Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smartie Pants

That's what Ruby's early intervention teacher called her today when she got nearly all the colors right. I am so proud of her. But it's not just for the way she is learning. It's how she manages to focus and be so sweet despite how she is feeling. She has been so good the last 2 days, even though I can tell she still doesn't feel that great. Her belly is so bloated and she tugged at her ears again today. She did get a lot more sleep (hooray) and I hope I am not jinxing it to say we slept great again last night!

She did real good with her first time with the teacher. Last week, we just talked and got to know each other. This week she worked with Ruby on colors, animals, and fine motor skills. She doesn't feel Ruby is really delayed at all. Just needs more time and work with the language. How amazing that is to hear after 20 months of hearing of her delays and supposed severe hearing loss??? I thank God every day for her and her progress and her hearing. We still have to go back to the ENT and see about her right ear. I cancelled last week's appt because there was no use when her ears were clogged up and she had an infection. So we will go next month.

I cancelled a play date today because the other little girl had a runny nose and cough. Paranoid or smart? I hated to do it cause I really like this mom and her sweet daughter. But we have been sick so much of the last 2 months that I couldn't risk any more germs entering the house! I used to laugh at Mom's that sound like me. And yet, here I am...faithful with my hand sanitizer and canceling plans all over the place. Hey, can someone please get me and Ruby a bubble until flu season is over??? :-)

Well, all for now. Mommy, Daddy, and little Miss Smartie Pants are headed to bed!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Progress and Setbacks

First for the progress: Ruby is back in her crib! We got a new queen size bed in there that sits lower and is easier for her to climb on and off. It's also a lot sturdier (with no gaps) like the old one. It was never meant for her and made me nervous that she might fall in the gap at the end of the bed between the bed rail and the mattress. I always had pillow shoved in there. Anyway, the new bed frame is great and we pushed Ruby's crib up against the end of the bed and lowered the rail so she could easily climb onto the bed. We told her that Daddy missed us and wanted to sleep with us. We asked her where she thought Daddy should sleep and she pointed to the bed. We asked where Ruby should sleep and she pointed to the crib!

The first night she went down great, but woke up 4 times crying. By 4am, we brought her into bed with us. All 3 of us tossed and turned for hours. Then last night (night #2) she only woke once for 5 minutes, then slept the rest of the night. Hooray! She also went right in her crib for naps the last 2 long as I stayed with her. So I take my lap top in or read a book and she goes right down. Last night before bed she was really cute. She was almost out when I put her down, but then she realized where she was and she got up to look at where we were. We laid there very still and quiet, trying so hard not to laugh as she'd go "uh!" and pop her head up to check on us...then do it again 2 seconds later...then 3 seconds more...then a minute later...then finally...silence! Before I start screaming success, I better see how we sleep the rest of the week. Still, it is definitely progress!

Now for the setbacks: Ruby has giardia again. Why are they lingering on? How many rounds of meds does the child have to endure? I wondered why she has seemed more cranky and didn't want to sleep. Poor baby, she must be sooo uncomfortable! I'd be moody, too! She is bloated and yet lost the 1.6 lbs that she gained over the last 2 months. I am fighting to find more foods that will fatten her up since we are yet again off dairy. I bought her cookies today and she had one and then requested "cackers, pease!" Guess I will be eating the cookies. (Oh, twist my arm!) Using the word please a lot and is so much sweeter than I would be with a stomach ache, gas, and ear infection. She is on 2 different antibiotics and that can't be easy on the belly either. She is eating like a champ though. So that is good. It is also good to at least know what is going on with her.

Having said all that, today was a good day. She woke up happy, Daddy came with us to Little Gym, and they both enjoyed it. Later we did colors, play dough, puzzles, and fun stuff. She identified the colors of the play dough (red, yellow, blue, & green) and even said "play dough" which I didn't know she knew. We colored with her Dora book and now that she watches that with Daddy, for the first time she looked at it and identified things. We were just coloring and she yelled "backpack!" Cute. Then we played music and I drug out every instrument. She especially loves her guitar my mom got her. Such fun!

She is now kicking back in front of the tube with Daddy. They watch the interactive shows (Little Einsteins, Dora, & Mickey Mouse Club) and he is very involved with her. I can hear her talking and answering questions and laughing. It's really cute. A nice end to the day and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a good night's sleep for all of us tonight!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Did It!

I left the house. Not that I haven't left the house in the last 3 months. Ruby & I are on the go to classes and to run errands and go on play dates. I have snuck out on a few occasions during her nap to run errands and twice I got back a few minutes late and wasn't here when she got up. She was with Daddy and did fine. So yesterday, I made the break during waking hours. I decided that morning that I REALLY needed to go to the chiropractor and also get a massage. My back and neck were screaming for it. I got Ruby down for her nap early and easily (which was a big deal because she has been very restless this week which I will go into later). Within 10 minutes of taking her up she was solidly out. Yippee! I ran downstairs on my tip toes. I grabbed my coat, emptied half the contents of my super heavy diaper bag, and went for the keys with a big, giddy smile on my face. The keys! Where on earth were they??? They are always in either my coat pocket or on the key rack. I searched for a good ten minutes...only to realize that my car was gone also. Jeff! He mentioned he had to go pick up the new bed frame we ordered. BUMMER. I forgot. He forgot I wanted to go somewhere, too.

Deflated, I went and did the usual nap time stuff: straightened up, did some laundry, checked email and such. But I also made myself and appt for 3:30 at the chiropractor, figuring I'd back out if she woke up crying and clingy as she has a good few times this week. Poor little miss has been restless a lot of the last 2 weeks. Her cold (that we have been passing back & forth) was lingering on and now she was tugging at her ears. Went back to the Dr. and yep...ear infection. No wonder she's been so cranky! She's on antibiotics and after 2 days is already sleeping and feeling better.

I'm wondering if the Giardia is back. We get test results back on Monday. Many of the symptoms are present: restless sleeping, nasty smelling you-know-what, cranky, picky eating followed by voracious appetite, itchy skin and scalp. All the symptoms she had before. Then again, it could just be the ear infection and congestion. We'll have to see. The poor thing has been uncomfortable and clinging to Mommy like a vine. I don't mind this usually, but it did take it's toll on my back and shoulders a bit. I never thought I'd be able to get away for a couple hours this week, and yet I had to do it eventually. Why not today?

She woke up happy after her nap so I decided to go for it. We explained that Daddy was going to take her to the park and she understood and seemed happy about this. She seemed to get that I was going in MY car and she was going in Daddy's car. But actually seeing my go was a different story. My heart tugged as I pulled away and saw her crying for me on the porch. But, I did it. I texted Jeff a few minutes later and he said she was fine. And then right b4 my massage I texted again and they were having a ball on the swings! Yay!

We had some unusually warm weather. Okay, not warm by MY standards (70-80 F), but in the 50's so nice enough them to go to the park. I was gone for 2-1/2 hours. I got adjusted, got a massage, and did an ionic cleanse. Aahhh. Just what I needed. Ruby got some great Daddy time in at the park, then they went for ice cream. I came home to them watching the Wonder Pets and all was well. Breakthrough!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Words & Great Educational Site

New words include: Happy, lollipop, please, "that one", help and "help you" (when she wants to stir the batter, help with her diaper, etc.) juice, banana, knife (for the play knife that cuts her fruit), car, mall (wonder how she knows this one???), in, out, coat, lotion, boo-boo, ouch, elbow, leg, knees, stop (unfortunately she heard us say this to the dog when she kept barking and now it's her new favorite word), "little bit", "look at that," Oh or oooo! (if she sees something she likes), back (as in put back), cow, hey, milk, bottle, water, and Elmo. What is it with Elmo, anyway? I took Ruby to Sesame Place once over Halloween. She liked it but didn't seem to know or make reference to any of the characters. She had seen Sesame Street only a hand full of times before and after. Well, one day I pulled out the Elmo plate that came with lunch at Sesame Place. I set in on the table and she lit up and yelled ELMO! Hmmm. When did she get to know him? Amazing how quick kids pick up and fall for Elmo. Guess that will make it fun when we visit Sesame Place this summer! Plan on getting season passes.

Have to share this GREAT website our friend John turned us on to that teaches kids words, reading and the alphabet. It's called and it's brilliant! Ruby and I have gone through letters A-K and she is learning how to say both the word and the sound it makes. She actually likes doing it as it has colorful graphics and sounds, plus cute characters. Click on the website above and go to ABC's. Very useful site and used by teachers. There is a matching game at the end of each alphabet letter. Ruby can't click and drag yet, but I took her through the game and said "does it go here? or here?" She actually understood me and pointed to the correct one every time! Yay, Ruby! And yay, Starfall! Check it out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Family Movie Night

Nice, laid back weekend around here. Friday night play date with Charlsey & John and the kids. Sat and Sun we ran some errands and took Ruby to the play ground and carousel in the mall. Did a lot of playing at home, too. She's really been getting into her kitchen play set a lot and LOVES the Doug & Melissa wooden food play set my mom got her. It has a "knife" that you can "cut" the fruit and veggies with and she will cut them over and over and then put them back. We took her around the kitchen pointing to "Mommy & Daddy's sink"... then "Ruby's sink", and then oven, clock, dishwasher, etc. I think it is becoming more fun as she is starting to get it.

Ended the weekend with family movie night. We received a few movies for Ruby for Christmas and decided to pop in Tinker Bell & The Lost Treasure. My uncle Kev from LA bought it for her, remembering that this is the movie that has the Song & Story CD coming out to promote it this spring. The CD that my song will be on! So it was nice to see the story, but more importantly, it was great to see such a cute movie that was age appropriate for Ruby. Many of the Disney movies are too old or scary for her right now. This one doesn't have an evil character and is a very sweet. A happy ending to a nice, relaxed weekend. We are all feeling better and looking forward to a good week!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Daddy & Daughter Time!

I believe every cloud has a silver lining. Woke up sick on Wednesday. I had to cancel the early intervention teacher. I was bummed but didn't want to get her and her family sick. Ended up getting a call from the Early Intervention coordinator and IU to have a conference call. An important call that I wouldn't have had time for that morning if the teacher was there. So that all worked out and Ruby & I had a fun day at home just playing and doing crafts and working on colors. Then yesterday I felt worse. Ended up a really good thing. Okay, not exactly great for me, but it gave Jeff a chance to take Ruby out somewhere without me. For the first time, Jeff was able to take her in the car and take her to a class. She loves music and I hated for her to miss the first Music Round class of the year. So I asked Jeff if he could possibly tear away from work for an hour to take her. He did...and it went great! He got to see her do her thing in class and they both got some great bonding time. She cried in the car a little when they first left, but she quickly got over (me) in exchange for a mum-mum cracker. (Hey!) So they had their first Daddy & daughter class together! Sweet! Hoping I can have him come to a Little Gym class sometime with us, too. I'm dying for him to see how courageous she is and how she loves it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Tactile Experiment

Had a ball with Ruby just now. Now Daddy is taking over so I can make dinner. My guilt was getting to me as we have had so many days of socializing followed by recoup days (from holiday and from colds before that) and we watched a lot of TV. I can't remember when I have watched so much and never so many cartoons, of course, and Baby Einstein videos! Ruby is picking up counting and words from the videos, but still I don't like that we have watched them so often. So the last few days I have been playing catch up and trying to do all the things I was doing more tactile stuff. We play with puzzles, stacking games, coloring, and word books. I pulled out a new puzzle I got from Haba and she did really well! It's a cool one and has multiple layers which she figured out quickly. Needed some help but not bad for the first time. How fun it is to watch her face when she is learning something or doing a task. She gets very serious and determined! Sometimes very annoyed if she can't do it, and then so proud when she figures it out. How I love her eager to learn spirit and determined nature.

I got a great new play dough set today with colors and cookie cutter and a press thing that makes it like spaghetti. (Recipe for the home made stuff is below). She liked it though still not a fan of actually squeezing the stuff. I touched a piece to her nose to be silly and she said YUK and pushed it away. Maybe it was the smell. LOL. After a bit, we put that away and played with moon sand. Seriously messy so that was followed by vaccuum "play" haha. The cool thing is she identified a few colors and pointed to them and actually said "yellow" spontaneously on her own when I pulled out the yellow Play Dough! I have a book called Baby Colors that has a page identified to each color. After trying to point out colors in a bunch of different ways (with no real response) I tried the book and a pile of different colored blocks. I showed her a page in the book and said the color. Then I asked her to get a block that was the same color. It worked! Sometimes it took a couple tries and some colors are better than others, but by day 2 she could identify red, yellow, and orange. Blue and green are a little harder but she is getting there. I couldn't believe it when she said yellow on her own today. Tomorrow's tactile experiment: a bag of rice and/or beans. Hey, I'm not sure why either, but the teacher suggested so why not? Good to feel different textures, I guess.

Fun stuff for Mom & Ruby this week! We start up at Little Gym again tomorrow, Early Intervention on Wed, and Music Round and lunch with her little friend Brianna on Thursday. Play date with Ava & Logan on Friday eve. So a lot of fun, but not so scheduled that we won't have down time, too. How long I dreamed of days and weeks like these. Of every moment, really. Of the minutes when she wakes up and smiles, of the excitment she has when she splashes in the tub, runs to brush her teeth, or puts on her own socks. Of every single giggle and snuggle. It's all so great. Of course, it's all even better when we are all getting sleep! Thankfully, the last 2 nights have been better than last week!

Note to Ruby Kate Suphawadi from Mommy:
So excited about your every milestone, Ruby! You make Mommy proud every day. Even on days when we just cuddle I am so proud to be your Momma. I love how you jump off the last step or your little chair in the playroom with such confidence. I love how easily and proud you climb the stairs (although I still hold my breath till you get up and down and hang super close to you!) I love how you are trying every new food we put in front of you - if only one bite. (Newest foods you tried and like are raw mini carrots, pumpkin muffins Mommy made, ham sandwich, smoked cheddar cheese, pork, and mashed potatoes). And I love how brave you are to try new things and go to new places with Mommy & Daddy. You do such a good job!!! I love how you share your things and how you hug other kids we introduce you to. You have a kind heart, my dear, and we are so blessed to call you our daughter! I love how you share my love of music and how your face lights up when you hear one of your favorite songs (Muffin Man, A Tisket/A Tasket, Chew Chew Your Bubble Gum and Old MacDonald) and begin to dance! I love how you love animals and how cute you are when you make all the animal sounds. Especially monkey, duck, and MEOW (your favorites). You are the sweetest little girl and you make our every day soooo great. We love you with all our hearts, baby!!!!!
Love, Mommy

Nature's Playdough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
beet, spinach, and carrot juice

Mix flour, salt and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the playdough with your hands until of proper consistency. Use as is, or divide into balls and add a few drops of the vegetable juices to make green, pink, and orange.

NOTE: I didn't try the juices for coloring. Just left it plain. Today we used the plain with the colored to make faces and decorated with the colors. Could use food coloring too and I left out the cream of tartar cause I didn't have any.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy (Thai) New Year!

New Year Fireworks in Bangkok

The official Thai New Year isn't until April (Songkran), however the Thais love to celebrate New Year on Jan 1st, too. I remember my friends giving each other New Years presents as we do with Christmas - but on a smaller scale. I forgot all about this when I mentioned to Jeff that I'd like to go to the Thai temple today. We went just for a visit and to show Ruby, but were pleasantly surprised to see the place packed for a new year's celebration! It was great! Met some really nice people and found out they have gatherings once a week where we can meet other Thai and mixed families. So great! I'm sure we can find someone to teach her Thai and maybe even a Thai babysitter for down the road...should I ever be ready to leave her side. (LOL, that may take awhile!) It's a great place to learn and celebrate the Thai holidays and a bigger Thai community than I thought existed in our area.

We gave respect to the Buddha (which Ruby calls Boo-ba) and the monks. We made a donation (called "making merit") and mingled a little, then headed downstairs for some seriously good eats! YUM! Ruby was equally thrilled with the food.

We had our 2nd post placement visit Jan. 31st. It went great. Hard to believe we only have one left...and then finalization! Our social worker asked all the usual questions and we enjoyed sharing Ruby's accomplishments and milestones. One question came up that caught us by surprise, though. What have we done culturally since our last visit? (Thailand likes to know). Oh my gosh! How did we forget? We were so busy just getting into our groove at home...and then it was Thanksgiving and Christmas... we hadn't really done anything! I was embarrassed to have let this important thing go. So that is what prompted our visit but not the only reason. We have been meaning to go to this temple with Ruby for some time.

I also had a good long talk with Ruby's new teacher today. She qualifies for Early Intervention due to her mild hearing loss and language delay. The EI coordinators, teacher, and speech therapist all felt she was doing VERY well for the short time she has been home. They felt she was bright and would catch up, but could use weekly instruction due to the lack of exposure she's had to English. She also needs some work with her fine motor skills - like squeezing and pressing harder with a crayon. Again, they felt it was nothing to worry about, but something we could work on with her. I made some home made play dough the other day and she wasn't sure about getting all that mess on her hands (LOL)! But I brought it out again yesterday and she likes it now. Gonna get some regular colored Play-Dough, silly putty, and magic sand stuff this week.

Anyway, Ruby's new teacher seems like a doll and comes to the house this Wed to start teaching her. I can't wait to meet her. We talked about having Ruby retain her Thai language and how she felt it would effect her learning English. This has been on my mind a lot lately. With every new English word that replaces a Thai one, I am equally excited/proud of her, but also a wee bit sad for her native language lost. Many say to only focus on English because it could slow her progress down. This teacher didn't feel that way at all and works with many bilingual families. I was so glad to hear this! We will use mainly English, but expose her to Thai once or twice a month at the Thai temple. She also said it was okay to let her watch the Thai videos we bought in Thailand for her.

So we had a nice Thai style New Year's today. Ruby didn't seem to mind or be confused by everyone speaking in Thai to her. She actually responded and seemed to understand/remember far more Thai than she did when we were in Thailand! So interesting. Maybe she was just so scared and confused in the beginning. When we came home we played a bit and then watched a video with Thai girls singing and dancing on it. She smiled and danced along and had a ball. It feels good and right in my heart to keep her language familiar to her. When people called her Suphawadi or spoke Thai to her she seemed comfortable just as she is comfortable talking with us. So, yay! All is well in our little Thai American family! Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Get Gigs

First Christmas as A Family

Our holiday was wonderful, happy, busy - a little overwhelming at times - but great. To have our sweet girl home with us was all we really needed. But what we got in addition, was an outpouring of love from the whole family. Ruby soaked up all the love and attention. I was a little worried about all the (loud) family gatherings, running around, and busy-ness of the season, but she took it all pretty well. She loved seeing her grandparents and family members and had fun playing with our nephew Ryan and all her cousins. But, of course, her schedule is off. It has been off since she got her cold 2 weeks ago so there has been some later nights and tossing and turning. Found out we can not travel without a fan (or my new Dream it!) She tossed and turned the most when we didn't have the white noise going on. I'm sure all the excitement had a lot to do with it, too.

Ruby's such a happy, easy going kid that we sometimes do more than we ever thought we would this early on, but we try to take our cues from her and adjust accordingly. Christmas eve was rather overstimulating and so we were super low key Christmas Day. Planned on heading to our home town, but she hadn't slept well and was up too late Christmas eve. She also still had a cold and was coughing through the night a few days in a row (b4 the holiday and through Christmas) so we just stayed home all day and chilled. It proved to be a wise decision and we all were glad for the extra quiet time and extra sleep. Saturday we piled up the car and headed to Harrisburg to see the family. Entirely too much to go into detail here so I will bullet point the highlights. Even still, I have no way of making this a short post. Ha ha, but then, you are all used to my rambling by now! -)

Holiday highlights:
- Christmas eve church service was just beautiful. The church was all dark upon entering with only the cross lit up. A young couple dressed as Mary & Joseph walked up the aisle carrying a baby "Jesus", followed by sweet alter-girls wearing angel wings carrying torches to light the way. The whole procession followed, lighting candles up and down the aisles as they went. Ruby stood on the pew between Jeff & I watching in awe. She put her arms around each of us and played with both of our hair. It was a magical moment. We sang and she just loved that, too. Was really pretty good for most of the service, but a little restless at the end.
- Santa came in at the end during Silent Night and bowed down before the baby Jesus. You couldn't hear a pin drop. Ruby was crawling under the pew at this point (over an hour into the service) so I whisper, look, Ruby, it's Santa (to get her off the floor). We didn't really think she got the whole Santa thing but as the church was all calm and quiet, there is our Ruby going Santa! Santa! Oh. I guess she got it. LOL.
-Got home to a house full of family and my brother Jason cooked all the food in our absence and put out all the spread. I had prepped some but was going to miss church if someone didn't help. It really meant a lot to me to go so Jason took over. Thanks for saving the day, Jase! You are awesome!!! I don't know WHAT I was thinking, trying to entertain on Christmas Eve on our first year as a family. It was a bit much, but thankfully, everyone was there to help and it ended up to be a fun night.
- My mom was a huge help too and brought me all the last minute groceries I needed. What would I do without you??? Mom and I weren't supposed to exchange this year, but of course we can never resist. She gave me the yummiest smelling perfume ever by Juicy Couture called Couture Couture. You rock, Mom!
-Got to spend time with my uncle Kevin from LA who I don't get to see much. (Same uncle that hooked me up with the Disney contact and the reason I got my publishing deal). It was really great and he is such a sweetheart.
- A special moment was when everyone went to bed and Jeff and I set up Ruby's stuff from Santa. We were so excited! It was especially nice to have some quiet time with the hubby and exchange our gifts by the fire.
- We weren't supposed to exchange either, but then we both ended up doing it anyway. We gave each other a few small things and spent some time together. I was so happy. What we really wanted for Christmas was sleeping peacefully upstairs. And here we were, sharing Christmas with her! But then Jeff looks at me and says...oh, yea... there is one more thing. He runs upstairs and comes down with...a new MacBook Pro!!! WOO-HOO! I had to contain myself as to not wake up the whole house. My old Mac was seriously old and dying and I was so afraid of it killing over before I could copy all my recent pics and stuff. New one is fantastic and I really haven't had time to even discover all it can do yet. Thanks Hub! You are the greatest husband ever!!!
- Watching Ruby's sleepy and confused little self come to life as she opened up her first gifts was just the best. The first smile came when she saw her doll and all the accessories. She held her baby close and then got busy feeding her and brushing her hair!
- Christmas day was so nice to be able to relax, let Ruby take a good long nap, and then just to watch her play with all her new things. Happy and having fun. Comfortable in her environment and home with Mommy & Daddy (or Da-nee as she calls him when she doesn't say Pa).
- Saturday was a blast with the Kimmels at my Mom's house. Everyone just loves Ruby and she ate up all the attention. She's such a social bug and had a ball playing with Ryan and hanging with everyone. And, of course, she loves her Grandma. Was so great to see everyone.
-Sunday morning we had a real nice brunch with my Dad & Lynn. My brother and nephews were there too so Ruby & Ryan got to play some more. Dad had a guitar in the corner which Ruby was delighted to see also!
-Had another great meal at Jeff's parents later. Sunday was our Christmas with them and we spent 2 wonderful days with Jeff's family. It was really nice and Ruby loves her time with Grammy & Pappy! I had fun catching up with my sister in law, Tammey, too, and seeing our nephew Dailan.
-Tueday was sit around the house and chill time and we loved every second of it!
- Wednesday we went to my cousin Angie's house for the Furjanic family gathering. SO great! A fun time was had by all. After a bit, a few of the guys whipped out their instruments and Ruby was mesmerized! My cousin Michael let Ruby help play the violin by holding the bow and she was thrilled! The kid loves music. It's so great. And it was really cute to see her having so much fun. I wish I had brought the video camera! She loved watching Michael play and then she went over to the guy playing guitar (a family friend) and was tapping to the beat on his knee. She hung out with "the band" for the longest time. Sometimes dancing around, other times just staring in awe. My family is Croatian and they played some traditional Croatian songs as well as some pop and folk tunes. Mommy sang a couple tunes, too, but you have to be loud to sing with my family so I did Respect with my more bluesy voice. Ruby looked at me so funny, like hey, that's not how Mommy sings! She spent a lot of time playing with her cousins, too. She was having so much fun that I thought she would melt down upon leaving. But when it was time to go, she just took our hands with a smile on her face, said our goodbyes and headed to the car. Slept like a rock that night!
- Stayed home for New Year's eve. Nice & quiet. Got Ruby down early, but it was all Jeff & I could do to stay up till midnight! My how things change! At midnight, we each kissed Ruby on the cheek while she laid sleeping, then kissed each other and said goodnight!
- Last, but not least, we had a fab meal over at my brothers today for New Year's Day. The kids played together so well and it's great how comfortable Ruby is now. She can go and play in the other room with Ryan and I don't have to be right there. She would come out every now and then just to make sure I was still in the kitchen, then smiled and toddled back up to play. Of course, I went up to peek in and check on her, too, but didn't let her see! They were so cute in there just coloring together or Ryan trying to show her how to do something. We had such a fun, but relaxed day with them. Fun, but relaxed. Exactly, what we are ordering up for the new year!

Wishing you all a happy, fun, peaceful, and prosperous new year! And wishing those still waiting, a beautiful trip to Thailand to get your babies home!!!

[Ruby's favorite presents: Her new kitchen and Wonder Pet play sets all got her attention, but I think her favorite might have been the baby doll (from Uncle Jason last year) and the doll accessories kit we got for $9.99. She was pretty excited about the Disney princess shoe collection my Mom got her, too. Another big hit was the restaurant play set from my cousin Michael.] Christmas ornament pictured above - compliments of Uncle Bob.