Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2008

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Our Christmas Eve began at around 1:30pm. We had a wonderful dinner and then proceeded to 4:00 mass at Our Lady of Victory Church. Zach, Kara and Emily were great. And then there was our Alex - not so great. After putting us and our surrounding parisheners through the tortures of you know what, Don "reluctantly" left the church with Alex. All was quiet. Kara and Emily were wearing these sweet dresses; black velvet top with layered skirts. The top layer of the skirt was covered with silver sequins, as was the church pew! I really feel sorry for whoever sat there for the later masses.

We then returned to Nana and Papa's where we had snacks and home made cookies, which Alex could not get enough of and proceeded to open our Christmas gifts. As usual there was paper and presents everywhere. The kids were having a ball. Every bit of list making, list remaking, crowd shopping, cooking, baking - all of it was worth all the effort expended.

The favorite toy Nana remembered one wanted, Papa showing another how to use a new toy, everyone watching these four wonders so happy - this is just another memory our grandchildren will have forever, as will we.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Quite a Woman

I would like to post about a very special woman, who deserves the admiration of me, my children and grandchildren. She is my Aunt Irene; my children's great aunt and my grandchildren's great-great aunt. Aunt Irene is now 97 years old and living in a nursing home. She has had a major effect on my life and the lives of my children. I wish my grandchildren had known her even just 15 years ago. She worked cleaning houses and in a factory most of her life. Aunt Irene has a great sense of humor to this day. My husband and I went to visit Aunt Irene today. She looks wonderful and is still full of spunk. I was so lucky to have spent lots and lots of my youth with her.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Emily's First Sleepover

Saturday night was Emily Xian's first sleepover at Nana and Papa's. As you know, Kara stays often just for no other reason than she wants to. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous as to how this was going to go. The girls arrived at about 5:30 pm. Dad gave kisses and went on his way. We played games, ate homemade cookies, had fashion shows and just had a great time. At 9:00 pm Emily went to bed in the big girls bed (she sleeps in a toddler bed at home) and was asleep in 5 minutes. We did not hear from her till after 8 am. Kara and Nana fell asleep watching TV. Papa woke us and off we went to bed at around 10 pm. Emily announced the next morning that she loves sleepovers. I'm pretty sure she was stepping on Kara's toes.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Zach's 4th Grade Picture

Zach is in fourth grade already. He is doing great and enjoying being one of the "upper " classmen in Elementary School. It is so great to watch him achieve new heights. Of course, there are those times he gets caught doing things he shouldn't, like standing on the bathroom sink! That was a trick from last year. I have to ask Michelle what his new tricks have been this year. Papa and I are very proud of Zach. He is a great young man with a creative imagination we feel will be to his benefit.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Missing Newspapers

I always seem to have more to write about Emily and Alex, but that is only because Kara and Zach spend their days at school and not at Nana and Papa's. But this post is quite interesting.

A few months back we were missing our daily newspaper more mornings than not. It was actually very frustrating. I would call The Record and they would say the paper had been delivered. I would hang up and say, "Yeah, right." Most days another paper would be delivered to us. It got so aggravating I actually called our delivery person to complain. It was then decided our paper was being taken by one of our neighbors. Any of you who have been to our house know we do not have many neighbors.

Well, Zach was over one night last week. He was very busy at the table writing something. When he finished, Zach showed us four plans he had devised to catch the paper snatcher in the act. I find them very interesting and quite imaginative. Hope you do, too.

Now you must read slowly, as printing is not one of our boy's strong points.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

History Repeats Itself

I received this table centerpiece from a friend the first Christmas Zach was home. My friend, Mary Beth, bought it for me because it has a young boy dragging a Christmas tree in the globe and a train surrounding the city. As soon as I looked at it, I thought of our Zach. He was constantly having me wind it up and just sat forever watching it go round and round. When Kara arrived, it was the same scenario. This "tradition" has continued year after year. Believe it or not it has been eight years already. Last Christmas Alex was young and too busy touching all the tree ornaments. This year he and Em run to see who gets to it first. Maybe I should leave it out all year!!
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our Day with Emily

Today is our day with Emily, as is every Tuesday. She came all dressed up, black stockings and all, walking so straight and tall so her crown wouldn't fall off. Nana and Papa were taking her shopping, which is one of her favorite past times. She is so much friendlier to people now and gives everyone that sweet special look of hers. Each Tuesday brings something new from our Emily, always causing laughter and fun.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trip to NYC and Radio City Music Hall

Ginny, Timmy, Jen, Michael, Ken and I had a great time in New York City with Zach, Kara and Ryan. The kids were captivated by the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. It was awesome to see their eyes so big and them so quiet. Of course, we made a trip to Toys R Us. I think it is the biggest toy store I have ever been in. Ryan loved the gigantic dinosaur. Then it was on to Rockefeller Center where Zach loved seeing all the American flags . You know, the Flag Day birthday boy. Seeing the Empire State Building tower shrouded in fog was eerie. We didn't go into St. Patrick's Cathedral. The last time I was in there, my sister, Suzy, got robbed. We had a great dinner at Tony Napoli's on 43rd and something street. The entrees they serve feed two to three people. We had fun choosing different dishes. I think we almost spent as much on the deserts as we did on the main courses. But they were awesome, as you can see with Kara enjoying her brownie chocolate sundae and Ryan loving all the whipped cream on his strawberry shortcake. The ride home was very quiet. Ryan fell fast asleep next to Papa. We were all exhausted. But we had a great day!
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Beautiful Angel

Marie Therese Rose Wilkes found her way to Heaven November 16th, the ten month anniversary of our Amanda joining the Angel Babies in Heaven. Kristen and Corey are sad for their loss of Marie, but celebrate her life. Their friends, Mary and Brian, Marie's siblings, Julia and Matthew, and their families shared in Marie's life for 45 wonderful days. I am so glad they had that precious time with Marie. And I know Marie now has the wings of an angel and is a playmate to our sweet angel Amanda.
Hugs and Kisses,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Nina

After our loss of Amanda, I found the need to help a child who lacked the love and support he/she would never receive from biological parents. Through my Grandparents of Internationally Adopted Children Yahoo Group I had heard of The Antares Foundation. It is a not-for-profit organization which strives to improve the lives of children living in orphanages in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan. I got on their web site and immediately fell in love with a sweet seven year old little girl named Nina. I showed Papa Nina's picture and he agreed. We would become her sponsors. I immediately contacted the Foundation to find out what we would do as sponsors. We could do as much or as little as we wanted to do. We would write Nina letters telling her about ourselves and our families. We would send her packages of clothes, hair accessories, sneakers, just about anything we thought Nina would love. These packages would contain the very first things Nina "owned." They would be all hers, to share or not to share with her family. Over the months, we watched Nina change from a little girl who never smiled to one who knows two Americans love and care about her. It has made all the difference in her and our lives.

All of my life I have been able to find something good to come from something bad that had happened in my life. Losing our Amanda has been the most tragic, heart wrenching loss I have ever tried to endure in my life. Having Nina in my life has not lessened this loss any, but I know that from it a little seven year old girl living halfway around the world now has someone who loves her.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Afternoon at the Farm

Ken and I spent Saturday at Liberty Ridge Farm with Kara, Zach and Emily. They had a great time. Kara and Zach loved rolling around in the gigantic tires on tracks. Another big attraction was the underground slide. Emily had a good time just watching her sister and cousin. She enjoyed the animals best. Next year Alex can join us. But we need a bigger car to bring all four of them!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

Ken and I had a great time with our four monsters Halloween. I think it would have been so appropriate if that is what they had all been dressed as. Zach was in his glory as a Star Wars character, which one I have no clue. Kara was a beautiful vampire, loving wearing her goulish dress and all that makeup. It was so funny to see Emily as as the sweet, girly Sleeping Beauty she was. Then there was Alex, his happy, smiley self. He was a cowboy riding his horse and thought it was great. I wonder what our two year old really thought of the day. We had another awesome Halloween with our grandchildren, the loves of our lives.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Emily Bringing Me a Treat & Kara Joining the Fun

Tuesday Emily arrived with a gift for Nana. She searched in her bag for my surprise, while her Dad waited patiently. Out came two fudgcicles (sp?)! At 8:30 am Emily and I were enjoying our treat and laughing like fools. Then she says something and I can not hear her. She says,"Let me see your ears!", in a very loud voice. She looks in my ears and screams, "Put those things in. You no can hear me." I never know what to expect from our China Doll. God help us when she gets to school.

Papa picked Kara up from the bus and, as usual, all heck broke loose. Papa became a horse or camel - who knows what. The girls were yelling and screaming till Nana couldn't take it any more.

We enjoyed another day with our girls.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Monday with Alex

This Monday was as much fun as all the Monday's we have with Alex. He was his usual smiley self. At one point, Papa suggested to Alex they go see the horsies. Alex immediately ran and attempted to put on his jacket, hat and shoes. It was just too funny. Unfortunately, the camera was not handy.

After he was all dressed, he said to me, "Nana, go horsies Papa." He got his point across. He says more words every day. Not bad for a two year old, who has only been home with his forever family for one year.

We love every moment we spend with our boys.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pennies from Amanda Lynn

A friend of mine sent me this poem after our Amanda was born still. Amanda went to Heaven nine months ago today and she has sent me many pennies which I cherish. She has been on my shoulder to help me every time I need her. I guess God has sent my family a special angel to watch over us.

Hugs and kisses,

Emily Too Cute

Last Tuesday Ken and I were spending the day with Emily as we always do. The phone rang and Emily answered it. It was my friend Janie. Now you must realize Emily is very used to Janie and me talking on the phone. Emily puts the phone to her ear, says hi and then says, "How you doing ole girl." I almost fell over; then there was Janie's reaction. These are the things that make us laugh. I can't wait to see Emily at the age of seven. Watch out world:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Catching Up

Here are some of the hilights of Kara's first year home:

Kara's first professional picture after coming home

Kara's first Easter

Kara's Naturalization, July 4, 2002

Kara's first time playing in the leaves

Kara's first fall picture

Kara's second birthday; her first one home

Hugs and kisses,