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Monday, November 30, 2009

The holiday is over

Thanksgiving was so fun, and having my family in town as well as Camden and Brian home from school was great, but today our regular schedule resumes and I have a feeling everyone is going to to be feeling it. Camden is already missing his #1 partner in crime (a.k.a. Grandpa) and while Rory was Grandma/Grandpa/Daddy's girl for the last week, she has quickly reverted back to being a Mommy's girl and has been quite clingy since my parents left. I spent the last 2 days on the couch or in bed hacking up a lung and using up every kleenex in the house so I unfortunately don't have many good stories or pictures to share, but I am determined to take some pics this week (although it's altogether possible that it won't be happening today since I'm operating on 3 hours of sleep).

It's getting a little late to mention this now, but I'm doing Christmas cards again this year and have been busy working on them for several families. If you'd like me to design your card, email me at camdensmommy @ gmail dot com. The cost is $15. Public service announcement over. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Photo Contest

I just discovered that Rory is in the finals for the Adoptive Family magazine Reader's Choice photo contest. If you'd like to vote for her, please click here. You'll have to choose her picture, register, and then leave a comment. She's on the third row. Thanks for voting!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

My mom, sister and I ventured out bright and early (well, 7:30 is kind of early) for shopping, and I'm happy to report that I came back with some good deals and am nearly finished Christmas shopping! I'd already finished with my own kids and most of the nieces and nephews, but picked up a few final items for them. In case you haven't realized this about me, I LOVE to shop!

We had a really great Thanksgiving yesterday. The food was good and the company even better. The only downside is that poor Rory has been sick. After a really bad evening, she ended up sleeping the rest of the night and woke up a little better. Unfortunately, she seems to have passed it on to me, my mom and sister. I'm hoping we'll fare a little better than she did.

Just in case you're needing somewhere else to shop, here are a few page I've finished over the last week (and the kits are all on sale today).



Traci Reed/Penny Springmann: Away in a Manger

Gina Miller/Designs by Lili: Merry Jingle

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'd like to make out a long list of everything I'm thankful for, but I'm too busy spending time with my family! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tough Guy

I'm sure he'll kill me for this photo when he's older, but for right now he's only 6 and barely knows what the Internet is. :) Brian cut his ear AGAIN while trimming his hair over the weekend. I thought he looked (and acted) pretty tough (notice the blood dripping down his chest and the pirate tattoo?).

Tuesday

Not sure what I was smoking to think that yesterday would be a quiet day! I have 2 kids at home, company coming into town today and it was a typical Monday (which means the house was trashed from the weekend), not to mention the 5 loads of laundry waiting. I also decided to tackle organizing Camden's room, which is never an easy task. I'm beginning to think the kids might be grown before I get a chance to check out my camera.

The kids were actually very good yesterday. They really played and laughed and giggled together so well. Brian brought home some 1st grade books for Camden to look at and teacher-Brian was amazed at how Camden whizzed right through them; parent-Brian was pretty darn proud.

My parents are coming into town today so I'll be doing lots of last-minute cleaning (I'm sure the rest of you know this, but it's impossible to keep your house clean with 2 kids running around) and making one last trip to Wal-mart. As you can imagine, Camden and Rory are beyond excited to have grandma and grandpa here. They've been counting down the days for weeks. Tonight we're going to my sister Elizabeth's basketball game (this is her first year coaching).

One little cute Rory story. Brian's grandparents are here and Rory can't quite get their titles straight. She calls them Granny June (which is correct) and Papa June (which should be Papa Bob).


Monday, November 23, 2009

Sibling Love

I'm always a bit envious when I hear other mothers gush about the sweet moments between their children because they're few and far between in this household. However, twice this weekend, I had to blink back a few tears as Camden and Rory shared some sibling love. The first happened during my cousin's wedding when Rory, who was sitting on my lap, reached over and held Camden's hand (in all honesty, it was right after she'd grabbed my arm away from him because she wanted me all to herself). The second happened last night. As Rory sat on my lap, Camden came up from behind and hugged both of us. Rory leaned her cheek on Camden's and said, "I love you, Canna." That doesn't happen often (okay, actually it's the first time I've heard her say it to him) so I cherish those moments even more.

Our weekend was good, but busy. Friday ended up being a little crazier than I expected, but everything got done and we had a nice time with Brian's parents and grandparents. Saturday we attended my cousin's wedding and it was fun to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Sunday was church and our annual Thanksgiving potluck. We were blessed to see some dear friends and were able to visit with them for a while. The kids did not take naps, but surprisingly enough, they spent hours yesterday afternoon just playing together.

Rory has decided that 4ish in the morning is a great time to be wide awake. She's spent the last 3 early morning hours playing and waking up. I think we're averaging about 3-4 times a night this week, which isn't really fun for anyone.

Because of the wedding, we had lots of explaining to do to the kids. Rory has never been to a wedding and Camden has only been to one (when he was very young). At supper Saturday night, Camden informed us he was planning to marry me. Isn't that sweet?

Camden is off school this week and we have no plans for today other than gymnastics tonight so I plan to take it easy and maybe even get in some scrapping and camera time.

Wild Dandelion Designs: She's a Hoot


Friday, November 20, 2009

Busy, busy

Yesterday was one of those days that I was not feeling happy to be a stay at home mom. Most of the time I really enjoy it, but sometimes the drudgery of the never-ending housework, picking up toys (and even, at times, the endless books, puzzles, songs, etc.) catches up with me. I just wanted to play with my new camera, but instead spent right up until 8:00 p.m. last night working on the house.

Because I worked hard this week, today will be a bit easier in the cleaning/laundry department, but still a busy day. I have a friend coming over this morning to chat, then I need to make a quick trip to town (because the grocery shopping never ends), hit the post office, and then Brian's parents and grandparents are coming over for dinner tonight.

One little kid note. Last week I mentioned that all Camden wanted to play was war because they'd been learning about the armed forces all week. This week they've been learning about the pilgrims and Indians at school so he's all about fighting Indians. Apparently, they haven't gotten to the Thanksgiving meal part of the story.


Dani Mogstad: Checkin' it Twice (available tomorrow at SSD)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rory is 3

I've been meaning to do this post ever since her birthday (some 2 months ago!), but somehow never got around to it. It's mostly for my own journaling purposes, but you might get a kick out of some of it.

So, Rory at 3:

. . . cannot count to 3 (or 5 or 10) to save her life. Her current method is "1, 2, 6" but it changes frequently.

. . . says "maam" instead of "man" so we get "batmaam" and "police maam," etc. I'm not about to correct her because it's much too cute.

. . . loves Dora and Boots. She is slowly beginning to appreciate other cartoons (Max and Ruby tops the "will tolerate" list), but Dora is most definitely her favorite.

. . . loves to sing (Camden always did too - still does for that matter). She likes for me to take turns choosing a song, and when we're all 4 in the car together, she's big on "let's all sing agether." Recently, she's been asking for the "falling leaves" song (translated London Bridge is Falling).

. . . favorite book is Big Brother, Little Brother. Let me warn you, this is no literary classic, but it does have adoption themes in it and both kids love it. Rory's favorite phrase from the book is "little brother, don't you dare; hands off my underwear." I can't even tell you how many times in the last several months I've had to pretend I don't know what she's saying as she recites it to everyone she meets, including random grocers and post office workers.

. . . asks me "are you happy" at least 20 times a day. I have a feeling this is adoption/attachment related. And as far as attachment, I've very happy with where we are although there are many times a week that she tells me, "don't leave me." Sometimes, I think she's just messing with me, but there are other times that the look of sheer terror on her face convinces me she's serious.

. . . can seriously put away some food for a tiny 3 year old. It does take her, however, at least 30-45 minutes to eat every single meal. By suppertime some days, I am so sick of sitting at the kitchen table watching her eat. Her favorite meal by far is "maca-noodles" (a.k.a. ramen noodles). She doesn't like bread (if you can even imagine such a thing) and is not fond of cake. She really loves vegetables, especially if they're raw and involve ranch dip. Many times she will finish Camden's vegetables and hand over her ice cream cone to him. She's a serious fan of M&M's, however.

. . . LOVES to play with her baby and is quite the little mommy. It always amazes me how much she imitates me - sometimes good and sometimes bad. She magnifies the bad to downright mean and amplifies the good to sticky sweet (and with her voice in a pitch so high it could crack glass).

. . . is full of drama. I haven't quite figured out yet if this is her personality or simply the difference between a boy and a girl; it's probably a little of both. Her feelings get hurt easily and she can cry with big crocodile tears like you wouldn't believe. Most of the time they are genuine, but I've noticed as she gets older that she can really turn it on. She can also scream with the best of them when she gets mad at Camden.

. . . is BOSSY. Mostly with Camden (and me), although I've caught her ordering the church kids around as well.

. . . really likes lipstick and shoes, but doesn't mind to roll around in the mud.

. . . is sensitive and interested in her former life in Korea to such an extent that I would not believe it if I didn't hear it with my own ears.

. . . I may be biased, but she's the cutest, sweetest girl I've ever met, and she's all ours. :)

These are my first official photos with the new camera (and yes, I'm more than pleased with it!).





They're baaaaacckkk

Since we've found two mice in traps the last two days, I can only infer that our house is infested. I find myself cringing as I open each cabinet door as if they're waiting to ambush me. In reality, I have not yet found any droppings, just two dead mice so maybe they're committing suicide as soon as they enter the house. Brian assures me they're more scared of me than I am of them, but I don't believe him.

My camera arrived late yesterday afternoon, which means that I did not have much time to play after the battery charged, supper, and church. I plan on dressing Rory up today and going outside to take some pictures. I'm sure she'll be thrilled. I have already discovered that my Lightroom version is not going to work with the RAW files from the D90 so I guess I'll be shooting in JPG until I can upgrade Lightroom, which will probably not be any time soon.


Rory and I are going to spend the day cleaning the house (doesn't that sound exciting?) right after I spend some time on the treadmill and she gets in her Dora and Boots TV time.



Joyce Paul/Fei Fei: Family Ties

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's the Day

Last night, the whole family packed up and went to Nashville for a Target trip. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but as Brian informed me, he hasn't been anywhere but school and church in weeks. Sad, isn't it? We're sponsoring this little guy from New Day Foster Home in China and we were Christmas shopping. I really wanted the kids to have a good time with it, and they did. Well, Camden did anyway. Rory pretty much pouted the whole time because she had to ride in the cart. (You have no idea how many times she asked me throughout the day to not ride in the cart at Target. On a busy night in Target, 3 year olds are required to ride in the cart in our family.) Part of our Christmas tradition is to sponsor a child or do something else for another family. It's important to us that our children know that Christmas is about a whole lot more than giving gifts. It's why we keep Christmas and presents for them very simple (and we're making an even more concerted effort this year), but that's a whole other blog post. This is the first time we've sponsored a child in an orphanage, and I've struggled with the right way to explain to them that Ethan lives in an orphanage and doesn't have a mommy and daddy. Because the reality is, they were that child at one point and while I know they'll recognize that fact eventually, I want to protect them. Camden seems to not really make the connection, but Rory already is so aware that she waited for us and that we were not always there for her. It's a fine line between explaining things on a developmentally age-appropriate level and still being honest about their adoptions.

On a lighter note, my camera is going to arrive today so I will be settling in at home and waiting for the doorbell to ring. Today is usually library story-time day, and I'm feeling slightly guilty about not taking Rory, but she's three and doesn't know it's Wednesday! If I'm not here to sign for it, they won't leave the camera, and we can't have that.

We survived the grocery shopping yesterday, and I now have more food in the house than ever before! There were lots of good deals on basics like butter, chicken broth, cheese, etc. so I did a little bit of stocking up. I also picked up an 18 pound turkey. I'm assuming that's big enough for Thanksgiving dinner!

I actually scrapped yesterday, but it's with a Dani kit that hasn't been released yet so I can't show it. Maybe I'll have pictures from my new camera to share tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making a List

I have spent the last day and half making a grocery list. Doesn't seem that hard does it? Well, I'm shopping for 2 weeks that include not only all our regular meals, but dinner for Brian's parents and grandparents, our church Thanksgiving potluck meal, family in town next week for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving meal for 10-12, etc. Rory and I are venturing out this morning to Kroger and Walmart; the whole family is going to hit up Target tonight; and later this week I'm going to our local grocery store. And I'm sure I'll still forget something.

I found Camden scrubbing his sink with his toothbrush again yesterday (and this would be after I just cleaned it - chemicals!). I'm thinking I should just buy toothbrushes in bulk for him.

In scrapping news, I had a really fun surprise waiting for me this morning!

Two pages from the weekend:

Traci Reed: She's a Leader

Dani Mogstad: Mistletoe Magic

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

We made a trip to Gram and Gramp's house to jump in the leaves on Saturday afternoon, and the kids had a blast.

I managed to take this picture before we hit the leaf piles.
And then there's this one.

Camden kept burying himself completely in the leaves

Rory wasn't quite as willing to dive in

Action shot
Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A New Toy

I am officially old. Well, I've been old for a while, but as of yesterday, I am 34 years old. My day was pretty boring since it was full of normal mom/wife stuff as well as a trip to Nashville for Mops, but I did receive lots of sweet birthday wishes on Facebook. My 34th year began with a bang this morning, however. My finger has been hovering over the "buy" button of a Nikon D90 for weeks now. Brian gave me the go-ahead to upgrade several months ago and my frugal side resisted (and I am seriously not the frugal one in this relationship). When he gave approval again several weeks ago, the voice of reason tried to hold out, but this morning, I pushed "BUY." I will now spend the next several days refreshing the UPS tracking page as I watch it travel to my front door.

On today's agenda is a walk and since Fridays are my house cleaning days and I haven't spent a day at home in almost 2 weeks, I've got alot to do! My only birthday request was a trip to Coldstone Creamery so we're headed after supper tonight, and I can't wait!

One thing from each of us this week:
  • Because Veteran's Day was this week, Camden has been learning all about the different branches of the armed forces at school. He comes home full of energy and wants to be a soldier. He draws wars/soldiers; he plays war; he talks war. After he started talking to me yesterday about how he couldn't wait for World War 100, I told him to enjoy this week because as of Saturday, we're officially off the war path for a while.
  • When I tell Rory to stop doing something (such as licking the receipt at the Social Security Office), she replies with, "BUT. I was doing it carefree (carefully)."
  • Brian informed me last night that if we ever have another daughter, he wants to name her Hildy. And he was dead serious. Not gonna happen.
  • One day this week I dumped TWO full glasses of ice water in my lap.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cascade

I'm not a big name brand junkie, although with all the coupons and stacking available these days, you can buy name brand cheaper than generic and I definitely do when I've got the coupons. I used Cascade for a long time, ran out of coupons and bought some cheap Dollar General soap. We used it for a couple of weeks, and I noticed that our dishes were not getting clean. The pans were not shiny and the silverware no longer sparkled. When we ran out of that soap, I bought some Method brand from Target. Same thing - dirty dishes. We finally decided that our dishwasher was having issues. However, on a whim, I purchased Cascade last week (at full price even), and suddenly everything is clean, sparkly, and shiny. I'm now a Cascade fan for life.

My work day ended very early yesterday so I took advantage of having a babysitter and ran a few errands alone. I dropped Rory off first, then Camden at school, grabbed a coffee and let out an audible sigh of relief as I sat in the car alone. It's been a while! I took advantage of being kid-free and did a little Christmas shopping for Rory: a Leap Pad Tag Reader. It's on sale this week at Target for $39. I had a $10 Target coupon and a $10 Leap Pad coupon so I got it for $19! I'm holding out for Black Friday to buy some books to go with it.

On today's agenda is a walk with Andrea, looking at a church project, baking for MOPS, attending MOPS, and shuttling Camden back and forth to school.

Credits here

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pictures

I'm headed to work this morning so I don't have alot of time, but here are a few snapshots from the last couple of weeks.





Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buy a Gun

Well, Rory's name is officially Rory! Our trip to the Social Security Office was quick and easy (in and out in 10 minutes if you can believe it). The security guard at the front asked why we were there, then leaned in and said "you'd better buy a gun." My mind raced as I tried to figure out if he were serious; if the neighborhood was bad; if the people around us were scary, etc. He must have figured out I didn't have a clue because he leaned in again and whispered, "you know, to keep the boys away from your daughter."

I decided to go ahead and shop Kroger yesterday since we were there. I came armed with as many .50 coupons as I had. When I arrived, the sign on the door said they were accepting triple coupons up to .99. I was so irritated that I somehow missed that bit of information and had not brought the "big" coupons with me. Oh, well. I still saved about 55% off my bill.

On today's agenda is laundry, a walk with Andrea, laundry, lunch with Brian's mom and grandma, laundry, and more laundry.

My computer is being incredibly slow so no pictures or layouts today. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A New Week

Well, my International DigiScrapping Day wasn't quite as peaceful as I'd hoped for, but I still had some time to scrap and shop. We took the kids for a quick picnic and park trip Saturday afternoon, and they had so much fun. We're having unseasonably warm (think 80) weather so it was perfect for some running, jumping, climbing and burning off some energy. I was also able to (finally) get my 2009 pictures backed up on DVD - something I've needed to do pretty much since 2009 began.

The weekend ended with some deep frustration, but I'm trying to shake it off and start off the new week with a positive attitude. Rory and I are headed into Nashville to try to get her social security card changed from her Korean name to her American name. I haven't found a section on the website that deals with that specifically so I'm taking all the paperwork I can find and hopefully it will be enough. I'm trying to decide if I have energy (and money) for a Kroger trip - they're offering triple coupons through tomorrow. I think I'll just wait and see how long we have to wait at the SS office.

I'll be back tomorrow with a couple of cute pictures of the kids. My sister-in-law informed me there have not been enough new pics lately. :)


Credits: here

Credits here

Credits here

Credits here

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday

I'm typically a big fan of Fridays and today is no exception. I'm meeting Amanda for coffee this morning; I live for Saturday mornings when I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn, and tomorrow is International DigiScrapping Day, which means I'm hoping to lock myself in the computer room and leave Brian to entertain the kids while I scrap and shop.

A few happenings from our week:
  • All in one evening I witnessed Camden drop his toothbrush on the toilet, pick it up, and get ready to use it. My shrieking stopped him just in time. Later I caught him scrubbing the sink with his new, clean toothbrush. The shrieking stopped him again. He then proceeded to dry his hands, drag the hand towel through the toilet and hang it up for further use.
  • Ever since Rory went with me to my hair appointment, we've spent alot of time with the hairclips and combs. esterday, we spent over an hour on the couch and she was Miss Alicia and I got my hair done. Over and over.
  • Rory has added the term "Right. Now." to her vocabulary. Not my favorite thing to hear from a 3 year old.
  • After spending a couple of weeks teetering towards being a daddy's girl, Rory is firmly entrenched back as a mama's girl. She's also decided it's really fun to be held like a baby and to snuggle up on my shoulder. No complaints here.
  • Camden is always coming home with new little learning songs from kindergarten. One day this week I asked him to teach Rory so she could sing along too. He started to sing, then said, "wait, wait, my voice isn't ready." He then proceeded to noisily clear his throat and then started over in a soft (kinda high) voice.
  • Brian finished reading The Magician's Nephew to Camden this week, and he loved it. We were impressed at how he connected the different parts of the book with the Chronicles of Narnia movie (which he's only seen once about a year ago).
  • Rory's new bathtime routine includes singing/screaming at the top of her lungs with a few "sing with me, class" thrown in.
  • Rory informed me yesterday that when she's 6, her teacher's name is going to be Miss Punkin. I have a feeling she means Mrs. Simpkins, who is a teacher at Camden's school.
Gina Miller: Pink Potion


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Daylight Savings

Because I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath to hear an update on how Daylight Savings is going in our house, here you go. Rory has been up jumping up and down laughing, giggling, yelling, etc. about 6:15 every morning (she is currently doing it right now, and I'm just leaving her there to enjoy herself). Camden is back to getting up about 6:50 (which is when I wake him for school), and so far every morning he's stumbled into the kitchen and said, "did you forget it's a school day?" (because it's so bright outside).

After going 8 straight weeks of using the treadmill at least 3 times a week, I haven't touched it this week. I have no intention of letting that streak end so it's first on my list to do today. After getting Camden to school and planting Rory in front of Dora anyway.


Shabby Miss Jenn: Cup of Love

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Free Music

Steven Curtis Chapman has a new CD out this week, his first since their daughter Maria was killed. I went to our local bookstore with every intention of picking it up, but I had their opening time wrong and didn't want to wait for another hour. I still plan to buy it the next time I'm at the store, but for now, I'm listening to it (for free) on Rhapsody.

Rory and I have had a fairy busy week (I call it busy if I've had to shower and be fixed up every morning LOL). We had a playdate with Emma and Mayme on Monday morning, gymnastics Monday night; it was also laundry day. Yesterday we grocery shopped and hit Target and Kohl's for a few returns. Today we're going to the library for story-time and there's church tonight. I'm hoping tomorrow will get to be a quiet day at home!


Credits here

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

I'm not sure how I could have failed to mention one of the highlights of the weekend. I've discovered the perfect chocolate cake! I'm not really a big cake fan. Let's be honest; if they're homemade, then the cake is typically dry or heavy. If you use a cake mix, then it's usually paired with a can of frosting, which I don't really care for. But after making this cake, I'm officially a fan. It has buttermilk and coffee in the cake batter. The coffee flavor doesn't come through, but seems to intensify the chocolate taste. The coffee in the buttercream icing, however, does come through and in a fabulous way. It's the perfect mix of chocolate and coffee. You'll never pop open a can of frosting again after you've tried this recipe!


Check out this old picture!
Traci Reed: A Lot Like Love

Monday, November 02, 2009

Christmas Card Photo, Take 1

I'm joining all the rest of adults with children in protesting Daylight Savings Time. The kids were up at 5:45 this morning, although I put them back in bed and made them stay until 6:30. I'm sure they'll adjust eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

We attempted to take a photo for this year's Christmas cards, and you wouldn't believe the maneuvering it took to find a place in our yard that wasn't completely ugly, where the sun wasn't hitting our faces, etc. It's not my favorite picture, but we at least we look like we were having fun even though Brian and I were stressed out and had just threatened the kids.
:)


And who could resist these faces?
(excuse Rory's slightly unladylike pose - not something I really noticed until I uploaded the pictures)


Lauren Grier: Over It

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Trick or Treat

For a variety of reasons (most of them logistical: we live in the country, Camden's school doesn't celebrate, etc.) we don't really do Halloween. However, we did carve some pumpkins yesterday as well as make a trip to Gram and Gramp's house for a treat bag. Heaven help us all if we ever do the whole trick-or-treating experience because the kids were so wound up, it was unbelievable. I'm pretty sure they didn't stop moving (or talking) all day long.

Rory was pretty disgusted by the pumpkin guts

Camden, however, thought it was cool

In fact, he spent lots of time talking and making faces at his pumpkin

Oh, yes, he did

Rory had a bit of trouble holding on to hers. Does anyone see where this is headed?

Oh, the tears when it fell off her lap.

Drama queen

We finally got everyone situated.

The kids dressed themselves for Halloween.
Rory chose Camden's batman mask and her own tutu.


Camden chose soccer shin guards for his arms, plastic fireman hat and a scuba mask. We laughed and laughed.
Unfortunately, he wanted to be scary and we hurt his feelings by laughing.

(we've had even more laughs at these pictures today when he wasn't around)

Still not happy

Faking a grin for us

And then came the tears

Happy again
And because I'm so on the ball (eye roll), I already scrapped a pumpkin page.

Dani Mogstad: Monstrosity