Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fall Fest Pics

I'm rather working backwards here. Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Such is the nature of this blog and it reflects my scattered brain, so hopefully no harm done. This is Alia and me during the Fall Fest photo shoot at her school. I took over 500 pics (3 of each kid, more or less) and could barely walk the next few days. My knees aren't young any more. One of the moms took this for Alia. The school set the backdrop. It was a fundraiser for PTO. This is my fun side - my creative side where I get to work with the kids. This part of photography doesn't make me nervous (no weddings, please), and I really enjoy getting the kids to smile - when I can! As you can see, I love my daughter very much. Just gotta hug her!!

When Grandma Barb was Here - Thanksgiving

Well, this was supposed to be from Thanksgiving, but this pic is from the lights at Flywheeler's in Fort Meade. Scroll down and you'll see Alia and her Grandma Barb who was in Thanksgiving week from Montana. Our first excursion was to WonderWorks in Orlando where we had loads of fun. We took a break to Johnny Rockets (hence the hats) to eat some burgers and then headed back. That night, WonderWorks had a magic show dinner theater that was very, very funny. Alia got to take part in the very last part - helping to open a package. Fun times!


Alia and Alivia's first Christmas together. Alia turned 15 months this date. Out in front: Alia's hamster, Shayla, from Mom and Dad. She is holding her Nintendo DS. Alivia doesn't know what to make of the hamster (neither does the cat for that matter). She likes her Elmo's restaurant. The two boxes in the back are from our washer and dryer - we cut in windows and doors and the girls really have enjoyed them. They are big, though, so put them outside today. Next year, I think we will follow the 3 gift rule - these girls needs so little, although we love seeing their faces light up. Many of the gifts you see are from family, too. So, as my friend Ana has always said, if 3 gifts were good enough for Jesus . . . We get way too materialistic. I remember my room being so much sparser in terms of toys than the girls' room will ever be - and I was quite, quite happy. Can you imagine our 7-year-old wanting an iPod for Christmas? At least with the Nintendo, it can grow with her. And, of course, books are always a good bet. And Alivia's favorite toy? The package Alia's tennis balls came in. Go figure....

Making Lemonade

Well, it's sideways - go figure, but here's Alia juicing the sour oranges. Daddy bought the juicer especially for these oranges - yum, yum!

When In Florida - Make Juice

We picked oranges at a friend's house (thanks, Lorraine). They were actually sour oranges and made excellent "lemonade" which we all enjoyed. Alivia, however, preferred the oranges themselves.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Action

Alia got a special card from her Grandpa Artherholt and she took it to school, to Curves, to wherever and just loved to sing it. She sang in front of the ladies at Curves and they couldn't help but smile.

Family Photos

We need to do post-adoption updates for Alivia - every 6 months for 3 years. You're in luck - we need to do family photos as well, a definite rarity in our house!! So enjoy these that were taken at Cypress Gardens in November (before they closed down yet AGAIN). My mom took them, I edited, and they managed to turn out A-Ok. Only 3 from many, but we don't want to break all your computers!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Daddy Loves Me

Alivia never sat in grass before today. She just sat there, not knowing what to do. Was a little afraid to touch it. We don't put her down because of the worry of fireants.

Alia hams it up. Gorgeous day - 70s, no humidity.

Trick Or Treat, We're So Sweet

Here's some pics of the girls and our friends when we went trick or treating Friday night. Spiderman is Zach - see how good he does his Spiderman pose!! Alia was a Monster Bride, but used Alivia's hat so she actually looks more like a witch.

The cutest teeny weeny witch and big sister bride I ever did see!!!
From left to right, back to front:
Kristin, Lori, Alia, Joey
Zach, Alivia (who slept through most of the gathering time).

Here's the trio again. We missed Zach's sister, Brandi, but had fun getting together anyway!! Weather was muggy, so the kids were pretty well done after about an hour. Alia got 71 pieces of candy - she wrote them all down in her notebook by type and quantity of each type. Don't think she was trying to keep track of what mom and dad ate, but you never know!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here's Alia helping baby sis to open presents from Grandma Barb. As much as we all tried, she just wouldn't tear the paper. Very polite about it all, really. Alia did not have any problem helping and then helping some more! Yes, Alia had braids for about 2 weeks at the front of her head until I finally said - they simply must go!

Behind - Again

I wanted to post a few pictures to catch up a bit. We traveled to our wonderful friends, Ana, John & Shelby, in the beautiful moutains of Georgia last month (I think!). It was the 1st they'd met Alivia and the 2nd time they had seen Alia this year (lucky Alia!). Please note that Shelby and Alivia look like they could be cousins! Also, that's Alia's Cabbage Patch Kid she got at Cabbage Patch Babyland and Shelby's dog she got at same. Alivia, thank goodness, doesn't know about merchandising - yet!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Pic - Scroll Down to Next Post for Details!!


Celebrating One!!!

With another crazy week, we didn't celebrate Alivia's birthday on her actual day. So today, Saturday, we got her a critter cake at Wal-Mart and let her have at it. I must say, I thought she was pretty doggone cute getting into her cake!!! Hope you think so, too. Her Sissy helped a little at the end when she wasn't actually tasting it. Then she realized it was pretty good, but still enjoyed squeezing it between her fingers much better than eating it. The end to her fun came when she decided to throw it on the wall - and then she was off for a quick bath and me for a quick cleanup of the kitchen!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Youngest Turns One Today!!

Here's our sweetie pie at 1!!! Hard to believe we've had her home only about 5 months. Seems like she has been ours forever. She is still cruising and we expect her to walk any day now. She is waving bye-bye and showing us items in her hands. She is saying words we think are "dada, mama, kitty, hi" but can't be 100% certain. She still laughs the best at her sister and they have a riot together. She is waking at night some, but I think she is teething again (upper teeth). The weather is getting cooler here, so we went to the park at lunch yesterday and I put her in the baby swing. She started out very happy and then suddenly started crying. We'll try it again today or tomorrow while it stays cool. We aren't having a party for her today as it's just a crazy busy day with little time, but we will let her get into her first cake on Saturday.

I was wishing her a happy soon-to-be birthday before bed last night and thinking how wondrous that is when I suddenly thought of her birth mother. It must be hard knowing you gave birth but having no clue as to what your child is doing, how she is developing, or what she even looks like on one of the most important days as a mom. So today is really a celebration of Alivia's milestone and of the precious gift her birth mom delivered to us.

Alia Cooks

Here is our own "naked" chef. While she may never get her own baking show, nevertheless she enjoyed baking banana nut muffins for us. We skipped the Easy Bake Oven and went straight for the big oven. Wow, did we clear out those muffins when they came out - delicious!! I've got to start her cooking now so that she will be ready in a few years to take over cooking duties (isn't that why we have kids???). Her dad would be the better choice for teaching her. Otherwise, she may end up like her mom who only specializes in canned, boxed, frozen, eat in, or take out!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

On the Go

Alivia just amuses herself sometimes. She loves to spin, as evidenced here. She thought it was pretty cool to use this silky blanket. What a card!

Alivia's New Pics

Here's the wonder kid wondering why she can't stand up all the way and why she has chocolate pudding all over her face. She's working on standing without aid so badly you can feel it! And Daddy said she ate a whole thing of Jello and part of a thing of pudding - maybe those thighs have something to do with not being strong enough to stand up fully by herself yet, hmm? She cruises furniture in the standing mode great. What a sweetie!

Fay Didn't Like Us

Tropical Storm Fay on the surface wasn't really too bad. A day off work, wind, rain, lots of TV watching and Wii playing. However, as careful as we were to catch the leaks that appeared after Hurricane Charlie, somehow we missed something and our kitchen floor became wet under our new laminate flooring. The laminate swelled in several areas where the water puddled underneath. We decided the best course of action was to remove it. Here you see the end result of our removal efforts. Our Labor Day weekend was pretty much taken up by this project. What started on Friday as deciding what to put down instead ended up being a bit of a fiasco. Our original intent was to take up the laminate and the old vinyl beneath, remove the adhesive, and stain our concrete a fetching color. Alia helped tear it all up. BUT, the paper backing on the vinyl stayed down. No biggie - just get the proper recommended nontoxic cleaners and it will all come right up - theoretically! Tried 3 different removers and while the paper will come up some, the adhesive below would not budge a bit. Tried the hot water method - no luck. So after a very, very frustrating Saturday, we ran over our options. Do another floating floor, put down ceramic tile, get fiercer chemicals and see if that works, rolled vinyl, or carpet. Well, anything that is floating or carpet may most likely get wet again. We don't like rolled vinyl and don't want toxic fumes. So we are going to have tile installed. Got a really good deal on some beautiful tile at Lowe's (our favorite home improvement store) and our installer will call within a few days. What an unexpected mess. Stayed tuned for final results......

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sniff Sniff

We call this Sniff Sniff. It's what Alivia used to do when we would sniff - she'd sniff right back. She'd also pretend to cough when we coughed. Way tooooo cute! Originally, her rice cake was on her nose - she moved it to her forehead when I was getting the Flip video. This is from July (soooo far behind!!).

Alia's First Basketball Game

Alia elected to play basketball instead of cheer leading this year. While most of the kids don't know exactly what they are doing, they are all having fun. Alia's first game. She made 5-6 out of the 8 baskets to win, although they don't keep score at this age. I was so proud of her!! This was Saturday morning, 9 a.m. (and we were actually out of the house before noon that day!!).

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Totally unexpected, but Alia lost yet another tooth!! At least she is symmetrical! I wonder where that tooth fairy will fly through on her way tonight? Just couldn't resist posting several pictures of her hamming it up - and I love her braids, Polyanna!! No, she does not have cavities - those are her fillings as she wanted "stars" like mommy and daddy. And, no her tongue is not unnaturally that color - she had some candy stuff (hence the fillings????).

Our Little Walker

We decided it was time to get Alivia a walker. She has been pushing boxes and anything else she can get her hands on around as she walks. So here's our little bit getting ready to step out on her own. The walker converts to a toddler ride-on toy when she's a little older.

Outside Gals

Well, Tropical Storm Fay left us with a beautiful evening Friday. The wind was cool, the air was not humid, and we decided to go out and play on the parking pad. Alia invented a game called hand tennis - we used a tennis ball and our hands to play. Then she brought out the Jai Alai scoops - she got the bigger one. We were out quite a while. Alivia kept cracking up every time the ball got hit her way.

Toothless Wonder

Alia has lost another tooth. She lost it at school on Thursday. The Tooth Fairy brought her a coin from Taiwan and a Susan B. Anthony 1976 one dollar coin. Alia's Tooth Fairy is very special. She leaves the extra goodies for mommy and daddy to provide (Alia got a book light for her lost tooth) and doesn't follow tradition by leaving traditional money. She travels the world finding special coins for Alia for each lost tooth. Isn't that the coolest?? I don't know how she knew Alia was in Taiwan this year, but somehow she did!

Friday, August 15, 2008

10-Month-Old Bathing Beauty

Alivia is 10 months old. She crawls like crazy. She pulls up and cruises the furniture. She is getting two bottom teeth. She watches intently as you eat. She wants her own solid food and loves noodles, mashed potatoes, and rice. She is stoic as she sizes you up and then flashes that brilliant dimpled smile. Her sister loves her. Her mother is amazed by her. Her daddy thinks she's pretty cool. And I personally think Alivia thinks she's pretty special as well. Everyone says she is so lucky. I know the truth is we are all so lucky to have her in our family.

Oh How She Grows and Grows!

My eldest daughter, age 7 going on 13, has a bicycle with no training wheels. OMGosh! I cannot believe how tall she is and how much she has grown in a short 7 years. Two days ago, I watched as she no longer needed me to hold onto the balance buddy bar and jog beside her (what a sight!). She pedaled those feet and took off fast down the dirt road and I was struck by the huge achievement she worked so hard for. She is my baby girl, but a baby no longer. As I watched her proudly go further than she ever had on her own, I was so happy for her and so sad that she grows so doggone fast! Today, she actually started out without help and her face reflected pure joy. And at the end of each ride, she looks to us and says "So, what'd you thinka that????" (Tears and smiles!)

Ready for Bed

Our happy girls, ready for bed. Gotta love 'em!! Look at the beautiful grin on Big Sister's face!

Our Groupie

Here's Alia riding her daddy's motorcycle for the first time. She was so excited!! They took the windy back roads home and her daddy was extra cautious. She loved it!

Our Girls

Alia and Alivia at work.

Alia's Photography

Alia took these pictures.


Alright, my friend Jennifer has been on me for months to update my blog. She is, of course, right that I should keep up more regularly. So I will try to please her and in turn give you all more views of the kids and keep a memoir for our beautiful girls. In no particular order and for as long as I can hold up tonight, here goes . . .

This is Alia ready to ride a virtual reality ride at Disney Quest to celebrate her 7th birthday. They grow way too fast! She was a little anxious at first, but soon got to love the whole gaming thing. We spent from opening to nearly close just having fun. Great way for her to celebrate another milestone!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here's the Not-So-Fun Stuff

We went to bed at 6 p.m. Taiwan time. At 1 a.m., we heard knocking at the door. Then the phone rang. Alia was running a temp (she was rooming with mom) of 101.1. Stuffy nose. Of course, you immediately worry. So the night was broken with checking her temp, giving her meds, and hoping it blows over soon. Her temp this morning is 100. We will get a mask for her today for meeting her sister. We are pretty stressed about this.

More later - with pics of Alivia and update on Alia!!
Hotel pool -chilly temp!