Friday, December 18, 2009

Kelly's 2nd place routine!

Hubby finally downloaded the video and here it is. They crumbled coming out of a cradle and that cost them 1.5 points. They would have taken 1st place without that deduction! We are soo proud of her!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Eve... week away! Every year I'm amazed at how time flies! It seems just yesterday was Thanksgiving, Halloween, Russia trip, school starting, etc... I still have tons to I have been slacking on the blog posts....So sorry everyone! I hope to get some Christmas photos up before the New Year and then next year...back to scrappy projects!!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Janet's bog hop winner

Woohoo...I have a winner! Ya wanna know who....well..........

's PAT!!!!
Congrats me (use challenge masters) your addie and I'll get this rak out!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ch{all}enge Master's Jingle Bell Blog Hop

Welcome to Ch{all}enge Master's Jingle Bell hop that is. If you made it here via a link on Elizabeth's know the a comment and follow the link I provide to Sharon's blog and leave her a comment. If you follow my blog and find yourself mid blog need to start at the Challenge Master's blog -->

The hop will take place from Sat. Dec. 5 at 9:00am EST until Sunday, Dec. 6 at midnight EST. The blog hoppers are required to visit all 23 blogs and leave a comment on each blog. Then they need to return to the Ch{all}enge Masters Blog and make a post that they have finished. One winner will be selected at random from all the eligible entries for the grand prize which is a $25 gift certificate to the online store of the winners choice. The winner will be announced by Dec. 11.

So....hop away to win that gift certificate...How cool is that, online store of your choice!!!...BUT WAIT...I'm offering a RAK...Everyone that comments on my blog today (December 5th) will get one draw for the RAK. If you decide to follow my blog...I'll put in your name in again...So comment and follow to get 2 draws for the RAK. You are probably thinking...rak schmak...I don't need no stinking rak...Well...I'm thinking you are going to love this rak...This rak is full of flowers, rub-ons, thickers, chipboard albums, brads, buttons, and more!!! I'll announce the winner on December 6th.

Christmas card...every year I hand make Christmas cards and have been doing so for over 5 years. The cards started simple and have grown ever more complex every year. To the point that they just take way too much time...stamping, cutting, assembling...So this year...I wanted to simplify the process and this is the card I came up with...EASY PEASY!!! I plan on making 60 today and getting them in the mail on Monday! I was inspired by a card I saw in a magazine. It had 4 squares of primary colors with an eleborate snowman popped up. Immediately, I knew this was my easy peasy card. I bought white pre-made cards (5x7) from Walmart...big time saver right there. The squares are 2.25" from Martha Stewart's Christmas line. The tree is cut via the cricut and design studio. I get 10 trees per sheet and am using Designer's Calendar. I did ink up the squares a bit and ran the tree through the cuttlebug. A little stickles on the tree and a glitter snowflake to top the tree...viola...easy peasy card! I'm soo excited to get these done this weekend.

So...ready to hop...The next blog to visit is Sheri Fink's --> must visit and comment on all blogs to qualify for the draw of the grand prize. Plus, follow my blog and get an extra draw for my RAK! Let me know in the comment if you have decided to follow!

Happy Blogging and Merry Christmas!

The best Santa ever!

Yep, I have the best Santa ever!!! If it is not one thing it is another. He is always there for me and has helped our family a TON...Including today...I never thought I'd get a new car for Christmas...but this Santa delivered! I LOVE you Dad!!!!!! And, I am soo grateful and blessed to have you in my life!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another DT call... Cha{all}enge Masters! Ladies...this is just such a fun site...lots of inspiring challenges and a great group of gotta check it out...

Ch{all}enge Masters is looking for 2 new group leaders!
1. Go Green Group Leader
2. Altered Group Leader

Group Leader Requirements:
*Post 1 new challenge on assigned date each month along with a project sample to your challenge group.
*Make sure you leave a comment in the gallery on each of your category's submissions.
*Be as active as possible on the forums daily.
*Check the Design Team group daily for posts containing important information or requiring your response.
*If you have stuff going on in your life, you're going on vacation or whatever & you can't be around, contact a member from the site's ADMIN to let us know.
*Since there is no compensation for your design duties, you are eligible to participate in all of our to win the prize each month!!! Please play along as much as you'd like!

To apply, please send a link to your blog and/or main gallery to: . Please send a .jpg of 1 {only 1 please!} layout/project that best represents your style along with your full name & email address. Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 27th. Don't forget to let us know which position you would like to fill.

Just follow this link:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blog hop!!!

Check this out...Challenge Masters is hosting a blog hop. How cool is that?! I've never done one before...but it sounds way fun. Basically, you start at the site. There will be instructions, but basically, you visit a bunch of blogs. In the instructions there will be a link to the first blog. You go to that blog, follow their directions, then follow their link to the second blog...and so on. Some of the blogs will be offering RAKS. Plus, Ch{all}enge Masters will be offering chance at a RAK for completing the hop.

I can't wait to hop...I hope you all will join me for some Jingle Bell fun! What a great way to kick off the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scrapperie kits...

are no more!!!!!! The Horror!!! Sandi at the Scrapperie puts together the BEST kits! She has such a knack for mixing and matching product. But, the process has been causing her way too much stress (stupid manufacturers!), so she has decided not to put kits together any more...boohoo!!! What will I do! Well...I did order the very last kit! LOL!!

AND...she has most everything in the boutique for sale...So...go check it. There are some awesome deals going on there!
If you were thinking about getting one of her is the time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vacation Time!

(DOH...I was wondering where this went!!! I thought I posted it and now I see it was saved as a draft!!!)

It is wonderful to be on vacation. We got settled yesterday (11/8) shopping and purchasing Kelly a bathing suit. We also got Max a hat and some sandles. Although...our credit card was blocked...the company thought it was stolen. We forgot to call before we left.

After dinner, we went for a walk along the beach. It was a beautiful night. Max hated the water! We thought the water might be a problem. It has taken 1.5 months to get him NOT to scream during bath time. The minute a wave hit his feet, he started screaming! So...we were worried about pool time.

But, he did ok at the pool today. He splashed from the edge at first. Then he saw Kelly swimming all over. So, Mike took him in and he was fine. We may have to get him some floaties by the end of the week.

It is a very cloudy day here...but I have to say...a cloudy day in the 80's in Florida is way better than a sunny day in the 40's back home! Florida is a wonderful place!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vacation Time!

It feels like we just got home! LOL!!! Well...we originally thought we'd be going in the June/July time frame to pick Max up. But, it will be wonderful to soak up some sun and play in the pool. We are going to Marco Island in Florida. We left for my Dad's house in the burbs of Chicago and head to O'hare at 11.

Of course, it wouldn't be a vacation without forgetting something...I forgot Kelly's swim suit! Of all things to forget. I got everyone else's suits...why I forgot hers...I have no idea. So, a shopping I will go! Well...ya just gotta shop while on vacation anyway! LOL!!!

So...I'll have lots of photos to scrap when I get back...and lots of things to post!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sassy Scrappers November Reveal

Sassy Scrappers has a WONDERFUL sponsor for November...Nikki Sivilis!! Check our her wonderful website full of goodies --> I had a lot of fun playing with her papers and brads. She has a ton of yummy chipboard albums also...go check it out.

And don't forget...Sassy is having a crop November 13-16th...Rock around the Calendar. There will be a ton of challenges about the different holidays through out the year. And...I think another fantastically fun game of bingo hosted by Valerie...So...come crop with us!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From Russia, with Love

Well, I have finally scrapped a layout about Max! I saw this sketch and sample by Tricia on the Scrapmuse site. It was PERFECT for a layout about Max. Then I found a poem that I modified a little for the journalling:

We were so excited when we found out about you
We called all of the family and they got excited too.

Adoption was so scary and the process was soo long
What if you didn't like us or the agency got it wrong?

Now it's time to take you home and we know you are scared
Soo many new experiences for you. Are we really prepared?

Yet, no matter what else happens, I know that we'll get through
We'll always do the best we can, because we LOVE you!

And viola....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween

Here are my little spooks, well big one also. Kelly went as a dancer. She wore her recital costume from her May dance recital. She won best costume for her age group. Max was a bunny and Mike was a couch potato. He wore a Tim Couch jersey (a former Cleveland Browns QB) and a potato around his neck. The photo is horrible...I need to remember to take photos in better light!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Challenges are up!

Yep...all the challenges are about up! And let me tell ya...they are awesome! Come check them out at

Here is my sample for the Book of We...I'm not going to spill the actual gotta come visit for that!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Absolutely Beautiful

OMG!!! Kelly is absolutely beautiful! Check out this photo done by Laura of Laura Schroeder Portrait Studio (563-263-1969). I had stopped purchasing the package with the 8x10...just not worth it if the photo is not good. THEN...she takes this one! So, and 8x10 and additional 5x7's have been ordered -- Christmas gifts for the Grandparents. And, Laura was kind enough to let me purchase a low-res. digital image to post on my blog! Thanks Laura!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Treat Bags

Ok...I have my friend Colleen to blame for these little treat bag topppers. She posted a treat bag or card, I can't remember which, with a cute spider...And I thought...Oh yeah! I gotta a spider just like that. So...out comes the goo punch, some stamps, googly eyes, and 30 spiders and viola...simple but sweet little treat bags for Kelly's class!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A new DT for me!

I'm soo excited...I made the Design Team at this wonderful challenge forum...Ch{all}enge Masters...You have to check the site out --> The community is wonderful and there are going to be over 15 challenges to inspire you every month. I will be posting the "Book of We" challenge. Challenges that will inspire you to document the meaningful moments of your special relationship. It could be a significant other...or just maybe a special relationship you want to document. Make sure you register before November 1st...all the challenges will be posted that day. For every challenge you complete, your name goes into a random draw to win a prize...The prize this month is a kit donated from Scrapbook deals 4U --> Check out this kit they donated:
Oh yeah...I gotta win that one...what a way yummy kit!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh Scrappy Day!

Yep...I got some thank you notes done! Yahoo!!! I had been feeling guilty about not getting thank you's out to those that got gifts for Max...we've been home a month now. So, I made one more card than I needed. These were soo cute, I thought having one in the stash would be good. But, we received an unexpected gift this they are all going out. The patterened paper and transparencies are from Little Yellow Bicycle. Everything else from my stash. I did cut the scalloped ovals with my cricut...Alphalicious font. I started cutting an oval with my cm cutter and then used scalloped scissors...Then I'm like...I have to have one of these on one of the carts I have...and sure enough I did! DOH!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ok...he is adorable...

Yep...absolutely adorable...when he is happy and smiling at least! LOL!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh no!

I may be getting the swine flu. I hope I am wrong. But, I happened to talk with my doctor's office today. They want Kelly or I to come in if we get 101 degree fever or more. We are asthmatics and they want to keep a close eye on us. Some of the other symptoms are cough, sore throat, head ache, aches/pains, fatigue, etc... There has been at least one verified case in all the schools here. And of course, I volunteer 2 days a week.

Well...I've had a cough for about a day and now the sore throat is hitting. I'm hoping the fever stays away and this is just a normal fall cold. I don't really need to be sick...not with a stubborn, strong-willed, active, and ornery toddler.

So...I'll keep telling myself..."It's just a cold!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nicholas Sparks

Why O' Why do I read his novels? I'll tell you why...because every single one that I have read have touched my heart. UNBELIEVABLE!! I cry during each and every one. And...I'm not easily brought to tears. That is my husband's job. HEHEHE....

Anyway, I just finished "The Last Song". And for some reason when I'm reading one of his books, his plot somehow corresponds or touches something in my life. And this one hit hard. was awesome and I recommend it to everyone!!! WOW!!! What a great story!

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Scrap Space

Lately, scrap spaces seem to be a topic of all the message boards I I thought I just make a blog post!

When we were looking for a new home here in Muscatine, a scrap space was a must. Well, this house had a finished basement with a den/hobby room. Perfect for my scrap space! So, all the cabinets and counters and closet with shelving were here when we moved in. I just had to somehow arrange my stash which was a challenge. I don't really like to get up when I scrap...but it was not possible to keep everything withing arms reach any more.

So...I just took these photos after cleaning up last night. But usually, you cannot see the top of the counters and I tend to drift to the bar/kitchen area just outside the space. But...I am sooo blessed to have this space!
Kelly Loves to scrap with she got my old table and has a considerable stash herself (mostly my cast-offs!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finding a rythm...

...maybe that was what was missing...a rythm. Today was a pretty good day. Max even sat and played with his toys. Although, that was after he pushed the power button on my pc. Stupid of Dell to put that button on the front with a bright shiny light just asking toddlers to push it! Although...he is changing what he eats. Previously he would eat bananas and ham...not today! Just when I think I've got him figured out...he changes his mind...No wonder I think I'm losing my marbles. But, we are getting into a rythm. Up, changed, breakfast, errands, playtime, lunch, nap, playtime/Kelly activities, dinner, playtime, bedtime. Man...I'm tired just from typing and reading all that!

So...I've got a scrappy to-do list a mile long! But, my scrap room is a disaster tonight I think I will be giving it a deep cleaning. Although, everytime I decide to clean my room this way...I decide I don't like the way things are organized. ARGH! I think it is time to re-org embellies. I just got done with the halloween invitation and treat bags and boy it was sure nice just to pull out the Hocus-Pocus kit I got from the Scrapperie last year. I think that is what my problem is...everything is spread all over by color. I need to pull "themey" stuff together. The problem with re-orging is the usual requirement of different storage stuff! GRR!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sassy Scrapper's October reveal

The sponsor this month at Sassy Scrappers is The Cutting Cafe. They carry a wide range of reasonably priced digital stamp images as well as some super fun cutting templates for shaped cards! The cutting templates even include files to use with your cutting machines.

I have to admit I'm not much of a digi scrapper or hybrid scrapper...but I have enjoyed the challenge. We got birthday themed digi stamps and a halloween collection which included cut files for shaped cards.

I had fun with the pumpkin card. The shape file was for a tall thin pumpkin...but I thought it needed to be short and chubby. So, I did some stretching in photoshop, added a vine and leaf from the Stretch you Imaination cricut card, and created the greeting with the Cuttin' Up cart and design studio.

I then made a birthday card and the treat bag wrappers (there is supposed to be treats in the pumpkin hole...I didn't have any bags or treats! LOL!!).

Things calming down

Yes, I think things are finally calming down. Mom is doing better...Max is adjusting to his new schedule...and I am scrapping again!
I think part of the stress was due to the fact that I was just not ready for a toddler. All the exploring and boundary testing. I don't know if I conveniently forgot about that phase with Kelly...or she just didn't push the boundarys like Max does. He is adjusting well and so am I. He loves to go should see his reaction when he thinks we are going somewhere and we don't! LOL!!

Check out this photo of him...hehehe...the kiddos are dressed for Sunday football. Ya just gotta love that!

New scrappy message board

Scrapbook Get-Away...a very cool new scrappy message board. Come chat with me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ch{all}enge Masters!

Hey to all my scrappy friends!!! Check out this new challenge blog I found --> Ch{all}enge Masters! Every month there will be tons of challenges. There are tons of categories...Book of Me, Book of We, Sketches, Journalling, Lifts, Green, and way way more. So, there will be something for everyone and lots of inspiration! Here is the link: Check it out!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mom is looking better....

...PHEW!!!! When I saw her on Wednesday, she was soo weak. She couldn't stay awake and was barely coherent. Saturday she was MUCH better. She carried on conversations, stayed awake the whole time and made sense! PHEW!

Now, to get her stronger and find a place for her to live that she can afford. Seeing her looking better has put me in MUCH better spirits. But she has much work to do and it seems as if she may be in the mind set to do it. We will see.

Now...on a snow is a photo of the snow that was falling yesterday. Thank goodness it didn't stick and we drove out of it on the way to visit mom...Snow on Ocotober 10th!!! ARGH!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


...on October 10th!!!! ARGH!!!!!!

Stress saps mojo!!!

Well....we are home and pretty much finally adjusted to central time. I was ready to get back into the swing of things...schedule at home, volunteering at Kelly's school, and SCRAPPING!

Then I get "The Call". I hate those calls! Well, this one really tripped me up. make a very long and sort-of gross story mom is sick. Physically and mentally. She spent a week in the hospital and is now in a nursing home. She cannot go back to her apartment and has crappy insurance. I think we have less than 20 days to find an affordable care facility for her. The problem is what kind. We don't know if she will be strong enough and recovered enough for an assisted living facility.

She continues to refuse pyschiatric help...and if she continues to refuse physical therapy and treatments we may have to have her declared mentally incompetent. I REALLY don't want to go down that route.

So...we go to visit her today. The whole family. Hopefully to remind her that she has grandkids to get strong for.

I'm hoping I can clear my head a little today to make room for some scrappy mojo! I would really like to scrap tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

92 days of summer...

... is COMPLETE!!!!!! Today is the last day to get layouts posted and I just had week #13 to complete and post. I just finished...I almost didn't think I would. With jet lag, adjusting with Max, and everything else...phew!!!!!! Here it is...I'm really going to treasure this album...Kelly's last summer as an only child. Plus, she had a lot of firsts...lost her first tooth, was in her first parade, and more.

Wow...I still can't believe I took a photo a day and completed 13 2 page layouts! YAHOO!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting back to "normal"

LOL!! Normal, what is that! But, today Mike is going into work. A short week for him because he leaves on Thursday for his reunion. He is coming home early to watch Max. Kelly has cheer from 3-5 and may be sleeping when we leave. She is off of school for one more is in service day.

I have a new appreciation for people who travel internationaly for a living. Getting your body asjusted to a new timezone stinks, especially a 9 hour difference. My brother travels frequently all over the globe...I don't know how he handles it! I don't remember it being this bad in March...although we were only gone 5 days, not long enough to adjust to Russia time in the first place. Being gone for 25 probably makes a big difference.

Max loves exploring his new environment...He has been outside a couple of times, but the weather really hasn't been cooperating. Maybe today we can go for a walk.

Tomorrow, Kelly is back in school and Mike at work. It will be just me and Max for the first time. More normalcy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jet lag...what a pain!

Well...up at 4 am again today...I tried to stay awake until 10 pm last night...but I passed out around 8:30.

Max is doing well. He had a little melt down last night before dinner. But, he was hungry and tired. We were trying to keep him up until 8...but at 6:30 he was done. Thankfully, he is still sleeping. Hopefully, he gets converted to our time quickly. So far, so good.

We took him to the pediatrician yesterday. His rash is nasty and itchy. She gave us some antibotic, oral steriod and topical steriod. Hopefully we can get this under control.

The dogs seem to be a non-issue. They gave him a couple of sniffs and park themselves near his high chair when he is in it. Tucker, our empathetic one, is always around when he cries. Murphy has even given him a few kisses.

Kelly loves her new baby brother and wants to play with him every moment. I have to remind her to give him a little space. I don't think he really plays with other kids yet. I suspect everything in the baby home was a battle. And he is just a toddler...exploring everything and anything, not neccesarily interacting with others.

He is not too sure about his grandparents yet. I know Jackie is probably dieing to hold him...and Billy is trying to win him over. I think right now, he tolerates them...not quite warming up to them. There is just soo much for him to take in. It will take some time, then he'll be pinching Papa Billy's butt just like Kelly!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are HOME!

Yes, we are home. We rolled in at about 10 pm last night. Kelly was soo excited. She wanted to talk on the phone with us from the airport all the way home! The last 3 hours home probably was the toughest. Neither one of us slept on the plane and I was done. I've lost track of how many hours we were up...over 24...I had gotten up at 6:30 Moscow time on Tuesday. Poor Mike. I don't know how he did it...but we made it home.

Now, to get over the jet lag. Even though I did not get much sleep in our over 24 hour day...I was up at 3:30 am and knew I wouldn't fall back to sleep. Mike was the same way. So, we got up and showered. The little man was also up. So, he got changed and Mike sat with him in the recliner...he has fallen back to sleep! Yeah...hopefully, we can get him transitioned to central time without too much of a fuss.

The plane ride was not too bad. He took a little nap on the way to the airport and ended up sleeping for about 3 hours of the flight. He went through his frustrated screaming because he couldn't fall asleep. The Russian ladies behind us kept wanting to help, but he wouldn't take a pacifier, so there was nothing I could do.

The airport was a non-issue...we got through immigration and customs quite quickly! We probably should have called Dad sooner to pick us up. I think we waited about an hour for him. Then an hour drive to his place, stay there for about 45 minutes and then hit the road for Muscatine. I think Dad wanted us to stay for dinner or even spend the night. In hind sight, we probably should have. But, we just wanted to get home and we had a little girl that was anxious to see us and her baby brother.

He has been a trooper. Seeing a bunch of strange people that want to take his picture and hold him, 2 different houses, 2 dogs, a big sister...all-in-all he has been taking it all in.

We will be calling the Dr. as soon as they open today to have his rash checked out. It flared up on the flight home. I'm pretty sure something we fed him caused it...but we haven't really given him anything different. I'm starting to wonder if there is some kind of filler in baby food fruits that is causing this. It "seems" to happen when he eats those. But who knows....I'm totally guessing. The benydryl that we were giving him didn't seem to help on the plane.

Well...I have a mountain of laundry that I need to attack.

WE ARE HOME!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last post...until we get home!

Yep, this is the last post until we get home. No free internet in this hotel and the cost is somewhat expensive. $42 for 24 at about 1pm more net.

We did skype home last night and Kelly got to see Max again. She was soo cute. She was trying to play with him across skype...peek-a-boo, showed him a webkinz, since he was chewing on a pen...she showed him a pen. 2 more nights and she'll be able to play with him.

Here is more stuff I keep forgetting to post. He weighed in at 23 pounds and is 31" long. His 18 months clothes fit, but I suspect he will be out of them soon.

He fell asleep without crying last night. My husband convinced me to let him suck his fingers for sleep. Kelly had a pacifier for nigh-nigh, so Max should be able to suck his fingers. I didn't want to back down...that would only let him know that we are willing to back down. Now, his tantrums seem to last much longer, a 52 minute one yesterday. Almost like he is waiting for us to give in like we did with the fingers.

He has grown more comfortable with us. And has learned how to signal to be picked up. He also has a come here sign down. We are working on others...more, all done, and eat. He even lets us play with him horsie on the leg and throwing him in the should hear him giggle in delight.

Well, I think that is about it. Today is Embassy day and hopefully we get all the paperwork we need to bring him home on Wednesday!!!

3 more days to go!

Yes, 3 more days...and we will be running out of diapers before we go home. Man, can this little kid produce a bunch of .... well you get the picture.

We picked up some russian benedryl and anti-histimene creme to help with his rash. We are not sure it is working.

Kelly did not prepare us for Max. She was such an easy child. Max's temper tantrums are incredible. One lasted for 45 minutes today. I may need to get some valium or something. LOL!! Hopefully, he will figure out a way to deal with his anger and frustration in a different way. Plus, hopefully we will figure out what he wants. But the tantrums are usually started by us telling him no to something. Oh well...

We are both tired and bored. It is time to go home!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Medicals done!

The medicals are done! He was such a tropper during the blood draw...didn't even flinch nor cried until the end. We couldn't believe it! The papers have been dropped off at the embassy and we have a 2pm interview on Monday. We should have papers to go home by 3 or 4 pm on late to catch the Monday flight. We are one step closer to coming home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally photos

Here they are...the long awaited photos...And I've picked two...They show both sides of our new son.

Here is the side we never saw in the orphanage...Happy, squealing with delight, exploring, and trying to figure out all the new things that he is seeing. We think he will be our musical one. He dances/sways to music (played or hummed) and is constantly trying to make different sounds with different objects.

And then there is this otherside of our son. The willful side. The side that throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way...He is NOT even 2 yet! LOL!! Anyway, we are trying to improve his reaction to his dislikes....Like throwing an object in anger is unacceptable. The go sit and start crying and pouting is not working for him either! Here is a photo taken of him after being told no stove...

Plus...we don't really know his signals for his wants and needs. And the orphanage they just fed him the set amount...whether he was hungry or not, full or not. So...are we feeding him enough, is he full, is he hungry? We just don't know. He has learned to finger feed little toddler snacks and cookies. I don't think he even got a change to do that. He is liking the sippy cup and is learning to tilt to drink.

We may have made a tactical error which may not be helping his transition any. He sucks his thumb and index finger of his right hand. (We think he may be left handed). We have been trying to stop the sucking and substitue a pacifier. He is NOT happy about this change. But he knows what we want...he is just not happy to comply.

Tomorrow we will be continuing our journey of bringing him home. We have to get visa photos taken (another thing Tatyana didn't do...the list just keeps growing...she also didn't get some papers translated) tomorrow a then he goes for his physical. They may take blood because of the possible HIV infection at birth. I'm sure he is going to LOVE that...Oh Joy! Then CHI takes all our papers to the embassy. They have to get there between 9:30 and 11am in order to get the Visa on Monday to go home. We are going to find out what time the visa is supposed to be ready. If early enough in the am, we may be able to fly home on Monday...but we are not counting on this. American doesn't fly on tuesday that is why we would be coming home on wednesday. most...6 more days!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Passport Woes

Sorry for not posting was a nutty day!

It starts off with issues with our visas. We were supposed to get "adoption" visas. Tatyana, our agencies representative, paid for special invitations so that we can get these "adoption" visas. I remember a conversation in March about getting "adoption" visas.

But when It came time to get the visas, we received the standard invitation from CHI and no mention of the "adoption" visa. Furthermore, the website doesn't offer an "adoption" visa. So, we got "business" visa. Adoption is a business afterall...that was my thought process anyway.

What no one bothered to tell us is that the passport agency, the one that has to issue Max his passport so he can travel with us, only issues passports to adopted kids if the parent have "adoption" visas. Therefor it is critical that we have "adoption" visas.

NO ONE bothered to check our visas until the day we are supposed to get HIS passport! WHAT A CROCK OF CRAP!!! This is such a critical issue and no one bothers to check our visas. They are in Russian....I can't check AND I didn't know it was such a big deal! The minute we got the visas, the were scanned and sent to our representative in St. Louis. She didn't bother to check the accuracy...she had the copies at least 6 weeks before we left! Tatyana didn't bother to check the visas...I'm sure our St. Louis rep forwarded her the copies AND we gave her copies on September 3rd when we went to court. That means she had them for 2 weeks prior and she never bothered to check. But, according to CHI this is all OUR fault. Another stunning example of the ineptitude of our adoption agency. Oh by the way, the city is even wrong on my visa. make a long story short...we got some document from the Department of Education saying that it was her fault the wrong visa was obtained. We owe her big! We should be able to pick up his passport @ 3pm today and be on our train this evening.

Then in Moscow, we work on getting his visa to the US.

Oh...did I mention we picked him up from the baby home yesterday. We spent most of the day in the car obtaining paperwork...certificate of adoption, then traveled to DNO (this is not an acronym, it is the city his birth mom is from) 150 km from Pskov (1.5 hour drive) to get his birth certificate redone with our names, then to the baby home (an additional hour drive there and back) to pick up Max, then to the passport office, then the notary, then to the department of education. What a day.

We were rushed the whole time. Tatyana is from Smolensk...a 5 hour drive from Pskov...and she did not want to spend the night and was anxious to hit the road home. So, she didn't let us see his room or crib or anything. She really pissed me off yesterday. Plus, we found out, the supposed $150 amercian dollars passport expiditing fee, probably ends up in her pocket. We wondered why a Russian government agency would charge a fee in american dollars. Another crock of crap in our opinion.

But...we have Max...and what a different child he is. He was extrememly reserved during our visits. We were worried how he would be taking him from the only place he has ever seen. But...he soaked all the new experiences in. He only cried when he saw Ludmilla and we think that is because he associates her with the baby home. Once we got back to her home, he totally came out of his shell. He play, laughed, screamed with was amazing! He had no problem falling asleep in a strange bed.

Today...he got the other side of having parents. We let him explore...but stoped him from the outlets and banging toys on the furniture. He did not like that. He would throw the current toy in his hand, sit on the floor where he was and cry. It is good to see his personality and I'm sure he will realize that response will not work with Mike and I. He had his first little timeout today...A forceful pickup and seating on the couch with not toys or comfort. The look of shock on his face was priceless. His antics have not been as severe since.

We also had his inagural dump today. OMG...I forgot how bad that stuff stinks. Even though the dumpage was contained in the diaper...the smell permeated into his pants...We had to change those too!

Tomorrow...once we get situated in the hotel...I will get some photos up. Sorry for the delay...I just didn't feel like messing with that on Ludmilla's computer and dial up line.

Thanks again for all the support from you all!!! I can't wait to post photos so you can see him!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last visit

Today was our last visit with Max at the Baby Home. Yea! That place stinks! Everytime we walk in, I get this overpowering smell of spoiled milk...It takes a while for my nose to adjust. I wonder if they actually drink that smelly stuff. I am such a spoiled American!

Max was in way better spirits today! He had fun playing and even gave us some smiles and laughs. Again, he cried when the caregiver came to get him. I hope that means he enjoys the time with us and that he will not be too uncomfortable when he leaves the only place he has ever been.

We stopped at the store today and picked up some snacks for the 12 hour train ride and bibs. He has not been allowed to feed himself I'm thinking eating may be a messy endevour. I wonder if he will even try to feed himself. We will see tomorrow!

We also stopped and picked up our train tickets for Wednesday. We are getting closer to going home. Just 2 more nights here, then a night on the train, and then 6 nights at the Hilton. Our plane leaves at 2:30 pm on the 23rd and arrives at O'Hare at 4:30pm. I wish it was only a 2 hour flight, but once you factor in the 9 hour time difference it is about 11 hours. That makes for a VERY long day on Wednesday. Then we have a 4 hour drive to Muscatine. Yep...we will be tired. I hope Max sleeps for most of the time.

It is ANOTHER cloudy and rainy day. I am starting to panic about our laundry. There is no way it will be dry by wednesday if we cannot hang it outside in some sun. I have visions of grocery bags of soggy laundry coming with us to Moscow!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday, September 13th

In 10 days we will be heading home...hopefully. In order to leave Pskov on Wednesday, we need Max's passport. I guess the last time our agency contact, Tatyana, tried to get a passport...she didn't have all the correct papers and they almost didn't give the passport to that family. HOPEFULLY...she will have all the correct papers with her this time. We are keeping our fingers crossed!

I finished my Computer Tricks for scrapbooker's magazine yesterday. I can't wait to get home and try out my new photoshop knowledge.

It is a somewhat cloudy day today, but we are still trying to get our laundry done. Not having a dryer really makes doing laundry difficult...we are dependent on sunny weather. But, today and tomorrow are probably the last days we will have a chance to get it done...So, with another hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

Tomorrow we will visit Max again and then stop at the grocery store and pick up food for him. What do you feed a 17 month old for 8 days and no kitchen. We don't even know if he will use a sippy cup yet. I hope he will transition to that cup easily...I did not bring enough wipes, if not! LOL!!

Well off to read my photography tips and tricks magazine.

Oh...and it is opening weekend for football!!! Go Bears!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Excursion Day

Today we went on our second "excursion". A tour of the kremlin of Pskov. It is interesting to learn that the term "kremlin" is not just the name of the seat of power in Moscow. It is a term for a city surrounded by walls. That is how this city was started back in 903. (903! Makes you realize how young our nation really is! They celebrated their 1100 anniversary in 2003!) The wall is still standing and we got to go inside and look around. There is a major church inside (one of 50+ churches of Pskov). The story is that Olga, while standing on a hill, saw 3 lights and decided to build a church there. This is the official start of Pskov. Although, archeological digs have found earlier settlers. Olga became a Saint and is the patron saint of the city.

The church...more like cathedral to me...has the most icons -- 7 rows of icons. Icons are a big thing in the Russian Orthadox church. I was actually able to take non-flash photos in this church. Usually you are not allowed to take any photos in the church. The church is not like our typical churches. There are no benches to sit during the service. The people stand during the entire service and I suspect they are wall to wall...there is not much room. The church is VERY ornate...icons/pictures/places for candles/casket of bones/etc. Everything is gilded with gold or silver. Always there are pictures of the many saints that they have.

We then went to a market. It is called a car market. When communisum fell, many people lost their jobs. Those that had money went to the surrounding countries and brought in goods. They would come to this market and sell them by setting up the goods on the hood of their cars. As their wealth increased they would purchase a tent/awning, and then a more permanent kiosk. This market is row upon row of permenant kiosks. And then surrounding the kiosks are the tents and tables of goods.

11 more days. I think I'm going to run out of reading material. I finished my photoshop primer, I'm about halfway done with Computer Tricks for scrapbookers #3 by Jessica Sprague, and then I have a photography tips and tricks magazine. After that...I'm done. I've already finished one of the 2 puzzle books I brought and am halfway through the other. But, I suspect that Max will keep me busy once we pick him up.

They sell what seems like everything there. Coats, shoes, boots, clothes, curtains, umbrellas, car parts, bicycles, watches, etc. It took about 30 minutes to walk the entire market.

Friday, September 11, 2009

12 more days

Hang in there Cathy...there are only 12 more days left! And can you believe it...I'm not taking tons of pictures. Russia is not pretty. All the buildings seem runned down and about to fall over. Yet, people live in them. The roads are full of holes. It makes me appreciate where I live. And scrapbook stores. LOL!!! Although, if there were any...I wouldn't know where to look for them. Everything is intermingled here. Apartments, shopping, businesses all on the same block.

I will be taking some photos tomorrow. Ludmilla will be taking us around Pskov tomorrow. Pskov was founded in the 900s, so there is a lot of history in this town. I need to get photos of our hosts and their home. It is very nice. We even took a little walk around the subdivision yesterday. It is kinda crazy...There are a lot of unfinished homes looking like they will never be finished. Also, people live in the unfinished home. Ludmilla's doesn't have siding yet.

We saw Max today. He must not have slept well. He was tired and took a little nap in my lap. It looks like his dermatitis is returning. I can't wait to take him to our doctors. He constantly has a runny nose and seems congested all the time. I sure hope he does not have a bunch of allergies...but it is sure looking like that. At least he has a mommy that knows how to deal with them! Plus, he has a bunch of bumps on the back of his head. Looks like his noggin has taken quite a bit of abuse...probably from falling while walking or something.

He is still unsure of Mike. Although, he did sit in Mike's lap for a little while today. We have one more visit on Monday, then Tuesday we take him with us. He has never been outside, in a car, or been exposed to many other experiences we take for granted. I think he will be soaking up his new environment like a sponge.

Tuesday will be a long day. We have to pick up paperwork from the court, apply for his passport, and get a new birth certificate. The problem is that his mother is from a tiny town 120 km from Pskov or Pechory...I'm not sure which. We have to go to that town to get the new birth certificate which we need for the passport. All the paperwork stuff has to be done before we pick him up. But, the passport should be ready on Wednesday, then we hop on the train back to Moscow. Another new experience for him.

I made spaghetti for our hosts yesterday. It wasn't bad...I was worried about the sauce. But, shopping for the ingredients was interesting. I buy everything in it is kilograms. We got too much meat and the spices did not seem as potent as back home. But Ludmilla and her husband enjoyed the American dish.

Kelly is still anxious to see Max on the computer. She asked about it again today. We told her we would try on Thursday when we are back in Moscow. Tomorrow the Grandparents switch. Bill and Jackie arrive...My Dad and Marylou head home.

And...Dad told me MCC called! It looks like I'll be teaching at leat one class in the spring! I'm excited...I really enjoy teaching! Plus, it increases my scrappy budget. Although...we have a LOT of expenses to pay off from this trip. So, I will need to limit my spending! I can't wait to see what classes they want me to teach.

On a home front is 9-11. Can you believe it has been 8 years? A day etched in my memory. Hopefully it is never forgotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Half way point...about...

I think we are gone for 25 days which puts today at about the half way point. I am about done with Russia, waiting, and sleeping in a queen size bed. I want to be back home chatting with my friends, seeing Kelly, eating good ole' american food, and getting Max acustomed to his new home and family. Oh, and let's not forget the scrappy withdrawl that I'm going through. I didn't even bring any scrappy magazines. And there is no way I'm willing to log into a message board right now...I would be frustrated because I wouldn't be able to scrap the inspiration...kwim? lol

Anyway, we have about 12.5 days to go...Hopefully, it will go quickly. We visited Max yesterday afternoon and saw him walk. He is still a little shaky, but is walking on his own. I suspect he will be running soon! We got him to smile and laugh. The only time he cried is when Mike showed him his shoe. A big black size 13 would be scary for sure...I don't know what he was thinking! LOL!!! Anyway, Mike is convinced he was crying when they took him away yesterday. Not from the shoe, but because he didn't want to leave. I'm not so sure...but you gotta love wishful thinking!

I'm still dealing with our laundry...It is not drying and I can only hang so much of it outside. So, I'll hang some up and when it dries I'll swap it with some wet stuff. Hopefully, it will stay sunny today and I can get it finished. We had planned on doing laundry again before Moscow. I hope it is sunny again this weekend so I can get it dry! I'm half tempted to go by a fan for the basement so that there is air blowing on it...but I don't know if there is another outlet to plug it in!

Queen size beds suck! For me anyway. For those of you that don't know...Mike rocks in his sleep. Yes, rocks...back and forth while holding a pillow. We have a select comforts King size bed at home and I am not bothered by it. I don't know if it is the boys or the bed that shields me from it...but I have neither here. It was sooo bad the first night in Moscow, that I slept on the floor. Nothing like waking up nausiated because the bed is moving. And he was in the middle. He laughs at me when I complain. He says just move me! Or wake me up! LOL!!! waking a sleeping bear or moving a big rock...I think not! LOL!!!

We have been calling Kelly every other day or so. The 9 hour time difference and her schedule make it somewhat difficult. The best time to catch her is right before she leaves for school. She will have an exciting time this weekend with the grandparent swap. Billy and Jackie will arrive on Saturday around 3-4 and my Dad and MaryLou will leave around 5. I'm sure everyone is keeping her busy so that she is not missing us too much!

Thanks to everyone that is reading the blog and leaving comments! I do appreciate it! I feel soo isolated here and those little things help keep me connect with you all! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 8th

We visited Max yesterday morning. He is still very tentative around us. I don't think he knows what to do, since seeing different people during his schedule is not the norm. We spent the first half hour showing him how to play. To bang toys, put something up right, to stack, etc. He was fascintated with the stacking cups. He couldn't stack but he could put them inside of each other. I think he played with the cups and the plastic easter egg the most.

We still do not know if he walks or crawls. He just sits and reaches with us. I think they were trying to walk him into the room when we first saw him...but that is all we have seen.

At least he is no longer in a state of pure terror when he sees us.

And, for those of you still wondering...his hair is a very light brown...lighter than Kellys, NOT red as it seemed in the photos.

I think since the adoption is actually official, we could now probably post a photo or two. But we will wait until we actually have possesion (SP) of him...Which will happen a week from today on Tuesday, September 15th. Once we get back to Moscow, we will try to post a photo.

After visiting Max, we visited the monestary in Pechory. The baby home is actually in Pechory, not Pskov. What a surprise! The monestary is nestled in this little valley and is absolutely gorgeous and extremely well kept. Not much in Russia is well maintained. I had to wear a scarf and a skirt. We lit a candle for Max, walked through one of the churches, and purchased some soveniers and Russian things for Max.

Today, I am attempting to do laundry...another interesting Russian experience. The washer is tiny! And, no dryer. They hang the laundry in the basement. I'm not sure how long things like jeans will take to dry.

We have 3 more visits with Max, then we will pick him up. Today we found out that they will let us see his room and were he plays. We will be able to take photos. I'm glad. I want him to know his beginnings. I will definitely have plenty to scrap when I get home!!!!

I think I might run out of "stuff" to do before we head back. I have finished the 7 books I brought with to read. I now am working on some of the puzzle books I brought and my elements reference magazine I found...Although, I'm not a photographer and it seems that references are written for photographers. I tend to take photos...then "fix" them via cropping. Then I'll print at what size I want. It seems in need to start at the right size. Oh well, I'll eventually get this figured out.

Mike and I have been playing a lot of bejeweled twist! HEHEHEHE...I loaded up the high score board before we came and challenged him to knock me off. LOL!!! He does love a challenge. I think he now has 2 of the 10 high scores, but is ticked-off that he hasn't toppled my high score. He pooh-poed my idea of purchasing a game before the trip. Now he praises his good idea! LOL!!

Oh I almost forgot. On Sunday, we skyped home to see Kelly. I think she was a little disappointed. She really wanted to see Max. But we talked for about 30 minutes. She was having fun with the camera. We will try to skype home again when we get back to Moscow so she can see Max.

Anyway...that is about it. The weather is bright and sunny today. It had been gloomy and rainy for the last couple of days.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another Day

It is Sunday morning in Russia and we have nothing planned for today. Well, tonight at 8pm Russia time/11 am Iowa time, we will be trying to Skype home. We had set up our desktop and laptop with video cameras/microphones to do a video call while we are away. We have not been able to get the laptop on the net yet. We saw an internet cafe at the shopping center yesterday. So today we will call home so Kelly can see us. We have been talking every other day or so...but she has been asking to see us. Hopfully, we won't have any problems tonight.

We are definitely missing our little girl. She is being brave and told us she hasn't cried yet. Although last night there was a little snafu. We used the CHI phone to call home. We only get 5 minutes of talk time and we should have disconnected before time rain out. But we didn't and the connection was dropped. Kelly thought she disconnected the call and started crying. Dad called us back on Mike's phone. We re-assured her it wasn't her fault!

I think my dad and MaryLou may need a vacation after watching her for 2 weeks. Dad made the comment that Kelly is a very busy little girl. Oh yes she is! Well, at least Monday is Labor Day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday -- Day #7

Well...I'm finally on the internet again. Since we arrived in Pskov on Tuesday...we have only had access to the net via Mike's phone. I made a couple of quick facebook posts using it. But it is not for a lot of typing! LOL!!!

Anyway...The Doctor visits on Monday were not as bad as I envisioned. We saw about 5 different doctors and were told we are healthy...but fat! Yeah, tell me something I don't know. The doctor visits were $800 each...they told us $750 before we left. It seemed to go into the main doctors pocket. Oh well.

Then we had late lunch/early dinner at a Ukrainian chain restaurant...It was good. Mike had a beer and they served it with a dried/salted fish. He did not like the fish. I had a chicken noodle soup and pork ravioli things. Like a peirogie maybe. They were both good

When we left the restaurant, I twisted my ankle. VERY PAINFUL. I did not think I'd be able to walk on it. But somehow, it is not as bad as I feared. We motrined me up, and kept it elevated on the 12 hour train ride. It is still tender...but I'm not hobbling around.

More "funny" business with the train tickets. In March we paid $300 for the tickets and they included dinner and breakfast. We just paid $330 and got no meals. We never see price sheets and are at the mercy of our Russian hosts. I feel that money is pocketd. But, what can we do?

We arrived in Pskov on Wednesday and saw Max in the afternoon. He is soo big, much bigger than I thought. I can't wait to get him home and have our drs. measure him. I don't believe the measurements that we received are accurate. We are unsure if the clothes we brought will fit him. He also has a very bad case of dermatitis(?). His entire body is covered with dry skin and scabs. He is soo itchy! He cried for the first half hour or so. But, he seemed comfortable in my lap and mostly afraid of Mike. He is not accustomed to seeing males, let alone big men like Mike. But, eventually he calmed down and played with us for a while.

Thursday morning was our court time. We gave a speech, answered questions, and then told the adoption is approved. There is a 10 day waiting period that must be fulfilled before we can take him. So, we will visit as often as we can. We will be picking him up on Tuesday September 16th.

We went to see him on Friday. His skin rash is looking better. I think they are finally giving him something for it. But, he seemed very tired. After the visit, we went to Ludmilla's home. We are staying with our translator during the waiting period. Here home is nice and she is a very good cook. I had hoped to lose 10 pounds during my stay in Russia. But, she is feeding us a lot of food!

The weather right now is gloomy. It has been raining on and off for about the last 2 days. It is cool outside. But Russians keep their buildings very warm. I find that I am hot and sweaty more often than not!

I FINALLY slept an entire night last night. Although, I do feel tired today. I suspect my body will finally adjust to russian time for us to go home!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day #3

Trying to get in a last minute post...don't know if I'll be able to post while in Pskov...which is where we will be for the majority of the trip!

We are just about ready to check out of our Moscow hotel. Our CHI representative will be picking us up at 11:30 to take us to our 4 hour physcial exams. Then a quick lunch/dinner, then the overnight train ride to Pskov. I don't know if I'll be able to post while in Pskov...we had problems getting to the net on the first trip. But, we will be there longer this time and hopefully we will get it figured out!

We arrive in Pskov on the 2nd and will be seeing Max later that day. On the 3rd is the court date. Then the wait begins!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day #2

We are in Moscow staying at a Mariott for the night. The flight was long...10+ hours, then they did a health screening before we got off. The plane was full and they took everyone's temperature via a gun-type device held close to your ear. We waited a while to get our bags and got to the hotel by 2 pm ish Moscow time.

Neither one of us slept well on the plane, so we took a little nap. Had dinner at the hotel and went for a little walk.

Tomorrow is a busy day. We go through our 4 hour many doctor physical, then take a 12 hour train ride to the region. Moscow is a bit easy...there is someone that speaks English at most places we have gone to. Pskov...not so much. We will be trying to learn a little Russian.

On Wednesday, we should be able to see Max again.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day #1

We have arrived at my Dad's house in Darien. We hit the road around 9:45 this morning. I was ready by 9! I guess I'm finally getting excited and am still in shock that this is actually happening. We will hang out at Dad's until about 2:30 then head to the airport for our 5:25 pm flight.

Hopefully I'll be able to post while in Moscow... Until Russia then!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's time!!!!!!

Yes! We leave tomorrow morning at 10 am! We travel to my dad's in Darien, IL. He will then take us to the airport. Our flight to Moscow leaves at 5:25 pm. We arrive in Moscow at 10am ish on the 31st.

Finally!! I cannot believe it. This process has taken soo long and I have gone through soo many emotions! Hope, excitement, anger, being bitter, and depression. I struggled this week...soo much to do...lists, shopping, cleaning, prepping while still taking care of our current family. Plus, the realization of my freedom disappearing. I really enjoyed Kelly's first full year of full day school. I got to teach at the local community college and could do basically what I wanted for a couple of hours a day. I LOVED last year! will be well worth it. AND, another opportunity/challenge to create a better balance in my life. Too often I don't take time for myself and then get resentful. I need to find a better way to do this.

I'm now up for the challenge...the challenge to do it differently! I'm finally excited. I really thought that I wouldn't be excited until Max was sitting on my lap on the plane ride home. So much in our process has gone wrong or taken the longer paths. I felt like I was waiting for something else to happen. But....we will be seeing Max soon! Spending as much time as we can with him before we bring him home. And then we will be spending a life time together!

I can't wait for this little blessing to be home!

Please stay posted...I will be updating our journey as much as I can while we are away. Hopefully we can get connected to the "net" while in region. We had a problem connecting the laptop the first time we went.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week #11

Week #11 of the 92 days of summer contest has been done for a couple of days...I'm just now getting a chance to post it. This layout was inspired by a July pagemaps sketch. The sketch was an 8.5x11 2 pager that I converted. I really love how the title turned out. AND...I finally used some rub-ons...I always seem to forget about those little guys!

Also...I still cannot believe I have stayed caught up with this contest. I have week #12 photos printed out, 8 more photos to take, and 2 more layouts to finish. I hope to be finished before we leave. I plan on having the last layout done and posted before we leave. I'll fill in the final photos when we get back. Hopefully before the September 30th deadline!


Yep, we did it! We walked a 5K on Saturday morning and finished at 46 minutes 38 seconds. Last year. It was the HNI fun run. Last year we did it in 53 minutes. We were also pullng a wagon with Kelly and she was getting in and out. This year she ran/walked the whole way. We are very proud of Kelly!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to school

Kelly started school yesterday. I'm not quite sure who was more excited...her or me! I have 6 days left of "freedom". Today and next week. Then we leave for Russia and will be bringing our son home!

Kelly had a blast...she met old friends, made new friends and has a desk this year. She said her favorite part was recess! LOL!!! I bet today the favorite part will be gym. She is a VERY active little girl!

I will be taking advantage of my time getting ready for the trip. There are ton of things to get done. I have to prepare the house for the grandparents who are watching Kelly. My dad and MaryLou are coming for the first 2 weeks. Then Mike's parents come in for the next 2 weeks. All the freezers are almost full...I still need to get dog food. Many lists need to be prepared...Kelly has a busy schedule full of activities...Cheer, Dance, gymnastics, etc... Then cleaning and of course...MUCH packing. For ourselves and Max. We are leaving in 9, I can't believe it is finally happening!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hunting dogs...chipmunks beware!

Yep, Murphy and Tucker are hunting dogs. They both have had birds in their mouths this year and today Murphy snatched a chipmunk. Poor guy. By the time we got the boys away from the chipmunk it had lost some blood and looked like a back leg was broken. The chipmunk did make it to the safety of the brush line...but who knows if it will survive its injury. I'm not sure if the chipmunk was already injured. They have been tormenting the boys all summer, but the chipmunks have always been able to out run the boys. But not today! We have hunting dogs! LOL!!

Tucker: Murphy:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All caught up -- for now!

I cannot believe I am finally all caught up! AND, I cannot believe I have been able to take a photo a day and complete a layout a week since June 1st. Way cool and I am proud of myself for staying on top of this. This album is going to be a great keepsake!

I'm not sure I like week #9's layout. I really wanted to use the KI transparency...but I this layout seems too disjointed to me. The swirls are cool...but...something just seems to be missing.I really LOVE week #10's layout. I lifted a layout by Gail Linder that is in the August 2009 Scrapbook Trends, page 66. I did stray from the MM line I was using. But I really love the chatterbox papers and the colors. It did take a while to build the border in design studio...and I should have choosen blackout. But still...I love this one!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sassy Scrapper Reveal Day -- Sweet N Sassy stamps

This month's sponsor at Sassy Scrappers is Sweet N Sassy Stamps -->
I have to admit I was a little leary of working with digital stamps. But, it was way easier than I thought. Just print, cut, and color. I love the cards I created with the stamps. AND the best thing...most of them are on sale for $3.00 or less. Way cheaper than a normal stamp. I may have found a new love!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bo Bunny

I have been having a blast with BoBunny's Popiscle line...
I had fun stitching ribbon through this acrylic arrow to make this thank you card. I punched the holes with my crop-a-dile...gotta love that tool.
I tried to recreate the roller coaster with the paper pleats...but I think I created competing elements with the paper strips inside...oh well...

This was based on a sketch from BoBunny's blog. I'm mad that I put the circle strip on crocked! I turned the sketch on its side...still fun!
This ended up working for a color challenge at the Scrapperie, 12345 challenge at Scrapbook Dreamer, and a recipe challenge coming up in the next crop at Sassy

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kelly is a Cheerleader!

Well finally...She's been doing gymnastics since she was 2.5 years old. We thought for sure she'd enjoy cheerleading. But, every time we asked her...she said no. Well...we changed dance schools this year because this one does more acrobatic stuff. They also have cheer classes. So we went to watch...Now Kelly is in LOVE with cheerleading. She does her own cheers, practices her tumbling, and I couldn't get her out of her uniform. So, of course I had to take photos and scrap them!
Now to figure out how to fit everything in...gymnastics, dance, cheer, swimming, soccer....I think we are going to have to drop a few!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I won!!!

I cannot believe I have won!!! I participated in the Scrap Therapy crop over at Scrapbook Dreamer. Laura and the design team came up with wonderfully inspiring challenges and games. It was way fun. I think I got about 7 layouts done, 3 were 2 pagers...and well ...I found out today I won one of 3 boxes filled with $50.00 worth of stuff! Amazing!

Thanks to Laura and the DT at Dreamer!

Blog Candy from Ally

Hey all...check it out...Ally is giving away another stamp set...check out this link:
It is a really cool deal!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Up to date!

Ok, I am finally up to date! AND there are only 4 more layouts left to do in the contest. I cannot believe how fast the summer has just flown by. It seems like the last day of school was just yesterday and now Kelly goes back on August 20th. AND today is August 1st! Man-oh-man! are the latest 92 days of summer layouts of mine. I think week #6 is now my favorite. It was inspired by Heather's sketch, but I just love how everything came together...from the pen work to the title to the flower clusters! Yes...I put flowers on a layout! LOL!!Week 7's layout is based on an Ali Edwards layout in the August CK mag. It is not as pretty as hers...I think I needed a more subtle pp for the main piece.I used some of those pipe cleaners that I have left from one of Kelly's projects. This has to be one of the bulkiest layouts I've done in a long time. I loved threading some buttons on the pipe cleaner and making the flower. I keep thinking that I need some pipecleaner on the bottom somewhere, but everytime I put something distracts from the photos.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More summer days...

I finally got week #5 done for the 92 days of summer at YMBD. This layout sat on my desk for a week! I just couldn't figure out what embellishments to use. Then I decided to stitch a path for the butterflies across the layout as if they were going from flower to flower...taking you through all the photos.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scrapperie's English Garden kit

Well...I was on a roll blog-wise...then fell off the wheel! LOL!! I've been scrappin'...just not posting...Sorry Cathy! LOL!!

Anyway...for any of you that has not gotten a kit from the Scrapperie...You NEED to go get English Garden. Antoher fabulous kit from Sandi. I don't know how she does it month after month...but I just hope she keeps it up! is a layout I created from the kit. Everything is from the kit except for the pink pompom ribbon. I think another layout has made it to my favorites list!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sassy Scrapper July Revel

Well...Here they are...well 2 of them need to go to Sassy Scrappers to see the rest! I'm not sure which one is my favorite. I love the bright colors on the black background of this one.
And, I struggled with this one...but I think it all came together in the end!

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