Monday, March 28, 2011

Music Monday & Good Times

Silly miss in a vintage ensemble Jeff's Grandma brought back from Germany for Jeff's sister, Tammey. 
Well today started off on a different note. (Pun intended). I dubbed today "Music Monday" because I've decided that every Monday after school we will do a music hour. Rubes was resistant at first, but eventually came around and had fun. She even mentioned it as one of the things she thanked God for during her dinner prayer tonight. How sweet! I put on a CD from our old "Music Round" class and we danced, sang, and played instruments. We worked on the scale (do re me fa so la ti do) and I was surprised to find out she still remembered most of it - even backwards! I've always done that with her and was glad to get back to it. Loved having a structured hour of music fun followed by play and dress up. Such a good time with my lil miss today. I am going to make Wednesday "Arts & craft day" and Friday "Adventure day." Going ice skating for our "Adventure" time this week.
Here she is all dressed up and sitting in a box she dubbed "the boat".  LOL, can't believe how tiny she still is.

We had an incredible time this weekend with family. A 90th bday for Jeff's awesome Grandma followed by a fun gathering with all his cousins Sat night. Sunday was a hang out, relaxing kinda day with all his family where Jeff's mom made one of her fabulous suppers for us all. Such a great family I married into. A really great bunch.
Ruby and Dailan (with Isis sniffing Ruby's hair and trying to get some attention)
Ruby, Jeff's cousin Matt, and Matt's sweet boy Bennett
Rubes posing with her Daddy. She is totally Daddy's girl on the weekends.
Jeff's dad shares a laugh with his sister Pen and some cousins.
Grandma (on right) spends some quality time with her sister in law (great) Aunt Marie whom she hadn't seen for ages. Both 90 this year and going strong!
Dailan and his mom (Jeff's sister) Tammey. Love this shot of them!
Little ham Rubes feeling all girlie in her retro ensemble. I sware this kid loves fashion as much as I do.

Rubes has been a trooper. Even with the travel she is sleeping on her own every night. She gets very excited to see her smiley face stickers on the calendar each day. LOVED her time with family and went from Mommy's clinging vine to "Mommy who?" when she saw cousin Dailan, Aunt Tammy, Joe, Grammy & Pappy. It was great, though. I loved seeing her have so much fun. She played with her little cousin Bennet, too, and they were SO cute together. So silly and cute and fun. Jeff's Grandma had a good weekend, too. A wonderful woman we are lucky to have in our lives.

So today's post is a lot different than Friday's. I didn't send in the book to school today. I sure thought about it but it turns out it wasn't necessary. Today Ruby's teacher sent home a numbers booklet they worked on with a note telling me she did a great job with them today and said they started working on the teens. (Yea, No kidding, lady! We already know she can do them) Still, she was trying to be nice, I think, so that is a good thing. She's only 3 - ok, almost 4. She is socialzing and getting something out of school so I am not gonna make a fuss. However, I am gonna get her a new teacher next year. And I still may send in the book. :-)

Ruby In Her Own Time

I have to spew here so please forgive the negative rant. I am so sick of comments on how to raise my kid! I don't mean the kind, helpful tips from seasoned parents - especially all of you that visit this blog. (I am NOT talking about blog comments). You all have been so helpful and kind. I'm talking about people that have no clue. No clue whatsoever what an adopted child's life looks like before coming home. They have no idea the hurts, the fears, the lack of love for a period of their life and and how that must feel. Now I can't claim to know exactly how that feels. But I do have an idea what it looks like and I know my kid. I know how she handles things. How she will react. Like when she is afraid she won't have the correct answer or doesn't know something, she will just avoid it altogether. Like how she is the chattiest person in the world when she is with us or close family and friends, but how she will clam up around strangers or those she is not so familiar with yet.

I went into her school yesterday for a little visit. I have days when I love her school and other days when I think she could be learning more. Let's put it this way: I love the school, the staff, the assistants, but not crazy about her teacher. Also wondering if she needs a more structured environment. We are considering putting her into the traditional pre-K (at the same school) next year instead of Montessori. While Ruby has this awesome, sweet, laid back personality...the flip side is that she can be a tad lazy at times and needs a little motivation. Not PUSHED, but motivated.  She's made leaps and bounds with her speech class and does well with the structured parts of her schooling.

Her school teacher told us early in the year that we could come in anytime to oversee a class so I decided to take her up on that this week. I liked most of what I saw, but I can still see Ruby is holding back a bit. (They had her working on a stick and box counting game where she is counting out pieces out from 0 to 9. Ruby counts into her 30's at home!) Now I know why she may be holding back. Three times - in front of Ruby - her teacher compared her to another student to me. "Varsha is a year younger than Ruby and looks what she is doing. She's amazing!" I wanted to breathe fire, but politely smiled instead. Another comment or 2 and then she actually scolded me for helping Ruby pick up some sticks she had dropped. "Don't help her! You need to let her do more herself! Varsha is the baby of the class and look how independent she is!" I wanted to lash out at her here, but held my tongue for a minute to think of how best to say it. She made one more remark and I said calmly, but firmly: "There is really no comparison here. Varsha didn't spend the first 2-1/2 years of her life in an orphanage. Not a fair comparison at all." Ruby stopped what she was doing and turned to look at me. I think it was more that she heard the tone of my voice I think. So hoping that wasn't awful to say in front of her. I don't want her to think of that as a crutch. Hopefully, she is young enough that it won't stay with her. When we got home I sat her down for a talk. I told her I didn't care what Varsha, Ava, Morgan, or any other kid in her class was doing. I care what RUBY is doing. I told her she didn't have to the best or the quickest or do everything the bigger kids are doing. She only had to try new things and always try to do her best and I was happy. She smiled. I told her Daddy & I were VERY proud of her and all she has learned. I pointed out how well she's been doing with her counting, her English, and her speech. She got it and beamed proudly. Then she bounced off the chair and was on to playing without a care in the world. While Mommy privately stewed a bit.

So back to the classroom...I couldn't help myself. I had to say SOMETHING. The teacher back-peddled after my comment and said, "oh yes, of course, and Ruby's doing so well, bla bla bla." I smiled at Ruby and told her she was doing a GREAT job as the teacher was then babbling about some 5 year old that doesn't know her alphabet yet. I don't give a whoot about what the other kids are doing! What kind of person - especially a TEACHER - compares children??? If I know one thing for certain about Rubes it's that when she feels insecure about something and doesn't think she is good at it she will shut down, avoid it, and/or not talk about it until she does. Praise and positive talk works with her and that's the way we run things at our house. I also know that she is a kid who takes it all in, misses nothing, and comprehends much. I will go along thinking she doesn't know a thing or a word and one day she will just blurt it all out and spew out this knowledge we never knew she had. It's her way of learning to observe first and then verbalize it. This may do her well in life verses her Momma who (usually) blurts out b4 thinking, haha.

Ruby's teacher really hit a nerve telling me how to parent. In fact, a few people have lately. Yes, I still hold her or pick her up sometimes. I let her sleep with me if she has a bad nightmare or I just stay in the room. (Although it's getting much better). She isn't as independent as I would like and yea, maybe it's partly because of all my coddling. But you know what? She is MY kid to raise and coddle as I see fit. She missed out on a lot of love those 1st years. Do they really need to be pushed to grow up so fast? Ok, in some ways yes but in other ways no. I want her to learn and grow but I also want her to do it in her own time. There is a sweet, sweet book my friend Ellie gave Ruby called "Ruby In Her Own Time" It's about a duck who doesn't hatch/eat/fly as quickly as her brothers and sisters. "Will she ever eat?" says Father Duck. "She will." says Mother Duck. "In her own time...and sure enough she did". Ruby the duck not only learns what the other ducks learn (at her own pace) but also spreads her wings and flies further and wider than all her siblings. I am tearing up thinking of this sweet book and how Ruby likes it. She loves the part where they say they'll call her Ruby cause she is small and precious. Ruby says "just like me!" :-)

Just had a great idea....maybe I'll send the book in with Ruby on Monday and tell Ruby to ask her teacher to read it. Hee hee hee. On another note, she is doing great with sleeping and still in her own bed! Hurray!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Is Coming

It may not feel like it today. In fact, I saw frost in my yard this morning. However, there are 3 beautiful daffodils that defy the cold and remind me that spring is getting nearer! I can hardly wait for days out in the garden and the evenings eating out on the patio.

A week ago we got a little taste of spring. We had some super warm days and we took a little trip into center city to see the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year's theme was Paris. It was nothing short of spectaculor and my pics will certainly not do it justice. I will share them none-the-less...
My little flower enjoying her gifts from one of my sweet friends working the event.
An awesome mother and daughter day. Rubes likes all the flowers as much as me.
We loved this flower peacock
Butterfly was pretty, too!
Unicorns are always a hit with Ruby so she loved this one. "Ride it!" she said. Ah, no I don't think so honey!
I have to say she showed great restraint here. She spotted the carousel across the room and was dying to ride this one, too. After I explained that they could break she settled on just having a picture with it. 
Cutie pie saw this display and exclaimed "look Mommy, it's a princess bed!"
Loved these.
Wishing my tulips came up and stayed this beautiful. Just love spring flowers...but then, so do the deer.

 Rubes snatched my camera and so the rest are all flowers she liked...
"oooo, Mommy, RED ones!!!"
Which flowers do you like? I have to say sunflowers are one of my favs in the summer. I like lots of yellow and red tulips in the spring. Also love bright gerber daisies and pink wave petunias that form big patches in my garden and stay all summer. Think we'll be doing a lot of pinks this year for the little miss. I bought some hummingbird/butterfly mix I can't wait to try, too.

Oh, geez, as I write this I notice it has began snowing outside. A light flurry. This makes my Spring day dreaming all the more special as I know there can't be too many cold days left. (At least I hope so!)

Wishing you a warm and colorful Spring that comes SOON!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning Reflections

"Each morning of the year has it's own beauty" Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I am appreciating the beauty today. It is rainy, but not cold. I'm sitting in my kitchen with a warm cup of green tea and loving the peace and quiet this morning has to offer. Ruby is at school. She slept all night in her bed...even after waking up once in the night. I told her it was okay from across the room and she stayed in bed and went back to sleep. She is amazing. Such is her comprehension and compassion, that after just a few days of good talks she is already back to her own bed. The night mares are lessening, too.  I guess it needed some real dedication on my part. I've been explaining how we all need to get more sleep to stay healthy and happy and how she is learning to grow and be a big girl. I've reiterated how she is safe and we will always be there...if not in her room, then in the house. We've watched movies and read books and talked about bravery and growing up and what a wonderful feeling it is. We started a calendar with smiley face stickers for every morning she wakes up in her own bed. She'll get a special treat or present for every week she has all smilies. I am still in the room with her. She goes down pretty easy and I slip out for a bit, then come back to sleep there in case she wakes up. But I am weaning her off of me at night. Three nights she woke up, cried, but went right back to sleep without crawling in bed with me. The next step is going back in my own room. And that's coming. We did this once b4 (had her in her own bed every night, I mean). So I know we can do it again.

After her bday we will take the big bed out of there and replace it will some of her toys and toy bins from the playroom downstairs. I'm going to make it a wonderful, fun place to be, play, and sleep. I'm thinking of finding a guardian angel or fairy of some sort to "watch over" her and a pic of Mommy & Daddy right by her bed to remind her we are always there. I feel peace in knowing we have a plan. A gentle plan that (so far) does not included letting her sob herself to sleep. And I am really being consistent. I guess I really wasn't before and if I am real honest, I wasn't ready to let go either. She is so darn snuggly and sweet and her "baby" stage went by soooo quickly.  I can hardly believe how quickly she has grown. But she's gonna be 4. Momma has got to untie the apron strings and let her become a big girl. I see it now and we are finally getting somewhere. Woo hoo!

I am also happy this morning for a silly reason. My grocery store now delivers and FREE for first time customers. Oh the joy of sitting on my tush, watching the rain come down and knowing I don't have to trudge out to the grocery store in the rain. I placed my order online while looking up recipes from the box beside me. I planned my meals for the week and all my groceries will come to my doorstep by tomorrow afternoon. Yes, I am rather overjoyed with this new arrangement!

I will leave you with a few shots of the family from last Tuesday's gathering:
Silly Ryan and Ruby pretending to be scary monsters.
LOL, they look like demon children here - especially Ruby - but I assure you they were just having fun.
From left to right: Ryan, my bro Jason, cousin Llara, Lin, Uncle Bob, Robin, cousin Kristy, and Aunt Lu. A really fun impromptu family gathering. Can't remember when I've had so much fun.

Many good things to reflect on this morning. Most of all my family, my health, my lazy rainy morning. Oh, and let's not forget free deliveries! :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lots of Catch Up!

The last couple weeks have been a wild ride! I had strep throat (AGAIN) and had to go to the Dr's - for both my strep and then for Ruby's really bad eczema. I had my front tooth repaired (after having chipped it), and my car totaled.  Rubes has been having sleep issues for a month now and I am determined to find a gentle way to get her sleeping in her own bed and still feel safe and secure. This is a discussion for another post, but suffice it say we have had talks, books are ordered, and we've had some progress. 

However, in the last couple weeks I have also had my awesome long lost cousin Kristy visit, a full house of family last Tues and Wed and big fun party with them all. Which was a BLAST, of course, but exhausting. In and around all of this, we had school, little gym, ballet class, library field trip with Ruby's school, a fab box of fairy gorgeousness come in from Halo Heaven, (followed by late night glittering of one certain tutu cause it didn't have enough "bling"). Ruby and I had lunch in the city with some of my girlfriends then hit the Phila flower show. We had an awesome day with a wonderful bloggy friend her adorable daughter (that I finally got to meet), a play date in the park, a visit from the in-laws, a full shopping day (oo-la-la!) and a princess party all in the last few days. And you know, I'm not even that tired tonight. 

You'd think I have a TON of pics for all this, but not as many as you'd think. Still, I have a good couple photo filled posts coming. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Someone's been awfully happy with Mommy's pink food experiments. And they are "experiments". See below. 
Decided most of the food for the party should be pink, so I practiced making cupcakes. 
The strawberry cupcakes were pretty good.
But the icing....needs some work. It didn't tower high as I anticipated, LOL. Not sure what I am gonna do next, but it won't be this! The pashmak idea is out because the only supplier that sells it in US, has a very high minimum order. I have no need for 8 bags of pashmak. So maybe flowers on top? We'll see.

The next pink food I made this week:
Pink Popcorn. Mix melted white chocolate and food coloring poured over popcorn. Okay. Super easy, right? I thought this would be a fun and simple thing to try. It was a rainy day so a good yummy treat and a movie was exactly what we needed. Well there must be some trick to melting chocolate. The recipe said to melt in a double boiler (which I do not have) or just microwave 30 seconds at a time and stir after each time. The first time I did a couple extra seconds and got this:
It's the strangest thing. First it gets all liquid-y, then all of a sudden it's a brick. I don't get it.
The 2nd time I got it just right....and then thought, oh, let's just get it a little more melted so I can easily pour it. Again, it was too much. This time it didn't totally harden. Instead it was somewhat melted and the rest were big, sticky, gooey clumps. Seriously, it was such a mess. I had to take my finger and push it on to the corn to make it stick and then pry the gluish goop off my fingers. 
I managed to make enough for one popcorn bag for Ruby (which we shared). I have to say it tasted pretty yummy. The perfect sweet/salty combo. But worth the effort? Not sure. May try this one more time and decide. And get me a double boiler to do it.

In the meantime, I am still working on the cake.
I mixed colors so I'd have enough so don't mind the odd color combo. For the party I'll order the pink and white fondant, but I wanted to make sure I could work with it b4 ordering the big tubs. I found it pretty easy. Read some tips online and I need to smooth it out a bit more next time and I need a bigger piece for the bottom. But I think the next one (the one for the party) is gonna turn out alright. I had some little helpers making the cake part...
Ruby's BFF was here last week for a whole day and we had a lot of fun. Yes, I cheated with a box cake cause I knew we'd never eat it all. The next one will be from scratch though!

Found this sweet little fairy online to sit on or next to the cake.
Isn't she cute? I ordered her with a pink dress. I just love the artist, Nuria, who makes these. Such a lovely person. Did my custom fairy in like 2 days and got it the next day. It came wrapped in gorgeous multi-colored pastel paper with potpouri sprinkled on top. Such a nice touch! Check out:

Update! Tried the pink popcorn again today (Sat) and it turned out a bit better. You have to heat the chocolate at 50% and I wasn't doing that. Ah-HA! 

Next up...gonna attempt those pink marshmallows. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Life sure is full of surprises! A nice review in a Singapore newspaper lead to a tour promoter emailing me to ask about doing an Asian tour. Gulp. 

Evidently, he's worked with Diana Krall, Jamie Cullem, and Norah Jones. He handled their Asian tours. Hmmm. Not too shabby. But what would he want with me...a stay at home mom with an album out in Asia that was recorded years ago? Not to mention the fact that my album cover is also several years old. God bless the internet for immortalizing me as the lithe blonde I used to be! 

Anyway, I had initially written it off. I mean, it sounded nice and all but I have a sweet girl at home that needs me. There is NOTHING more important than that. So I was honest with him about my circumstance. I am 42, I took time off to be home with my kid, and I'm not performing anywhere right now. While I hope to do another jazz album by the end of the year, I had no idea if it would be done by then or not. I told him (nicely) that while I appreciate the offer, under no circumstances would I travel without my daughter and husband and/or sitter (if Jeff couldn't get away). It's just way too soon for her. He still wanted to talk. He didn't feel it was a problem to travel with my family and is confident about booking me. He books high end events with VERY wealthy clients...banks, luxury resorts and such.  I was like... okay, I'm listening.

So we skyped tonight. So cool. Didn't need to be nervous at all as he's a nice guy with a family and totally gets it. Very professional and straightforward. Wants to book me on some events this summer. It would be a mini tour - just 9 or 10 days- in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Yipee!!!! I love my life! Ruby and Jeff would come along for a nice vacation. If it works out, we talk about me coming out again in the fall or winter for another few weeks tour. They would come along for that, too, of course. My record label is gonna be thrilled as it can only help boost sales.  I am totally sitting here stunned. I mean, it may or may not work out. This is the music biz, after all. But I have a label. I have a promoter. They will work around my family needs. It's pretty cool. At 42, I feel like my life is just beginning again! As a new mom. As a recording artist. Life is but a dream. And I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Good Day for Rubes

A little wink for the camera.
Posing with her tiny little mermaid doll and showing off her new sneakers. We drove practically to the end of the earth today (ok, only an hour away) to get the last pair of Barbie sneakers in the tri-state area. 
They are SO Ruby. Hot pink, lots of shimmer, Barbie's pic on the side, and they light up when she jumps. Ruby's dream shoe. I saw them and knew she'd go crazy for them. She did. She also tried to tell me they fit when they were clearly too tight. So we took them back and there were no big sizes left. Hence the field trip. The good news? They were only $15! Totally worth the drive and she smiled the whole way there and back. 
Next door was Target and we found these gorgeous sparklers for only $8! Add in some white ballet flats and gold gladiators - also on sale - a tan with white polka dot trench, and a few dresses and you could say we had ourselves one fab shopping trip! All this after school and Little Gym. She had a BALL at Little Gym today so I thought she'd be tired tonight. Nope. The lil miss was still giddy and all fired up.

Now b4 I show you the rest of the pics from today, I gotta back up a little bit. Yesterday, we got the sweetest package in the mail from my friend and fellow blogger, Jessica. Thoughtful Jess, sent a sweet card from her boy, a glow bracelet, and this awesome Chef's hat (below). Ruby is gaga for all things HAT. (Please note the big black Abraham Lincoln hat on the window sill in the second picture.) She made it at school and plays with it so often that I have had to glue and tape the heck out of it. So when THIS came in yesterday...well she was beyond happy.
Jumping up and down and being silly
Evidently, it doubles as a pirate hat, too, and spatula's are the newest in eye patch-wear.
Tonight we had a "make yourself a taco" night. A dinner that she called "yuk" at first glance was now a fun game and she gobbled up every bite. At one point Jeff said, "Look! Your a regular taco chef!" to which she replied "OH! Where my chef hat???" As you can see, she was pretty happy to pose in it. 
Was also quite proud of her messy creation.
She actually asked me to take one of her and Daddy together here. So sweet.

She was so silly tonight we were cracking up. I just had to post this video even though you will see my kitchen is a total mess. There is a big box in the middle of the floor housing my new Whirly Pop that has yet to be removed from the box. There are shopping bags all over the place from our shopping spree. Still, the video has to be seen for all it's utter spontaneous silliness. Without further adieu...
Untitled from Maci Miller on Vimeo.

Thank you, Jess, for such a sweet, sweet gift! I think she likes it a bit. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All In A Day's Work

Impromptu photo shoot on the kitchen floor wearing Mommy's glasses....
...followed my infectious laughter
...and lots of silliness.
Some dance instruction...
Some twirls.
An oh-so-cute teddy bear dance with my classmates.
Some water colors.
Some finger painting.
What else can I do? My day is complete.
Guess I'll just nap with my Daddy now.  All this artistic expression is EXHAUSTING! :-)

Just an ordinary Saturday...minus the nap. That's a RARE occurance!