Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spelling Bee

When Miles is proud, or excited, or excited and proud, the whole world can tell. His peacock feathers stand tall, his eyes shine, his teeth sparkle and his voice booms.

For both of our sons, it is obvious they retained no schooling at the orphanage. I have photos of them sitting in on school, but I'm guessing that it was geared to the older children. I'm certain that there were younger children who took it in and absorbed the information, and who came home knowing their ABCs or colors or numbers.

With our little boys though, that was not the case. They are just very active and busy little boys who like to talk and watch the other children, much more so than any teacher. You know, just regular little boy stuff, whether you're a little boy in an orphanage or a little boy in a regular U.S. school. Seems universal.

Thus far, our boys seem to have a difficult time retaining 'scholarly' sorts of information. I am not alarmed, because I am under the impression it is because they are absorbing, sorting and learning how to use English. That process takes up soooo much of their brain processes that they just can't process much further at the time.

And that's okay. We'll give them as much time as they need.

Now that Miles is REALLY speaking a LOT of English (very little Kreyol anymore with him, unless he's talking to Keenan, who still uses a lot of Kreyol and very little English), he is beginning to absorb and retain more and more letters, numbers, colors. He's often wrong the majority of the time, but still, I can see progress happening and I feel confident that he will get to where he needs to be, in time.

Miles is VERY proud of his letter M. "M for Miles," he tells everyone anytime he sees an M.

The other day, Miles and I were cuddled up by the fire. His shirt donned his nametag from the morning's Sunday School.

What does this say, Miles? I asked him.

He pointed to the M. "M. For Miles!" he stated.

I said, "What's after the M?"

Well, bowl me over with a feather, but the child said, "I. That's i, in Miles."

That week, they had learned "i" in 4-K. Because "i" is the second letter in his name, it stuck!

"Miles, that's AWESOME! Look at you spell your name! What's after i?" I asked.

He looked down at his name tag and pointed to the 'l.'

"BIG line!" he replied happily.

To have these adorable, happy preschool moments with this child is a dream.
I cannot believe that he is here.
Learning,
growing,
adjusting.

What an amazing miracle he is.
That's Miles,
with an M,
and an I,
and a Big Line.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Wrap Up

While I've been so excited during much of this holiday season, watching the boys and observing their excited reactions to our Christmas tree or neighborhood lights, I silently felt my stomach knot a bit tighter as we edged closer to Christmas each day. Christmas with piles of presents, loads of candy, many loving and affectionate relatives, lights and music seemed like a potential recipe for disaster for two little boys who both struggle when they are overwhelmed and overstimulated.

Fortunately, my worry was for naught. The boys handled the holidays beautifully. Amazingly, we somehow made it through the holidays nary a single meltdown, tantrum, fight or tear.


Okay, everyone but me, as I had a little meltdown when I felt like the Mister "misheard" (which is Loving Spouse Lingo for "not listened to a damn thing I said") every single thing I said, like from where we were going for Christmas Eve (the same place every year) to the fact that every time I asked for help with things like setting the table or putting boots on a child, the man would go to the office and search for some obscure YouTube video for me to see.

What is it with guys and bad late 80's R&B videos on YouTube? When I'm making a meal for 7 people or am trying to pack up 5 kids and a trillion gifts, do you really think I want to watch a YouTube video at that moment?
Love you, honey.

But I digress. That story really has nothing to do with the holidays. But for those wives out there who know what I'm talking about, know you're not alone. And that you have my empathy/sympathy.
Love you, honey.

My dear Mister, with his brothers-in-law.



Miles handled the entire 2-day event with his usual happy, laughing self. He was so excited over each gift. Especially the Drum/Tambourine/Harmonica set my mother bought him.

What the crazy old woman was thinking, I. Don't. Know. But I think it may be subliminal payback for the time we left her with all the children for those 3 days we were in Ohio.

Keenan was much more reserved and unsure of himself and the whole holiday hubbub. I kept him on my lap during the gift openings, but on Christmas Eve he was more interested in the gift unwrapping, and on Christmas Day he became absorbed in his first gift and was very slow to open any others.

Ever since the boys came home, I have found it very helpful during any type of overwhelming or crazy-happy event (a party, a school event, etc.) to keep them reigned in and close. Either Cliff or I helped them open each toy, and we immediately put away any toys that weren't played with back in their boxes. We would let them play for a good hour or so, and when behaviors seemed to get "edgy" then we jumped in with a 'usual' chore from their chorepacks to keep a feeling of normalcy or a video to kind of re-set their spinning minds (Paloma included here.)

Paloma unwrapped this adorable play outfit from Granny and Papa, only the Polish Princess in her thought it was her holiday dress.

Here she is charming Uncle Kevin.


Hatfield got a sewing machine, so she and I can sew together. Here she is with her 3-year old cousin Aristana.

Atticus LOVED his pirate gear from Jimmy. All the boys got pirate bandanas, t-shirts, eye patches, swords and guns. He roped Auntie Stephie into making a fashion statement.

And he hung out with Uncle Elmo and his fancy new meat tenderizer.


The Mister and I did not exchange gifts this year. My Christmas gift was that I did not have to bake a ham (gack!) and prepare a huge Christmas Day meal. Instead, we packed up the kids, grandparents and uncle Elmo and went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for our Christmas dinner.

We brought the guys a huge tray of goodies and left an obscenely huge tip, because I felt bad that they had to work. But I was happy that we were there, because hopefully we at least made up for the fact that it was pretty empty in there (and empty= poor tips).

And after 24 hours of guiding 5 overly-excited kids through 2 Christmas gatherings, I deserved a margarita.

Or three of my own. And half of the one Jimmy couldn't finish.


And while we finished our food, the kids burned up the dancefloor, which they were thrilled to have all to themselves.


It was a great way to wind down from the holiday excitement.

I have the Mister home with us for the next full week, courtesy of his company which shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year's (Hallejulah!). We have a BIG diy kitchen renovation to occur this week (well, it's big to us. To a contractor, not so much. But considering 75% of my waking hours are spent in the kitchen, I can't wait.)

We are very excited at having been invited, as a family, over to several friends' homes for post-holiday celebrations/get-togethers. Readers with large families know how few and far "family" invites to the homes of others are, and we are so blessed to have some very hospitable (and BRAVE) friends.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday, and I wish you a peaceful beginning to the New Year.
Blessings!
Sarah

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card Folly

As of this morning, after several people contacted me, inquiring about my lack of Christmas Cards, I was effectively guilted/flattered into doing them up. I never got around to sending out adoption announcements, so I thought this would kill the proverbial two birds with one photo card and accompanying family newsletter (yes, I'm a huge dork. A perfectionist dork, because if I'm going to allow myself to be flattered/guilted into making up a photo card, you know I'm going to go the whole nine yards and write the darn letter too.)

Initially, I thought I'd have all the kids outside in the snow holding up the Haitian flag for our card. But the Mister effectively nixed that idea when he informed me that the card would insult his family because it would be missing the Guamanian flag.

Well, if I put the Guamanian flag in, then by the same principle I would have to put the American flag in the picture as well in case I might insult the patriotic Americans we're sending cards to as well. And then I'd have to include a letter of apology to my German and Polish grandparents. And my Canadian friends too. 'Cause I don't have any of those flags.

I suddenly saw the whole flag idea roll into a sort of If You Give A Mouse a Cookie kind of problem.

Know what I figured in the end? I just can't fit 5 kids and 3 huge flags into a photo for a Christmas card. Go figure.

So I got all huffy and said, "Fine! I'll just do a boring old card of kids in front of the fireplace." (How's that for some Christmas spirit?! Shame on me, I know!)

Because as I now know after nearly 35 years of living on the planet, If you can't make everyone happy with your original and witty Christmas Card idea, go with the ol' tried and true kids-with-plastered-on-grins-sitting-in-front-of-a-fireplace. Everyone loves that.

To make it all the more interesting (and tortuous) I decided it would be FUN (talk about a complete momentary lapse of reasoning!) to try and include the dogs in the photos. We tried to get the cats too, but Lily was pissy and gave Miles a boxing, so we decided to nix the cats.

One of our initial attempts to include all three dogs.
Miles is already thinking that it's not a good idea.

Now Miles is thinking that this is a HORRIBLE idea.
After numerous attempts, Paloma begins laughing hysterically because Mom then gets a somewhat decent picture, only to have it ruined by a shot of Iris the cat's butt. Not a bad photo otherwise. Thank goodness the butt is in the lower left part of the photo, because a cropped version of the photo went on the card.

Every time I said, "Smile!" Keenan gave this smile.
Every
Single
Time.
So finally I said, Tickle Keenan! And I got this great smile.
EXCEPT


you can't tell if Paloma is trying to tickle Keenan's neck,
or strangle him.

It's anyone's guess, really.

Anyways, after this whole ordeal, I am SO happy that tonight the Mister and I shall continue our tradition of letting Tom and Jerry help us wrap the Christmas gifts. Every year, the Mister whips up some mean Tom and Jerry's, and we wrap up all the presents.

s our consumption goes up, our skills go down. And really, who cares if the presents look like we let Paloma wrap them? All that paper ends up crumpled on the floor anyways.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Subtitled: Where's the darn "re-set" button?

The Mister and I had a wonderful trip away. We had a blast at the Warehouse Run (I'm typing from our new homeschool Aspire One Notebook--back in the land of home internet access after a 5 month sabatical- hooray!). We lounged in a jacuzzi, napped, ate at great restaurants, toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I finished two books.

Now, we are paying in spades.

We deceived ourselves when we returned home to two tired, but happy, Grandmas and five smiley kids thinking that everything would return to normal. My mom and Grandma Sandy and Uncle Elmo and Hatfield were AWESOME and handled everything from the basement outlet that caught on fire (seriously) to the boys' unbridled hyperactivity with great aplomb and grace.
But the second the Grandmas departed, it happened. The obvious need for a major detoxing from the Double Dose of Grandma Spoiling and the need for reinstituting a level of normalcy and order for the little boys, who were obviously getting a bit of payback in for us leaving them.

Miles has been pretty good. A bit of testing and some bullying Po and Keenan. Nothing we haven't seen before and can't handle.

But Keenan. Oh me, oh my. This little guy seems to have forgotten EVERY single boundary and rule that was in place. Can you spell D-I-V-A? I think I have mentioned before that when he came home, it was very obvious that he was mega-spoiled at the orphanage. I think he had such a hard adjustment because although here he had love and hugs and kisses and individual attention, he couldn't do what he wanted, when he wanted. And whining didn't work. And no one found sassiness cute.

Now it seems we are back to where we began with him. Whining, sassing, and refusing to follow rules. My favorite is when I ask him a question like, Mommy just told you to brush your teeth after breakfast, yet here you are taking ornaments off the tree. What do you need to do now after breakfast? and he stares at me with a completely blank--I mean, blank as in there is nothing back there behind his eyes--and says nothing and acts like he's never heard a single word in English.
The teacher has walked him out to me 2 of the 3 days they have been back. He's back to touching everything in the room, grabbing toys from other children and talking whenever he wants to.

Ugh.

Can I just say that I hate the sinking feeling I get in my stomach when I see the teacher lead one of my children out to me by the hand at the end of their school day? Encouraging news never follows.
But for all that we're going through, the break was every bit worth it. I came back feel refreshed and ready to deal with all these little guys can throw at me. Bring it on, little ones, and I'm just going to love and hug on you back (and then vent about it on the internet, lol!).
Still, I just can't help but think that Life would be so much easier if you could just "Contol + Alt+ Delete" your children to reset them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Loc'd and Loaded

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I began the task--endeavor, really-- of loc'ing the Keenan and Miles' hair. We had one "practice run," and then I put the real set in.

Round One: The Practice Run

* To start the process, I purchased a military-style boar bristle brush from Sally's for $2.95. Because the boys' hair is short, I used a "brush-rubbing" technique with their hair. You rub the brush clockwise over a section of hair for 3 minutes, give or take. The hair then naturally coils into twisted tufts, and you can use those to begin the process.

The brush-rubbing worked well for Keenan's hair, which is very soft, fairly fine and thin. Miles has the MOST crazy thick, tight, coily hair, and while the brush rubbing technique worked on his hair, I found dividing it myself worked better.

* For this round, I began by using Aveda Humectant Pomade. Within 3 days, I decided I did not like this product at all. The boys' hair was slipping, and a crust was beginning to develop in the actual locs. So I decided to write it off as a "Practice Round" and go back to the drawing board.

Round 2: The Real Deal

* After a ton of research, I decided to purchase Knotty Boy's Dread Wax and their Dread Shampoo.


I cannot say enough about this product! We LOVE our Knotty Boy Dread Wax. Both boys' hair took to it right away.

* I began their Knotty Locs on December 1.

* Keenan's locs were completed on the 6th. I spent about an hour each night, per boy, on their locs, with the exception of no work on them on the 5th. So Keenan's locs probably took a total of 5-6 hours to finish.


Keenan's hair very naturally worked into a grid pattern, so I kept it going for his entire head. His locs will be thinner than Miles, and while some consider thin locs to be more "feminine," I think it completely fits Keenan's small face and finer features. Also, there's a man in our church with thinner locs and they look great.


* Miles' hair is an entirely different story. His coarse, thick hair is nearly impossible to work a pic or comb through. His locs are thicker, more varied and less uniform (no grid) . They fit his face perfectly. It takes a lot more effort to work the wax through his hair than Keenan's hair. So I found I could only get a fraction of locs formed on Miles' head in the same amount of time for Keenan's head.


As of now, I have maybe 2-3 more hours of work left on his head (maybe 20% left.) With the exception of our time in Cleveland, I have worked on his head nearly every day. By the time he's done, I predict I will have put in 14-16 hours on establishing Miles' locs (whew!).

Up-keep during the first weeks:

This whole initial process is quite an undertaking. I am very happy that we chose to begin this process in winter, when we have more time in the house each evening since it's too dark/cold to play outside.

Now that their locs are in (well, for Keenan, at least), I spend at least 30 minutes each night working on their hair, Keenan one night, Miles the next. I re-wax and twist their hair by "finger rolling" it in a clockwise manner (when the loc is long, it's called "palm rolling," but since our locs are Baby Locs, I only use my thumb, index and middle finger to roll their locs.) When I finish re-waxing and rolling, I then blow dry their locs to help melt the wax and dry out the loc.

Night Care:



The boys wear their "do rags" each and every night and at naptime, if they take one. I have seen it spelled both as "do rag" and "dew rag," but if anyone knows the correct one, I'd love to know!

They are VERY VERY proud of their do rags and walk proud every time we tie them on. Plus they are so stinkin' cute in those things it should be illegal.

To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo? That is the Question:
* When to begin shampooing seemed to be a very common quandry for many people when I began researching locs. I purchased the Knotty Boy Shampoo. They recommend that you try not to wash them for at least 2 weeks, but that if needed, their shampoo could be used at any time.

Yesterday, Keenan was really itching at his head and dandruff was starting to form on the scalp where his hair was parting. Miles' had the same thing going on, plus his un-loc'd hair was totally matted while we were gone on vacation and I needed to wash it to fluff it out and make it workable. So, I decided to trust the K.B. recommendation regarding their shampoo, and I went ahead and washed their heads this morning.

I'm happy to report that their claims are very valid. The flakes are gone, the itchies are extinguished and Miles un-loc'd hair fluffed out beautifully and allowed me to work on it without too much discomfort for Miles (his hair starts to mat on its own within hours of it being washed or picked.)

Their locs held up well: none fell apart, and they still had definite shape and form, so I consider that to be a HUGE success. I did take the time to re-wax and roll all of their locs today. Thank you, Knotty Boy!

Why We Loc:

We did a LOT of research on locs before we decided to jump in and begin this process. Locs are a personal decision. Some look at them as political, some as religious, others as a social statement. But either way, when it boils down to it, it's a personal decision and I leave it at that.

One thing that both boys were adamant of when they came home is that they did NOT want their hair cut. Every time I take out the clippers to tighten up Cliff and Atticus' do's, they freak out and move as far away from us as possible. No Cut! No Cut! they'll say. Miles wanted "big" hair, but it became a nightmare to try and pick out. I felt that, while locs are a huge undertaking at the front end, the less maintenance they require once the locs are established would be a huge bonus for dear Miles.

The boys were very open to and excited about having their hair loc'd. We spent a lot of time showing them different styles on the Knotty Boy albums.

I love the boys' hair. And I want them to love their hair and to be proud of their hair and skin and who they are.

I love the fact that their personal history is wrapped up with their locs. The hair that they grew in Haiti is there with them. The hair that I first touched and brushed is their with them. To us, locs seem to create a wonderful and proud confidence in each of our boys and their uniqueness.

The boys love their hair. They are proud of their locs, and every time I added more, they would run to school and proudly show their teachers and friends. Several times they have been told, "Cool! I want hair like that!"

Bonding:

Loc'ing the boys' hair is a wonderful bonding experience. They curl up in my legs while I work on their hair. I fawn over their beautiful hair and ooh and ahh over how handsome they are. I rub their little shoulders and necks when they get stiff or antsy. We do silly stretches. We laugh at Christmas movies and Mickey Mouse cartoons. While my carpal tunnel may be seriously acting up and my hand might be permanently cramped in a "rolling" position (any suggestions for that?), every minute is worth it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Whew!

I'm still here! We're still alive!

The past week and a half has been a blur. We have been crazy busy with:

* Hatfield and Atticus' Christmas Dance Show. Which necessitated 10 hours of extra practice, sitting through a 3.5 hour long dress rehearsal on a Saturday morning, and then attending the two 3-hour long performances (they did great!). Followed by one HUGE, collective sigh of relief that we had that activity behind us.

* Keenan's 5th Birthday party. My Baby Boy turned 5 on December 7th! Pictures to follow later this weekend when I have more time to blog.

* The Mister's quarterly wrap-up at work. Which means lots of hours on the road and extra overnights away from home. And if the Mister is away from home, so is my computer access. Not that it matters because when I am on solo parent duty, I get so wiped out that I conk out on the couch at 8:30, and Hatfield has to wake me up so I can tuck her in for her 9:00 bedtime.

* The season's first snowfall and blizzard. A whopper! The boys are in H.E.A.V.E.N., which was followed by one huge sigh of relief on my part. I wasn't quite sure that they would love the snow (I had a feeling they would), but had they not, it would mean one looooonnnggggg winter of whining and disdain.

* The Mister and I leave in less than 24 hours for our big Warehouse Run. Truth be told, I am more excited to get away with my honey than I am for the whole warehouse thing. I have post-it notes with instructions on nearly every surface of my home to help out my mom and Grandma Sandy. The kids have cloths set aside and labeled for each day. Meals are planned. And we are packed.

Now let's just hope the weather cooperates and we can get the heck out of dodge tomorrow.

* Upon our return, I have made a vow to slow down for the rest of the month. No more plans or commitments shall be made. I'm even on the fence about taking on the whole Christmas card/newsletter thing this year. It just seems like too much work. I just want to hunker down with the kids, bake up a storm and have fun.

Have a great weekend!
Blessings,
Sarah

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Our tradition is to put up the Children's Tree each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

We call it the Children's Tree because all of the ornaments were either 1) made by the children or 2) given to the children; and ALL of them are unbreakable by children (well, I suppose they could ruin a few, but it would take more than accidentally dropping one.)

We asked Miles and Keenan if they have ever seen a Christmas tree. I'm pretty sure they had one once at the orphanage, but neither boy had a memory of a Christmas tree.

This tree was the first tree our boys have ever decorated. They were awestruck. Cliff and I were pretty much choking back tears the entire time. I still get choked up thinking about how ALL of my children decorated our Children's Tree this year.

The boys were joyous.



Atticus and Paloma love decorating the tree. Continuously being forced to stop to smile for the camera however, not so much. Their perma-grin evidenced their "putting up with" Mom and the camera.

Sometimes my Hatfield surprises me with a sweet, child-like moment like this.

She put on the Christmas skirt as a skirt and had fun twirling around while Dad tried to find which #(*@*!* light on the strand of 250 lights was the burnt out one.

He never found it, the poor guy. But I encouraged him to drown his frustration in a holiday Grasshopper. 'Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

The Cardinal Rule of the Children's Tree is that once an ornament is placed on the tree, it CANNOT be moved. It doesn't matter if Po or Keenan placed all of their ornaments on a single small branch or that 95% of the ornanments reside in a 3 foot section of the tree.

Every single one of those ornaments and their placement are precious, and I'll be darned if a single one is moved.

Of course, this year the tree is so front heavy with ornaments, it will be a Christmas Miracle if it doesn't tip over and bean someone on the head this year.

The top of the tree, by comparison, is a Minimalist's dream.

Paloma placed the star on the tree this year, with Daddy's help.


Afterwards, all the children cuddled on the couch in jammies to gaze at the tree, eat candy canes (because what's Christmas with a new cavity or two?) and watch Santa Clause 2, which quite possibly is the second worst holiday movie ever, after Santa Clause 3.

But that's okay, because the kids loved it anyways.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hooting and Hollering Freak Out

Can you hear that?
Can you hear the Mister and I whooping it up like a bunch of rowdy frat boys?
Wanna know why?

My Mister works in sales. He works his a** off to support our family. We don't live in the lap of luxury, but we certainly meet our needs. We (the children and I) are so very blessed to have him as the head of our home.

In these past few quarters, the Mister's hard work has come to fruition. For quite a time, he was ranked #1 out of the 327 sales reps in his division. As for now, he is coming in at a shiny #3.

So a while back, his company announced a new sales incentive contest, entitled:

Run Thru The Warehouse!

The top 7 reps in Cliff's division get to go.

And come next weekend, guess what the Mister and I are gonna be doing!?!

Running through a warehouse
with a flatbed,
grabbing as much loot as we can in the alloted time!!!!

And that's not all! The Mister and I are flown to Cleveland for this for three days and two nights. We get to stay in a fancy-schmancy hotel with a big fancy bathtub and an endless supply of hot water. I will get to sleep in. I won't have to prepare a single meal or wash a single dish for the entire time.

The Mister and I have never been anywhere, just the two of us, away from the family, for more than 1 night. We have never flown somewhere together. Truth be told, I'm a nervous wreck about the prospect of having to fly away (I hate flying), but I know that we'll be fine and the kids will be in good hands.

My dear, wonderful Mother Jimmy and her BFF, the awesome Grandma Sandy are going to bunk down at our home to watch the crew, with my brother providing late afternoon and dinnertime assistance.

We are beyond thankful for this amazing blessing. As you can imagine, with a family of seven and one wage-earner, many things (like a new laptop or computer to replace my still-defunct one), are just flat outside of our budget. And when we do have extra room in the budget, it usually ends up alloted to things like the childrens' violin/piano/dance. I'm not complaining at all, because those are choices that we joyfully make. But to be given an opportunity to get a new computer or two for our homeschool, or to replace my fritzing-out microwave, or to maybe even score a treadmill to help me lower my bloodpressure (ha ha!), well, it is the most spectacular blessing to us.

Now do you hear that noise? Those grunting/shlumping/panting/groaning sounds? That's the Mister, outside in the garage, working out and training for the Run Through the Warehouse.

He's determined
to become a
lean,
mean,
flatbed-pushing
machine.


Tomorrow, I'm going to load up all the children on a sled, attach it to our dolly, and have the Mister run sprints up and down the street.

He just doesn't know it yet.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Kick Off



What better way to kick off the holidays than a parade?

Last weekend, Hatfield and Atticus were in our local Christmas parade with their dance troups. So Cliff and I packed up all the little ones, grabbed Jimmy and met our friends downtown to watch the fun.




Unlike previous years when the weather was so cold we didn't attend, this year we found ourselves completely overdressed

and underprepared for the bright sunlight that blinded us for the majority of the parade.

Miles and Keenan were quite happy to sit with the crew and collect all the candy passed out by people in the parade. We were sitting right at the start of the parade, which was brilliant because no one had run out of candy by that time.


Here is one of my super cute BFF's, Melanie. Don't you love her vintage coat? I have major vintage coat envy. Apparently all the vintage ladies were teeny tiny like Melanie with cute teeny tiny shoulders, because it sure did not fit my linebacker shoulders, lol.


It looks fabulous, Melly!

The parade put us all in a MAJOR holiday spirit, and we were so very happy to celebrate Thanksgiving at Jimmy and Boppa's this year.

We have SO many reasons to be Thankful this year.
Reasons like:
A Jimmy to Cuddle With/div>


Brothers who are Best Buddies


The Most AWESOME Big Sister

Baby Locs(More on that later)

I cannot begin to describe just how FULL and JOYFUL my heart felt when my ENTIRE family sat around that Thanksgiving feast.







We may have our trying times,

but I will ALWAYS give the greatest thanks for the miracle of my family coming together once and for all.




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

9 Years

Nine years ago,
in a teeny tiny wedding chapel in Seattle proper, the Mister and I exchanged wedding vows.

In doing so,
not only a husband and wife unionship were created,


a FAMILY was created as well.

Miss Hatfield was so adorable that day

in her little red velvet jumper and hat.

It's been a Grand time,

these years with the Mister and Hatfield,

growing our family (by four!),

and always loving one another.

I am blessed beyond meausre.