Sunday, March 29, 2009

Car Safety 101

This is Officer Brook. To me, it's just Aunt Lu (LuAnna). Lu is police officer and certified to teach child car seat safety. She offered to help not only install the car seat, but also to teach me about car safety.
Baby's brand new car seat. Ready for the Cuteness herself to hop in and take a ride! I also have to add that the hubby cleaned my car out and made it SPOTLESS. Now if I can just keep it that way!

Here are a few things I learned.
1. Get that car seat properly installed! The 5 point harness system is the best.
2. Use Latch system AND tether when necessary. Always check car owner's manual.
3. Do NOT have your child wear a thick coat while in seat (especially a puffy coat). It gives the
strap too much give and is not safe. Layer their clothes and use blanket in car. Put coat on when you arrive at your destination safely.
4. Forget the toys, mirrors, and things hanging around the car. These could be very dangerous in the event of an accident. Believe it or not, I hadn't bought any!
5. Read instruction full car seat instruction manual and safety instruction in cars owner's manual.
 6. Have a great Aunt like mine help you out! (okay I added that one myself!)

Thanks, Lu!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Festival of Many Lands

Jeff, Me, Mom, Woody, & LaRae

Families Through Adoption held a festival in our home town yesterday, so we packed up the car for an overnight and headed back to Harrisburg. We dropped off the dog, picked up Mom, and met Jeff's parents there. What a nice event! There was a dance performance put on by the Chinese Cultural Society when we got there. The girls were so talented and looked GORGEOUS in their pretty costumes! They had tables set up to display info and goods on many different countries. Thailand wasn't represented, but hey, maybe we can do that next year!

There was art to find, books to buy on adoption that I didn't have (which you know I bought) and flags for many countries. A special guest came with cages full of little creatures that all the kids just LOVED. I could take or LEAVE the inch wide, 6 inch long centipede (YUK!) but the kids were touching it! Guess I better make peace with all things bugs by the time Ruby gets here. It's a huge phobia of mine!

Anyway, it was a nice day and we all went out to eat afterwards. Jeff's Dad and my Mom both bought themself a little pin that had both an American and Thai flag on it. So cute! We met lots of nice people, but one cool lady in particular writes children's books in honor of her daughters from Ethiopia. And let me tell you, her 2 year old daughter was C-UTE! All dressed in this white African embroidered outfit and just the most animated, gorgeous little thing ever! My mother in law, LaRae was so sweet to buy a book for Ruby. We both loved her books and the fact that she donates part of the proceeds to help the children in Ethiopia have a school made it even nicer. Got to to see her beautiful books!

We were also thrilled to run into a good friend of Jeff's parents - Jill - that has a daughter from China. Addy is so cute and we were so glad to finally meet them! It was really great that 3 of the grandparents came to this event. (Dad's out of town). This family is definately ready for their newest little addition!

Here are a few shots from the event. Forgive the photos. I somehow changed the settings on my camera and they didn't come out too good!
Beautiful little dancers in pink! 

An amazing young artist makes me a beautiful piece of art!
Adorable kids gather for group pic. I took this 2 seconds before they all ran off! Glad I got the shot!

Can't wait to take Ruby Kate to next year's event!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Got Beach?

Well, I went to the mall with innocent intentions. I passed all the great stores with their bright colored Spring clothes, didn't dare to even take a peak, and headed straight to the Apple store for my computer class. Turns out my class is NEXT Friday and not today so I ran all the way over to Cherry Hill Mall for nothing. Too funny. So I figured, hey, I am here, after all. I might as well take a look around! I only needed to hit one store: GYMBOREE. I LOVE Gymboree! 

Now I passed up far more than I bought - including some GORGEOUS tulle ballerina skirts! - but they were having a great sale so I caved (again). Ruby now has exactly 3 swim suits with matching accessories. A red & white gingham bikini that is sooo cute with matching shades, hat, and sandals from Gymboree that I bought last summer.  The other is a pink with white polka dot one piece with ruffle, and a matching pink terrycloth hoodie dress from this great store called Janie and Jack. Both are size 18-24 months. Today's swimsuit is a size 2 T. Think we got her covered for pool and beach now!  Nakhon Si Thammarat and we come!

Cuz Time

Jeff, Lauren, Me, and Chris at their wedding.

Had a great few days in DC with my cousin, Lauren and her hubby, Chris, this week. Had so much fun, I forgot to take pics so I just posted their wedding shot on here. Lauren was SO glam on her wedding a 40's Hollywood Screen Siren! Go beautiful cuz!

I went there on the preface of working a trade show for an old client of mine, but really, I jump at the chance to get in some "cuz time" whenever I can! Lauren is just the best...sweet, caring, and so fun to be around. We think alike, talk alike, and could talk endlessly on just about every subject. In fact, we pretty much DO on each visit! Her and Chris are a wonderful couple and will be doing double duty for the task of God-parenting someday because we are going to do two celebrations/blessings for our girl. One a traditional christening and family luncheon and a second at a Thai Buddhist temple to honor her heritage, followed by a fab Thai feast at home. (I better start working on my curries now!) Hopefully, we can fit them in the same weekend.

Thanks for the hospitality, Cuz! Hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

Do more than belong: participate.
Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice.
Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget.
Do more than dream: work."

William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little Spring Bear Off To Thailand!

Yes, our little one's birthday present is currently in the air on route to Thailand with Mary Moo, VP of International Relations for our agency, Wacap. Little Bear (and Mary) are due to arrive in Bangkok this afternoon and after several meetings in and around Bangkok and with the Thai Red Cross, they'll be heading down to Nakhon Si Thammart on the 29th. We are so hopeful that Mary could come home with a referral or at least know where our case stands.

I am heading out of town today, too, but only to Washington, DC. Working a 2 day trade show for a really nice old client of mine. Staying with one of my favorite people in the world - my cousin Lauren and her hubby Chris. They will be the God parents of our little girl and I'm really looking forward to hanging out with them for a couple days! Next week I am busy too working the Cherry Blossom Festival event. It's a really nice event and I'm thinking that being so busy these two weeks will help the time to fly!

Soon Mary will be back with good news for us and for some dear friends also waiting! For now, our Little Spring Build-A-Bear is making it's way safety to Ruby's arms. Hug our little girl, sweet bear, and let her know how very special she is!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grandma's Birthday

Grandma Kitzmiller turned 88!

I took my camera with me to Harrisburg this weekend, as I knew we'd see the whole family including an aunt and uncle and cousins we hardly ever see. I pulled out my camera soon after we got there excited that I remembered to charge the battery the day before...only to find out I never put the battery back in the camera! Bummer! 

So I am relying on family members to email me over some pics since my camera wasn't functioning! You'll all have to take my word for it: a good time was had by all. We had a nice dinner with Jeff's mom, dad, sister and our nephew Saturday night and watched a movie together. Then we all piled in two cars Sunday morning, picked up Grandma and went to church together. We stopped by some dear family friends for a visit, then went home to get ready for the feast. Cousins arrived shortly. It was so nice to see everyone and I think Grandma thoroughly enjoyed herself. Great food, great company, really nice visit. Hope to add a few pics to this post soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekly Inspiration


Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of a passage or a beautifully written poem. Sometimes from art. Today it was both art and prose. 

I stumbled on to this artist (Dazeychic) from another blog I was on. The link took me to Etsy and then that link took me to her site. Check out Etsy and look up Dazeychic or go to either or Her work is just darling! I bought only one print today, but am afraid I may need a few more. I am actually considering designing the playroom around these prints and have already asked her about doing my lullaby CD cover.
This is the one I bought today. I LOVE it! Have always loved the lyrics and message of that song. She only had one of these left, so I decided to get this one first.

This will probably be my next purchase. It's called "You dropped from Heaven". Is that sweet or what?

Love all of them! She has a lot of nice inspirational quotes, too. Gotta check them out!

Another great artist on Etsy is Christina Goh. See her work at and you can buy her beautiful note cards (below) at 
Such sweet designs and just in time for Spring! 

These are two gorgeous works of art, also by Christina Goh. I am so ready for Spring and inspired to create some art of my own...of the music variety, that is!

Fun Family Weekend

Thinking we would be in Thailand by April, we planned a month early birthday party for my brother David. He was thrilled with this idea and especially happy to find out he may get to celebrate it with us twice now! Mom and Dave came down for the weekend, Jeff got home from FL, and my brother came over with Melissa and Ryan. A really nice time! Here are few pics I took Saturday night.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Scarf For My Ruby

It's done! I figured out how to do the fringe last night and it was really easy. So pleased that I made something personal for my daughter. So amazed that I actually am still knitting after my initial impatience with it!

Been staying good and busy this week with all sorts of projects...the gym, yoga classes, learning more Thai, cleaning the house, knitting, reading, getting pics developed and working on her LifeBook a bit more, taking a class at the Apple Store and learning more on the computer, and "practicing" with my friends' kids. A good week and an even better weekend planned. Jeff finally gets back in town tonight and my Mom and brother David are all coming for a nice family weekend. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Weekly Thai Lesson!

Okay, girls and boys...let's learn a little Thai, shall we? I am at the Apple store with my trusty Mac instructor learning how to put a clip on here for each week. Here are the first words we will learn together!

Sawadeeka = Hello (for female)  Click here
Sawadeekrub = Hello (for men) Click here
Suay Ma = Very beautiful  Click here 

Be very careful to pronounce it exactly how it sounds. Thai language is tonal so if you use an up or a down tone it will have totally different (sometimes opposite) meanings.

Have fun!

(Disclaimer: I will have a friend check to make sure I am pronouncing the words right before posting. Today's recording is a bit messy cause it was loud at the Apple Store. Will re-record later!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trying to Forget

...that our daughter is exactly 23 months old today.
...that the board meeting was yesterday in Thailand.

I am still feeling okay today, but those thoughts do pop into my head every now and again. 

I'm very happy with my gift that went out to Wacap today! I've been daydreaming all day of her little face lighting up when she sees the bright colored bear and maybe a sweet smile forming on that precious little face. I think of her looking curiously at the bear and caregiver, maybe when she hears the Happy Birthday song in some strange language she has rarely, but occasionally, heard. And I wonder her reaction to my saying Mom & Dad love her in the language she does recognize. It's exciting to know that I (for the first time) may be making my daughter smile! And maybe she will even giggle when she hears me giggle! That does good for my heart to think about and makes me stop thinking about the stuff I can't control.


Beary Nice Ideas!

Thanks for the nice comments on the Little Build-A-Bear! Some ideas for and from everyone:

*Buy the recorders first and take home to make your message. Then go back to the mall & put in bear. (This one's for you Ellie! No public restroom recording!)  :-)
*Get the BIG 2-1/2 gallon ziplocks to put bear in for travels.
*Buy a plain white t-shirt from B-A-B and take to guy in the mall that can scan your pic on it. I didn't have time to do this but LOVE the idea.
*Ask the store for stickers. They have "press here" stickers to put on hands and feet.
* Write name of child, birthdate, and orphanage on ziplock as well as a note saying to press or squeeze the hands and feet of bear for message. Good idea, Jess! (I was afraid the ink would get on the bear or smell it up if I put a note inside, so I only wrote instructions on ziplock.)

PS - the hot bath is not only good for leaving your scent on the bear. But it also serves to relax the nerves when you know there is a board meeting going on in Thailand!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I went to the mall today to get something for my daughter's birthday. I had an idea of what I wanted, but this turned out SO much cuter than my original plan! The bear has this cute hot pink flower pattern on it - it's called the Spring Hug Bear - so I chose just a soft, pink fuzzy bath robe for it to wear. It's hard not to be with her for her birthday, but instead of sulking about it I am shipping myself to Thailand via Build-A-Bear!

A friend told me you could record a message inside the bear and I just LOVED this idea! But with only 10 seconds to record and a zillion things I wanted to say or sing....well, I did what any one would do in my situation. I bought 4! No, not 4 bears. (Although you know I would if I thought they would actually let me!) Wacap is going to deliver packages to the orphanages on their trip and said I could send ONE small gift. Well, this is small-ish, right? Anyway, I bought 4 RECORDERS and had them put one in each hand (paw) and one in each foot! Here are the little gizmos below as I had them sprawled out while trying to decide what to say and how to say it in 10 seconds or less!

Jeff is out of town this week so I was on my own. After trial and error and tossing it around a bit, I recorded the following:

Right Paw:  Sang the Happy Birthday song.
Left Paw:  Said a Thai message that went..."Sawadee ka! Paw kup Mae rak luke mak!"
(It means Hi! Dad and Mom love you very much!) I had my friend Muk on the phone with me while recording it to check for accuracy!)
Right foot: I giggled...for like, the whole 10 seconds. Felt silly, but I wanted to do something fun. I think she will like it! (yea, add that to the list of strange new habits...giggling into Build-A-Bears!)
Left foot: Sang 1st verse of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

So while I am planted at home until the magical call arrives, my voice and photo (of Jeff & I together) leave for Thailand via Seattle, through Wacap's office. Oh, and my scent too! Going to take a nice lightly scented bubble bath in the stuff I bought for Ruby (California Baby) and sleep with it tonight. Hope I don't roll over in the middle of the night and wake up to...Sawadee ka! Paw kup Mae Rak Luke Mak!  :-)
So here's our Ruby Kate's 2nd birthday present all dressed in bows and ready to go! Safe travels, little bear. My heart is going with you, too!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

"YOU ARE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK. Even when it doesn't seem like it. We are closer than we think. Wake up everyday and expect something good is going to happen! Expect that it will! BELIEVE you are going to get that new job or BRING THAT CHILD HOME! Be a prisoner of HOPE, not a prisoner of FEAR. Expect that you are going to get that great news and you will!"

Ruby's Library

Honestly. It's getting a bit crowded on that little shelf! Not to mention the one downstairs! I love to read, love books, and am longing to share this love with our little Ruby Kate. I can hardly wait to read her Llama, Llama Red Pajama, or the Boyton books or Because You Are My Baby. I have a bunch of other cute bedtime stories, too, that I think Jeff and I will be fighting over to read to her! :-)

I have books for her explaining adoption, baby yoga, introduction to baby meditation, a baby Bible, baby Buddha bedtimes stories, baby signing, ABC's, numbers, fairies, animals, colors, educational books, books on children of the world, on different races and cultures, Thai children's stories, Thai/English bilingual books,  and a whole collection of Dr. Seuss. I even bought my 2 childhood favorites for her to read when she is older. A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. What can I say? I like to plan ahead! :-)

Now I gotta get serious here for a minute. I started researching another subject and thought I could use a couple books to help explain it someday. The subject is racism. I was glad to find books for children on this subject as a way of introducing it to them and to help them cope when faced with it. I mean, it's gonna happen. We can't protect them from every ignorant person, hard as we may try. I found so many books on this subject that my excitement to find good material was quickly dashed by the sobering thought that we NEED so many books on this subject in this day and age! How is it we still live in a world where people judge someone by the color of their skin? By what they look like or where they come from or how they dress or what they believe? Have we not evolved at all in all these years? It makes me sad to think about and yet I still believe there is much hope for a better future. I believe there has been change and maybe we aren't there yet...but it's getting better. All we can do is live our lives as best we can and try to teach our children the same. To love one another. Quite simply. Love and accept all others. 

Okay, serious mushy part over. On to shopping...
 Here are some great books I picked up:

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz - A sweet book celebrating the many colors we come in & the beauty of all of them. Karen Katz writes a lot of sweet children's book. My brother and Melissa got us 2 cute bedtime books by her, too - Counting Kisses and Daddy Hugs.
The Skin I'm In: A first look at racism by Pat Thomas. -  A more serious book and guide to teaching children how to deal with bullies and ignorance. It's really well written and depicts children from different races, cultures, and religions and teaches tolerance and love.

People - a lovely book about people and their different looks from all over the globe. Really a great classic book by Peter Spier. The illustrations show people from every walk of life...from farmers in the US... to tribes in Africa... and everyone in between. There are pages talking about jobs that people do all over the world, celebrations they have, games they play, what they eat, their languages, and even the way they write. (Thai script included!) Heck, there is even a page dedicated to just noses! Every different size, shape, and color imaginable! A GREAT book. Can't say enough about it.

All available on Yes, you are welcome for my passing on more great things to shop for! But hey, these are actually necessary!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Knitting And Other Strange New Habits

No one is as surprised as me that I like knitting. I laughed at the friend that suggested we try it. I was like I'M 40, NOT 90! I was highly impatient and annoyed the first time I tried it. I decided immediately it was NOT for me. Now here I am hooked. (No pun intended). I am almost done with my 3rd project and LOVING it! I do it before bed, I take it on the plane with me, I pull it out when I'm waiting at the's strange! Here is a peak at my work. Those pretty roses...they are, uh, just an expression of my creativity. Yea, that's it. They had nothing at all to do with holes that needed covering up or anything. :-)

So here it is...a baby blanket for my baby's dolls.

A closer look.

My second project. A pretty aqua blue scarf that actually had no holes!
Here it is all wrapped up and ready to go! Gave it to my sweet neighbor, Sylvette, who always watches our animals when we are away.
This is my newest creation in the works. Now before you think I am just way advanced, I must confess and say that the yarn comes this way. No fancy switching colors by me! This will be for our little Mod girl Ruby next winter. It will eventually have fringe or pom-poms or something on it. Jeff was all excited when I started it. He was like AW, that will look so cute on her! You'll have to make her a matching hat, too! Yea. Um, sure honey. God bless him for having such confidence in me! Anyone, know how to make a hat????

Other strange new habits include walking around with a baby sling full of weights, talking to myself in Thai, learning more things on the computer than I have time for and I've become quite the little scrapbooker. Nesting? Or adoption process madness? You decide.

Mod Worthy

Now I ask there any possible way I could have resisted this outfit? I tried. I really did. I saw it a couple times and then the 3rd time...well, I just looked at Jeff. He was like - Jen, do we need this? I was like - WE NEED THIS. Picked it up at Baby Gap a couple months ago. It's 3 T so won't fit her for awhile, but I just HAD to get it. Was thinking about her nickname this morning and remembered this dress. Oh, so MOD and Jackie O looking! All she needs now are some white boots or patent leather t-straps and she is ready for any modern affair! Gee, now what will I wear???

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

I woke up to a GORGEOUS, Spring-like day! 70 degrees today and I am more than thrilled! But that's not why I am smiling...

I had the BEST dream about our girl last night. I almost didn't want to wake up. I just laid there and held on to the feeling as long as I could. I touched her face! She looked at me and I looked at her and we just sat there staring for a minute. Then we got up and played as if we had always known each other. It was just about the sweetest dream I have ever had! I woke up all smiles, knowing that someday soon, we can have that special moment...and many more like it!

My whole day today was really nice. Took a great yoga class this morning with a friend, went to the Philadelphia Flower show, and then went to see a movie with 2 of my girlfriends. We saw "He's Just Not Into You" and it was really cute and quite funny in parts. It's a must-see chicklet!
It was so nice and warm out and we had a nice chat as we walked back through the city. Really a nice night and the warm weather reminded me that Spring really isn't that far away! Here are a few shots from the flower show. The theme was "Italia" this year. A lot of beautiful displays!
Love this one with just that splash of bold color.

And I'm a total sucker for a romantic garden like this!

Cute little herb garden I'm going to try to copy
This was a very cool outdoor dining space. I love the bold colors and modern style of it.

And here from a different angle...

Love the way they did these roses!

Hoping you get to smell some flowers wherever you are today! And if your in the US, don't forget to Spring ahead tonight!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good News!

Wacap is going to Thailand again! They will be there March 23rd-April 3rd. The best part is they are going to southern Thailand and will visit the orphanage where our daughter is! I KNOW we are going to get some information this time! We just HAVE to! They will also be visiting another orphanage where a couple friends children are. This is so great! We are so happy our friends will also get info! Maybe they will come home with referrals! Maybe they will at least know where our case stands and how much longer! We know we will get more pics, maybe a video, some questions answered. But really, the only question we really want to ask is WHERE THE HECK IS OUR REFERRAL???

Okay, positive thinking here. I wasn't going to dare to hope for March, but maybe April???? It could happen! :-)

My Little Girl Mod

Oh, how beautiful she is. Her sweet smile that we finally see. The soft expression in her eyes. Her curious nature and how very lovely everyone that has met her says she is. This is what makes the wait so much easier to take and warms my heart! I can't wait till we are allowed to show you all these pictures. For now, it's just a little glimpse. Our local contact in Thailand got to visit her on Wed. They let her see our sweet daughter and take pictures and talk with her! These pictures show her personality so much and she is darling! How lucky we are! And how incredible how happy she looks.

I know that orphanage life is not ideal. I know that we want her home NOW. But the truth is, she is being VERY well cared for. The orphanage is SPOTLESS clean in every picture we have seen of the place and the mom that was just there said they take great pride in that. Our daughter has a beautiful little dress on in every pic, her hair combed nice, all the kids looking well kept and clean and happy. Most of all, the nannies look kind and loving and we know they are doing their absolute best for those children. I can't wait to hug each and every one of them and thank them for their hard work and dedication. I wrote a letter for them which I am going to have my friend translate to Thai and take along. But, gosh, how do you even thank someone enough for doing that kind of work day in and day out and then have to say goodbye to those you cared for? I can't imagine. If anyone has thought of some good ideas of gifts to get them, please share. One fellow mom and good friend, Mireille, came up with a great idea for the birthmother...a silver locket with her picture in it. I LOVE this idea and am planning to get one soon. I wrote her a thank you note too and it was not easy. Still, I think it turned out okay and hope she will get it.

We got it confirmed from our contact that the orphanage said we could get her any day as far as they were concerned. This tugs at my heart since I am DYING to go get her, but at least we know the file has made it to Bangkok and is probably with the SW now. This is good news. We found out she has a hearing aid in one ear, the poor thing, but we are not too worried. We know she is totally healthy and normal otherwise and we will get her the best care available for her ear. She can hear fine out of one so that is good. 

We also found out she got all the things we sent and has seen our pictures. This is so amazing to think about! She knows we are out here! She knows someone loves her and that we are coming for her! At least as far as the 2 year old mind can comprehend, I guess. But for today, it is enough to put a smile on my face. 

The Thai all have nick-names and hers is Mod. It means ant in Thai so perhaps she was quite the crawler and got into everything?? :-) Who knows. We think she looks like a little model and hey, she will be quite the modern dressed little thing if I have anything to do with it! So little girl, Mod. She has my whole heart and soul. It is a long wait for her, but oh so worth it.