Saturday, November 29, 2008

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and now we are thankful that we are home sweet home!

We ended our week long adventure in the cold cold North with the DD, visiting and spending Thanksgiving with my missy lil sissy in Northern Virginia.

My sister pulled out all the stops as usual and basically offered up a feast fit for a royal family for our Thanksgiving meal. My sister loves to cook and she is amazing at it. The food was heavenly, definitely the best Thanksgiving meal that I have ever eaten and Marc felt the same way. The DD ate well and for Ethan that says alot. We finished the meal with some home made pumpkin pie courtesy of my BIL's Mom who actually made it from real pumpkin and not the canned variety. My sister also made two types of fresh baked cookies with ice cream for dessert. The kiddos had a ball.

Lovely table

The DD very hungry and a little crabby before they got to eat their feast!

We then sat back and relaxed for the next couple of hours. The DD played Don't Break the Ice" with cousin Sam and I...once they got the hang of it they couldn't get enough of playing. Sam and I enjoyed playing as well and he "one upped" me in our series of games. We ended the evening with a rousing game of imaginary monsters (Steve and Sam) chasing the kids...thanks I don't have enough sleep issues with Miss Starr...OY!

Satisfied hubs after dinner

getting ready to "not break the ice"

So cheesy!

Everyone laying around after dinner

a little horsing around

everyone getting in on the coloring action with Miss Starr

My handsome nephew Sam with my sis

Katie loves her cousin


Ethan is pretty crazy about him too.

Here is a fun video of Katie getting some tummy rasberry's from her Aunty Jane

The final day was spent at one of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museums. We all enjoyed our look at all types of aircraft back from the WW1 right through to the space program including a Space Shuttle that was in it's own hangar area...very cool!

Marc is so strong he was able to lift up the Space Shuttle *SNORT*

These two had to get in the act!

After that field trip we were going to go have lunch with the family before leaving but we ran outta time as we had to vacate the hotel room by 2:30 and we had not packed yet. We said our goodbyes to sis and family as well as my folks and we bid a hasty retreat to get everything done and get to the airport.

By the time we got home it was almost 10PM and everyone was beat. Katie's usual good humor was gone when she found that her beloved Gabby (Our Chihuahua) was not here but was with Grandma...that made her very upset!! Then when we went to put the DD to bed, she put up a huge fight as those "Monsters" were rearing their ugly heads again. She had gotten very used to sleeping in the same room as us for the past week and did not want to sleep in her room. I sat with her and talked to her for quite awhile until she calmed down and fell asleep.

When we awoke this morning we had two VERY happy children who seemed thrilled to be back in their surroundings. Who could blame them, I am happy to be back in mine as well.

It is wonderful to go away but even better to be home sweet home again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Our family wishes you and yours a wonderful holiday full of joy and most of all great fun! In the spirit of great fun, here are a few more fun photos from our journey to the cold cold north this holiday week. Some are funny, some are cute but all give you a little glimpse of what I am most thankful for.

Justin and Judy, we miss you and love you very much!

Here are the DD in getting ready to go to sleep. We took the mattress off of the sleeper couch and placed it on the floor as we did not want them to fall out and hurt themselves.
I would say that we made the correct decision! See for yourselves!

and in the morning.........

Love those sleepy little faces in the back seat on the long drive from New Jersey to Virginia

Now these next few photos are taken with my sister (Jane) and my nephew (Sam) on a trackless train in the mall. A few years back I would never have imagined myself inside on of these...but oh how life changes......for the better. I am sure Sam never imagined that he would be in there with us and then see a friend from school. You should have seen how fast his hood went over his head!!

Last but not least...Poor Sam is now next to his Mom and her big wide smile...I think she must have a dental phobia....

Whatever it is that you do this long holiday weekend, I hope that it brings you lots of laughter!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's official, I have no shame!

Yes, it's true but I will get to that part of today's story in a moment.....

Today was truly a free and easy day...aaaaah..we needed that!!

We woke up just before 8 am and believe me when I tell you that waking up that late is very rare and very appreciated. I guess we wore the little boogers out yesterday!

After a leisurely breakfast, we geared up and headed out to the big apple with the DD. Usually when we go into NYC we hit as many spots as possible; kinda like a mini marathon of sorts. We knew that this would not be advisable today for the DD or for us, so we took it easy. We went down into Chinatown and then went up towards Broadway to have lunch at the Carnegie Deli...yum! We drove around town and then finished up by showing the kiddos Times Square before heading outta dodge! I think that the DD's fav part of the day was being treated to lollipops at a candy store in midtown. We told them that they would have to hang onto them until we got back in the car and you should have seen the grasp that they had on those suckers...mittens and all!

This is for you Justin ~ Justin's fav Rock Club, CBGB was on this street but is no longer here :(

At Carnegie Deli

What?!? I know the sandwiches were big but this is ridiculous!!

Walking the streets of NYC with the DD

We went back to the hotel for a rest before we went back out for dinner and that is where the "no shame" part of the story comes in. You see, I was in the bathroom with Katie Starr and she needed to use the toilet. I needed to help her to get her pants off due to a button that was giving her trouble. I stepped back and was about to bend over and that is when I stepped back a bit too far. I hit the bathtub with the back of my heel, tripped and fell backwards as if in slow motion straight back into the tub. I looked up at Katie Starr who looked back at me with what seemed like several different emotions on her face that ranged from horror, fear that I was hurt and then humor when I burst out into laughter at how silly I must have looked. Then I finally saw relief on that precious face of hers that all was OK. I was in the strangest position and I called for Marc to give me a hand to get out and that is when Katie decided that this was great fun and got into the tub next to me and positioned herself the same way. I love my girl...she is too much! We were both laughing so hard and then Marc and Ethan came running in to witness this weird scene and of course they both became hysterical. There is only one thing that the husband of a blogger would do in that situation and that was to break out the camera. That cracked me up even further. Here is the pic that he got of us. Now you know why I say that I have no shame...sheesh!

It's been great fun here is New Jersey but tomorrow we are off to Northern Virgina to see missy lil' sissy and her family. Lord only knows what misadventures we will get into there. My folks will be flying in on Wednesday to join us for Thanksgiving. Ciao for now!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So much to little time

So far our trip to the Garden State has been a whirlwind of social activity with literally no end in sight. Yesterday morning we attended Marc's cousin, Rachel's Bat Mitzvah. Rachel is the third of four children that are spaced exactly two years apart, so every other year we have been up here for a special family event. We have one more to go which is Pierce, their caboose :) We also got to see Marc's brother Barry, Wife, Robin and our nephew, Joshua. We do not get to see them a great deal so this was a treat.

We're ready to party Mom and Dad!

Dancing with my lil guy

Marc's bro and family

Marc's cousin Nina telling Katie a story

more story fun

OK, now we are getting into our story in a big way!!

Ethan and cousin Josh

Our little Red Riding Hood

Getting three cousins to look at the camera at the same time is virtually impossible!

Our Starr is dancing

Katie enjoying her dessert (ice cream in a cone cup) a bit too much

We had a wonderful time at the party and then we went on to the family's home for the after party. All of the kids in the family are just so amazing with the DD and they had lots of other kiddos back to the house, so our children were in Heaven as they ran around the house playing and just having a ball with their cousins. The kids must have been up and down the stairs about a hundred times and I am not embellishing that number. It is no wonder our children do not have any weight issues. At the end of the evening, Katie was sitting on the landing of the stairs with a nine year old by the name of Devon. We were all sitting around and then we hear her say to her new friend..."Let's get married!" You have never seen so many surprised adults turn their heads at once and ask whether they had heard what they thought that they had heard. Devon's Dad jokingly responded that we would have to offer up our financials for our daughter to marry their son and of course I responded, "I am in the Real Estate Business, so there are no financials!" ROFL!

Cousin's and friends

Here is the groom to be Devon being told what to do by his future wife (smirk)

Before the evening ended there was a minor mishap with our rental car where it was sideswiped in the driveway. The car was badly damaged but thankfully no one was hurt which is the ONLY thing that matters.

We got home VERY late and the DD were utterly exhausted. They had caught a nap in the car between the affair and the after party but then there had been several additional hours of non stop partying to induce their "coma like" sleep.

The next morning dawned much too quickly and we were off again. This time to share brunch with Marc's cousins and then to try to resolve our auto accident issue. That became a little complicated so we decided that it would have to wait for later as we had plans to go see Marc's Aunt Shirley. All of "Stress is the New Black's" regular readers know Aunt Shirley but for any new readers to my blog, I will fill you in by saying that she is the DD's honorary grandmother. She is Marc's father's sister and she adores our children. She knits for them, sends them presents, shows off their pictures to anyone and every one that will look at them and she comes to Florida to visit them. She follows this blog religiously as does her daughter Mindy and her friends as well, some of which I met today.

First I got to meet her friend Wei. Wei is from China and Shirley befriended her about 18 years ago just before she had her first child, a beautiful girl by the name of Po Ling. Fifteen months later she had a wonderful son by the name of Keven. I was able to meet all three of them today at Shirley's. What a treat!! They have forged an amazing friendship with Shirley and her husband Paul that began all of those years ago when they frequented her restaurant and they helped her with her children while Wei built her business. Wei feels very close to them and asked them to go with her to China about 6 weeks ago for a 10 day vacation that was precipitated by Wei's 20 year college reunion in Fujian Province. It was a first class vacation all the way and she took care of it all! It was a dream come true for them and the trip of a lifetime. They filled us in a bit on their adventures while we were there. When I mentioned earlier that Aunt Shirley shows the DD's pictures to anyone and everyone, I must mentioned that she also showed them to everyone that she met in China. That made me laugh. I am sure that the people in China see many Chinese Children every day; they are probably not too interested in ours..hehe!

It was very special for Wei and her children to meet our children. They fell in love with them and marveled at how much stamina that we need to keep up with them. I am sure once we all left their was a collective sigh of relief as the tornado's were gone. The DD had scaled their steps another 100 times and the teens as well as Mindy were nice enough to try to entertain them while we talked.

Then, Shirley's friend Rose arrived and as she walked in she yelled out. "Oh my goodness, you are even more beautiful in person!" I was taken aback by Rose's kindness and then she went on the talk about her love of my blog, writing and the DD's antics. She graced me with words of praise about our parenting abilities and how much she respects how we are raising our children. I was very touched to say the least by her kind words as well as the kind words of Wei and her family. It also tickled my funny bone that everyone who came in called them the DD just like we do!

We left their home after a scrumptious lunch spent around the kitchen table in their warm kitchen that was made even warmer by the friendship that was felt between all of us. We were very thankful for all of the kindness that they showered upon us today.

Po Ling with Aunt Shirley

Around the kitchen table

Katie telling Wei all about something!

Somehow we all ended up on the stairs...huh?

Aunt Shirley with her honorary grandchildren

As a last hilarious moment to cap off the day, we were all in the front foyer getting our coats on and Katie started jumping up and down with excitement about something she was happy about. The next thing you know her skirt slipped off of those thin hips that I posted about this past week and landed around her ankles. We all fell out in hysterics!! Take a look ;0)


As soon as we put the kiddos in the car they fell asleep and we returned our damaged rental car for a new one. This new one was not as nice as the damaged one but at this point we were just happy to get in and get out. Now we were off to see one of the families that we met online during our wait to adopt our Starr. JoAnn and I are part of two national DTC groups of families from all around the world that were waiting at the same time. We know each other from April 05 (April Pandas) group and the May 05 (Mei Dreamers) group. I was a member of both and actually run the May group because even though our dossier went to China in April 05 it was not logged in to the CCAA until May 05. There is nothing like waiting for your children together that fosters life long bonds with people. I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few of them; some even on the Great Wall of China which Marc teases me about to this day.

JoAnn, her hubby Kurt and her adorable daughter Kelsey met us at Chucky Cheese so the kiddos could play and the parents could talk. We had a wonderful time meeting this great family. JoAnn was just as I thought she would be; warm, friendly, smart and fun and her husband was such a nice man. Their daughter personifies the word "adorable" and she is such a sweet child. Kelsey was nice enough to bring a "Welcome to NJ" welcome gift bag full of coloring books, crayons and books...lovely! After a couple of hours of fun we took our exhausted children home for a bath to wash the kajillion or so real and imagined Chucky Cheese germs off of them and put them to bed. As I type this they are still gabbing away excitedly.

At Chucky Cheese, Marc and Ethan were posing for the camera

there they are!

Katie playing air hockey

with sweet Kelsey

and the mischief man

Let's play this game

and this one...

and ride this one

and look we can ride with Barney!

Daddy getting into the act!

here we are on a virtual kiddy rollercoaster

Here is my friend JoAnn and her precious Kelsey

Love that look Marky Marc!

Kelsey and Katie Starr pretending to be Mermaids

Today was supposed to be another whirlwind day but since our plans are not written in stone, I decided to make it a free day and see where the wind takes us before we head off on Tuesday for our drive down to Virgina to see my sister.

Goodbye from New Jersey and I will post again soon....