Saturday, December 26, 2009

Best Christmas ever...

...we had such a wonderful Christmas. For the first time in like 25 years, our entire family was able to spend the holiday together. It has been so great to hang out with my parents, siblings and their families the past few days. Emma has had so much fun playing with her cousins.

We were blessed in the gift department as well...I finally got a Kindle (yea!) and Emma got a Wii, a camera and a scooter, among other things. But I think her favorite gift was the Pillow Pet she got from her grandma and grandpa...she has barely put "Bubbles the Hippo" down since she unwrapped him!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday as well!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Seven years ago today...

...I met my daughter for the first time in China. Has it really been that long? I am so priviledged to be this little girl's mommy...she has been the light of my life for every day of the past seven years!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Visiting with the big guy...

Emma is getting to the age where doubt begins to creep in about the authenticity of Santa Claus. We were in the car the other day, and she asked me if Santa is real. I asked her what she thought, and she said she thought he was. But I'm sure many of her friends no longer believe.

Anyway, she still really wanted to go to the mall to see Santa, so we headed there the other day. While we were standing in line, she kept rehearsing her Christmas list so she would get it right when she saw Santa. He was a great Santa and Emma was so happy afterwards. Hope this isn't our last year for this tradition!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Emma got braces today! Okay, they are only on her front help pull them down a little. But still kind of a big deal. So far, they aren't bothering her a bit - but the orthodontist said they could ache a little tomorrow. Right now, she's just excited about showing them to all her friends at Brownies tonight!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Seven years ago today...

...I saw my beautiful daughter's face for the first time. I can still remember every moment of referral day, just like it was yesterday...not seven years ago! It was certainly the most memorable day of my life.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The pirate, the witch and Madeline...

Emma went trick-or-treating last night with her friends Sophie and Hope, and the girls had a wonderful time. It was a perfect night for trick-or-treating and we were out for more than an hour-and-a-half. The girls may not have been tired, but us moms were exhausted.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the girls before we headed out...

Love that last picture...our little goofballs!

So now we're stuck with a huge bag of candy, which Emma has very little interest in. She just doesn't have a sweet tooth (it runs in the family - HA!) She loves Halloween...running around in a costume with her friends, acquiring candy and then trading it back and forth afterwards. But now it will just sit in her bag until I take it to work (after I pick out the good pieces for myself!)

So another Halloween behind us...hope you and yours had a great holiday too!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's apple-picking time!

Every fall, we go apple-picking with some of our friends. Because everyone has been so busy, we didn't get around to it until this weekend. It's a good thing we went, because this was the last weekend the orchard was open. Because it was so late in the season (and because we had such a cool summer and fall) there weren't a ton of apples left. But it's still more about the experience than coming home with a huge basket of apples. Here are some pics:

So this morning, I'm looking for apple recipes on the web. Last year I made an apple pie with some of our apples, but Emma is not really a pie fan. So I'm looking for some great apple crisp recipes. Yum!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A very cold weekend!

We had an unusually cold weekend...the high only hit the low 40s on Saturday and Sunday. We were supposed to go on a Brownie camp out on Saturday night and (like most of the troop) decided not to go. I have been battling a cold and did not feel like sleeping outside in 20 degree weather. I feel like a wimp, but it was the right decision.

We had to bundle up when we went you can see from these photos of Emma..

These look more like pictures from February! It's supposed to warm up a bit this week - thankfully. I love autumn and hate seeing it turn to winter too soon...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Haven't felt like blogging lately...

...I don't know why, but suddenly blogging seems like such a chore! I think it's partly because I've been doing it for so long, and partly because we've been so busy lately. Anyway, I guess I have enough energy to check in and post a few photos.

It was very much an autumn weekend for us. Saturday we went to the area's annual Moon Festival - it was nice seeing some new families who had young babies and toddlers recently adopted from China. Emma had a great time, digging in the dirt all evening with her friends...

Our other big excursion was to the pumpkin patch. Normally we don't go quite this early, but I honestly couldn't see a time for us to go before Halloween...we are that busy. Anyway, it was a beautiful day and we both had a great time.

Incidentally, Emma informed me this week that she was going to be a tomboy from now on! I guess she was serious - when we went to McDonald's this weekend, she wanted a Bakugan toy instead of the Build-A-Bear toy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My daughter, the adventurer (NOT!)

Emma's Brownie troop had a field trip today...they went to a nearby Girl Scout camp where they had a zip line. The girls were supposed to climb up a rope ladder onto a small platform and then they were hooked to a zip line and they glided down the line about 500 feet. All the girls were giddy with excitement, except my little Emma. She is so afraid to try new things...especially anything that is a physical challenge. All 22 girls in the troop went down the zip line, except Emma and one other girl.

I tried not to make a big deal about it, although I'm sure she sensed my disappointment. I just wish she was more willing to try new things. Of course, maybe this timidity will be a good thing a few years down the line, when other kids are trying smoking and drinking and other things I don't like to think about.

Anyway, although Emma chickened out, she still had a great time...and that's the important thing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Equestrian camp

Emma is spending the entire day at an equestrian camp. I'm a little nervous about leaving her there the whole day - I always stay for her lessons. I feel like I should be there in case something happens. But the instructor assured me she would take good care of her, so I dropped her off and left...

I've spent a glorious day grocery shopping, doing laundry and cleaning the house. I guess you could say I was at housekeeping camp all day.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A day at the farmstead...

Sorry for the lack of posting of late. It seems like the first couple weeks of school are so hectic - and it's a challenge getting back into the routine. But I feel like we're settled in a little and things are getting back to normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't appreciate a nice long holiday weekend to get us all out of whack again! Emma's best friend Emme spent the night last night and stayed with us most of the day today. The girls have known each other since they were one, and second grade is the first time they have not been in class together. They have really missed each other.

It had been an absolutely beautiful day, so we decided to visit the local farmstead - along with about 75,000 other folks. But the girls had a great time. The day was filled with...

Feeding the goats

Mining for gold

Eating snow cones

And just hanging out

Now Emma is over at Emme's house...I half-suspect I'll get a call soon from my girl asking if she can have a sleepover at Emme's house. She loves her best friend!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First day of second grade

I'm now the mother of a second-grader! Emma had a few butterflies in her tummy this morning, but I think it was just the excitement of being in second grade...

We went to orientation last night and found out who Emma's teacher is. There was one teacher I definitely did NOT want her to get, and I was super-relieved when I saw she wasn't on his class list. I feel horrible saying that, and I'm sure it's no fun being the teacher that no one wants to get. But he has a reputation for being kind of a yeller and I know that would not be good for Emma.

Anyway, her new teacher is Mme. Valluett - she is from France and is super-nice.

I'm hoping Emma has a great year...she told me some kids say second grade is "really hard." Hopefully that's not the case!

PS this is the first year I didn't cry when I dropped Emma off at her first day of school...I guess the next time I will bawl will be when I take her to college!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Emma and her Biggie

I know there's no one who loves Emma more than I do, but my mom comes close. She adores my little girl and Emma loves her Biggie (that is what Emma has called her ever since she could talk.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It is so lovely...

...when your child spends the day with a friend whose mother is a brilliant professional photographer. I was trying to get through a long day at work when the mom dropped me an email saying everything was going great and she attached a few photos of the girls when they were helping her out in her studio...

I love this last photo of Emma and her friend Nikita...they are such sweet and pretty girls (in my opinion!)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The expander is in...

I had been dreading this day for several weeks...Emma's appointment to get her palate expander in. I have been so worried that this was going to be painful for my little girl...and I was not looking forward to having to stick a key in her mouth every night to tighten the expander.

Well, Emma was a total champ...she didn't wince or complain once as they glued the expander onto the roof of her mouth. They had me tighten the expander for the first wasn't as complicated as I thought and Emma said it didn't really just made her nose feel funny (they told me that was common and it stopped after a few minutes.)

Anyway, here's a blurry photo of her new $1600 accessory...

And not to leave you with that disturbing's a photo from Emma's horse show this weekend...she got two seconds, which made me quite proud!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A preview of Emma's photo shoot

As I mentioned yesterday, a photographer friend of mine came out to the stables to take a few shots of Emma before her lesson. She sent me a photo she took of Emma with her favorite horse Abra...

They both look so beautiful to me! I can't wait to see the rest...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday at the stables

The weather here, like many other parts of the country, has been blissfully cool this summer. Normally, Emma's horseback riding lessons can be very taxing for both mother and daughter at her non-air conditioned barn. But with the cooler temps, it has been downright pleasant all summer.

Today was probably the warmest day we've had this year...upper 80s. A friend of ours who is a professional photographer came out to the barn to take some photos of Emma around the horses - I can't wait to see how they came out!

I snapped a couple photos of her too...

Emma spent her whole lesson practicing schooling patterns...she has a horse show this Saturday and she's going to compete in the schooling pattern class for the first time (up til now, she's just done walk/trot.) We'll see how she does next week!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Emma's summer playlist

I have a really old Ipod that I gave Emma and I helped her pick out some of her favorite songs to put on it. So here's what she's listening to this summer...

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndy Lauper (I think it's cool that Emma loves a song I was listening to as a teenager!)

Pokerface - Lady Gaga (this is definitely the song of the summer for us - you've never lived until you hear a group of 7-year-old girls belting this song out in the back of your car!)

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Beyonce (Emma thought this song was called Single Legs until I finally clued her in.)

Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (I'm actually not crazy about this one, but Emma loves it.)

The Climb - Miley Cyrus (I'm pretty tired of all things Miley/Hannah, but this is a pretty decent song.)

Umbrella - Rhiannon (I love it when Emma sings the chorus...ella ella ella ella hey hey hey hey.)

Love Story - Taylor Swift (Emma worships Taylor...she even has a poster of her in her room - the only non-horse poster allowed.)

That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings (I love this one as much as Emma.)

Hit Me Baby One More Time - Britney Spears (classic Britney...I'm just thrilled it's not that horrible If You Seek Amy song.)

One World - The Cheetah Girls (In Emma's mind, the Cheetah Girls splitting was akin to the Beatles breakup 40 years ago.)

As you can see, Emma is heavy into the grrrrl power anthems...but she has pretty good taste for a seven-year-old!

Thursday, July 16, 2009 we come!

Emma had her first orthodontist appointment yesterday. It was just a consultation and I was hoping the orthodontist would say yes, she would need some work, but not until next year...or even later.

But no, she showed me how Emma's permanent teeth coming in are already crowded and we need to make room for them...the sooner the better. So even though my daughter is just seven years old, she is starting down the road to orthodontia (I didn't get my braces on until I was 14!) The orthodontist put in rubber spacers between her back molars, which will make a bit of a gap between the molars. That's so they can fit her with a palate expander in two weeks.

I am a bit of wreck about the whole thing - both how to swing it financially and how Emma will fare. I love my daughter to death, but I have to admit, she is a bit of a wimp. She's been complaining all day about how the spacers are hurting her teeth...I can't imagine what will happen when they put that expander on (which looks like a torture device invented by the Nazis.) And the fact that I have to insert a little key in her mouth every night and tighten the expander...I just can't wait.

Oh well, I know it's become a extremely common rite of passage for kids now - and it will be fine.

Anyway, here is Emma before we headed to the orthodontist...she looked pretty happy then!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Signs your child is growing up

I've been picking up some subtle signs lately that Emma is no longer a little girl. For example:

She's more excited about going to the mall than going to the park.

Her favorite singer is no longer Laurie's Taylor Swift.

When we were window shopping the other day and passed Gymboree, she said "Mommy, don't even THINK about it!" But her eyes lit up when we walked by Justice.

When I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she said a Blackberry so she can text her friends (uh, I meant THIS Christmas, not the Christmas when she's 12.)

The other night, the last thing she said to me before going to bed was "don't pick my clothes out for me...I want to do that now."

Sigh! Seven is a fun age, but it is so bittersweet watching your little girl slip away. Oh well, at least she still loves her stuffed animals!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another sleepover

It seems like 7-year-old girls are obsessed with sleepovers. Every weekend this summer, either Emma has been asked to sleep over at a friend's house or she has begged me to let one of her friends sleep over here. I don't mind it all that much, although I'm trying to limit it to a once a month thing. It can kind of wreck havoc on the entire weekend...sleepwise.

Anyway, this weekend it was our turn to host...Emma wanted her friend Tori to sleep over here. The girls were pretty good and I got them to bed by 10. We went to the park and swimming the next day. The girls were starting to snipe at each other a bit by early afternoon, so I knew it was time to take her home.

Here's a few pictures of the girls...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I snapped this photo just as neighbors shot off a bottle rocket (I think they took out a second mortgage to buy fireworks this year because they've been shooting them off for the last four hours!)

Sorry I haven't posted anything in so long...nothing much exciting to report, I'm afraid! Hopefully something worth writing about will happen this week...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let's go swimming!

Emma and I hit the pool for the first time this really has been too cool to go. But the temps climbed into the 90s this weekend and we went to our neighborhood pool. We ran into several friends at the pool and had a great time.

By the way, those of you in the Midwest may have seen a burst of blinding light around noon today...don't panic - it was just the sun reflected off my pasty white skin. My apologies...