Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cabin Fever

Being stuck inside for over a week due to inclement weather and being 'under the weather' may be the cause of the following cabin fever antics...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fall Down - Go Boom

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised:  but I am.  Last night Gianna was toddling at her typical breakneck speed….and fell.  Not an uncommon occurrence with her – but she’s a tough little cookie, so there’s usually little to no drama involved.
But last night,  she fell and popped her little mouth on the floor.  My husband was with her and I was in the bedroom.  I heard the cry (another unusual occurrence) and came to check it out.  Wouldn’t you know – part of her front tooth was missing. Ugh.  I could tell she wasn’t in serious pain, but my heart just sunk as the thoughts in my head started swirling:  “It’s just a baby tooth. Thank heavens she’s okay.  Her smile --- her perfect signature smile!  Okay, there are thousands of parents with their really sick or hurt kids who would trade places with me in a heartbeat. This wouldn’t have happened if I were here.  Wasn’t her dad watching her?  I know better than that – these things can happen right in front of your nose and there’s just no preventing some things.  We don’t even have a pediatric dentist yet.”  And on and on and on…
She’s doing fine today.  I’m doing much better too.  I am continually surprised by my reactions to various happenings after becoming a mom.  Some things that I would expect to affect me – don’t. And then some things I never though would bother me – do.  Just trying to keep things in perspective. 
After getting a ton of great recommendations of pediatric dentists from my Facebook friends, I decided to make an appointment with one whose been around forever and whose family I know well.  I googled his name, found his office and called for an appointment.
“Hello.” answered a man on the other end.
“Oh, I’m sorry I must’ve dialed the wrong number.”
“Well, who were you calling?” he asked.
“Oh I meant to call Dr. _______.”
“Well, this is Dr. _______.”
“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I don’t know how I got your direct line.”
“Oh, you didn’t, this is my home.”
GASP!!! “Dr. _____, this is Maria (maiden name) and I looked up your office number - - and I have no idea how I reached you at home.”
”Oh, no problem, it’s listed wrong on the internet and we don’t know how to fix it – people call here all this time.  The office is closed this week anyway.  What can I do for you?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Are you kidding me?  What medical professional is that accessible these days?  Without even knowing who he was speaking to and without even being a patient yet, he was willing to see her if it was an emergency.  God Bless him!!!  I already love him.  He’ll told me what to look out for and he’d fit her in on Monday.  I love him.
IMG_5239 IMG_5227
*sniff *

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Merry Little Christmas

The week before Christmas Iain was off from work for 9 days which was such a blessing.  Unfortunately, Gianna got a little head cold earlier in the week - no clue how she got it, but she managed to ‘re-gift’ it to her dad and me just in time for Christmas.  It wasn’t too bad, but it added a degree of difficulty in trying to keep up with our recovering, energized little tornado.  Unfortunately Iain’s “sick” turned nasty on Christmas day after Mass and he ended up sleeping through most of Christmas. :(  Not fun.
Even though we didn’t manage to squeeze in all the little traditions I hoped to, our day was special and blessed because we were together celebrating our faith and our family.IMG_5071
I am so pleased that I didn’t go overboard with gifts for Gianna.  I am fortunate to have learned from two of my best friends that you don’t have to spend tons of money to make Christmas special.  The temptation is so overwhelming at times, but we wanted to be practical. 
Over the last year and a half, we’ve inherited a ridiculous amount of amazing toys from one good friend, and as much as she’s enjoyed them, Gianna’s happiest with a ball, a doll or a book.  And on Christmas morning, it was a tube of Elmo toothpaste that was the jackpot prize that I happened to throw in her stocking at the eleventh hour.
Without any prompting, it seems she knew just what to do.   IMG_5091
She had it down to a science in a matter of minutes.IMG_5093 IMG_5094


This little monkey she’s loving on is one of those harness backpacks that I swore I’d never have for my kids.  Don’t judge me.  We’ve tried it out around the house and she LOVES it.  
She even is training him to use the potty.IMG_5124 
(Yes, Santa even brings potties!)
IMG_5132 IMG_5136
We’ve had the wagon even before she was born, but it made a grand appearance Christmas morning. IMG_5198
My favorite gift for her is this kitchen stand that she’ll grow into over the next few years as she helps Mommy in the kitchen.
51uj1 076xL__SL500_AA280_
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We went to my parents house on Christmas day (without my sick hubby) and the hit gift for Gianna was an Elmo Live doll from Uncle Vinnie.  It got the golden reaction of the day.  Too bad Mommy was not up to taking pictures or video. Christmas Elmo
And thanks to Ms. Candi & Annie, she sported this precious red riding coat.
red ridinghood
  Our hearts full of gratitude.

Living in Lewis Land

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Have you "slurped" lately?

I love the idea that there are all kinds of sites on the web that can turn your blog into a book. They "slurp" it (and "slurp" actually IS the technical term!) right off your site and do all the work for you. 
On more than one occasion I have lost more than a handful of posts at once - and I have absolutely no idea how it happens, but it makes me nervous.  I keep a back up archive on my shutterfly account (I just cut an paste) just in case anything should wrong with my blogger account.  It's a good thing.  I've actually heard of people who lost their entire blog and could do nothing to retrieve it. (I'm sure that doesn't happen often, can you imagine disappointing that would be?)

I thought it would be a great thing to do at the end of each year so we could have a hard copy, for reference and fun.  So I've been doing a little research on various companies and was wondering if anyone out there has published one before and might give me a little feedback.  Did you like the company? Would you use them again or would you choose a different route?  This curious mind wants to know!

If you don't want to leave a comment, you could email me: mariatlewis (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Here are some of the companies I was looking at:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Check your work before you turn it in...

I tried to stay simple with this year's Christmas cards.  I used a picture of the inside of our tree (similar to my blog header) for the background, and then a shot of Gianna in front of the tree.  I know she isn't smiling but I love this picture of her because she got this little shy look on her face right before she smirked, giggled, threw the package and went nuts.

I had them printed at Sams in a 5x7 for only 38 cents per copy. My only regret was that I didn't lighten the background significantly since they tend to print darker that the sample.  Well actually, I THOUGHT that was my only regret.

My husband was kind enough to pick my order up at Sam's when I was out of town and when he called me to tell me he had the Christmas Cards, he asked what the "big one" was for. 
"Big one?" I asked, "I didn't order anything over a 5x7."
 "Well, you may not have ordered one, but you sure as heck got one." he said. 
"What do you mean, 'big'?" I asked desperately trying to imagine what I could have possibly done.
"I'm talking bigger than her, big!" he said
It seems that THIS was picture he was referring to. Same one I used on the card.  Precious, right?

Before I show you what I inadvertantly ordered, think back to school days for a moment.  Remember when your teacher used to always say, "Check your work before you turn it in." and then you thought she was ridiculous because you were SURE everything was written just as you intenteded?  Yeah, well, I just lived the grown-up version of that little scenario.  I don't know HOW in heaven's name I did it, but apprently I checked the box that gave me this humungo print:

I almost fell over when I returned home and saw it.  What in tarnation am I going to do with it other than order 3 more to wallpaper my bathroom?  If I wasn't so scared my parents would hang it over their mantle or try to carry it in their wallet, I'd give it to them.  If I had a White Elephant party to go to, I'd definitely wrap that puppy up and bring it.  I'm tempted to put postage on it and send it as a Christmas card to our Adoption Agency.  Think it might give us an edge? 
And here's the surprising thing: it only cost $7!  Not bad.  Anywhoo - until then, I just have to let Gianna enjoy the company. At least they enjoy spending time together.

Big Sister's Watching you. Hey, maybe this'll be our version of "Elf on a Shelf".

I'm glad little G is growing fond of BIG G.

Merry Christmas and don't forget to check your work! :)

P.S.  I decided to not post much on this new adoption process until there's really big stuff to report.  All my little updates (serving more for a timeline for us) can be found on my ADOPTION BLOG.  Betchya didn't know I had one, huh? :) 
It's also listed on my sidebar under the section called: "Keeping up with...."

Jingle Bells

Well, we did this more for Gianna than anyone else.  She gets so tickled watching it. 
Of course, the little hip hop selection is the obvious choice for her uber-cool parents. HA!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 21, 2009

Photo Tree

I thought about this for our Christmas Card.

I changed my mind.

 For a precious Christmas Card, CLICK HERE.
And another for the munchkins: HERE

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I just LOVE Jack's Big Music Show on Nick Jr. (the old Noggin) and so does Gianna.  It typically captures Gianna's FULL attention.  Yesterday we watched an episode featuring Prudence the yodeling Genie.  It was a precious show which, as a bonus, produced a 17 month old yodeler.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sushi, Santa & Sacked Out

Today, Iain had the day off of work, but has a big meeting to prepare for so he spent the bulk of the day in the sunroom (away from the Tornado) getting his work done.  Gianna and I were sequestered indoors due to consecutive days of crazy unseasonable thunderstorms and it seems as though the walls were closing in on us.  After Gianna's multiple attempts of unwrapping gifts under the tree - which she hasn't done until now, and following quite an impressive nap strike, we all decided we deserved a break and prepared to make a little trip to the mall. 
We figured we'd visit Santa and pay for a ridiculously overpriced photo (even though we just took FREE photos with a perfectly adequate Santa!)  Afterwards, we'd head to the food court and treat ourselves to sushi (we brought Gianna's food with us.)

Well, let me interrupt this little run-down with our loving history with Sushi.
Not long after we began dating, we became fond of, then addicted to sushi and sashimi.  It's an expensive little habit to keep up, so after we were married we decided to make our sushi nights special by having them on the 17th of each month.   We got engaged on the 17th and married on the 17th, so we figure it was a really nice way to celebrate our relationship.

Well, when Gianna joined our family, going out to a restaurant (especially a quiet one) was not exactly ideal for us (although she's usually quite good in restaurants.)  It was at this time we discovered the sushi place in the food court.  I know what you're thinking:  "Food court sushi?"  We thought that too, until we tried it.  It's actually great and it even rivals some of our favorite traditional sushi digs.  So WIN-WIN for us!  We enjoy a wonderful sushi dinner, Gianna is entertained by the masses of people traipsing by and we always make sure to situate ourselves right in from of the little Bunjee Jumping setup so she has a front row view of the bouncing kids.

Okay, back to the Santa visit.  We got there and no one was on line.  Yay.  Then she sees Santa and exclaims, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"  This is gonna be great. We walk up to Santa.  "Hi Santa."  She smiles - yes!  And then I put her on Santa's lap. I had a hard time letting go of her grip.  She looks at me with desparation and panic in her eyes and,
The child started screaming like she had just gotten her shots.  Great. Are you kidding me? She almost always goes to ANYONE happily and with great excitement - how can this be?  Why isn't she delighted to sit on this strange old man's lap who happens to be sporting a furry red coat with a strange hat to match, and has an unusually long beard and a reddish face typically seen on people who are REALLY mad or drunk. Oh. Never mind.
Crouched down in front of the camera I'm trying to console her from afar as she's lunging forward and pleading with ever ounce of her being.  I feel horribly guilty as I try to get her to smile.  The little Elf-Photographers are trying to do the same thing above me.  She stops crying. Thank goodness. And she actually manages to smile a few times. Heaven forbid they catch those on camera!  When I picked her up off Santa's lap, she turned around and looked at him and said, "Ho, Ho, Ho." She looked at me with a scolding face as if to say, "I hope you're happy."  Well, I am.  We got our picture and it wasn't so horrible. Even though the Elf-Photographer said upon viewing the proofs, "Well, this is the best one and they all go downhill from here."
(I thought of you the whole time, SDG!)

Look familiar?

Dang, I really could've photoshopped her in!

Also, the Community Band for the Salvation Army showed up to the mall to play live Christmas music - which was really quite wonderful. We let Gianna put a dollar in their music case. I was a little nervous that she might grab a handful of dollars and make a run for it, but she did just what she was supposed to.  All the musicians were so precious and she got a kick that they all waved to her.

So on our way home, she was carrying on a little bit, since she was so exhausted from her nap deficiency.  About ten minutes from the house, it got really quiet - and sure enough she was out.  At a red light we turned around to look at her and we both melted.  She was so adorable, asleep in her little bear coat.
When we got home Iain took this pic with his phone:

 Once we got home, we were sure she'd wake right up.  Not so.  We tried and tried but that baby bear was OUT.  I told Iain to lay her on the floor and maybe Max the puppy would wake her with his kisses.  Nope.
We prodded, we called loudly, we made noise....nothing.  Then there was nothing left to do but get the camera.....

Sacked Out.
I supposed that's what happens to busy little tornados when they finally run out of steam.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meeting Santa

Upon leaving the sweetest little First Birthday Party of our little friend, we drove to my husband's compnay Christmas Family Party (specifically for the little ones.)

Iain had taken Gianna to this party by himself last year and he told me that last year's Santa was a little....well.....less than realistic.  He didn't want me to hang my hopes too high.
Well this year's Santa - was pretty darn good for a company party and I couldn't grab my camera fast enough when sweet Santa entered the room headed straight for Gianna.

She usually goes to anyone - but she was just a little wary this time. Behind the camera and underneath my breath I was whispering quick hopeful wishes - "Go with Santa, Gianna. Go with Santa!" imagining the great little photo op that might have happened. 
Then I realized how ridiculous I sounded in my head - prodding her to go with the nice strange man with the fancy clothes.

When it was time to sit on his lap, she did very well.

I just love this little exchange between the two of them.

She did keep her little finger in her mouth for most of her visit - a little nervous/shy habit she has when meeting new people.

She even got this precious little gift that she went NUTS over. It's musical and educational and even comes with a USB cable so it can learn her name and personalize up to 10 songs. Cute. Cute.

I had packed a darling Christmas outfit to change her into after the party - but I opted out at the last minute.  Now I'm kicking myself wishing I would have done it. Oh well.

I'm wondering if this little Santa visit is good enough to replace the picture with the Mall Santa.  We'll see.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Last year Gianna had know idea she was sitting on Santa's lap until the photo was over:

Wow. Hard to believe how little she was this time last year.

Man, that round face and those pudding-filled cheeks just melt me into a puddle of goo.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Here we go again...

Some of you might remember a few months ago when I posted a lovely story called: Different Trips to the Same Place. It talked about the fact that deciding to have a baby was like planning a trip to Australia where most people planned, flew and returned with little incidence.  And then there were those who were unable to fly - for whatever reason - and they had to take a boat ride to Australia which took much longer and was often more arduous and misunderstood. (I'm paraphrasing, but you can read that post here.)

ANYWAY.... with the ink on Gianna's birth certificate scarcely dry, Iain and I are boarding the proverbial boat to Australia and we are going to try this whole adoption journey again.
This time we begin with a whole new agency.

"Are we crazy?" you ask.
 Why yes, as a matter of fact we are!  Some days I wonder if I've lost my mind - thinking that I can do another little baby at my age in ADDITION to our busy little Tornado.  If I were ten years younger, and if Gianna were ten decibels quieter and if she were ten times less sensitive to the slightest noise when she sleeps, and if I were able to miraculously locate this little Energizer Bunny's off switch - I wouldn't give it a second thought.  I always imagined myself having a small brood of kids - maybe five...or at least three - but as my good God reminds me over and over and over again - I am NOT in control, and HIS plan is always better than mine.

Having another child is our heart's desire and Gianna is another reason we'd love to expand our family.  She is so social and loving, and we'd love to gift her with a sibling. But if it's God will for her to be our only child - we are thrilled with that. We know we hit the jackpot with her.  That's actually some of the reason we're actively moving forward at this point:  if down the road Gianna asks why we didn't have any more kids, we can tell her that we tried, but God had other plans for our little family. We're also getting the wheels in gear because I don't feel I have too much time left to be open to starting with another newborn. I NEVER imagined starting my family in my 40's (yes, go ahead and gasp) but I supposed that was God's plan all along. 

Gianna's adoption was a private one facilitated through a local crisis pregnancy/pro-life center.  Our attorney worked with all parties involved.  Even though our attorney still does adoptions, the Center no longer does.  Because of that specific closed door - we felt like we needed to explore another option in the event there are no prospective birth parents matching with us through our attorney.  So, we did some research and connected with an agency here in town and have been working with them for about six weeks.

I've written about the things we had to go through to become "adoption ready" a couple of years ago.  If that whole process wasn't difficult and extensive and exposing enough - with this new agency....we have to start from SCRATCH! Ugh.  All that vulnerability with a whole new set of people.  A whole new home study.  All new interviews. All new references.  All new clearances through the federal, state and local law enforcements. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh and UGH.  And then there's the good ol' non-refundable or not.

Truthfully, it hasn't been all that bad. I just keep reminding myself that this is part of my "labor."  Our adoption worker is precious and a professional and a real go-getter. Working with her has been a pleasure.  And the other great thing is that we don't have to pay the BIG chunk until a baby is legally placed with even if a birth mother changes her mind at any time until legal placement - we wouldn't lose all of our money (which sadly is not too uncommon with domestic adoptions.)  That was a big draw for us. The financial investment is big and occasionally overwhelming - but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we really don't blink when we have to invest large sums for our homes and cars (well - we blink - but we expect that stress to our bank account).  Children are FAR more valuable than those other things. Now don't get me wrong - adoptive couples don't BUY babies (that's illegal) but they do pay for services related to the baby, the mother and legal and administrative costs.  I wrote more about that HERE and HERE.

We have always known that, because of our late start in the game, we'd have to be open to another baby sooner that maybe we'd be comfortable with.  In fact, we've received six calls from six different people with possible leads to another baby....the first coming when Gianna was only 5 weeks old.  None of the calls made it very much further than that....which was really okay with us.  We knew we were waiting for OUR next baby, not THE next baby.  And for me, all those calls were very clear messages from God telling us to have faith and that He was looking out for us.

We've already been through so many ups and downs regarding adoption.  Making ourselves so vulnerable to all that potential drama is a little daunting. And on those days when Gianna's in overdrive and wears us down the core - we look at each other and say, "Another baby? What are we thinking?" And when look at my friends children in middle school, high school and college - I wonder what I think I'm doing?  And heaven help me on those days when I actually do the math and figure out how old I'll be when my kids hit certain milestones -- if I'm even here to enjoy them.  (Mortality becomes very real at my age.)  Even though I refuse to let fear dictate my actions - there are very real concerns attached to being a more "seasoned" mother.  (Sometimes I make myself feel better when I see Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman - all my age! - jumping on the baby train.  And the air is let out of my balloon when I think about their housekeepers and nannies who made their lives a little easier.)
I'm not exactly sure where all this will lead and I'm not exactly sure if this journey will end with adding another baby to our family, but Iain and I feet called to be pro-active at this time and open whatever doors we can - making room for God to move.  We certainly have our hands full with Little Bit, but we are willing to muster up the courage, energy and fortitude it will take to grow our family.
So, we finish our home study and we wait.  Advent is the perfect time to begin this special wait.

We are asking for prayer for all the women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies - that they may make wise and loving choices for the children they carry.  We also remember all the other waiting couples and families anticipating pregnancy or adoption - especially those who have yet to become parents. And we ask for prayer and support throughout this upcoming "boat ride" and that we are able to open our hearts to God's will.

So, here we go - ready to take the plunge again.

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