Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Christmas Meme

Mama Lily tagged me for this meme. Hope you have some time, it's a long one.

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate. Eggnog is gross.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? I wrap my presents since Santa doesn’t come here.

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? White lights on the tree and the house. Although the old, big-bulb colored lights are pretty cool outside, too.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? yes

5. When do you put your decorations up? Whenever I get around to it, at least a couple weeks before Christmas

6. What is your favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert? I’m with Mama Lily, the cranberry relish.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Christmas caroling in the new snow on Christmas Eve.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Don’t know that I ever believed in him.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, The adults in our family exchange names and on Christmas Eve, we have a little party and open our gifts to each other. We like to mix it up sometimes and give gag gifts. It has known to get a little crazy. :)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? One light at a time… what does this question mean???

Can this meme get any longer? Yes, it can!! If you're not bored yet, keep reading...

11. Snow! Love it or Dread It? Love snow at Christmas. The more, the merrier!!

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but barely

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Nothing stands out as my favorite. Billy got me a leather coat one year. That was pretty nice. My love language is not gifts so I guess that’s why – to me – it’s not the most important thing. Which leads to the next question…

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Being together with family and friends and having fun together.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie since that’s the only time of the year we get it.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? All the singing.

17. What tops your tree? An angel. With lights.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? both, but I'm finding that I love getting gifts for Abby. It's so cool trying to figure out what she'll enjoy playing with.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? There can't be just one, can there? I love so many... "White Christmas," "Jesus, Born on This Day," "Joy To The World," and all the other ones we sing at church - with all four verses of each one.

And last, but not least...

20.Candy canes! Yuck or Yum? YUCK!! (I’m not a fan of anything mint flavored.)

So there you have it. The definitive guide to Christmas at ShaggaBear House. Too bad it didn't have pictures to go with it, but like I said in #5, I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And So To Milk This Birthday For All It's Worth...

Last night, we went over to help celebrate Uncle Rob's birthday. A good excuse to go eat some cake!!

And there was another present for Abby. I should have known what it was, but I had forgotten. I'm like that about presents. I'll know what I'm getting - even pick it out and purchase it myself - and then totally forget what it is (or even that I knew once) when I see the wrapped package.

But I digress...

Abby has been very impressed with her cousin Belle during her fall sports of soccer and cross country. Belle taught her the number 2 because that's her soccer number. So now, Abby will pretend and say, "I have a number 2 on my back! Say, 'Go, Abby!'" And then she'll take off running saying something about her "Country Meet."

So I thought it would be cool if Belle got her a real shirt that had a 2 on it. And so Uncle Rob asked his soccer shirt supplier if he could make one up for Abby. And he came through.

When Abby opened the present, there was a cute little pink shirt with a 2 on the back! She tried it on over the tutu she was wearing. Belle convinced her to take the tutu off so she could practice soccer and running. So off came the tutu. Belle and Abby ran and ran! Then Abby was awarded with her card that had a 2 on it - just like Belle's in the NOL meet! (See picture of Belle at the end of this post.)

"Go, Abby!"

Soccer Dream

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Birthday Abby!

Well, today's the day. Abby is now 3 years old.

When I told her that today is November 28th, she said, "Are we going to do it again?" (meaning the party) I said, "No, but today is your birthday."

She was a little confused about that since she had her party on Saturday.

But I told her that today is also Uncle Rob's birthday. And she was ready to eat some of his cake. But I don't think he has any. :(

Birthdays are all about the cake. And the candles. And the presents.

Yeah for birthdays!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Birthday Party

Abby had a great time at her birthday party on Saturday.

As the guests were arriving with presents, I told her she couldn't open them until everyone was there. So she kept asking me, "Is everyone here?" She was so excited.

As she was opening her gifts, she wanted to try them each out. The first gift was from my mom. It was a "Learn to Ballet" kit complete with a ballet bar and two instructional videos. I did tell her she had to wait a while to play the DVDs.

She got three new Ballet outfits, as you can see in the pictures, and she tried them all on during the course of the party.

I had really wanted my Aunt Linda to make the cake and it just so happened that my sister was there last week for a visit and brought the cake back with her. It was beautiful!! (One of my dogs sampled the cake while it was unattended in the kitchen - but not too much.)

It was definitely a "girl" party. Lots of pink, purple, and princess paraphernalia. One of her boy cousins was confused as she was opening the gifts. "Where's the cars and trucks?" Even Belle was a little disappointed with all the frills, "My soccer dream for her is getting farther and farther away."

But who knows what next year will bring. Maybe she'll turn out to be a "sporty" or maybe she'll be my dancer. Only God knows. I'm just happy that she's enjoying life and following her three-year-old dreams.

She is definitely our Little Princess!

Birthday Party Pictures

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Twelve Years Ago...

It was November 25, 2004 - the day after Thanksgiving that year - that Billy and I got married.

I went to a two year Bible School in Dallas and graduated in '90. I then went home for a couple of years. Billy went to the same school in the fall of '91 and graduated two years after. I moved back to TX and moved into alumni housing in the fall '93. We had been in the same singing group at different times and the director of the group introduced us.

We started hanging out together with a bunch of friends and got to know each other pretty well. We lived across the courtyard from each other and often went grocery shopping together. Billy bought a lot of mac and cheese and so my roommate and I would make him dinner.

I never really thought of him as more than a friend but he was a great guy and a true gentleman. Once when a bunch of us were talking about our future mates, I said, "I'm going to marry a man that is at least 6'1"." Billy said, "I'm only 5'10"." I said, "I guess I'll never marry you." Never say never.

Our friendship grew and one day Billy says, "Either we'll have to quit spending so much time together or we'll have to start dating." I was so surprised! I had no idea he felt that way about me. (OK, maybe I had a small hope.) I was excited about the possibility. I had grown to respect Billy and cherish his friendship. He always treated me with respect as well.

But I did tell him he needed to get a job.

Just so you know, he was going to school full-time getting his degree but I needed to know that he could provide for a family. I shouldn't have worried about that. Billy has been an excellent provider.

So, Billy got a part-time job and we started dating at the end of March '94. At that point in my life, I knew that the next man I dated would become my husband. I had been in one other serious relationship and I didn't want to have to go through the heart ache again. So when Billy asked to date me, in my mind and heart, it was as if he proposed right then.

He did propose at the end of June at a lovely park in the ritzy part of Dallas. It was a perfect summer night. And if you don't know about summers in Texas, they are humid. As Billy was placing the ring on my finger, he said, "Oh no, it doesn't fit." (my fingers had swollen in the heat) I replied, "Oh yes, it does!!" as I shoved the ring on. And it does fit perfectly.

We were married a few months later with family and friends in attendance. We honeymooned in San Antonio staying at the Emily Morgan Hotel. It was short and sweet as Billy had to get back to take a final in one of his classes.

The past twelve years, I have had the blessing of having my best friend walk beside me. Billy knows my weaknesses and strengths. At times, it seems he knows me better than I know myself. And yet he loves me all the more. I am so blessed to have a Godly man that I can depend on, no matter what. He is always there to help me cope with whatever comes. He has made me a better person, a more compassionate person. I love his gentle spirit and his strength of character. He is truly a Mighty Man of God!

I love you, Billy. Happy Anniversary!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Gifts from Grandma and Grandpa

Abby's birthday is next week and today we got a package from Grandma and Grandpa in the mail. I didn't want to make Abby wait, so she opened it right away.

Opening The BoxHolding Raggedy Ann and AndyNew Coloring Book

The Birthday Card had a cut-out crown in it. How cute is this?

Princess Abigail

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope your day is full of family, food and fun! Ours was full as well. (My tummy is a little too full.)

On this day, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who has loved me for 12 years. I am at times overwhelmed with God's goodness in bringing me such a kind and thoughtful mate. I love him more each day.

I am also thankful for the gift of Abby coming into our family. God truly hand-picked her for us. She amazes us everyday as she is learning and growing. She is our joy and delight!

I am also thankful for Abby's Birth Mother who made the ultimate sacrifice in giving her child away. Even though we will never meet her or know the specific circumstances surrounding her decision, I pray that God will give her comfort and a knowing that her baby is happy and content.

We are truly blessed this Thanksgiving Day and pray that you will be as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm testing out a trial version of PowerDirector 5 to edit videos, etc. This is my first attempt. I didn't take too much time on it as it was very late last night but here it is. Let me know what you think. (It's only a little over a minute long.)


Well, I know you have all been waiting for details from my trip "down South." We were treated to some real Southern Hospitality for sure! My friend Tanya is a Virginia girl transplanted to Texas - it doesn't get much better than that!

But to go back a little... I met Tanya in Bible School in January of '89. Almost 20 years ago. Wow! We roomed together for a semester or two and became fast friends. She has a bubbly, outgoing personality and she helped me come out of my shell a bit. We'd stay up late eating rice and milk with brown sugar (we had limited funds back then). We'd talk about God, guys, and life in general. We were both trying to figure out who we were and where we fit in God's Big Plan. I remember listening to the radio together (we weren't allowed TVs in the dorm rooms) the night that Operation Desert Storm started. Isn't it funny the things you remember from so long ago?

When I left Bible School for home, my sister was coming back for third year, and Tanya became great friends with her as well.

After a few more years, we were able to live in the same neighborhood, and even the same street for a little while. Our friendship grew, now as "grown-ups" and getting married and starting families. We worked at a consulting firm together, went to church together, and, of course, shopping together!!

Now that we've moved so far away from Texas, it has been more difficult to get together and spend time. I've missed the birth of three of her children and she missed out on our adoption journey to China. So that's why I jumped at the chance of free airline tickets to go visit my friend. :)

We stayed up late talking, minus the bowl of rice, and because we're both Mommies now, we didn't get to sleep in the next morning. We went to the zoo, I got my hair cut, had an unfortunate water outage, caught up with some of our mutual friends in the area, and had a great time just catching up on life.

I'm so thankful for good friends like Tanya. In fact, she is the one friend that has stuck with me the longest (besides my sisters). I love you, Tanya, and I thank God for you.

Here are some pictures from the trip.
Me & Tanya
Tanya and her Babies
Reading to Natalie and Abby

Conversation With A Two-Year-Old

Daddy was putting Abby in bed last night. It has become routine for her to "cry" at least once after she's been in bed for a half an hour or so. Daddy was trying to "head it off at the pass."

Daddy: Abby, you need to go to sleep now. No crying tonight.
Abby: But I like to cry.
Daddy: I don't like it.
Abby: Mommy does.

Oh yes, I live for that!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

What We've Been Waiting For

We have it Ladies and Gentlemen!!

Our Log In Date (LID) is October 9, 2006!!


So, we've been officially waiting for 42 days! That went by fast. Hope the rest of wait goes fast, too.

PS. I added a little ticker at the bottom of this page. It will count how long we wait. I tried to have a dragonfly but it blended in too much with the background. So it's a ladybug instead. Cute, huh?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Before I Tell You About My Trip...

Let me show you what I did this weekend.

We've been re-doing the guest room to be Abby's Big Girl Room. She has outgrown the crib and it was time to move up to a twin size bed. She's been saying for quite some time that she wanted a purple room. So we painted the room purple and the closet pink. We bought a bed and a new dollhouse bookshelf. When I have the room completely put together (bed linens, curtains, etc.), I'll share the pictures.

But for now, here is the latest addition:
Ballerina Stool
And here's a close-up of the fabric:
Purple Ballerina Fabric

This stool had a former life in the living room with green plaid fabric and dark stained legs. I thought it would be just the thing to help Abby get up into her bed - after it was fixed up, of course.

I love the way it turned out. It has her favorite colors and her favorite activity all in one! And the pink trim around the edge looks like a little tutu! How cute is that?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hangin' Out In Dallas

Here are a couple of pictures from today:
Groovy Chick

Here we are at the Dallas Zoo on the carousel.
Tanya's kiddos and Abby

We're having a great time reconnecting with our dear friends.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Abby and I are flying to Dallas tomorrow to visit some friends. We'll be back on Thursday late.

I might post a little while I'm gone (if Tanya and I stop talking long enough for me to type). But if not, we'll have a wrap-up of the week next Saturday.

Now, I'll get back to that packing!

Till then...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mommy's Helper

To start off, I would like to announce that this is my 50th post. Yeah! When we get to 100, I'll share 100 different things about myself. I know you all just can't wait. In the mean time, you'll have to read more about Abby. (which, I'm sure, is why you look at this blog anyway!)

Now for what you really want to know...

Abby loves to help in the kitchen, and from an early age, I would set her on the counter so she could see what I was doing and "help." She's still at it and playing a more active role everyday.

intent on her work
Notice the tutu?  She cooks in style!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Years Ago

It's hard to believe that only 2 short years ago, Billy and I were in China adopting Abigail. It seems like she's always been with us.

This picture was taken on November 8, 2004. It was right after they placed her in my arms. Abby was crying and I was crying. We both had no idea what was going to happen next. That moment rocked our worlds!

Mommy and Baby Tears

The first few hours, days, weeks... were a struggle to find our new places. Me as a Mommy and Abby as an only daughter. At first, she clung to Daddy with a fierceness that made me question my ability to even be a mom. Even after we arrived home, it took a while for Abby to warm up to me.

Thankfully, when Billy went back to work, Abby decided that I was OK. We got to know each other and bond and all those other good things that need to happen for any adoption to succeed. God was faithful to both of us and melted our hearts together.

I am so thankful that God placed Abby in our family. I have said several times, "The Lord knew what He was doing when he gave us Abby." Even now, with our different personalities, I know that I was meant to mother her and she was meant to be my daughter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wait Times

A little news on the adoption front:

The following link is from the Rumor Queen. The RQ is an expectant mother in the China Adoption process. I think her LID is in September 2005 so she is getting close to receiving a referral. Anyway, I've been reading her blog for a few months as she charts the referral process and wait times, etc.

Here is her post from today.

What she is saying is that the major agencies are now telling their clients that the wait times for those submitting a dossier is now 2 years.

For us, this means that we will get our referral sometime around the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Could be better, could be worse.

Here's to hoping for better.

PS. we still don't have a LID. I think we have to wait for our agency to recieve a batch of referrals from CCAA that has our LID included. The CCAA likes to mail all correspondence to the agencies together. They're "efficient" like that.

PS #2. If you don't understand any of this, please feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to explain.

Wordless Wednesday

Lounging at the Lake

For more Wordless Wednesdays go to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Voted Today

Yes, I did!!

Have you voted today??? Get out there right now and do it!!

I would show you a picture of my snazy sticker, but it came off somewhere in Target or Aldi. Oh well.

Don't you just love all this color??

Monday, November 06, 2006

All Better Now

You'll remember from this post that Abby had chipped her two front teeth.

Today was the day for her appointment with the Pediatric Dentist. Our dentist here recommended a Pediatric Dentist in another town because he was not equipped to handle such a young child. We had to drive for over an hour to get there. But it was worth it!

Let me back-up just a little and say that during a visit to the Library, I happened to see a book about going to the dentist. This book was sent by God to us! It showed pictures of all the instruments in the dentist's office and the chair, etc. We checked it out and Abby enjoyed reading the book and looking at the pictures for the next two weeks.

Fast forward to today. When we got in the exam room, Abby was a little nervous, but the Dentist started talking to her and she warmed up to him. She got to sit in her little dentist chair and take a ride up and then he laid her back. She did so good with him examining her that he said, "Let's just go ahead and take care of this now."

Billy and I were all for that!! We did NOT want to have to come back another day.

Abby sat there so still and I held her hands while he worked on her teeth. I think I was more nervous than she was! He was done in about 10 minutes!! Wow! Dentistry has come a long way since I was her age!

Her new teeth (caps) are beautiful! We are so happy!!

blue light sets the new cap

flossing around the new tooth

Look at those Pearly Whites!

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Little Pumpkin

This is one of the pumkins that grew in our garden this year. Isn't it cute?
Mama, it's heavy!

Yes, that's a little green tutu sticking out under her coat. She's been wearing that dress everyday since Auntie gave it to her! But mama makes her have clothes on underneath so she doesn't freeze.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Food Quiz

I like this one so much better than this one!

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.

Spicy!! Yeah!

And Mexican? My Fav-O-rite!!! I can eat tacos everyday.

Try it out and tell me what you are.

Good-bye High-Chair

My baby is growing up. Sniff. Sniff.

Most people's baby's start out in infant car seats and need to be held when feeding time comes.

For me, my baby started out in a regular car seat and sat in a high-chair for meals.

I was so excited when we got our high-chair for our baby shower. Billy had a "fun" time putting it together and we imagined our little one sitting in it.

When we came home from China, we put her in the high-chair and she was right at home. I took a lot of pictures of her in it, I think because she was in a stationary place and couldn't get away when I pointed the camera at her.

She ate her First Birthday Cake in that chair. She learned what foods she liked and didn't like. She went from using her fingers to using a fork and spoon. And here lately, she even wanted to use a knife - kid size, of course.

When she discovered markers, I would put her in the chair to use them, so I could keep an eye on her. Then she graduated to paints and eventually scissors. That chair kept her safe and the rest of the kitchen safe from her experiments.

The puppies love her high-chair, too. They listen for the sound of "are you finished?" and then they come running to clean out the seat and the floor around it. Sometimes they even clean off the tray when I'm out of the room.

So, I was very sad when Abby said she no longer wanted to sit in the high-chair and would prefer to sit at the kitchen island like a big girl. Yesterday, I cleaned it up one last time and took it to the attic where it will have to wait another year or so before being used again. I hope it doesn't get loney up there.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of Abby in the high-chair over the past couple of years. (Yes, she even fell asleep in it one time.)

Fun in the High-Chair

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I am definitely NOT nerdy

But I certainly don't despise them. I married one!!
I've taken this before... don't remember the score. Here's today's score:

I am nerdier than 7% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I KNOW hubby will score MUCH higher than I!


No, we did not go Trick-or-Treating last night.

Auntie bought Abby a birthday gift- knowing how much Abby likes to dress up. And then she just couldn't wait to give it to Abby.

So here she is in all her Tinkerbell glory! She's never even seen "Peter Pan." As far as Abby knows, it's just a pretty dress with a tutu attached. Her favorite kind!


I think it's a little ironic that she's also wearing Crocs. :)