Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Leaving Thailand

Well, we are headed home tomorrow at the crack of dawn! BEFORE, the crack of dawn actually. Still had some time left on my internet so I thought I would do one last post from the land of smiles. Ruby was up a couple times early this am. Just a few minutes at a time. I rub her head and let her know I am here and she goes back to sleep. I wonder if she is hot. I turn the AC down cause I think it will be better for her, but she actually seems to sleep better when it's cooler. Go figure. Hoping she doesn't mind our chilly fall weather too much! Personally, I love fall. It will be fun to see her playing in the yard with the leaves and hopefully with the dog too. Praying they don't take too long to get along!

Last night we ventured out to the Japanese restaurant in our hotel. The room service the night before was cold and not so great and we were craving some sushi and terriaki. Ruby was an angel! A few times she started to bang her spoon loudly on the table and I was already making my escape plan in my head in case the tide turned. We smiled at her and said shhhhhhhh in a cute way and she raised her spoon high (as if about to pummel the table) and then set it on the table and tapped very softly, saying shhhhhh with a cute smile. Wow. We are really lucky. She ate a little chicken ball they served as an appetizer, some buckwheat noodle soup, and some plain rice I mixed in with the soup. She loves when they give you a clean washcloth at the end of the meal. LOL, I really appreciate this, too, as she gets food everywhere! She gives me each hand for cleaning and then proceeds to grab the towel and start cleaning the table. She is too cute for words!

We came upstairs and watched cartoons which she loved and part of a Thai cartoon movie be got her with elephants. She loves elephants and says "chang chang!" whenever she sees them. We also played a few of the videos we took of her in NST and she sat giggling at herself being silly playing ball with Daddy. It was real cute. Afterwards we had our nightly bath time and she played with some of her toys. For the first time, she has taken an interest in the build-a-bear we sent her. It was so sweet to see her hugging that bear and so happy. I just sat there watching her, remembering clearly the feelings and emotions I had when I got that for her back in March. And look at us now! I feel so lucky every day to have this child in our lives. She bonds more with us all the time. Has already with me for some time, but now she will willingly jump into Daddy's arms and let him pick her up or hold her. Even lets him give her the bottle now on occasion. She really loves her Daddy and is way concerned now if he walks away for a minute or is not right there. It is so awesome to see! 

Can't get her to bed earlier than 9 the last few days. She has been so silly and wide awake at night, but at least she is still getting a good 9-11 hours. We can start fresh with the schedule once we are home and adjusted. Hoping she really sleeps in today, since we have to get up at 2 am for our 6 am flight tomorrow. Wish us luck on that long flight!!

Next update will be from Philadelphia! Have our baby's Visa in hand and the Kitzmillers are headed home!

Days Flying By

Somewhere around last Thursday, we were starting to feeling restless. Now the days are flying by! We leave in 2 days!  As I mentioned before, the Marriott room smelled moldy and mildewy and had me ready to scratch my eyes out. There was nothing to do around our hotel that didn't require a fair amount of running (except the pool but it had rained a couple days), Jeff was getting antsy about our paperwork, and we were really starting to get that itch to come home. Ruby was also restless and cranky for a few days and I wondered if she felt it or if the mold was getting to her too.  Monday morning I woke up at 5am and just looked at Jeff and said, ya know what? Let's move! And so we did. We hustled to get everything packed and organized (LOL, the most we have been organized since we arrived!) and checked out of the Marriott and into the Plaza Athenee. What a difference! Wish we had thought of it sooner, but oh well. We are here now and very happy. I can breathe again, my eyes are clear, Ruby is happier, and we are a short 5 minute walk to the Embassy and USCIS which makes us ALL happy. I used to sing at this hotel and the mgr gave us a good deal on our last night. The first 3 we got on latestays.com and it's only $99/night plus free breakfast for a super 5-star hotel with incredible food and service. Again, VERY happy here.

Today we went to the pool and stayed a long while. Ruby was in heaven and so were we. Had lunch poolside, went back in for a bit, and now she is napping while Jeff is still at the pool getting a little sun. He is so happy today as he schlepped around the 20 lbs bag of paperwork for the last time today! We met with USCIS on Mon, had our appt with them on Tues, dropped a letter to the Embassy yesterday, then had our official "interview" with the Embasssy this morning. Piece of cake! We were there for a 1/2 hour but when it was our turn, we talked to them for all of 2 minutes. Jeff will go back at 3 pm to pick up Ruby's official Visa and we are good to go! And I mean that literally...we are good to leave the country now! Since we moved, we are pretty together now so packing up again will be a snap. 

A little recap of the last few days...
Got together with fellow adoptive family Liz, Matt, and Lyla at Ocean World on Saturday. We were late and thought we'd never find them but they spotted us coming out so we were able to do a little shopping and dinner with them. Ruby is not a fan of a crowded shopping center and melted down a bit. I really should have known better, but was dying to get here some authentic Thai outfits. We found them and they are WAY cute! Ocean World was really cool, but I think it will be something Ruby will appreciate much more when she is older. She did seem to like it but I think was just in awe. She was pretty much quiet and open-mouthed the whole time. It was cute.

Yesterday we went to Mercy Centre. What a place. What incredible people there. The kids were all adorable, of course, and your heart just aches for the things they have been through in their young lives. Many victims of rape, extreme poverty, HIV/Aids, and/or losing a parent or two. But incredibly, Mercy is not a sad place. It is a happy, happy place full of sweet, polite kids laughing, singing, dancing, and playing. They do such an amazing job there. I was glad we took time to visit. I didn't do a show or anything but sang a few songs to individual groups. The kids were sweet. The staff does an incredible job there for the children and the community, but there is never enough cash, of course, for such a big place and so many kids and families. We gave them a little something, but I am more motivated than ever to sell a lot of CD's and do much more. Oh, and I got to meet Father Joe! Wonderful man. We didn't think we'd get to meet him, but he got back just as we were about to go. It was really nice.

Ruby was an angel yesterday. After her TOTAL meltdown at Central dept store on Monday (we only went for diapers and dinner upstairs) I was a little nervous how she would be. Her fit that day was worse than any before and I had to carry her out screaming at the top of her lungs feeling like the worst mommy ever for taking her near another crowded shopping place! She didn't even want to eat and she LOVES to eat! Well, turns out the poor kid needed to have a good poop! Forgive me for sharing, but we had been trying a few new things -like eggs, yogurt and ice cream - the day before and they didn't got down well. She even pointed to her belly once and I didn't know what to do or if she was hurt or itchy (she has a rash) or what??? There are times I so wish my Thai was better!!! We are staying clear of dairy for awhile. She is back to our little sweetheart again and we are not straying far from the food she is used to. 

Back to yesterday...
Before we went to Mercy, I had the hotel doorman tell her in Thai that we were going to visit some children, but would then come back to the hotel (all 3 of us together). She just hugged me and then smiled up at me. Talk about melting Mommy's heart! She toured Mercy with us like a good little girl, then sat on Daddy's lap while I sang to the kids. It was amazing. So lucky to have this little one in our lives! 

This may be my last post till we get back cause the internet has cost a fortune! We fly out Friday at 6am and are home by Sat around 8 or 9 pm. Please don't call us till at least Sunday! Jet lag is worse on the trip back for some reason and we have no idea what it will be like with a toddler! Wish us luck! Much love from Thailand! Hope to see many of you in the coming months and introduce you to our daughter: Ruby Kate Suphawadi Kitzmiller. (Yes, you can just call her Ruby. She knows her name well now and responds to it). And it's almost official! Still have to finalize in the states 6 months from now, but for all intensive purposes she is ours and we are headed HOME! Hooray!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Aaaahhh

Finally. A day without running around. We hung out in the hotel room all day and it was such a nice break. Ruby was content playing with her toys in the room and Mommy (who woke up with BOTH eyes swollen and a terrible sinus headache) got to go back to sleep for an hour. Ruby was a little angel. She came over to me and looked at me with great concern. I told her Mommy Bai norn (tired) and then she smiled and went back over to the table to color with Daddy. She is so amazing. Found out my puffy eye wasn't from her hitting me with spoon. I kinda wondered why it didn't swell up right away, but then when both were itchy and swollen I figured I must have a allergy to something. The room does smell rather mildewy which is surprising for a Marriott. Anyway, I have continued using the eye drops and feel 100 times better today. In case it was an infection, I took an antibiotic that we brought from home. Today I am a new woman!

I also got a much needed massage in yesterday during Ruby's nap! Yea! When she is down, you can count on a solid sleep for 2 hours so as soon as she was out I snuck downstairs to hit the spa. I was able to relax and enjoy the BEST Balinese style massage, but was a hair nervous as I was running back to the room afterwards. I had sure hoped she wasn't crying for me! Turns out she was out like a light until the minute I walked in the room. She woke up happy and Mommy was happy. Aaaaah.

We have a fun day planned today. Heading over to Ocean World at Siam Paragon. It's an aquarium and she loves fish. We are meeting up with another family from the states (Liz, Matt, & Lyla) for a fun day of fish watching and shopping at MBK! Yea!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lap Feeding Not Encouraged and Other Tid-Bits

Ate lunch at the BNH Hospital yesterday. It took 3 long hours to get Ruby's medical visa done. We were so hungry (and cranky) we just ate in their cafeteria. The hospitals in Bkk are very nice, actually - like a hotel lobby -although a bit slow. Thankfully, we are an I-600 family so she needed no vaccinations. Only a check up and this woman telling me that she is near deaf according to all her records. We tried to convince her that she could hear fine and we were quite certain, but she didn't believe us. She said she can probably make out sounds, but has no comprehension. Okay, how about the fact that she turns around when we call her name? Or that she will repeat us when we say a word? She turns around when she hears a bird or a boat or someone talking loudly behind us? Or dances every time there is music? She is also startled when someone rings the hotel room door bell or when phone rings. After a few days, she figured out the phone will hold an empty box of crackers to her ear and say HEL-LO. I wanted to say, hey, we are her parents and we KNOW her and she can hear! I didn't but it does feel really good to know that we know her so well.  The woman wasn't convinced, and of course, Ruby was scared and completely clammed up. It was only after being there a while that I said Ruby and she turned and then repeated the words I said to her - Mom-my, Dad-dy, Hi, bye-bye. The Dr. looked at us, and was like, oh, okay, she's not deaf. No kidding, lady!
So back to yesterday's lunch. It was not pretty. We have pretty much been spoiling her, but now I am setting some boundries. She is rather possessive about her spoon and fork, but also mine if she can get to them first. It wouldn't be a big deal if she didn't pound, throw them, or use as a weapon! They didn't have a high chair for her and the booth was big so I decided to just sit her on my lap and feed her at the same time. I do not recommend this! She grabbed my big spoon before I could get it and started pounding and flailing her arms around. I tried to nicely take it from her and give her the little one, which resulted in her tugging back and smacking me right in the eye. It was an accident, of course, but I still took the big spoon from her, therefore causing intense screaming the whole way out of the restaurant. It's great to have Thai strangers looking at you like "what are you doing to that poor child?". Uggh. Well, anyway, minutes later it was over and she was a happy child again without a care in the world.  Mommy had won this battle...or did I? By the evening my eye was really hurting and I woke up this morning to find it swollen shut. Ouch. Luckily, you can go to a pharmacy here and just tell them what you need. I got steroid eye drops and the swelling is finally going down. Lesson learned: no lap feeding and clear the big utensils BEFORE sitting down!

Now for the big news...WE HAD OUR BOARD MEETING! It was swelteringly hot in the waiting area, but other than that it was a breeze. We got to meet some fellow adoptive parents and blogging buddies, Nicole & Craig, Liz & Matt, and Kam & Jase with their kiddos. So great to finally meet them and have all of us be there with our little ones! The board itself consisted on 3 ladies who were very nice and had a table full of toys to preoccupy the kids. Ruby immediately worked her charm and picked up every toy one by one and handed it to Daddy all the while snuggling on my lap and giving me kisses. She was really cute in there and on her best behavior. The oldest woman spoke the most. She asked our plan for schooling, if we were happy, how she was doing, and a few other things I don't remember. At the end she thanked us for our kind hearts. She was very dear and we assured her that the thanks was all ours! That our hearts were most grateful to be this little girls parents! As far as Thailand is concerned, she is ours - pending our finalization after home 6 months. Now we just have to clear things with the US Embassy.

Although I love Thailand, I have to admit, I am eager to get home. We bagged the idea of going to Phuket and are thinking of changing our ticket if the paperwork gets done early. It's just too much. We are longing for our own home, our steady routine, and the conveniences we have there. I must say, though, that this experience is a rich one. And for all of us, life at home will be somewhat easy now after the busy schedule and hectic pace. As I told Kam and Nicole out in the hall way...we are gonna be super-parents by the time we get back! I changed Ruby's diaper in a 90 degree bathroom (at least) with no changing area or counter space. I was in high heels, and we both were in our nice dresses for the meeting.  I had to stand her on the sink, gather her ruffles up, and change her while standing...juggling the diaper bag, her, and the diaper while trying not to get either of us dirty. Thank God it wasn't poopy! We came out unscathed with a clean diaper, clean hands and a Mommy that felt (hot) but ready to take on anything!

Mornings and night time are Ruby's best. Probably because the poor kid gets some consistency there. Days are sometimes at the pool and follow a routine and then others (like the last few) are filled with running around Bangkok to office buildings. It's got to be so hard on her not to mention boring! She doesn't miss a trick and now digs in my bag of tricks to see what is in there to her liking. LOL. We've blown through the mum-mum crackers and had to stock up on some local snacks to fill her voracious appetite and for the plane ride home. I have no idea how that is gonna go. Could be a LONG one! Wish us luck!

We went to the USCIS (immigration) office today. They were very nice, but said we needed the birth certificate re-sent because her birth year was not on it. We also needed something fixed with the translation. We were able to call Nuanthip and between her and the woman at Zenith, it was all taken care of today. Yay! Now we just wait for them to call us and say it's done. Ruby was over-tired and acting up a bit this afternoon when we went to the translation place. The woman at Zenith is great. We love her! She saw Ruby acting up and she gave us some good advice and told Ruby something in Thai about being a good girl. Ruby pouted and ran to me, but didn't cry. I asked her what she said and she said, "I just told her to be good for you." So I asked her to teach me a few Thai phrases and right them down phonetically for me. She taught me how to say: be a good girl, if you throw your toys you can not play with them right now, let Mommy show you/teach you, be careful (so she doesn't fall trip or hurt herself or me), etc. You should have seen the wide eyed look on her face as we were discussing it - looking from her to me as I was repeating the phrases. So funny. I swear she knew her jig was up! Like uh-oh, Mommy knows Thai and how to say that now! She also taught me how to say "naughty" and Ruby giggled. Oh my. But I'll tell you what, she was a changed little girl this evening. I would give her a stern face when acting up and she'd stop right away. At one point I ran and grabbed the paper and repeated it. She tried to take the paper and I laughed and said, oh no, this is MOMMY'S!!! She laughed and that was it. Ate like and angel. Would start to protest if I wanted to help, then she' stop and think about it and hand me the spoon. I need to go hang out at the translation place more often! Or just study more Thai! Maybe she has been so frustrated by the language barrier. Or maybe she just needed a little bit more guidance. Or naps. God knows, the child has not had enough naps the last 2 days. Either way, I feel we had a little breakthrough. The last couple days were a bit rough. The heat and running got to us all. 

It was good to have a nice, enjoyable evening together at the hotel. We ordered room service and ate out on the patio. It was a nice evening and Ruby loved her pasta. We tried some spaghetti last night and she really liked it so we got it again tonight. I had a ravioli stufffed with spinach in a sage butter sauce. She looked at it curiously so I gave her a bite. LOVED it! I gave her lots of little spinach bites and she kept asking for more! She says "mum!" which means MORE! Then Jeff had a vegetable lasagna and she ate some veggies from that too. Was not a fan of the cheese though. Spit it out. The girl likes healthy food! Can't knock that! Anyway, it was such a nice night. She was so silly and cute and we love her dearly. Really, when you see that face light up it really makes the melt down moments seem like nothing. She's a toddler. A toddler that has dealt with a whole lot of change this last week. And she is so lovey and sweet it just melts my heart. She's picking up more of the dance moves on the Thai video we bought. It was adorable!!! You should have seen her and Jeff dancing. LOL. I wish I could have grabbed the video camera fast enough. Really cute moments. She is bonding with him more and more and he even got to hold her and give her the bottle last night. This is MAJOR as it usually can only be me. I was so happy for him to be able to experience her night time snuggleness!

Our angel is now back (thank God) and sleeping peacefully. Tomorrow we don't have any running around so that will be a relief for all of us. 

Love from Thailand!!!
Jen, Jeff, & Ruby

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Ergo Is Your Friend

Okay, I have to tell you that next to the stacking cups, the Ergo is the best thing we have ever purchased! LOVE it! It's 100 times more comfortable than just carrying her and she loved it. It helps you bond even more because they are so close to you. She was so content that she happily snuggled next to Mommy on the ferry, the skytrain, through the mall, and through the streets of BKK. She was in awe of the boat and had giggle fits when the wind blew her hair. She didn't mind the skytrain (it is sooo nice & air conditioned), but was a bit scared, I think, on the way back because it was a lot busier. Will only do the skytrain in the morning next time. But when we were walking around, she even took a nap in the Ergo and let me tell you if you can sleep through Bkk traffic, you can sleep through anything!

Yesterday we stuck to the schedule exactly and just hung around the hotel. Today we walked a great deal and I have to say that I no longer need to concern myself with diet and exercise! I rarely eat my whole meal cause I am concerned about feeding her. I am too tired for a glass of wine, and there is no late night snacking because there are no late nights! Not to mention I must have sweat of a good 5 lbs off hauling her around the last week! Still, the Ergo made it so easy. It's a MUST BUY for any parent. I can't say this enough!

While Miss Ruby was an absolute angel most of the day, we had our moments. I wanted to get her shoes to go with her dress for the board meeting. We tried to go to the Embassy but they were closing for lunch when we got there so we had 2 hours to kill. We headed over to Central Dept. Store (Chitlom) which is a short 10 minute walk. She was on serious overload in the children's shoe department. (Ha ha - so was I! They were all so cute!) The girl loves shoes and clung on to a pair of Miss Kitty hot pink patent leather looking shoes with rhinestones on them and wouldn't let go. Luckily, that is the color I was looking for so after prying them out of her tiny little hands and bribing her with a Mum-mum cracker we paid for them and got out of there. Poor Jeff. He just shook his head and looked a bit stunned -like, oh my, there are two of them! LOL. 

Had lunch on the 7th floor of Central. It's called the Loft and is great place for lunch. Reasonable and lots of variety. I used to go there a lot when I worked at Plaza Athenee around the corner. (We stopped by the hotel also for a cool drink and to say hi to the mgr there) Anyway, for lunch I got a Vietnamese soup that I just love with poached snapper and fish balls in it and a side of steamed rice and shared with Ruby. It was the first time I gave her fish and she liked it. So far, she eats mainly boiled rice or rice congee for breakfast and fruit or fruit juice. I caved and gave her a little muffin and she smiled pretty big at that one! Likes Orange, Mango, Carrot, and Guava juices. Not a fan of coconut juice. Her face was hilarious, like what the heck is this? Not a big fan of apple juice either. For lunches and dinners it is chicken fried rice or noodles or soup with rice and veggies. She tries nearly every thing and pointed to my salad the other day so I gave her some. The girl likes arugula! Seriously. I cut more up in little bits and put in her rice bowl and she sat there picking them out by hand to eat them. Unbelievable! I will often get steamed broccoli and carrots or other veggies on the side and chop them small and mix in with her food and she will pick them out and eat too. The only things she wouldn't eat so far were the chicken fingers we tried down at the pool (I had to pick the fried part off for her) and hot dogs. This pleases me to know end cause anyone that knows me well, knows I think hot dogs are vile! Yucky meat by-product and intestinal stuff. Eew! Well, anyway, in an attempt to break her in to what she thinks of as American food, Anna prepared a few mini hot dogs and had it on the plate with her rice dish one night. Jeff saw them first and just looked at me. Oh no. What to do? I couldn't insult Anna. So Jeff sees Anna turn around and quickly snatches one and eats it. Good work, hubby! A few minutes later he steals another. There is one left. Oh, gosh, I think. Am I really gonna do this? Okay, it's not gonna kill her, I think. Let's let her try a tiny bite. Low and behold, for the first time she refused to open her mouth. She shook her head no and that was that! Ha! (Woody, I swear I am not making this up!) The kid likes healthy food and momma is in heaven! Not sure it will last forever, but we are off to a good start! 

Now back to yesterday. It was interesting to me that no one at the US Embassy is actually American. They are all Thai. Very, very nice and helpful though. We found out we couldn't make an appt. until after we went to the USCIS on Wed, but at least now we know where to go and who to see. After a sweaty day, only a half hour nap in the Ergo, and a lot of running, I was amazed at how sweet and happy Ruby was. She had even let me feed her instead of clutching her spoon defiantly. It was a really good day so it was only naturally that something had to give. (Yea, I know, I need to refer to my list from the other day about napping!) We planned on coming right back so we would make nap time, but when the Embassy told us to come back 2 hours later there was not much we could do. They seem to close and open when the feel like it. We were told to come back between 1-3 and when we got there at 2 they said, oh, sorry, it's closed! After a few minutes of calling back to their supervisors, they let us go in. Now we know to get there much earlier next time and how to handle it all.

When we  got back to the hotel we  decided a dip in the pool would be welcome. In hindsight, another nap might have been a better idea. She loved it and we had a blast, but when it came time to leave she through the worst hissy fit we have seen yet. Full throttle tears and crying that lasted all the way from the pool, through the hotel, back to the room and while changing her. Usually just my holding her or drink of water or a mum mum will stop the crying in 5 minutes or less (although she did seem to have a nightmare the other night with crying that lasted a bit longer) but this one was a serious tantrum. I let her cry it out and by the time I was putting on her pj's to chill in the room, she was fine. Daddy followed a few minutes later with all the gear left at the pool and got her to smile. Whew! The diva toddler went bye-bye and the angel came back to reside for the rest of the night. We all went to bed early and Jeff and Ruby are still sleeping as I type. I like to tip toe over to the computer before either of them get up and re-connect with everyone. Who knew I'd be a morning gal?


What We Have Learned

Learned quite a bit this week, and last night when she was finally out, we had to sit back and laugh at it all. We talked about what has been working and what has not. While still a super sweet, fun, bright, and happy little girl, she is becoming more and more comfortable (which is great, of course) and that means her toddler independence has surfaced. Friday was a long day. We met Nuanthip, applied for her passport, got her passport photo taken, and got translations done. The translations took 2 hours so we walked around the mall. A few mini meltdowns, but not too bad. The hardest part was we were all so hot and tired and she didn't get her nap until way late. It was hard carrying her for a long period of time. Not emotionally, of course (that was wonderful) but physically. I am the only one she lets hold her, but sore back and all, I love every minute of it. The sling is cute and helps and she doesn't mind it, but it is so hot here to have another layer on both of us. Something I hadn't thought of. We haven't tried the Ergo yet but need to the next time we are out and about. 

Ruby is a very resilient child and it's incredible how she handles things. She was fascinated rather than scared of Bkk traffic and all the cars and motorcyles going by. She says brrrooom. Seeing that she handles these things well, we took a chance and took her in the Toys R Us at World Plaza. She was so cute and sweet it hurt our hearts. The things we all take for granted and this was her first time ever in a toy store. She sweetly smiled and walked around the place looking at every single thing but not trying to take anything. She did however, jump right in the ball pit on display! She really loves balls so a ball pit is on the must-have list for next Spring. We lured her out after awhile and found a little Leggo station which she also liked. She sat at the little table and chairs was rather determined to figure it out. She's so funny, this kid. I sware she is gonna invent stuff someday cause she has to watch everything and learn and figure it all out. We just love her personality and curious nature! We also found a kids clothing store and got her new shoes. It was so cute because they were all lined up and she actually went over to the lilac shoes with white polka dots first. (The kid's got taste!) So that is the pair we got. The crocs she had on kept slipping off her feet. They are size 7/8 and just a wee bit too big yet. We thought her new shoes were so cute but didn't realize they had squeakers in till she got up and walked around. Adorable! She just loves them and we had a ball squeaking down the mall while Mommy's back got a break.

Okay, so here is the list of things we have learned so far:
1. There is nothing more important than nap time.
2. Except for eating at the scheduled time. And once you tell her we are going to eat or we sit down in a restaurant, you had better get that food there fast!
3. Do not interupt a happy child while eating. She thinks you are going to take her food away!
4. Once you teach her to eat with her spoon, you had better let her do it for now on or else!
5. Stick with the schedule and you get the happiest, easiest child on the planet. Be late for nap or food and throw off her schedule and you get one cranky little girl.
6. A crowded restaurant with Thai dancers is not appealing to a 2 year old. (That we didn't realize this is very funny as we look back on it!) She was entertained for a second and then had a mini meltdown because we didn't let her get down and run. She had her new squeaky shoes on.
7. Do not see live entertainment with child with squeaky shoes! LOL. People will glare.
8. Diverting attention to something else goes over WAY better than mai chai (no).
9. Toddlers are independent and like to do things themselves sometimes.
10. Messes can be cleaned so let her eat her rice with her fingers and slop it all over. (It's actually really funny and cute to watch! She is so proud of her newfound independence! I can still feed her - and so can Daddy at times - but she HAS to hold the spoon now...or else sweet Ruby turns into Miss Fussy Pants.
11. Squeaky shoes can make a toddler happy for a good hour at least. They also have residual value as they are super fun again the next time they get down. 
12. Stacking cups are the most versatile toy on the planet. Blocks that can also be strung are a close second.
13. Every other toy gets boring after awhile. (Mum-Mum crackers, however, never get old.)
14. Every toy can and will be used as a weapon. Watch out for flying objects during fits of laughter!
15. Sticking with my work-outs and lifting weights for my back and arms would have been a good thing.
16. Laugh things off and it all works out okay.

We had a great few hours at the pool today. She was so much fun and is SUCH a water baby! Put her arm swimmies on and she was almost swimming herself! Mommy was allowed to hold on to her waist but she wanted me to be out of her view so she could see Daddy and swim to him. Gotta get that child enrolled in swim lessons as soon as we get back! She is so comfortable with us now! We are really grateful. She wakes up groggy, but happy every morning and is such a cuddle bug! I can't wait till she wakes up in the morning so I can hold her. She gives tons of kisses and hugs throughout the day and will come into the bathroom when I am getting ready and just fling herself in my arms. How much she fills my heart! 

Today something amazing happened. She really has attached to me! She will fuss a bit if I am not holding her when she is tired. When she wants to play, Daddy is the man. Period. No one can make her laugh like him and she imitates the funny faces he makes and it's HILARIOUS. Gotta get that on video and show you all! He can always make her laugh and she loves him already. But Mommy is the one she comes to when she cries, when she is sleepy, and for her bottle. Sometimes if we are at the pool or a restaurant I will VERY quickly run to the restroom or grab a towel or something. If Daddy is playing with her when I go she hardly notices, but smiles big when I return. Well, today at lunch we put her in her high chair and then I realized I left something on our towel. So I ran over to get it and she had full out tears and sobbing by the time I got back 2 minutes later (if that). As soon as I held her for a minute she stopped. She is bonding with me soooo well and so fast! We are truly blessed. Coming along with Daddy, too. He got to help with her bottle last night and I let them alone in the afternoon (nearby on the computer, but just the 2 of them on the floor) for snacktime and play. It was so sweet to see them together. Life is but a dream right now!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heavy Heart/Light Heart

It was with a heavy heart that we left Nakhon Si Thammarat on Thursday. I had so many emotions running through my mind and my heart. Saying goodbye to Anna and Stefan and their wonderful family was so hard. And taking Ruby away from the place she has come from and Anna who has cared for her and loved her had me feeling both sad, nervous about leaving that tranquil place, and excited over what was to come. Even Ruby could sense it when we said goodbye to Anna. She didn't cry but looked sad and very serious. They will always feel like family to us and we hope to make an every other year trip to see them. They took such good care of us and our sweet girl!

I tried to fight it but was rather anxious about our first flight, too. Had no idea how she would be and really it went much better than expected. She was great on the flight! We buckled her in and she sat there without fussing the whole time. Take offs and landings she didn't really seem to care about because she had her toys in front of her. However, the time at the airport was a little challenge! Hot, crowded, noisy and lots of lines. These things do not sit well with any toddler, let alone one who has never experienced it before! She wasn't too bad, but just wanted to jump out of my arms, and then up again, then wriggled around, and then down again. Couldn't decide what she wanted to do and between her restlessness and all of our luggage, we were so happy to finally sit on the air conditioned plane! :-) Maybe Ruby was too, cause she was a perfect angel after that. Her face when we were up and she looked out the window was adorable. Her mouth formed a perfect "o" and she softly said "ohhhh" but not with fright. More like filled with wonder. It was really cute.

Once we got to the Marriott, she was all giddy and happy. For all 3 of us, things became light hearted again. Maybe it was heavy for her too to be stuck between the past and the future not knowing what was ahead. She seems very interested and almost amused at the very English speaking Thai people at the hotel and has been very happy here. Found a pebble (which she stole and I have to put back!) in the rock and bamboo display in the lobby. They gave her a teddy bear upon checking in and she was pretty pleased with that, but not as much as she was to have that rock! She started feeling even more comfortable with us that day and began walking around exploring. So cute to watch her coming into herself. Meaning, feeling safe enough to run and play and know we are right there. She always turns back to make sure, then realizes we are right there, then smiles and toddles off again. So cute.

Well, I got a lot done this am and feel so well rested. Slept 8 hours finally as I realize she is not going to get up. Sleeps sound every night! It's nearly 8 am so we are going to start being loud in the room to encourage waking. How funny is that? 

More soon! Much love from Thailand!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bliss Continues

Yesterday morning (Wed) I woke up to Jeff saying, oh, honey, she's awake! She was just laying there looking at us! So cute. She had gotten an allergy medication from the Dr. and slept through the whole night! Got up at 8am! How lucky we are with this child. We went to bed rather late on Tuesday - about 8:30 - cause her nap time was off, but she did okay. The doctor said she had all the symptoms of rainy season allergies (itchy eyes, mild cough) and scalp dermatitis. I have a prescription shampoo (with Mirasol) to use once a week and an ointment to use once a day. Used them yesterday and it already seems to be helping. Plus the Benadryl type medicine (for bedtime) makes her sleep even more soundly and the girl already sleeps like a rock! After a 2 hour nap we tried to wake her and she did NOT want to get up. So cute and groggy, and then a few tears, but not much.

Her personality is coming out more and more. It's so cute. Sweet, but strong willed and wants to do it her way when playing. I think she may have had to fight for toys. She will hand it to me or Jeff but then wants it right back IMMEDIATELY. Hold it too long or try to show her how to open the book and she will make a sad face and/or fuss a bit. Cracks me up. She definitely knows what she wants and will do it HERSELF! Typical toddler stuff. Really, she is pretty much an easy going child. We try not to say no (mai chai) too much, but rather to divert her attention elsewhere. This seems to work well.

A typical day for us = get up, bath time (which she LOVES), go out on the patio for breakfast and play with Leo (Anna's little boy) and play on the hippity hop thing. Then we walk around the grounds and look at the flowers, trees, frogs, cows (mua), chickens, etc. It's really a magical place here. She is not afraid of the big cows in the back but will cry a bit at the sight on the dogs here. Uh-oh! Their dogs here are white like Chloe but much more laid back. So not sure how that long an adjustment that will be, but oh, well, we'll worry about that when we get home. She did do better the 2nd and 3rd day. I am guessing she never saw dogs before up close. Since she loves balls, I am hoping that will bond the 2 of them and she can throw balls to her in the back yard.

It's very hot so we usually go back to the room for play time after a walk. Her favorite toys are her doll (dtuk-ta) Lily, her books, her hair brush (sooo cute to see her brush her hair), and her ball. Get her bouncing the ball and she will just squeal with delight! Adorable! She will bounce to Daddy, then him to her, then she'll bounce to me, then repeat. She is really bonding with both of us! She gives kisses freely to both of us and there has been a LOT of eye contact.

We give her a bottle (of water) and she goes down for a nap in minutes. I cuddle her for awhile then when she is almost there I put her in the crib. Never fusses. Goes right to sleep! When we get up it's more play time or pool time then change for dinner, then bath, then reading books and listening to music, then bedtime. There have been slight variations depending on the day, but that is the basic routine. We give her a bottle of formula at bedtime as this is what she is used to. The orphanage gave us a big box of it so we have the same brand when we get home. Will wean her off it after a bit but for now it is comforting for her.

So much to write here so forgive me for being long! I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep cause I am so excited to let our family and friends know how it's going! We go to Bangkok today (Thursday) around 6 or 7 pm. I am a bit nervous for the first plane ride and change of scenery. She is doing so well here and surrounded by such loving people. People that speak not only Thai but also the local Nakhon Si Thammarat dialect and phrases too. Anna and her family feel like our family. They said Ruby (and all of us) have a special Thai family here and are welcome anytime. We feel the same about them. It will be hard for me to say goodbye to Anna as she has done so much to make Ruby feel comfortable and be able to love and be loved. When she visited the orphanage she really prepared her for leaving, going to America and told her about Mommy and Daddy. Ruby is bright and really understands things more than I ever thought she would. When I look at her and say I love you in Thai she just smiles up at me so happy! Melts my heart through and through! She loves Anna also and I think for Ruby and Anna it will be hard to say goodbye, too. We are going to Skype with her when we are home and always stay in touch with our new Thai family!

I'm also nervous because we will be flying without a net now. Anna and her family have translated a lot and taught me more words I needed to know. Like Bai norn which means sleeping and mai norn which means no sleeping and what Ruby told her the other day before nap time! haha. I'm glad I know a bit of Thai and she seems to both understand me and also be eager to learn English words. She repeats Jeff & I alot and it's amazing how quickly she is picking things up! Still, I wish I knew more and hope she feels as comfortable with us in Bangkok and she has here.

So much more to write but I will save for another post. Yesterday was a very special day. I need a whole post for it. I can hear her breathing as I sit here and type. Once in awhile she will sigh in her sleep. It's so adorable. She stretches her arms over head while she sleeps and plays with her hair at times. Before nap and bedtime, I have been stroking her hair and face. This seems to comfort her and puts her out. Well, last night something really magical happened. I was holding her and giving her her bottle. She wanted to hold the bottle so with my free hand I began stroking the side of her face and pushing her hair off her face gently. She looked up at me and touched my face the same way and lay there stroking my hair and face for like 5 minutes. Oh, my, does this girl own my heart!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

She Slept So Well!

But Mommy did not! Well, a little bit. Couldn't stop staring at her gorgeous face and kept waking up every time she would breath, move, sigh, scratch.... she's too precious for words! She woke up only one time and cried until I picked her up. I gave her a bottle and she laid in bed with us for less than an hour then we put her back in her crib. She is still sleeping now so I'm trying to type very fast! Tried again to send emails and upload pics but it's just not working! Sorry everyone!

I was able to read your comments and I think they posted. Will try again later to send and uploads pics. Everything takes so long to load and then the connection times out! Hang in there, Ellie! The pics and video we got of Lily are so worth the wait!!! She is really doing well, too. Healthy and developing great. We both had time to hold her and tell her you love her! Both girls like the little fairy princess dolls. In fact, it is Ruby's favorite and is always in her hand - even when sleeping! Anna told her in Thai, we should call her Lily! She said Li-ly! Now this part will make you cry but it's beautiful. Right before we left we gave them the dolls. We had them pose for a picture. They let Lily be in the office with just us and the director to say goodbye. Ruby put her arm around her for the picture but then put both arms around her so tight and didn't want to let go! My heart swells for the love they have for each other and the happiness they will have in the future when they meet again here.

Today we are taking her to a good local doctor that our friend Anna knows. She has some dermatitis and dandruff. Poor little thing was scratching her head in her sleep. Hearing very well though. I sware she even hears when we talk or sing softly. Amazing child. Such a sweet, sweet baby. How we just love her!!! Later we may take her to the beach. Another blessed and perfect day awaits! And she is still sleeping at 7:30!

Love from Thailand!!!

When Time Stood Still

There are almost no words to describe the last 2 days. Except fairy tale. And day dream. And absolutely amazing! We met Ruby yesterday - or "Mode" as they call her and now we do too (for now). She clung to me from the first minute and by then end of the day not only said Mae but also Mommy! She is an absolute angel and she is sleeping soundly in her crib in our hotel room as I type! We had the most amazing day at the orphanage yesterday. We spent about 3-4 hours and it was like time stood still. We had lots of quality time with our sweet Mode, we got to hold and play with her friend Lily, we got to see 2 boys that are going to Wacap families, and we gave all the children new toys. They were so cute and excited! The toddlers were napping when we first arrived, so we went shopping at the Tesco Lotus and bought TONS of clothes, toys, formula, and diapers for the kids. I was dying to blog yesterday but couldn't get a good connection. Tonight I can get connection but can't send email. It's driving me a bit crazy cause I have good news to tell and many pictures to share!!

To Ellie: WE GOT LILY WITH A SMILE! A big, beautiful smile and she looked soooo precious! She got all your gifts and they showed her your picture and she knows about you. I was seriously impressed with the head nanny of the toddler room. She had Lily laughing like crazy! I got lots of pics for you and video, too. Will send you as soon as I possibly can. I know you must be dying for some news from here. Hopefully, we can figure out the internet problem soon! I have her height, shoe size, and measurements for you too!

To Lynn & To Leah - I saw your boys and got pictures! Both adorable and sweet boys. We bought them (and others) remote control cars. They love electronics but aren't allowed so that was the closest thing! Will send you pics as soon as the server will let me send mail.

The nanny in the toddler room had all the kids laughing and Ruby was singing this song about Chaang (elephant) and acting out all these motions to it. It was so darn cute that I could hardly believe my eyes and ears! Ruby hears fine and responded not only to them but also to me! She is doing incredibly well and is bonding already. It's all so surreal! We bought a video today of children singing and doing the Chaang song (and Ellie, I got you one too!)

Then today. Oh, my...today! If I had to write a story about a perfect day and how it would be, it couldn't be as beautiful as this day! She smiled as soon as she saw me today. I put my arms out to her and she came over to me with her arms up for me to pick her up. I went in first and Jeff stayed in the office to finish the paperwork. They let me run in quick cause I couldn't take it another second. I held her and she clung to me, smiled at me, talked for me. She hears very well and talks so cute and sweet! She can count, sing, and today she was picking up new words like crazy! Yesterday she said Mae & Paw, but today she said Mommy a lot more and Dadda and baby and about 5 other things I can't even think of right now. She repeats what we say and do. In the car I gave her a bottle and she slept like an angel in my arms for about a half hour. When she woke up I thought she would be scared or cranky, but no! She looked up at me and smiled! Then she looked out the window with amazement and excitement - pointing to each new thing. Jeff let me really bond with her first. He was so incredible. He took most of the pics and all the video yesterday and today and I held her the most. She wasn't too bad with him and he got some smiles out of her, but she was still clinging to me more and a bit shy with him.

WELL, you should have seen them today! We got this blow up thing that you rock and bounce on. Like a hippity hop. Ruby sat on one while Jeff played with a second one and he had her LAUGHING up a storm! And I mean laughing so hard she had tears almost coming. It was the cutest thing on earth! Then Jeff went over and dipped her foot in the pool and she smiled and wanted to go over. So we dipped just one foot in a bit. She loved it! We sat on the edge and before you know it she was soaked. I had to hold her back from jumping in she loved it so much! Fearless! So we all got our suits on and went for a swim. Well, for a splash, I should say! Stayed on the step but she was really brave and put her arms out for Daddy who took her out just a couple step and then back to me. It was amazing. She really bonded with him a lot today. It was beautiful to see.

So far we have had very little tears. Late this afternoon she we were sitting in the room and she broke out into full crying. I held and rocked her and she cried for maybe 10 minutes. Then we played a bit and was okay until maybe 15 minutes later she started again. This time even harder. Only lasted about 5 minutes this time because my brilliant husband whips out the organic goldfish like duck crackers. She loved them and instantly stopped crying. The poor thing was hungry!!! We forgot about the schedule! Silly new parents forgot to check the schedule. She eats dinner at 3:30 and it was 4 by the time we figured this out and found the sheet. OH! So we went out and had the cook make us some fried rice and she has been an angel ever since. (Duh!) We felt seriously stupid, but learned a good lesson. When in doubt...feed her! :-) We will be following a strict schedule tomorrow!!!

She eats like a champ, is sleeping like a log, and has the sweetest, laid back personality on earth! We are just in awe of her. I have been kissing her like crazy and taught her to kiss with the "mwa" sound. This afternoon at one point we were playing and I kissed her again with a lound "mwa"! She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek just the same!! We did this ten more times back and forth and then she gave kisses to Daddy, too. It was incredible! Such a loving little girl! How much more we love her every second! At dinner she just stopped at one point and stared at me. I smiled and she smiled and we just sat like that for a minute.She smiled at Daddy a lot too. We are seriously feeling like we stepped out of a dream.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

WE MADE IT!

Whew! After a somewhat rocky start, we made it! We were close to missing the first flight due to major traffic but it got delayed anyway so we had plenty of time. Still we were nervous about the second one because we only had a half hour to make the connection in Chicago. We arrived at Gate B and of course, had to go all the way to Gate C to make the flight to Tokyo. We were nervous and literally RAN through the airport with all our stuff. Poor Jeff was carrying the 2 heavy carry-ons. One had 2 laptops, all the electronics, and all the adoption paperwork. The other was a change of clothes and shoes for all of us and my fancy hairdryer and clarisonic skin brush that I HAD to have. I had all our blankets and travel pillows plus my own huge diaper bag carry on. What a sight we must have been!  Sweat streaming down Jeff's face, me huffing like I ran a marathon. Cause we DID. As we were tearing down the hall I heard "Kitzmillers please report to Gate B16, final call". I ran even faster and was like WAAAAAIT! Thank GOD, we made it!

Once we got on there, everything about our day changed dramatically. The people at United knew their flights were always late and saw how tired and stressed we were. I was so relieved just to be on that plane but was also a bit worried about the luggage not making it. They assured us that they are really good about luggage on international flights and not to worry. Within minutes our flight attendant told his supervisors about us and they were all back at our seats taking care of us. So incredibly sweet, this crew! We told them about the adoption and they kept coming back with bottles of water, gifts from business class (toiletries), even a glass of wine from first class with our dinner! The 12 hour flight was a breeze. We both slept, watched some good movies, ate a lot of rice and noodles. Another nice thing about United is when we checked in at Philadelphia, the guys saw it was Jeff's birthday and heard us talking about the bag for the orphanage and WAIVED the overage fee for our bags! For ALL of them! Talk about nice! Saved us a fair amount of money cause let me tell you those bags are HEAVY!!!

As you can tell I am wide awake and thrilled to get internet at our airport hotel. We had some average room service and Jeff is taking a nap. I need to try to do the same. We need to be up at 4am and it's one now. Both of us slept about 3 hours on the Chicago-Tokyo flight and 4 from Tokyo to Bkk. Not too bad. Think I am just hyped up with excitement!  We are meeting our daughter later today! How amazing is that?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Daddy's Words to You, " I'm Permanent "

As all of you know out there in the blogging world (who have been following our adoption adventure) Jen has been the sole writer and composer of this beautiful blog for our precious little daughter Ruby. I thought that since my emotions are high that I share my thoughts for my daughter as the time is near and our wait has finally taken it's course.

"My dear daughter Ruby, as I daydream what lies ahead, I sit here and think what the next few days and years will be like. There will be many emotional changes that will take place that will be both exciting and scary at the same time. These changes that will occur will certainly be life altering but most precious in our lives. I write you this, as I will one day want you to know how I feel with regards to this very special time in my life. Many things have crossed (and at times "raced") throughout my mind during this time in my life while waiting out this process. One thing you need to know is that I never stopped thinking of you and always imagine what took place in your life at any given moment; Are you playing or eating, are you awake or a sleep, are you happy or sad and what your feeling at any giving moment in time.... Most importantly..is there someone there when you feel all alone that will hold your hand when you need it most... These thoughts and emotions have been a daily occurrence since I saw your beautiful little face. As the day draws near and the moment approaches... as we lock eyes for the very first time... know that you will always be protected, loved unconditionally and have a hand to hold yours ....I promise, You will never feel all alone or cry yourself to sleep...I'm here for now and forever... I'm Permanent.

On my birthday today, know that you are truly the greatest gift I could ever dream of or ask for!


I can't wait to meet you and hug you...I love you!..."chan rak khoon".

Your Forever Daddy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

READY TO GO!

Four heavy bags packed and already in the car. They are expecting heavy rains in the morning so Jeff thought we better do it now. We have packed everything under the sun. And then some! We are ready for anything and everything and eager for morning!
Just past midnight now so we are going to share a glass of wine and then head off to bed.

Good night and good bye for now! The next time I post will be from the land of smiles and you can bet the two of us will surely be smiling! :-)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY HUBBY! LOVE YOU! THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST BIRTHDAY FOR YOU EVER!

My Grammy


Around the time the Alzheimers really started setting in, my Gram gave me some old apron's of hers. It was almost as if she knew the end was near so she started giving things away to everyone. She was such a chic lady. I could so see her in her high heels, cute outfit, and matching apron doing her housework with a smile. She was the ultimate 50's housewife and cleaned her house with a passion! I tucked the apron away in a drawer and hadn't thought about it for awhile. Today I was looking for... what? I don't even know. A night light maybe? I never look in that little night stand drawer in Ruby's room. The thought just popped in my head that I should check it's contents. (Double checking everything today!) I opened it a found the apron. A pretty little pink apron to tie around the waist.  Feelings came rushing to the surface. It smelled like her. Like her house. It is perfect for little Ruby to do kitchen play and I just smiled to myself with tears in my eyes knowing that Gram is with us. She is watching over us and just wanted me to know. How I miss that beautiful woman! But how I know she is never further than a thought and a prayer. 

Boy, emotions are running high today! 

A Special Gift


While we are so excited about getting our little Ruby, part of it is also bittersweet. Her friend, little Lily, will be left behind a few months more until her family can get there. We are sad for how Lily may feel to see Ruby go, but we know she will soon have the most incredible family who is going to love her so much and make up for the losses. I wanted to get something special for her, but didn't know what. Blogging buddy, Terri Bell hit the nail on the head. She said, get them two exact dolls or stuffed animals that they each can keep. Love it! Thanks, Terri! Wanted to find two bears that hug or something, but found these instead at Pottery Barn Kids last night. 

Two pretty little princesses to represent our little princesses. They are finger puppets, too, so interactive. You can put your fingers in the legs and make them dance. Jeff actually found them and stuck his fingers in there to show me what you do. Is that cute or what? He's gonna be such a cute Daddy! I took a purple permanent marker and wrote both girls names on the leaves of both dolls. (Wish my hand writing was a bit better and my marker a bit thinner, but oh, well. You can still make it out, I think, and we parents can explain!)

When we see the girls we will give both dolls to Ruby. We will ask Anna to explain the one is for Lily and to hand it to her. Of course, cameras will be on hand to capture this moment. And tissues!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thoughtful People!

A few thank you's...

My Dad drove up from Harrisburg yesterday, just to take me to lunch. Dad, Jason and I had some good laughs and good eats and then Dad came to the house to hang out a bit before driving back. Such a nice afternoon. Thanks, Dad!

My phone lines and email have been burning up the last 2 weeks. So many well wishes! My sweet Aunt Sophie called me the other night just to wish us a safe trip. My cousin Anna Mary called yesterday and we had the best chat. Had a great chat also with my cousin Angie this week. Found out my cousins Angie and Chrissy (and probably others) are planning a shower for us when Ruby gets home for all our family in Harrisburg. (Later, of course. Not right away). How incredible is that? I am really touched.

My Face Book page has been loaded with nice comments. I've had so many wonderful and encouraging emails. We have received gifts. My cousin Lisa and her hubby sent us some cute pots & pans. My pal Christina sent 2 precious books and a precious hand made book sling for Ruby to take them with us on outings. My sister-in-law's mom, Marie, brought us over a really cool Baby Einstein first reader and a book of first words. So kind! Everyone has been so good to us! And of course, all the support I have gotten here from the friends that have followed our journey over the last 20-some months.

So today, I just want to say thanks to all the thoughtful people in our lives. Every comment, every prayer, every gift, and every thought is truly appreciated. Thank you all so much!

More Shower Pics

Got a few more great shots in from others that took pics that day. Had to share now while I have the time! My favorite shot is Logan standing by the chocolate fountain looking guilty. Classic!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Play Room!

It's done! Our little tv room has been transformed into a play area! Same room but safer, brighter and more kid stuff!

A lot of bang for my buck: 3 bright pillows (on sale at Pier One) add a splash of color and tie in the new pics.
New art and frames.

A cool metal "tree" (also from Pier One). It's adorned with butterflies from my shower! 
Ryan, Logan, and Ava tested out the playroom this weekend.  It was so cute to see some play action in there! My wooden toys were a hit and so was the play table from Mom.  I hid a bunch of toys in the closet upstairs as to not overload Ruby when she gets home. Wanted it to be cheerful with enough toys for stimulation, but not so much as to cause sensory overload. Can't wait to see her playing in there!

One Happy Holiday Weekend


Love the shot of everyone getting ready to dig into the food! We had a very casual little cook out on Monday to celebrate the beginning of our new family and the end of summer. The air is already feeling like fall. Crisp and a tiny bit cool, but still sunny and comfortable. I just love fall. Hoping our Ruby will, too, but guessing she might be a little chilly at first! Good thing she has two very willing subjects ready to snuggle up with her cuteness!

Jeff's parents came down for a wedding on Saturday and while they were at the vineyard having a good time, Jeff & I had a fun time packing, shopping, and talking about our trip! Bought Ruby the CUTEST Snow White costume at the Disney Store. I know. It is far too soon and would be very scary to actually do Halloween this year. But the ensemble was too cute to pass up so we got it for her to play dress up and for Mommy to snap a few quick pics! The smallest size was 2/3 so I am thinking she could also wear it next year. Hey, be proud of me for only stopping at one! Those costumes are ADORABLE and I've held out 2 whole years already. I could wait no longer - it was coming home!

Ruby's suitcase is packed. And quite full, I might add. I bought so many summer things because we thought we were moving to FL at the time. Well, she may not fit into the 18-24 month next Spring, so I figured I would just pack it ALL. She'll have a different outfit on every day of the trip! LOL! But hey, at least I won't have to do as much laundry!

Next came the orphanage suitcase. Again, fully packed. Soft blocks, toddler toothbrushes, toddler paste, neosporin, band-aids, dolls, shoes, clothes, etc. Then came mine. Yea. We are still trying to figure out how to get my toiletries, special hair dryer, not to mention shoes in it with all the clothes that are already in there. Hey, a girl has to be prepared! LOL. Actually, mine is almost done and we will finish and pack Jeff's tonight. He is easy, thank God, so we can put whatever didn't fit in all the other suitcases in with his!

I have to stop at the Target and pick up some Baby Einstein DVD's for the orphanage (now that Anna told me they have a DVD player). Other than that, we are DONE!!! House is clean. My neighbors are watching the dog and getting the mail. My husband is painting the newly fixed banister as we speak. My brother is taking care of the cat, the cat box, and the trash. God bless him, he is really going all out for us! For Jeff's birthday present and our homecoming, he is having his cleaning woman do the house before we get back and stocking the fridge with produce, milk, and misc. perishables. How lucky are we? (Thanks, Jase!)

Since we got so much done, it was easy to have a few people over and have some fun. Of course, my in-laws were on hand and helped us SOOO much this weekend. Jeff and Woody were painting shutters, repairing stuff, and working on guy stuff. Larae & I cooked up a new recipe in the kitchen together - a stuffed eggplant with feta, tomato, walnut, and onion. Good, but we want to perfect the recipe a bit before sharing! :-) My brother Jason came early to install a new banister at the top of the stairs so we can then install the baby gate that didn't fit on the old one. Lots of team work and lots of love around here!

Friday, September 4, 2009

ONE WEEK!

One week from today we will get on a plane. Wow! Everything is coming together and it promises to be a gorgeous weekend. Have lunch with my brother John today. Pick my hubby up at the airport whose coming back from a business trip. Cook out planned for Labor Day. Packing...well, that's getting there!

The wooden frames I ordered for the playroom just came in and are gorgeous. They nailed the color. Wanted a distressed look and an orangey/pinkish red to match the artwork. The did a custom color and shipped it out in a week! Will post a pic when they are on the wall. If anyone needs frames that are high quality but a great price (only $18 each including glass) go to www.windmillwoodworks.com. They are awesome!

Called DiscMakers and re-ordered my CD. It is going to press! Disney is sending the story line for a new movie product coming out by Tuesday so I can work on that before we leave. Easy peasy. Can record sometime in October and can do it locally so Ruby can either come with or I can go at night while she's sleeping. Won't take me away from her at all. And thank God, cause I'd hate to turn down Disney, but Miss Ruby comes first!!! It's amazing how it's all worked out.

Happy Weekend!!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Old Bessie Died & Disney Called

Yes. That is actually how my day went. Let me explain. "Old Bessie" is the name I gave our 50+ year old furnace that chose NOW to be the time she passed into that great graveyard of misc. mechanicals. Old Bessie has been a faithful servant and we are grieved at her passing. Or should I say, we are grieved at her replacement, costing a mere $10,000. Not kidding. And not the best timing.
But the Universe taketh and the Universe giveth back. I got a call from a Disney producer today. Yes, I really did. My Uncle works with him and passed my song, Butterfly Moon, along months ago. They liked it, but there needed to be the "right" project for it. After some time went by I figured my chance had passed so I went ahead to release the CD myself.  I literally got home from DiscMakers this afternoon, where I finally dropped off my master CD for pressing, along with my design and artwork (that I worked on until 2am last night) when I got the call. The Disney producer said they are interested in my song but I'd need to change the lyrics to make it work to fit the movie "Up". I ended up practically writing a whole new song called Magical Sky within an hour. Same tune, different lyrics. They are doing a new product to promote the movie - a song and story book - and want a few songs to go with it. If the song gets picked they will not only want to buy it, but they want me to sing it! I would probably be able to record it locally and I explained I'd be out of the country and that was fine - it could wait till I got back. (Jeff & Ruby can easily come to the studio with me.) How great is that? 

The chance to get in with a company like Disney is incredible as they would be open to hearing more material that I write in the future. Not to mention that this credit could help me sell my lullaby CD and raise money for Mercy!  I will get paid to sing it and paid for the song.  It's not a big money maker as it's not for a movie. He said, don't think Ferrari, but think of enough to take a nice vacation. (LOL -How about enough for a furnace?) I'm an unknown so Disney will own everything, but I think I will still own my own version still called Butterfly Moon and can still release it on my album.  I think. Have to find out for sure. This is not a done deal yet, but so exciting I had to share. Had to call DiscMakers back and tell them to put everything on hold for a few days till I know for sure. 

Wow, what a whirlwind the last 2 weeks has been! Busier and more exciting than the last 2 years combined! Been running like a mad woman trying to get everything we need for Ruby, everything we need for the trip, laundry done & packed, stuff put away, shower thank-you's sent, diapers and crib sheets washed, freezer stocked, contractors to give estimates, CD done, and house cleaned. It's almost all done. (Still have packing & cleaning to do and possibly new vocals to record next week). I had to re-write my lyrics and record a rough vocal of me singing it and send it to them by 4pm their time. While trying to record the phone was ringing, the dog was barking, and another heater guy showed up to give an estimate. Much excitement around here! 

Geez, no wonder I'm tired. But you know what? I am so happy you couldn't slap the smile off my face! Tired or not. The music thing is really nice, but really that is so minor in the grand scheme of things. I am meeting my daughter!!!! My beautiful sweet daughter!!! We get to hold her and love her and she will never be alone again. I feel blessed beyond measure.