Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas, Parts 1 and 2

Oh, what fun Christmas was this year. S is really into it, even waking us up Christmas morning to ask if she could see if Santa ate his cookies.

We started with dressing up for church. S watched the angels dance around, and Mommy stayed to sing

Then we opened presents from Mommy's side of the family. They were wonderful!

Before we knew it, it was Christmas morning (and yes, Santa ate the cookies)

Time to do our exam with our new doctor kit

...and create a masterpiece of Legos with Daddy

Tonight Grania gets here, and Part 3 will be coming soon!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas is coming...

Time to get a tree!

Even Snoopy approved

This was the first year S was really into getting ready for Christmas. From her Advent calendar to Christmas ornaments, she's all over it. Every day she moved an ornament or 2 on the tree


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A customer service rave!

I know, no one ever raves about customer service. But here I am. OK, I have a quibble with their web site, but more on that in a minute.

We have an EZ-Pass (actually 3 of them) from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Yep, it's a mouthful. Every day I'd pass by their little DRJTBC sign on my way to and from work when I lived in PA (and worked in NJ). Not surprisingly, that was about the time I would cross the Delaware River. Get it?


I would get e-mail statements every quarter, but never paid much attention because my toll was getting paid and life was good. I had once attempted to log in on their website and couldn't access it. I filed it away as something to remedy someday, and didn't think about it again for years.

Until someone (who shall remain nameless but whose name starts with J) got violation notices from 2 states claiming transponder failure and YOU OWE US MONEY MISTER!

So I had to call and sort it all out. The first person I called, I just wanted to get an actual account number, since I only had transponder numbers to work with. I gave him some basic info, he got me an account number AND a password, was delightful to talk to, and sent me on my way. The second time,  I called DRJTBC to deal with interstate violation notices (WE'RE WANTED IN NJ and MA!). I talked to a delightful woman who brainstormed possible reasons for my violations in the first place, updated my account info to include the fact that we have 2 completely different cars since I got the EZ Passes (way back in 2005!), and let me know how to handle my violation appeal.

Today I tried to log into the DRJTBC website to print out some information, and was denied. I finally gave up after a few tries and called customer service. Another very nice man told me I had to actually activate my account online before I could access everything, but he walked me through it and now I'm golden.

I joked with him that I think their website is so hard to navigate just so I'm forced to talk to the nice people on their phone lines. He was happy to hear that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy (Liturgical) New Year!

Advent is here, and we're ready

Advent wreath is up

Advent calendar is stocked with treats

Advent scarf is started. I've only screwed up once or twice ;) All cables; isn't it lovely?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Open adoption

We saw S's birthmom and birthgrandma yesterday.

When we tell people we visit with S's birthfamily, we can get reactions such as:


"Why would you want to bother with them?"

"Aren't you worried they're going to run off with S?"

"Isn't she going to be confused?"

Fortunately we also have plenty of friends and family who either keep their reservations to themselves, or are supportive of our relationship.

The truth is, we feel that an open adoption has been the best thing for everyone involved. S has an opportunity to build a relationship with the woman who gave her life. She has a person she can go to if she has questions about anything from her medical history to her mannerisms. S's birthfamily gets a chance to see her, love on her, and generally have a good time with her. They get to see how much like her birthmom she is. They can see that she's happy and healthy. We get some precious moments watching them together and getting to know each other a little bit more with each visit.

Can it be difficult? Sure. Logistially we turned the weekend into quite the whirlwind, and our visit with S's birthfamily was at the tail end of it all. We have no idea what's going on in her birthfamily's heads when they see S. Maybe they want to spend more time with her, or wish she could be closer, or that things could have turned out differently when she was born. Maybe the visits can be painful for them, a reminder of what they've lost. And we don't feel like we have the relationship where we can ask about how they're feeling or what they're thinking. We do know that they lok forward to our visits (probably as much as we do) and have no plans to stop. Which makes us ever so grateful.

A lot of people also have misconceptions about what is involved in open adoption. It doesn't necessarily mean the birthfamilies and adoptive families see each other. Sometimes they exchange pictures and letters at prescribed intervals. And that's it. Sometimes the birthfamily provides some background information and has no other contact. Sometimes birthfamilies are making dangerous life choices, and an open relationship isn't possible. On the other end of the spectrum, it can also include regular visits at each other's homes, as a great big extension of family. And it can evolve, with either increased or decreased contact as time goes on. There are no rules. And we often make it up as we go along.

The best part? We end up with something to cherish with each visit. Sometimes it's a picture I take of S and her birthmom or birthgrandmom, just hanging out and enjoying each other. Sometimes it's a little conversation we have. And sometimes it's pictures like this:

That's S's birthmom on the left, not long before she turned 3. And that's S on the right, just a few weeks ago. Amazing, no? S's birthgrandma saw that picture of her, and dug out the picture of her birthmom. She was able to sit across a table from me and put it into my hands. I just stare and stare at it. And you can bet both pictures are going into S's room.

These are the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's been a while

Let's see, what have we been up to?

Throwing leaves

Taking my new favorite picture of S

Celebrating a birthday

...with my favorite girl

 Seeing covered bridges

Finding cute dresses at consignment stores

Showing off preschool art

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's National Adoption Month!

That's right! It's that time of year that I actually write about adoption, and when our family gives special thanks for our amazing almost-3-year-old and her oh-so-generous birthfamily.

If you're interested in learning more about adoption, I highly recommend sites like, which provides a lot of information about all types of adoption. They have a pretty kickin' magazine too.

Did you know there's an adoption tax credit? It provides a refundable credit to families who have adopted, and for many is the only way they'll be able to afford the process. As a recent NY Times debate stated, these are families who may be able to provide for a child day-to-day, but otherwise couldn't afford the often hefty fees associated with adoption. The credit is set to expire, and we along with others are lobbying to renew it, and possibly make it permanent.

And because my mom always calls and asks where the picture of S is, I'll close with this photo from one of her Halloween parties. We love you, Little!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My attempt at being a fancy photographer

At least I had a good model :)

My favorite

She was throwing piles of leaves in the air. So cute

Drumming on a tree

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin painting!

Toddler and knives to carve pumpkins? No
Toddler and stickers/paint to paint pumpkins? Yes

The artist giggles as she surveys her raw material

Mommy goes crazy with stickers

Let the painting begin!

Daddy helps out

Daddy's Clown Pumpkin

Finished products

California Dreaming

We just got back from a week in California. We figured it would be more fun, and less stressful, to go in the fall as opposed to the holiday rush. The weather was just about perfect, and we had a relaxing time.

S had LOTS of activities for the plane

She hit the pool as soon as we got to LA

J and I each took a day off to visit new places. J went to the Reagan Library with my dad, and I met an old friend at Manzanar. She's an internet friend I've been waiting years to meet in person. If you're not familiar with Manzanar, I highly encourage you to learn more.

When we got back, Little Miss was learning to be a pool cleaner

She was spoiled rotten while out with her grandparents. The waistaff at the restaurant put cartoons on the TV, and gave her unlimited apple juice and ice cream. Score!

On the way home, we stopped in LA for a day to see my brother and his family. They treated us to pizza in the park. Needless to say, S loved hers.

She also loved her cousin. They are only 6 months apart, and it was fun to see them together.

S took advantage of her wheeled luggage while zooming around LAX

Before we knew it, we were home again and back in our bed. Thanks Nana, Tapa, Paul, Trina, Desmond, Felix, and Ananda for a wonderful trip. We hope to do it again real soon!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Notice anything different?

For me, not for S ;)

And a bonus pic of the kid. In her football dress. Because it's Sunday


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Road trip!

There was a quiet weekend staring us in the face, and J suggested we go somewhere. We LOVE Keene and Harrisville, NH. So J found a cute boutique hotel, and we threw S in the car and headed out.

Our hotel (the Lane Hotel, for those interested ;) was great. Huge room, very comfortable, free breakfast and parking, heart of town. What more could we ask for? We found a yarn store for me, a kids' consignment sale (got a deal on a princess castle for S), and had a nice lunch.

Then we headed home on the scenic route.

S ready to hit the Harrisville General Store. She was a star

Playing at the Children's Center playground

The obligatory sandbox shot

Daddy posed for a portrait

Mommy took pictures of waterfalls

It was a really nice weekend break. We hope to go back again for my birthday. Squee!