homemade Garlic Parmesan Cheese Bread

Now here's is all the fun...eating the meal of the girls' choice

(do you think they enjoyed it!)

Here are a few of the Chinese decorations that we used this year in order to add to our celebration!
(the tea set and jade chopsticks were purchased on during our last journey to China for our Annabelle back in October 2008 in Henan. And the Asian style fountain was a gift from my sister this past Christmas!)

(the pottery tea set was purchased during our journey for Francesca in 2005 in Nanchang and the abstract tea pot was purchased in Henan when traveling for Annabelle. Both are very special pieces for they were each purchased in the province where each of our daughters are from. And my lucky bamboo plant was a gift from my oldest daughter, Francesca this past summer after receiving our referral for Annabelle.)

This masterpiece was actually created by Francesca last year. She is just so very proud of it and so are we.
(in my opinion, she did a great job!)

and last but not least...a few final photo of our oldest, Francesca. Per her request ~ these photos needed to be posted!

We hope you all had a very great and memorable Chinese New Year celebration for 2009! To all of our family & friends throughout this wonderful adoption community...We love you all so very much and Here's to The Year of the Ox!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sharing the day with some friends....

On Saturday we spent the day with some amazing friends. It was Lisa from "The Long Road To China" and the rest of her crew. We all had such a great time. As you may or may not know, Lisa & I had a chance to meet a few months ago for a lunch date. We talked & laughed for almost 4 hours and since that wonderful afternoon...we have truly become such good friends. Saturday was the first time "both families" got the chance to meet one another. It was as if seeing old friends. Pat, Lisa, Nick, and Sarah were truly so much fun to be with and we can't wait until we can all get together again!

(Even Francesca - who as you all know can be very shy at times - asked Lisa - within a few minutes of meeting her - if she can come over her house to play. And all the way home in the car, she kept saying over & over again to us, "I really like Lisa and her family. Can we go see them tomorrow?" I think that about sums up our day of fun with some new friends who I am sure will be around for a very long time...)

(a rare photo of just Keith & I...well almost...Francesca just had to get in the photo too!)

A great photo of Lisa & Pat!

Silly Sarah!

Lisa and I posing with Cowboy Crayon! (we have a hilarious photo of the two guy posing here, but we promised it wouldn't show up on any blogs!)

Now its Francesca's turn with Cowboy Crayon...

Hanging with the kiddos!

Sidewalk Chalk Time...

Can't go the Crayola Crayon Factory and not do some coloring...

and make some very pretty hats!

Dance Fever...this was Francesca's favorite part of the day! Where she got to dance in front of a giant screen and this is what you saw...

Coloring with markers on the wall!

More posing with Cowboy Crayon...Sweet, Sweet Sarah!

Smiling Annabelle...

and "Oh No Not Again" Francesca!

Another one of Annabelle's creations....

and here is Francesca's....

As you can see, we truly had a great day of fun! All the kiddos had a blast as well as us grown-ups. And as for Pat, "I did promise I would NOT post that photo of you & Keith on any blog. And I am going to keep that promise. But someday, that photo will just have to be shared...I am thinking maybe on a Christmas card...Birthday just never know. It's just too good to be holding back!"

And for Colleen at "The Nuthouse" I did make the Fruit Cobbler for our CNY celebration and it is just "too die for" sinful! We loved it and it was super easy to make. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend Plans

This weekend we are finally wrapping up Francesca's birthday celebration - with a visit to the Crayola Crayon Factory on Saturday! Joining us along in the fun will be Lisa from "The Long Road To China" and her family...we are sure to have a blast! We are also getting ready for our big Chinese New Year Celebration which will take place at our house on Sunday. The menu is all planned out (details are that listed below), the house is totally decorated, and I got the girls red envelopes all ready! The girls are just so excited and I must admit, we are too...!

Now since I can't post without with a few photos of our two they are spending the morning home and just having some fun!

(did I even mention that these two little monkeys of ours can really get into some trouble!)

Our Chinese New Year Menu!

Roasted Tomatoes
Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo (another one of Francesca's favorite dishes)
Garlic Bread Sticks
Italian Style Salad

For Dessert, I am making Colleen's from "The Nut House" Fruit Cobbler that will be served with some ice-cream.

As you can see, we are not having Chinese food...and if you have been following this blog for some time you would remember that we never have Chinese food for CNY. Why? ~ Francesca just doesn't like it and since this holiday was all about her...and now her little sister we decided to let her pick out the menu and from than on out we have just stuck with our tradition and have something Italian. In our opinion, you can't go wrong there!

(we usually celebrate CNY at Grandma's house with her homemade tuna fish sauce - a favorite of Francesca' - but with less than a week's recovery under her belt from her emergency surgery, I am hosting CNY at our house!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Turning Four!

Our Beautiful Birthday Girl!!!!

Eating Chocolate & Vanilla Ice-Cream with Sprinkles for Breakfast!

"Look at what I got from Mommy & Daddy!"

Per Francesca's request, we made pepperoni pizza for supper!

Here she is adding the sauce....

Next layering some cheese....

Than adding the pepperoni ~

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes on 450 degrees and this is what you get...

After supper, we headed up to Grandma's for some Birthday Cake!
Words according to Francesca..."Mommy, am I really four!" "Will I be four tomorrow?" "I just loved my birthday, Mommy!" and "Thank You for being my Mom."
I don't think it could get any better than that!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Plan B ~ in action! (weekend review)

Well...after cancelling our Disney trip to celebrated Francesca's 4th Birthday (which is tomorrow) and after my mom being admitted into the hospital Thursday and having emergency surgery on Saturday, we were able to do a few fun things with Francesca! My mom is doing well and is recovering perfectly...she is schedule to come home today!

As for what we did for Francesca's birthday, we decided to play it cool this past weekend because of Grandma's surgery and because of how cold it was (we were in the negative digits over the past few days). Since I was at the hospital most of the weekend, Francesca and Annabelle got to spend a lot of time with Daddy. They went to Dunkin Donuts every morning for breakfast and on Friday afternoon they all went to the store to pick up some ingredients to make some birthday cupcakes! Once the girls and Daddy came back from the store, we did some finger painting and marker creations while on Friday night (after the whole family stopped by the see Grandma) we went out for some pizza! Saturday night we did venture out in the cold to take Francesca to one of her favorite restaurants, Cooper's, to have a great 2.5 hour meal! (yes, you read that correctly, we were there for 2 in a half hours for supper and both kiddos we just perfect!) As for the rest of the weekend, we played "Disney's Scene It?" DVD game about a hundred times (it was left by Santa for the whole family to enjoy). She had such a nice weekend and I finally got some stuffed planned for this coming week. I know, it is not Disney...but I am thinking (and Daddy is too) that " the Disney thing"will happen sooner than we all think...

(sorry that the photos are a little out of sinc today)

Finger Painting on Friday!

Marker Creations too!

(just has to post this photo of our Annabelle...isn't she just so beautiful!)

Saturday night supper at Cooper's (wearing their pirate hats!)

And our Friday night pizza at The Library...

(here is Francesca with my nephew Scott Joe!)
Even though we had a very emotional weekend, we still manged to have a little fun.

As for our "almost going to be 4 years old" birthday girl...she is currently watching (as I am typing this) the classic "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" for which she saw the last 10 minutes of it the other night and wanted to see the whole thing. Lucky for us, I already had it on DVD! She is truly a girl after my own heart (and her Daddy's too - we both love watching the classic!)