Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pink (and White) Christmas

Well, I think we are ready! I guess we better be since Christmas is here! The ground is still covered with snow and the house is filled with wrapped presents and a full fridge to great the family arriving tonight. The plans are all laid out for our travel on Christmas day and the last gift was bought last night. The hubby and I teamed up yesterday to give the house a good once over, while alternating - watching Ruby in between. She was so funny and wanted to help with everything- which, as you can imagine, was cute but not that helpful! She loves the swifter and would not give it back until we gave her her own feather duster to "clean" with. God bless her, she loves to clean! Well, at least pretend that is!

Although she still has a cold, she was in pretty good spirits last night. We nursed our sweet girl as best we can and hope she is feeling a bit better in the morning. Still has a nasty cough! The doc said to use Little Noses saline in her nose, give her honey 4 times a day (which she loved) and rub Little Colds on her chest. We got a humidifier in her room and also rubbed Vics on her feet (Jeff read this on the net so we gave it a try). We also got Pedialite pops to help her get enough fluids. She smiled the entire 20 minutes it took her to eat it!

We watched "The Little Drummer Boy" last night. I was so excited to finally see a video that showed the true meaning of Christmas...until we watched it. The end is sweet, but this is NOT a show for an adopted child to watch. There is a scene near the beginning where the boy's parents and home are burned down and they call him a "poor orphan". Luckily, Ruby is only 2 and we sort-of saw it coming and distracted her until that part was over. No more 1968 movies for us! And none without pre-screening! Ah well, the rest of it was really sweet and Ruby watched with much interest at the baby Jesus at the end. Just glad we caught that part in the beginning!
We took her to church for the first time 2 weeks ago. (This week we were snowed in). She did real well and we found a sweet little church down the road for our house with a super nice pastor and some real sweet people. Everyone came up to say hi to Ruby and they were really nice to us there. Taking the whole family there tonight for Christmas eve service. 

I got a little pink tree for her room a couple weeks ago with all princess-y, bears, and girlie type ornaments. Even found a tiara at Target! So cute! And Miss Kitty. Loves Miss Kitty and takes them off to play and says MEOW and then puts them back. I have two Disney princess ornaments that will magically appear Christmas morning. I also have some special things for her bedroom stocking hidden in her room so I can quickly pull them out after she's asleep. So excited! Jeff & I are going to have a few presents (all pink and girlie stuff) in her stocking and by her little tree to open in the morning with just the 3 of us. There are pink beads, a pink purse, a doll baby, and bag of pink baby care accessories. Also pink sparkley slippers! Since we have my mom, brother, uncle, and his girlfriend all staying, we wanted to have a few minutes or more to ourselves just with Ruby. Some special family time on our first Christmas. Then we will head down and join everyone for more fun, presents, and a big breakfast. Here is Ruby's tree...
And a close up of the ornaments.

Yes, we love pink around here. But more than just the cute decorations and fun gifts, we have that "pink" feeling on the inside. All warm and fuzzy just knowing that our baby girl is home and happy and with us this Christmas. We are a family. And it is amazing! Words can not describe how wonderful these last few months have been. For those still waiting, it is worth every single second of the agonizing wait. Every single second. We have been blessed and are immensely grateful.

It's an exciting time right now to witness so many kids coming home the last few months! A special welcome home to Nancy & John, Terri & Chris, and Nadine & Conn. And a BIG congrats to Emily and family, Jessica & Matt and Rosemary and Brian who are getting ready to travel early in the new year!
Wishing you all love, happiness, and peace during this Christmas, Hannakah, and very special season. 

With much love and pink-ness,
Jen, Jeff, and Ruby Kate

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Day

As you can see, I had Ruby dressed up like the Michelin man. LOL. She was so cute! I told her we were going to go outside and play and she practically ran upstairs (as I ran after her) to get changed. I had mentioned we had to put more clothes on in order to go out. She's such an agreeable little one. Never minds when I dress her up, change her clothes, put her something new. We tried footed pj's this week and she got a big kick out of them. She likes to say the words "button" and "snap" and get excited to see them on her clothes or mine. Liked her snow suit, too, but her face when I stood her up with the snow suit on was hilarious. Like "Uh, how am I supposed to move with this on?" Still she was a happy camper. I think she was pretty eager to go outside and see this "snow" stuff up close! 

And she loved the snow!  Just loved throwing snow at the dog who in turn, loved to jump up and bite at it. Had a ball just walking around in it and chasing Daddy, too. She liked it so much, in fact, that she didn't want to come back in! We finally said it was time to come in after about 40- 45 minutes. We had some crying/fussing for a couple minutes until she realized there was a snack involved. Then she decided it was a good idea to come in after all. :-)

We all got rid of our wet layers and sat by the fire. Ahhh. A very nice thing after snow play and a good way to set the stage for nap time!

Sick Days

Bit of a long week here! Sleepless nights, colds, poop, and internet trouble. Not a pretty combination. LOL, the blizzard was actually the FUN part of our week!

First Ruby wasn't sleeping. Couldn't for the life of me figure out why she was tossing and turning and waking up crying again. And why she was hard to get down for naps again. Turns out the Giardia is back. Ugg. That is exactly what happened the last time she had it. Tough little buggers decided to stick around I see. Poor Ruby. I wondered why she wasn't eating much for a couple days. After 4 nights in a row of little sleep (Ruby would go back to sleep after crying but I couldn't) Mommy came down with a cold. I sware, I have NEVER had so many colds as I do now that I am a Mom. This is like the 3rd or 4th one in 3 months! Time to go back to all things natural and organic. Been straying a bit due to Whole Foods being so far away, but I really need to go back on probiotic vitamins and a mostly vegetarian and organic diet.  I never get sick like this. Of course, kids really do carry lots of stuff and we have been around lots of them - at the mall, the classes, friends, etc, so maybe I'd get it anyway. 

So, first, I got a cold, then a couple days later Ruby got one, then at the same time the giardia symptoms started coming back and then we got the call confirming it. I had been weaning her on to milk and was up to 1/3 of the bottle and now we have to stop dairy again. Urrr. She hasn't been real cranky - all things considered - but there were a few days that were trying. Feel so bad for her.  Since we missed classes and were home all day, we had to get creative. We finger painted, colored, pulled out her princess tent, wrapped presents together, decorated a few little trees around the house, and played with every toy and puzzle we own. We have also snuggled a lot and watched more TV than I ever thought I would allow, but it's been nice and she needed the down time. One exception is we went out in the snow yesterday. Will do another post on this and share some pics. There is no way anyone could recognize her hidden in her snow suit so I feel okay posting!

So we've had a long week, but some good stuff, too. Ruby has been bonding with Daddy more than ever. It's so great to see. Since we've been home I have tried to give them alone time, but she would always run into the kitchen looking for me. Now she will sit in his lap and snuggle for an hour and not run for me. While I love her running for me, this is actually a really, really good thing and I love how much she has bonded with Jeff in the last few weeks. She will run to him now just as much as me and he can pick her up and hold her for longer periods of time. It's just wonderful to see!

I went out on a limb this week and ran to Toys R Us during her nap. It was packed and there was a lot of traffic so I didn't get home in time. Nervous Nelly that I am, I called Jeff's cell like 5 times during her nap. He would answer, YES, Jen, she is still sleeping! Finally, I knew I wouldn't make it back in time so I told him to get her up and let her know I was on my way home. She had already napped 2-1/2 hours so I knew she had to get up. Ruby had never woken up without me being there. But she feels secure enough that in my heart I knew she'd be just fine...and she was. I got home only about 15-20 minutes after she got up and she was snuggling in front of the tube with Daddy watching the Wonder Pets. He said she cried just a little but he told her I was coming right back and then he took her downstairs. Success! Next time I will try a little longer and see if I can go for an hour. Sometimes it will be nice to be able to get a break, but still I think it will be harder for me than for her! But it is good for her to know that sometimes Mommy has to go out but I will always be back.

Today, she still has her cold and giardia, but she's a little better each day. And Mommy's cold is gone so she can clean her house and entertain her little one with much more enthusiasm! Hooray!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CD Pre-Release!

Forgive the shameless plug, but...
 BUY YOUR LULLABY CD TODAY! Just in time for Christmas, I finally got my butt in gear and got a pay-pal button on here so I can sell CD's! Been so busy with the little miss, Christmas, and the Disney thing that I forgot all about actually selling my whole album. So, if you'd like one, please click on the above button at the top right corner and order one today! Thanks for your support...and remember, half the proceeds go to a GREAT cause. See for more info on Mercy Centre and what they do for the children of Thailand.  

Monday, December 14, 2009


September 14, 2009. A day we will never forget. Gotcha Day. The day we took our precious little girl into our arms and took her with us forever. Jeff reminded me that today was officially 3 months as a family. So odd, I thought. No, it must be longer than that! Most days I totally forget how new this all is for her. She has adapted and accepted all the many changes in her life so quickly. She's a happy kid and just pitter patters around the house like she's always been here. It FEELS like she has always been here. We are bonded as a family and comfortable in a way I never imagined it could be this soon. Life is good at 3 months. And to think, we have so many more!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Great Moments...and Preschool

Great moments. Too many to list, but a few highlights:

-Having a nice family dinner with the hubby, my mom, Jason, and Anthony...with Ruby and Ryan sitting at the heads of the table.
-Watching Ruby and Ryan run around the kitchen squealing and laughing as they chase each other and play.
- Watching Ruby snuggle with her Grandma (my mom).
- Watching her climb up on my brother Jason's lap and giggle.
- Watching her face light up whenever Daddy walks into the room and see her take off and run to him.
-Putting Ruby down for a nap and seeing her stare up at me with those big brown eyes while I sing to her.
-The moment Ruby wakes up and see me and gives a great big smile.

This morning we slept in late cause she had a rough night of tossing and turning and a little crying. I wonder if she had nightmares about the doctors office. I woke up and immediately focused on the clock in front of me that said 9:00! Oh my! Music class is at 10:15! I turned over right away to gently wake Ruby. Well, I turned around and there she was wide awake just laying there quietly smiling up at me with this sweet little smile. There is nothing better than that. Okay, except the hugs and morning cuddles that follows!

We were a bit late, but still made our music class and then had lunch with our friends Dawn and little Brianna. A great, long lunch and I think all 4 of us really enjoyed it. On the way home, we stopped off to see this little pre-school I've been wanting to see. In a word: PERFECT! They are sooo sweet and family-like there. The Montessori rooms are adorable and the kids sweet and polite. They looked like they were having fun, too. Ruby loved it there and hardly wanted to leave! Not going to start until next year, but I think this is the one! Ruby was very comfortable and the kids (who will be her classmates) were all so good with her. There was even a darling little (adopted) girl from Guatamala in the class that was close to her age and just as tiny. The 2 sat together at the table working on their little "projects". So cute. I was also happy to find a very diverse group of children, and again I must say how totally sweet they all were. Even the bigger kids came over to say hi to Ruby and sit for a minute, prompting one boy to say, "Boy, the new girl is really popular!" LOL! 

I was told the older kids really look out for the little ones. The kids range from 3-5 so the youngest learn from the older ones. Great concept and I can see how Ruby learns from watching my nephew and other friends kids who are a little older. The place is so charming, too. It's a little red barn schoolhouse and not more than a mile from our house. It's got a nice playground outside and a big barn building behind it where they do gym and music and other activities. For 8 weeks in the winter they even do yoga! I was thrilled to find this out! They also have music, French, art, and multi-cultural studies - even at the preschool level. Not sure about another language, but I guess she will have English pretty well down by next September. The classes are small and the teachers stay with the same kids for a few years forming a bond with the kids. I just love it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poor Baby!

Today we had to get the last dreaded shots. We have 2 boosters yet, but I'm going to go back twice for them so we can do the mist. I just can't bare to see her get another shot for awhile. The nurses thought it would be a great idea to double up and each take an arm to get it over with quick. Seemed like a great idea at the time, but it REALLY freaked Ruby out. She was screaming and sobbing like I have never seen. I cried, too. So hard to watch her in pain and wondering why and of course, there is no way I could explain WHY she was being tortured. It was just awful!!! She pulled an arm away and got stabbed in the palm by one of the needles about to go in her arm. How she managed to wriggle it away from all 3 of us I just don't know.It happened so quickly. It wasn't a deep stab or anything and they were not concerned, but I think that is the most sore cause she is still nursing it a bit and gives to me and Grandma (who is visiting) for kisses. Poor little thing. Gave her a special treat - raisins and gummy snacks - and she is cuddling with Grandma watching Sesame Street. Going to stay in on this rainy day and have a fun, but relaxing day for her after all the trauma of the morning. Maybe make some more cookies this afternoon. My brother Jason is bringing Ryan over for a play date and dinner tonight.  Good remedy for shots: lots of love, coddles, treats, and play time. Okay, yea, we do this every day (minus the gummies) but today...even more!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

This morning I dunked Ruby's toast crust (which always ends up on my plate) into my coffee without thinking. The cute little miss then picked up her toast and dipped it in her carrot juice! The look on her face was hilarious - like, yuk! Why do you do this, Mommy??? The carrot juice piece then ended up on my plate as well. :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Words/Foods/Experiences

Words: She actually said "thank you" for the first time - unprompted - on Thanksgiving day! I handed her a pretzel in the car and she said it. Good thing I was in the car with my seat belt on or I would have fallen off my chair! She had repeated it a few times when I said it but I never knew she knew how to use the word.  Now she says it often if I hand her something. Other new words include: "there you go", okay, hooray, and come on. She actually said "Come on Max" yesterday morning to our cat to get him to come have his treats! She loves to feed and give treats to the cat and dog. Learning more animal sounds, too, and "ee-i" (Old MacDonald) continues to be her favorite song along with "If your Happy and You Know it". She does all the right parts to it and I just have to get it on video soon.

New foods she's tried recently: turkey (but doesn't like gravy), pancakes (but not syrup), cereal, granola, salad with ginger dressing, edamame (she's not sure about this one), salmon, pears, peaches, raisins, milk, oatmeal cookies, and sunflower butter. Getting more adventurous but we still stick to mainly fruit, veggies, toast, eggs (in am) and rice, noodles, soup, or pasta for dinners with veggies and chicken. Sometimes fish. We found out that almost anything mixed with rice will work for her. Must be a texture thing. She also loves carrot/ginger soup. Yum. So do I!

New experiences: She saw snow for the first time on Saturday. I must say she wasn't overly impressed. Kind of stared in wonder for a minute and then was like, okay, let's go downstairs and play now! When we get a big snow that lays and she can play in it, maybe that will be a different story! We decided to stay in all day yesterday and it was so nice. We did a big pan of roasted veggies with roasted chicken for dinner (mixed with rice and chicken stock for Ruby). Before dinner, Ruby and I made oatmeal cookies together. She was so cute and very proud of herself as we worked side by side. She took such pride in each step and especially liked licking the spoon! (I must add here that I am having camera withdrawal as I left my camera at my Mom's last weekend! Missed so many shots this weekend! Luckily, Mom is coming for a visit tomorrow and is bringing it). 

Anyway, we gave her a couple cookies after dinner with some milk and she liked it. She hadn't had cold milk in a cup before, but the lure of dunking a cookie in it must have made it too exciting to resist! I made the cookies with half whole wheat flour and must admit they could have been better. May try a different type tonight. But, still, the experience of baking cookies with my daughter and then all 3 of us decorating the tree was just immeasurable. Lots of wonderful new experiences this weekend! Birthday party, bounce-house, snow, baking, Christmas tree...good stuff!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend Highlights

Gonna have to bullet point cause there is no time for my usual ramblings today!

- Took Ruby on a horse drawn hayride at Shady Brook Farms Friday evening and it was sooo magical! They do a spectacular drive or ride-through holiday light show. Went with our good friends Kimi & Chris and their 2 kids. A good time was had by all!
-Afterwards, we went to a Japanese steak house for hibachi. It was both fun and delicious and Ruby ate like she hasn't seen food for 2 months. LOL! The kid really likes her Asian dishes!  Time to dust off those cook-books and get serious with my Asian recipes!
- Got my contract in for the Disney project and the VP actually wrote a personal note saying he loved the vocals and my song and..."let's make it a Disney classic!" Woa. This is a guy with 14 Grammy nominations (and 2 wins) under his belt. Pretty cool words to read! I find it both hilarious and ironic that I worked all my life to be this big star and tried to sing like everyone else. I tried everything and sang pop, R&B, country, gospel, blues, and jazz.  Now when it's not so important and I'm just singing with my God-given 16 year old sounding voice I get a deal! Ha! Hey, it's all good and I guess the lesson here is to always be yourself no matter what. Only took me 40 years to figure out! :-)
- Got a Christmas tree and the trimming is underway!
-Went to our first kids birthday party at an indoor gym-type place called Bouncing Off The Walls. Our friends Charlsey & John did a combined b-day party for their kids, Logan & Ava. It was a lot of fun and Ruby was brave and went right in the bouncy thing and climbed up the psuedo slide. She's not a fan of pizza and didn't eat any so I let her eat some cake. Yea, not a great idea. She was rather wired from both the sugar and all the activity, so next time I think I will feed her lunch BEFORE we go to a birthday party. Still, it was a great time and a fun, fun weekend.
-Today we are having a lazy morning decorating the tree, followed by a Christmas parade in a nearby town this afternoon if she is up from her nap by then.

Fun weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Barbie To The Rescue!

We had a good day in the studio. As is always the case, it took longer than expected. We were there about 3 hours. Daddy was just great with her and she did so well. But, also as expected, she was NOT thrilled when I had to shut the door between us to go in the sound room and record. She burst into tears the first time, so I let her come in and hang out with me while we did a sound check and "auditioned" a few mics for the best sound. I was wondering how we were going to get a good vocal and keep her feeling happy and safe at the same time when Jeff popped in her favorite movie - Barbie as the Island Princess. (Shame on me! It should have been a Disney movie, right?) But hey,  it's her favorite movie and she was glued. Afterwards, she played nicely and ate lunch with Daddy and forgot I was in the other room for awhile. We were able to get the first vocal done, email to Disney, then re-do it with a few different approaches...and then finally finish. 

I am on pins and needles waiting to hear from them and see if they liked it. They had a session in LA and probably won't get back to me until later. They originally asked me to sing it like my lullaby CD version - very soft and whispery. But when they heard it with the new lyrics and music they decided it needed to be more pop. So we did 5 more takes for them and sent it off for them to decide. At least 2 of the takes I was real happy with so they have plenty to work with. At least I hope so! Ruby napped almost an hour on the ride there and an hour on the way home. She is a happy camper right now playing with Daddy. I was so anxious about leaving her for so long, but the time in the studio served to be a great bonding time with Jeff and also good for her to leave my side and know I can go away for a short time but will always come back. So it was a good day and now we are back home and snuggling in for a cozy night. I'm actually glad we have no schedule tomorrow. Nothing for Ruby to do but be a kid and play with her toys. The only thing we have planned is dinner with our friends and their kids and a drive through Shady Brook Farms Christmas light display. Should be a nice start to the weekend!


I Heart Disney!

For all of those Christmas shopping, the Disney store is having a MAJOR sale. Buy one get one free on all of their toys. I saved a fortune and got GREAT gifts. But that's not the only reason I love Disney...

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to Ruby snuggling close. She is so sweet I can hardly stand it. Just want to scoop her up and give her hugs and kisses, but then, alas, I remember it's the middle of the night. I hold her close until she falls back into a deep sleep. So precious are these moments!

Once I am up, the brain starts working OT and I think I just need to check my email for some reason. I guess I was hoping for another email from Disney since we are recording tomorrow and I still didn't know what I was getting paid and had no contract. Sure enough, it was there! An email from the VP of A&R for Disney Records himself. The contract was sent! I should get my first song publishing contract from Disney in the mail today! Woo-hoo! They also let me know my pay for recording the vocals and that will be separate and paid right away. Just in time for Christmas! Pretty. Darn. Cool. Now if I can just get back to sleep so I am in good voice! 

I am excited, but also a tad nervous about Jeff having to occupy Ruby for 2 hours in the studio. She's pretty good, but I'm hoping she doesn't get upset when Mommy locks herself in the other room (sound room) to record. You can see through the glass and hear me so maybe she will be okay. We'll see, I guess! They have a TV in the waiting area so I'm hoping we can pop a movie in to distract her for a bit. That should help. My uncle Bob is the engineer and real excited to meet Ruby. He's going to bring his DVD player in just in case the studio's isn't there or working. Also, we have a Music Round class in the morning which I am making sure we don't miss before we go. Want her to have a fun morning and the dancing usually makes her nap good... which is what I am hoping she will do in the car. Wish us luck! Should be a fun day!

A HUGE hug and thank you to my Uncle Kevin in LA who passed my music on to his friends at Disney! Love you! A million thanks!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sparkle Plenty!

A cute little phrase my Gram used to say. And she loved sparkle. Whether she meant it for her spic and span house or the beads on her sweater, she was a glammy grammy and just a doll. I think of her often. Not surprisingly, a lot when I am cleaning. Yesterday Jeff and I tore the house apart during Ruby's nap to make room for the tree. We put the bakers rack in the dining room and put the wine cabinet from the living room into the kitchen in it's place. We rearranged the living room, cleaned, and took down all the fall decorations to make way for the Christmas ones. The place is starting to shine for the holidays! I just love it. So excited for the holidays this year! Ruby looked around quizzically when she got up, but without much care as she ran for her toys and to the TV for her favorite show: The Wonder Pets. She actually tried to sing the song the other day and says Ming-ming. It's so cute! 

We (finally) started our Christmas shopping yesterday, too. Jeff ran out and picked up a few things while I shopped online before Ruby got up. Christmas is underway at our house! Hooray! We got Ruby the Wonder Pet fly boat, my brother is getting her the school house, and we got a play set from Jeff's cousins Matt & Becky and their 2 sweet boys. We also ordered her a kitchen. It's so cool and has double ovens, washer, laundry basket, microwave, sink, clock, phone, pots, pans, and a storage cabinet. It also matches the kitchen which makes me happy since it will be the first thing you see when you walk in the house for the next few years. We are getting one from my cousin Angie (which is SO nice of them) but since we wanted this one originally, we decided we will keep the other one for Grandma's house. Ruby loves kitchen play so we are thrilled she can do this at my mom's house, too. Here's a picture of it:
Our kitchen is yellow with red and green accents and because I am just so particular and matchy, I'm going to paint (with non-toxic paint) all the blue parts the same shade red as the drawers. It's gonna look way cute and give her hours of fun! Can't wait to see her face!

Today we will put up the lights, garland, and maybe get a tree. It's gonna be sparkling plenty around here...and wait till we start the outside! Daddy's making big plans and quite frankly, I'm afraid. LOL!