Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Day with the Dinosaurs

Today we loaded up the kids and headed to Pittsburgh to go to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Our kids love it. The first time we took them I was worried it would all be too big for them and they wouldn't like anything but the Dinosaurs (which are all real dinosaur skeletons found in the Carnegie Quaries....no replicas here), but they really liked it.

Before we explored the museum we thought it would be a good idea to feed them. I had read on a family fun in Pittsburgh site that LuLu's Noodles was kid friendly. It was so cool. A true chinese noodle restaurant (just like Kung Fu Panda according to Toby) where you placed your order at the counter and then got a huge amount of food delivered to your table. The kids loved it. Toby, wanting to do it just right, asked for chopsticks for everyone. Greg didn't fare so well but he had soup. I did okay but Toby mastered them in a few tries. He ate his whole meal with them. We will definately be going there the next time we are in Oakland.

The Kiddos ahd a blast. This time they liked even more of it than they did in May. They loved the dinos but they also like the Artic World, American Indian, and Animals of the World exhibits. It was too cool to see them get so excited even with things they couldn't interact with. Enjoy the photos.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Christmas Present

Here's the book that Greg made for me to tie together my presents. It's really cute. A few words of advice...make it full screen and read it from top to bottom (not left to right). After I read the story I got to open my other gifts, each had a message inside from the Christmas Quetzal. My husband is incredibly creative and thoughtful on his gift giving. And he's all mine ladies but I will rent him out to teach your husbands if you like. ;)

Family Pp Pdf
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Together

We had a wonderful Christmas! Christmas Eve we got together with my family on my Dad's side. We all hung out and ate a wonderful dinner and plenty of sweets. It was really nice. We haven't done that on Christmas Eve in years. After that we all got dressed up and headed to 8 o clock mass. After mass it was home to bed for the little ones and then some work for Mommy and Daddy. ;)

The next morning the kiddos opened their gifts. They didn't get many from us but they all of them. Toby got a V Action, two Kung Fu Pandas, and a Buzz Lightyear (that he's talked about forever). Liliana got Dora the Snow Princess, a dinosaur set, Ming Ming, and a Fur Real Kitty (that's awesome). They haven't stopped playing with all their new things. After gifts NaNa, PapPap, and Uncle Dave came. We all hung out and opened a few more gifts until Godfather arrived. Godfather got special permissions to say Morning Mass for us at our house. It was so nice to celebrate the real reason for Christmas. Then it was on to the feast. David made the eggs and potatoes and I made the bacon and the pancakes. Huge. Amounts. Of. Food!

Later we all went to NaNa's and Greg's parents and Uncle came. There were even more presents! The kiddos and the big kiddos (that would be us) got VERY spoiled. Dinner was wonderful. The whole day was wonderful! Can't wait til next year!!!!

And because Greg does something awesome for me every year, he couldn't not this year. He made me a story to tie together his gifts. It was awesome he used power point and paint to create the book using pics of the kids. It was corny and adorable and I LOVED it!!! (If I can figure out how to post it I will) After I knew the story to my gifts, he gave me False Tongues and Sunday Bread (a Guatemalan cook book that I've wanted). Even better, He designed a pendant for me. He knew of a woman that made stained glass pendants, so he designed it and she made it. I LOVE it too! I also got a Thomas Kinkade print...it's beautiful. We made Daddy a slideshow for his new digital picture frame and it brought tears to his eyes....we did good! Hope you enjoy the pics!

The Slideshow on Greg's Digital Picture Frame that me and the kids made him:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

Last year's post (I had been in Walmart when I got the news):

Well I have been bitching and complaining about the Second DNA and how I wish it didn't have to be done. BUT, Thank God it is done because Liliana was accidently switched with another baby girl at the hogar. Yes people you read that correctly. So all of the beautiful pictures you have been looking at since November are NOT of Liliana they are of Baby X as Greg calls her. Our agency is very proactive, thank goodness, and steps are already being taken to correct all this maddness. So what does this all mean, well we now need a new passport since the picture is incorrect and DNA will need to be taken again which means we need to get DNA authorization again. This should delay us by another two weeks I'd imagine. Our attorney will be working this week to get it all straightened out and I am in direct communication with our agency director. I pray I have better news for everyone by the new year.

I can't believe it's been a year already from that dreaded phone call. It took weeks to fix and then it still wasn't fixed if you recall. Now it's Christmas Eve 2008 and I am SO blessed. BOTH of my children are home for the holidays.

They are the BEST gift of all!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Years Ago Today....

After a delayed flight and lost baggage, we entered the Marriott and there in the lobby was our attorney, her mother, and my baby boy waiting for us. We talked awhile and I let him play while getting used to us. After some time Sharon told me it was time, I picked Toby up, we said our good byes and we walked into our forever. It was a day I will never forget....in fact those four weeks I spent in Guatemala waiting for his BC, passport, and embassy appointment are deeply embedded on my soul. The people, the places, the time of year, everything. I hold it all so dear to me. Four weeks of bonding with my new son in his home country...incredible. We don't celebrate today because there is just too much going on with Christmas, instead we celebrate the day we touched down and began our life as a family at home in Ohio. But today, today was the day I officially became a Mom.

Exploring Mommy's suitcase

Looking a little dazed...recognize anyone in the background? Hi Beckie and Elania

He's been a Momma's boy since the moment they placed him in my arms

My Santa Baby

Gettin some lovin from his Daddy

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Holiday Version Meme

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both. Too much Egg Nog makes me sick, however. I can drink hot cocoa all night long.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Santa wraps the presents with a different wrapping paper for each child
Colored lights on tree or white?
White...I hate colored light on a tree.

When do you put your decorations up?
The first weekend of Advent. Although this year it was more like a little every day. The kiddos don't make it easy to decorate. They are usuasally following behind me undecorating. lol

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
The glazed ham. Maybe that's because it's the one dish that I get to make that everyone loves. No complaints. In fact they MAKE me make it. And it tastes pretty good if I do say so myself.
Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Our neighbor down the street and my great uncle used to pull a very large sleigh around the neighborhood playing christmas music and giving out candy canes to the children. They used to come and carry us out in our pjs to get them. And my Grandma's house...I have fantastic memories of Christmas at Grandma's. It's not the same this year without her.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was around 10 or 11. My parents went to great lengths to make sure we believed. Such as red long underwear caught in the bottom of the chimney and dirt by the fireplace. My brother (who is younger) was the one who caught them. The door to the attic is in his room and he pretended to be asleep, he caught them brining down all the gifts. Oops.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We used to all of Grandma's on Christmas eve, but then she moved the party day. So my brother and I exchange now.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Well now, I leave off the really breakable ornaments. I put mine near the top and I let the kiddos put theirs and the non breakables where they'd like. I only move them when there are too many on one branch and the poor branch looks like it's gonna break. And we top it all off with the Holy Family on top.

Snow... Love it or Dread it?
LOVE IT!!!!!
Can you ice skate?
Didn't learn until I was a junior in high school and I haven't been ice skating in at least 8 years so it's anyone's guess if I can still skate.
Do you remember your favorite gift?
From childhood: probably my teddy bear and my huffy bike...I also really remember getting my stereo. Recently: Greg has gotten some really good ones. He made me a video that I loved. The year that we started Toby's adoption but hadn't gotten his refferal yet, Greg got me a pillow and a baby blanket made in Guatemala. His goal every year is to make me cry. He ususally succeeds.
What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Being with family... and the desserts lol
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Big, huge fan of all the cookies!

What is your favorite tradition?
Hanging out with the extended fam on Christmas Eve and then going to Christmas mass with my family.
Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?
Umm, I plead the fifth....hahaha I like them both. But I love watching my children open their gifts.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Secular: The Christmas Wish (listen to it in my music) Religious: Adeste Fideles
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
I like the little ones. That's about as much mint as I can take in one sitting.
Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Pretty sure I have at some time or another
There you have it! Join in the fun with me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

FFF: Random Pics

Toby shaking his groove thing

Pretending to put the snowman on the tree...really she was taking it off :)

Pretty Posing Girl

Toby helping Mommy decorate

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday's Toddler Tip

Really these tips are for children between the ages of 2-5. Some of them you can do with littler kids (I do) and some of them with older kids. But I love the aliterativeness (Yeah I know I made up that word) of the title. I am now a stay at home mom but before this I ran a preschool attached to a Catholic school, before that a lead teacher at an accredidated day care. All in all I have 7 years teaching experience and I NEED to use it....I WANT to use it. Hence our Tuesdays together. I almost forgot about doing it today until I was doing this....

A Christmas Countdown. I wanted to start it yesterday as I'm working on counting items up to 10, but I forgot. I made 9 trees and each day we will take one off and count them. It's a great activity for counting and it took me all of 5 minutes to make. That's not today's tip however.

This is: Peppermint Play Dough

2 cups of flour, 2 tbsp of vegetable oil

1 cup of salt, 4 tsp cream of tarter

2 cups of water, red and green food coloring

2 tsp of peppermint extract

Combine all the ingredients except the food coloring in a large pot. Cook over low heat, stirring until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove the dough from the heat source and let it cool alittle. While it is still warm, split it into two sections and mix in the food coloring. (If you are only using one color you can add it at the beginning with everything else) Let it cool completely before allowing the childen to play with it.

This is one of my absolute favs. I make all my own playdough because it's softer and it lasts longer than the store bought kind. Plus I can make seasonal playdough....which is always fun. Hope you'll use this recipe and that you'll keep coming back. I want it to be someplace you can come for ideas. And if you're looking for a specific topic or have a question you want answered feel free to ask. Tune in next week when we'll be making a Christmas keepsake.

And this is my second post today so keep reading. :)

VFW Christmas Party

On Sunday we went to Grandpa's local VFW for their children's Christmas party. They had Santa (of course), a balloon artist, and hot dogs for the kiddos. It was a very nice afternoon. Here are some pics....

Waiting in line to see Santa (poor Greg ends up looking a little crazed in this picture...I swear he's not)

Toby actually sat on Santa's lap (although he was ready to bolt at any moment) just to tell him he wanted he wanted a Buzz Lightyear for Christmas....Santa btw has already taken care of it ;)

Liliana was FREAKED!

I can't believe Daddy gave me to that guy. Can you see how distraught I am?

Happier with her Candy Cane and her frog present from Santa

Yes I am biting Greg...he put me in a headlock...my natual instinct is to bite. lol BTW, he's pretending to be in pain, I wasn't biting hard.

Grandma and Grandpa

Besos to the bear

Toby pouting because the balloon artist said he was finished after a certain point...he kept going for another 30 minutes after that point...I was not pleased.

Daddy trying to get him to laugh

Much happier now. Grandpa won him a trike in the raffles!

Liliana trying to hitch a ride

Toby getting some lovin from Grandma while Liliana crawls along behind him

Jingling along with the reindeer at NaNa's

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oglebay's Festival of Lights

Tonight we headed out to the Festival of Lights. It was the perfect cold snow covered night to do it. For those that don't know, it is a huge light show. Some of the displays stay perfect still, others are animated, and others go in a sequence to create a scene. To read more about it go here http://www.oglebay-resort.com/fol.htm Our first stop however was one of the most awesome Mickey D's I've ever been too. It had a wonderful indoor playplace with an upper level for parties and plenty of space for seating on the lower level. The playzone was huge...the kids had a blast. So glad we went in and didn't just drive through. After ward instead of headed back onto I70 to go to the Olgebay exit we followed the signs that were off of our exit. (Just a hint for anyone that lives in my area and wants to avoid traffic that was backed up to the other side of the Wheeling Tunnel...do what we did) The way off of our exit took you up the other side of the hill so you approached Olgebay from the opposite direction. There was no wait! This is a big deal people the wait to get in can be 2+ hours. The kiddos loved it. You go about 2-5 mph so we let them sit up front with us so they could see better. They kept Ooo-ing and wow-ing. Lili even said tree for the first time. When we finished the tour we went to the garden of lights and walked around. It was a fantastically Christmasy winter wonderland evening. Enjoy the pics.

BTW, it was verycold. My husband left his coat at home. And sorry some of the pics were blurry....moving cars and such.

Friday, December 12, 2008

FFF: My Choice Again

Still working with no theme....so I thought I'd do self potraits cause they either turn out really good or really bad. You're only getting the good cause in this digital age I delete the bad ones, quickly. This is about the ONLY way I get in the pictures. Mainly because I control the camera but also because no one offers to take pictures of me and my sweeties. Me and my Momma

At the tree farm the other day

My honey and me

Another cute one of the two of us. I am seriously lacking pictures of my husband and myself.

A blurry one of Liliana and me at La Casa Grande

One of my favs of me and Toby

About a month after Toby came home...look at how I turn into a pasty snow white in the winter.
Because so many of you enjoyed my whip cream painting idea last week and because I need to use and share my knowledge so I don't lose it all...I'm gonna go back to work someday...I am going to do a Toddler/Preschool Tip Day on Tuesdays. Come back and get a great idea to do a learning through play activity with your little ones. And if anyone knows how to make one of those cool button thingys for this, I'd be all for it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 Random Photos

I haven't taken any pictures this week, so I'm develing into photos from last week. Enjoy.

Toby hard at work fixing one ornament with another at NaNa's house.

Greg and Moke-Moke all snuggled up. I couldn't resist taking this photo.

My "innocent" princess swipping my phone. Toby took this picture (which means they were both swipping things that weren't theirs while I was in the kitchen.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt of 2008

Saturday we loaded up the kiddos and drove to Hozaks Christmas Tree Farm. It was a warm and balmy 30 degrees with a wind chill in the 20s. Needless to say I packed the snowsuits too. When we got there we took the hayride to look at all the Christmas Trees. I couldn't remember the name of the tree we ususally get...of course it was the one almost exactly where we parked the car. Oh well the hayride was lots of fun, cold, but lots of fun. What made the day even better was it had started to snow right before we left. Nothing makes it feel more like Christmas than cutting down a tree in the snow. It took us about 45 minutes to find a good tree. Greg always says that he gets the whole experience going with me. hahaha. I'm not too bad, but it needed to be tall enough and not too wide due to the space. I think we picked the perfect one...and just so I'll remember....Tina, you like Fraiser Firs!

Daddy and Toby snuggled up on the hayride

I love this one of Liliana and me...and to make it even better, I took it myself

How cute is this picture? On the hunt for the perfect tree. Toby found one his size and gave it a hug saying "Cute little tree." He's too funny.

A view from near the top of the hill. This is just one of their many fields at the tree farm.

Yes that man is in (short) athletic shorts in the 20 degree snowing weather Christmas tree shopping. I HAD to take a picture. I wish I would have gotten one of him smoking or laying on the ground cutting down that tree. It was hystercial! None of them were properly dressed...the daughter and the mother were both shivering. I swear one would only see this in Western PA.

Waiting for Daddy to cut down the tree.

Our tree! I had to cut several branches off the bottom making it not nearly as pretty, but it's still a pretty tree.
Daddy hauling the tree down the hill. At least it was down, in one of their other fields it was up. Yikes.

Listen lady, I'm still a little popsicle....lay off the pictures

I'll smile mommy...Cheesy cheese!

After tree shopping, we met PapPap and Uncle Dave at the Mexican Restaurant....Yummy. Here's the princess stealing food...who me Mommy?

Help Me Mommy! Daddy's Loving me to death. lol