Sunday, November 30, 2008

Visit With Santa

All three of my trees are officially up and decorated. David still needs to take care of the outside lights but we keep those pretty simple. I have a couple odds and end decorations to place in the house and hang a wreath on the door. I still need to tackle Christmas cookies but I'll tackle that when I get home from Baltimore.

Wednesday morning, Madeline and I are getting on a plane to visit my sister in the Baltimore area. While at Marysia's we plan to do some serious Christmas shopping. Last year we began the "Baltimore Christmas Blitz" and shopped all day and wrapped all evening. I had gotten so much done there and even wrapped and shipped gifts to their final destination. Last year we passed by Santa in the malls in Baltimore because we wanted to have David with us on Madeline's first visit to Santa. (We ended up standing in long lines last year when we visited Santa when we came home) This year, we wanted to visit Santa before leaving so that David could once again be part of it. Also, I won't feel guilty if we visit Santa a second time while in a mall near my sister.

One definite advantage to visiting Santa so early is that there wasn't anyone in line waiting (of course a home Bills game didn't hurt either). We stepped right up without a wait.....note to self, go early again next year. Today, Madeline was pretty apprehensive about getting on Santa's lap. I thought we would have a screamer on our hands but she pulled it together and did pretty good. She did end up turning all shy and talked to Santa in barely more than a whisper. After the visit with Santa, we rode on the mall's carousel which is next to where Santa sits. Every time we rode past Santa, Madeline yelled, "Hi Santa!" Also, when we were walking through the mall later we noticed that Santa was walking on the other side of the mall - he was obviously heading for a milk and cookies break. Madeline kept yelling, "Hi Santa!" Santa stopped, turned around and waved to Madeline....the look on her face was priceless!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Preparations

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to start thinking about Christmas. When I was younger we always put up our Christmas tree around the week before Christmas and took it down on Three Kings Day. As a kid, that period of time that included our Christmas vacation from school seemed to last forever. Now time goes so quickly. I want to get up our decorations as soon as possible to enjoy them for as long as possible. So tonight we started the process. This year we will actually have three Christmas trees. (1) a small table top one (only about 1 & 1/2 feet high) for Madeline's room, (2) a small one in our finished basement TV area and (3) the main Christmas tree in our Living Room. Now that we have a child, I put more effort into Christmas stuff as I figure that I am making Christmas memories. I haven't gone all out in cookie baking in years but I now feel I have to. (Last year I just made a little bit). I guess I now realize why I am starting in November. I will finally be ready on Christmas Eve......but I'll be saying, "What was I thinking?!?" on Three Kings Day when I have to pack this all away.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks for Thanksgiving

As previously mentioned, David and I started a new Thanksgiving tradition last year when we opted to run away as a family and share quiet family time in a rented cottage on Seneca Lake (one of New York State's Finger Lakes). This year, we opted to rent a cabin, about 3 hours away, at Pymatuning State Park in Northwest Pennsylvania (I know I'll get grief from my family for our location choice - long story). Our cabin, which was *very* reasonably priced, was heated, had 2 bedrooms, a living area, bathroom and full kitchen along with a view of the lake. Surprisingly, we were not the only people with this idea. The cabins had several other families that were enjoying their holiday in the woods. Some of these families were even enjoying campfires in the evening.....we weren't that daring. The heated cabin was cozy enough for us. Anyway, I posted some photos to share.. The photo above was the view from our cabin.

After the turkey was in the oven, Mama and Papa-Dirtyfoot decided to go outside with Maddie to play in the snow. The picture directly to the left is Mama-Dirtyfoot making a snowball outside of our cabin. We walked down to the end of the road where there was a small playground. Madeline and I took turns getting pushed on the swings by David. David was pushing me so high that I was literally lifting off of the swing seat. I think the entire forest heard me screaming and Madeline was finding the entire thing quite hysterical.

On the walk back to the cabin, Madeline was enjoying just playing in the snow and exploring the way her feet tracked in the snow.
Once we returned (and the entire time we were indoors), Madeline was satisfied to occupy herself by pulling the couch cushions off of the couch, make "stairs" out of them, make "houses" out of them and jump on them. Mom even got into the act and stacked the pillows, ran across the cabin and dove into the pile of pillows. As Madeline continued to entertain herself I took care of the Thanksgiving feast preparations. I soooooo pleasantly surprised myself with the turkey I cooked! As you can see from the photo below, I was ready to bite into it before it even came out of the oven.

The only thing I feel semi-guilty about is opting to not make the broccoli I brought. We were a little light in the veggie area......but we *had to* save room for all the carbs and pumpkin pie. (Yes, I made Mom's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie)

We had a great time and now we need to think about making reservations for next year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Triptophan Day!!

I am on my Thanksgiving getaway now and am probably on my way to a turkey-induced nap about now. Yes, that triptophan will get you every year! I was planning on blogging a list of things that I am thankful for this year.....but it would be way too long. We have been very blessed in many ways and for that I am grateful! I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Road Trip

We are leaving today for our "Back to Nature Thanksgiving". We are heading to a cabin in the woods for a nice relaxing holiday getaway. We are staying in a cabin that is equipped with heat, a bathroom, 2 bedrooms and kind of "roughin' it". We will have no television, no Internet (this is timed to post while I am gone), no lists of things to do weighing on us, etc. It'll just be two quiet evenings with just the three of us. I already pre-made some of the Thanksgiving sides and pumpkin pie to pack in a cooler to take with us but we will do the turkey cooking there.

Last year was our first Thanksgiving with Madeline and our first Thanksgiving without my mom. When deciding how we were going to celebrate Thanksgiving last year we decided that we didn't want to be home because it just wouldn't feel like a holiday unless we had company.....but we didn't really want company. We wanted family time. So, last year we rented a cottage on one of the Finger Lakes (2007 picture to left). We had such a relaxing time that we vowed to go away every year (Madeline will *love* this tradition when she is in high school). This year we are still going away but to a different location. We are looking forward to it....although we should be getting snow the entire drive down (gulp). I hope to post a picture or two when I get back.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dreams Do Come True

If you have been following the Adventures of Mama-Dirtyfoot, you know that I have been focusing on adoption because it's National Adoption Month. Actually, the photo shown is of Mama and Madeline in Astrakhan, Russia on Gotcha Day. Gotcha Day was 6/25/07 and it was the day we got Madeline to become a family.

In the comments of yesterday's post, there was reference to a dream I had. I promised I would share the story so, here goes:

David and I were trying to conceive for many years with no luck. When dealing with infertility, especially unexplained infertility, you become literally consumed by the desire to get pregnant. You are an emotional wreck and can be set off into a crying jag by the simplest thing. You can be having a "good day" and then you get a baby shower invitation in the mail.....and the flood gates open. You could be shopping and admiring a cute baby toy or outfit...and the flood gates open because you "don't deserve to be shopping in that department." You could see a Christmas commercial on TV and watch the child looking with awe at Santa....and the flood gates open. Every slight change in your body you are in tune with and think "this might be the month". You are convinced that this is *the* month - until your period comes...and then the flood gates open for an hour or so. How can I be failing at the most basic of human functions - to reproduce? You get the picture...pretty depressing. And month after month this continues. In my case it continued for 8 years before we decided to start the process of adoption. During that time we experienced doctors, specialists, drugs, more drugs, sonograms, an exploratory laparoscopy, hormones, shots in the ass, IUI, a "chemical pregnancy" etc....and after all of that, specialists were never able to find a reason we didn't get pregnant. If you know me well, I tried to keep as upbeat as possible but there are times that I would simply just fall apart.

During this journey, I had a dream one night. In the dream I was sitting in the rafters of the attic in my childhood home with my maternal grandfather. (Grandpa O. died when I was 13 and although our relationship was good, it wasn't overly involved -or shall I say it was very traditional. ) As I was sitting in the rafters, I was crying my eyes out to my grandfather and venting (the way one would to a best friend about something that was upsetting to you). I was just sobbing in my dream about not getting pregnant and about how badly I wanted a child. The entire time my grandfather was listening and calmly reassuring (which was his manner) me that "everything was going to be okay. It'll all be all right". I felt extremely comforted by Grandpa O's reassurance.

Then my dream sequence changed (although it was still part of the same dream - you know how dreams do that). I was sitting outside at a picnic bench (in the middle of a parking lot - weird) with my "grandfather's girlfriend". (He never had a girlfriend - just another weird dream thing.) As I was sitting with this woman I was talking and crying to this woman too - just as I was with my grandfather. And again I was being comforted. The comfort I received from this dream is almost inexplicable. But they both assured me that everything was going to be okay. But as I sat and "vented" to the woman I eventually looked up at her and really noticed her. I was speechless by her beauty. As I was looking at her in my dream I remember being in awe of her beauty. (It wasn't a movie star/supermodel beauty, but rather.....hmmmmm, I still can't describe it). As I was looking at the woman I was feeling completely content and at peace. At this time, I told the woman, "You are soooooo beautiful!"

Feeling the complete serenity that I was, you can only imagine how annoyed I was to hear David talking to me and disturbing this dream. (David does, on occasion, talk in his sleep so I thought he was having a dream that was making him talk in his sleep, and thus disturb my dream.) I woke briefly to "SHHHHush" him and I put my head back on my pillow in order to try to get back into my dream. As I was settling back in, it registered to me what David said. While I was having this extremely comforting, peaceful dream, David woke me by saying, "There is someone or something in this room".

We talked about this that night and on several occasions after. As it turns out David wasn't talking in his sleep that night. He was fully awake and felt some type of presence in the room. He compared it to when you are sitting alone in a room and you just *know* when some enters the room, even if you didn't see/hear them come in. He just felt a presence. But the weird thing is that he was sensing this (enough to try to tell me in the middle of the night) while I was simultaneously receiving comfort from my grandfather and the beautiful woman. This is too much of a coincidence to simply be *just* a coincidence. I truly believe that I was being visited to be told that "it's all okay".

This dream was about 4 years into my 8 year journey. At times after this dream I crept back into my self-pity mode but I would always stop and remind myself of this experience and find peace and strength. Today, all the pain of infertility is gone. We have Madeline and I have absolutely no lingering desire or feeling of loss by not having a "home grown" kid. I am 100% happy with the outcome and truly convinced, without a doubt, that Madeline was meant to be ours. I had to go though that in order to have Madeline as our daughter. And, to this day, I think of that dream experience and it now gives me comfort in the idea that Madeline was chosen for me years before our "Gotcha Day". As I said in yesterday's post, despite the never ending emotional roller coaster David and I rode, things turned out the absolute best and I would do it all again to make sure that I was Madeline's Mama. And the many years of waiting with empty arms was necessary. I was waiting, yes, but I was waiting for Madeline.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Car Costume - Sequel

I almost got in an accident today. I actually saw someone with the car costume. Yes, their car had antlers and a Rudolph nose. How did I almost get in an accident? I was craning my neck to see what kind of dork would actually ride around town like this!

Pregnant with Madeline - National Adoption Month Part Two

No, Madeline was not born from my womb, and of that I have to occasionally remind myself, but she was born of my heart. I longed to hold Madeline more than many biological children are "wanted". My "pregnancy", albeit a "paper pregnancy", lasted one year, not nine months. And my "labor" lasted one month - and bio moms, don't get on your high horse. You don't know pain until you live out of a hotel room in Russia for a month!

Infertility (especially unexplained infertility) is an awful experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But I can't imagine not having Madeline as my daughter. In the end, despite the never ending emotional roller coaster David and I rode, things turned out the absolute best and I would do it all again to make sure that I was Madeline's Mama. And the many years of waiting with empty arms was necessary. I was waiting, yes, but I was waiting for Madeline.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sister Madeline

David, Madeline and I went to church today. We try to go regularly but we missed the past two Sundays......guilt, guilt, guilt. Two weeks ago we were in Orlando and last week our photo sitting took way longer than we thought it would. Anyway, when we went up to receive Communion, Madeline walked up with us as usual. For whatever reason, today Madeline noticed that we were all in line for something. I received Communion and turned to go back to our pew. Madeline turned to the Eucharistic Minister, pointed to the hosts and said, "LYyynnnn!" Next she had the huge pouty lip thing going on and by the time we sat down she was crying that she didn't receive Communion. I whispered in her ear about how Communion is only for big boys and girls. I told her that she had to be almost as old as her cousin, Kate, before she receives Communion. She listened as I explained this and was satisfied with my explanation. As I settled in for the rest of the Mass I thought about this whole episode and got teary-eyed. Okay, Madeline was probably being a typical 3-year old....."Me, me, me....Where is mine? I want some too!" But I felt moved because I actually thought that Madeline felt the sense of community that she was missing out on. Okay.....either that or she just got her calling to be a nun :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Will You Be My Friend?

At the end of October, my brother, Marty, posted an entry on his blog about Facebook. I used to be pretty hip on everything pop culture but now that I am not working and in the mom zone I have lost my touch. In an effort to regain my "hip-ness" I joined Facebook. Yes, I am now addicted. So, after Madeline goes to bed, my evenings are filled with the Adventures of Mama-Dirtyfoot blog and Facebook. It has been fun looking up people from my "past lives" and having an opportunity to communicate more regularly with family and my current circles of friends. If you haven't joined the phenomena, check it out. And by the way, I'll be your friend :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can You Say Tacky?

The quickest way to either have me committed to a mental institution or have David file divorce papers would be for me to purchase this car costume. At first I thought that some buyer for Target would get fired for choosing such ridiculously goofy stock. But, no, I went to the local party supply store and they carried it too! Antlers and a Rudolph nose for you car. Actually, it would almost be worth spending the $16 on the car costume just to see the expression on David's face as I pulled in the driveway. The only thing I can think to say about this is Merry Christmas Griswolds!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Is Coming

I'm not sure if you are familiar the the Christmas song with the lyrics, "Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat....." I feel like changing them to "Christmas is coming and Mama's getting fat!" We are still working on the remaining Halloween candy and it is almost time to start making Christmas cookies.

By the way, be honest readers, has anyone ever thrown away your kids left over candy? I feel like I would be the cruelest mom in the world if I did that but I am ohhhhh soooo tempted to "dwindle the supply" while my dear child slumbers. I am sick of looking at it and eating it....not to mention the fact that it is almost Thanksgiving!

But back to Christmas. The other day I thought I would be productive and pull out items that I already purchased and begin wrapping. This would also serve the purpose of helping me determine what I still need to buy on my Christmas Shopping Extravaganza at Marysia's. So, I drag all the stuff out of my closet on Sunday night and yes, it's still on my living room floor. I gotta get my dupa in gear. The season will soon creep up on me and any glimmer of being ahead of the game will be lost. By the way, as you can tell from the photo above, Madeline is ready to bake......sigh, I am too tired to think about that right now. I think I'll trip over the bags of Christmas packages that are on my living room floor as I make my way upstairs and call it a night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. There are so many things that I would like to say and maybe I'll address many of them throughout this month. But first, I thought I would include an article pertaining to "Unsolicited Comments". I was having a problem setting up a link so I included the article below because I think it is *that* important.

After reading the article, you will think that people can't possibly be *that* bold to make such comments or ask such questions. But, yes, I can attest that they can be and are. In general, I would say my life is a pretty open book but even still, the line of questions I have gotten about Madeline's past, or *why* we chose to adopt from Russia and not domestically have been quite tiring. And yes, I agree, I absolutely *cannot stand* when people say how lucky Madeline is that we "saved" her. Do not pity her or where she came from! Besides, WE are the lucky ones for having her in our life.

David and I are probably even shielded from many questions and unsolicited comments because Madeline "looks like us". By that, I mean that Madeline is the same race as we are. When we are in the general public, Madeline doesn't walk around with a label on her forehead that exclaims, "I'm Adopted". Madeline can choose to share that information or not with whoever she wishes as she gets older. My neighbor, however, adopted a Korean child and she gets stopped at the store by people asking, "Where did you get her?" I can't believe it! I'm sorry, that's her *daughter* NOT a puppy from the pound!

Anyway, here is the article:

When my husband and I became first-time parents in 1991 of our then five-month-old Guatemalan-born daughter, I felt that after the adoption process I was prepared for anything. On our second day home with our baby, I was extremely proud to finally be able to tour our neighborhood with my new baby in her stroller. Mother and daughter at long last. We barely made it around the corner when two ladies ran from their homes to meet Kahleah and to express to their amazement that "from a distance you look like you could be her mother!" I politely told them that I was her mother. They giggled and said, "No, you know what we mean! HER REAL MOTHER!" Ouch. That hurt. Then came the questions. "Where are her parents?" "Are her parents dead?" "How much did she cost?" "Why didn't her real parents want her?" "Can her real parents take her back?" "Will her skin get much darker?" "Why didn't you adopt a white baby?" "How old was her real mother?" "Does she have brothers and sisters?" "Will she ever learn to speak English?" "Will you tell her she is adopted?" "Does she have any diseases?" "How tall will she be?" "Who's fault is it that you couldn't get pregnant?" "Did you try IVF?" "Do you suppose that now that you have adopted you will finally have one of your own?" I wanted to scream, "IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!!!"

Then came the statements. I guess I should have expected them "That's one lucky little girl you have there! Just imagine the kind of life you saved her from." "There is a special place in heaven for people like you." "It takes a special person to parent a child like that." "I never would have guessed that you were not her parents. Why, you treat her just like she was your own kid!" "I would never adopt! You never know what you are getting." "Adoption is a good cure for infertility! Now maybe you will be blessed with a child of your own!" "Gosh. I hope you know what you are getting yourself into!"

Six years ago, I found myself speechless and hurt many times. I was bewildered, frustrated and hurt. What gives people the right to single out my family, in very public situations, and to expect responses to very intrusive personal matters? I just don't understand it. We seem to know enough to not ask people such questions as, how much did you pay for your house? What is your salary? How much did you pay for your car? Further, I would never ask someone how many months they had "tried" before they conceived a child, but they feel that they can put me on the spot and ask me these questions.

Now that my daughter is six years old and the proud sister to 3-year-old Colombian-born Tristan, she is an innocent witness to this invasion. She is extremely proud of her little brother and sees him for exactly what he is-her brother. Recently, a man in a shopping center took a long look at me, and then my children, then back to me. With Kahleah standing beside me, listening intently, he asked, "Are they yours?" "Yes." "Are they brother and sister?" My Kahleah put a protective hand on her brother's shoulder and replied, "Yes, he is my baby brother." The man looked to me and said, "They don't look alike, they can't be real brother and sister!" I glanced at Kahleah and then firmly, yet calmly stated, "They are brother and sister." He seemed puzzled and continued with "But they're not blood brother and sister, right?" I realized at this point what was truly important was what my children were getting from the conversation. It was time to end the interrogation. Smiling at my children we proceeded to walk away. I ended the conversation with, "Sir, trust me. They are real brother and sister. Please remember when you engage me in these conversations... I am an adult. I know what you are "trying" to say. My children are young and are listening. The hurt in their eyes is much worse than the pain of skinning their knees or falling off a bike. It is much harder to put a Band-Aid on their hearts or self-esteem."

So many times someone comes up to my precious children to inform them what a "lucky little girl/boy" she/he is. I am quick to jump in with, "No, it is their father and I who are lucky to be blessed with them!" It is true that not everyone we meet is malicious, but I must be on guard. I used to love when my daughter was a baby and people would stop me and exclaim, "What beautiful black eyes she has! Look at that straight black hair! Nice brown skin!" Although I thought these were positive comments, by the age of four, my daughter had had enough. One day, in our community, after having numerous people make these same observations over and over again, Kahleah buried her face in my stomach, overwhelmed. She said she was tired of people "always" pointing out the same things: her hair, eyes and skin. I realized that they were pointing out her racial differences, and her differences from me, her mother. She was reading between the lines on her own. Maybe this was just her perception, but she was feeling it.

I ask you, what child deserves to be made to feel different simply because of race? Or to intimate in their presence that their parents are doing an act of charity by adopting them? My children's birth histories belong to them, and only them. Why can't people accept us as a family, built with love and a lifelong commitment? Is this so very hard to understand?

Leceta Chisolm Guibaault lives in Quebec, Canada and is a member of The Federation of Quebec Adoptive Parents. She is a mother of two children - Kahleah born in Guatemala & Tristan born in Colombia. © Adoption Today

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Astrakhan Geography

I SUCK at geography! Thank God I didn't exact know where I was when we went to bring Madeline home from Russia. I don't know why, exactly, I was figuring this out this evening but when we were in Astrakhan, Russia, David and I were actually closer to Baghdad, Iraq (925 miles) then we currently are to David's best friend, Jon in New Orleans! Or....736 miles from Astrakhan to Mosul, Iraq (about the distance between Buffalo to Nashville, TN) Who knew?!?!?! Like I said, thank God I didn't!

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Cavities, Mama!

First off, yes, I am one of those freaky moms that takes a picture of EVERYTHING! Yes, I am a looser and took a picture of Madeline at the dentist.....but it was her first cleaning! I need something to scrapbook (just be glad that I don't take pictures of successes on the potty.....ewwww!)
Anyway, although it looks as though Madeline is gripping the armrest and holding on for her life, she really isn't. I was so proud of her! She did absolutely wonderful! In fact she didn't want to leave. No cavities either! And the absolute topper is that the dentist office gave her a prize from the treasure box when we left. Great job Maddie!

Lake Effect Snow

Yes, Buffalo has a bad rap for snow. Today there is a lake effect snow warning for several parts of the area. The cool thing about where we live is that surrounding areas can be getting slammed with snow while we are getting nothing. We are wedged in the perfect spot between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The snow that Buffalo is so famous for is due to lake effect snow. Wikipedia defines lake effect snow as the snow that is produced in the winter when cold, Arctic winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water (in our case Lake Erie), providing energy and picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the shores. Because we live wedged between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, we get much less snow than the surrounding areas. But the neat phenomena we see where we live is the amazing cloud patterns during the winter. We can see the walls of lake effect snow clouds that are coming off of the lakes. And since we are wedged between two of the great lakes, we often see these walls of clouds to both the north and south of us. You can see from this picture the difference between north and south. It was actually sunny were I was but you could tell the clouds were making it dark not too far south from me. Normally these cloud "walls" have a much clearer definite line of a border, but regardless, this was still a pretty neat scene today too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

P.U. Madeline!

In the 13 years that David and I have been together, I could probably count on one hand the number of times that we passed gas in front of each other. My siblings might chuckle at that because the Mazurs (ok, at least the brothers) tend to be an earthy group. Call me uptight, but I just can't "let 'er rip" in front of others (at least on purpose). And then comes Madeline.....

There has been *way* more "music" in this house in the past year than there was over the last 13 years. And Madeline finds it hysterical. On top of that, she somehow learned how to blame it on someone else. Madeline will "toot" and say, "P.U., Mama!" or "P.U., Papa!" I think she may have even blamed it on our cats too. And when she does this blame game, she is laughing like she just told the best joke ever. Where did she learn this from? *Sigh*....... she really is a Mazur!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Madeline's First Movie

David and I took Madeline to her first movie today. She did really good (of course a bucket full of popcorn didn't hurt!) David and I enjoyed getting out to a movie and were actually excited about the prospect of a whole new world of family activities that opened up to us. Madeline behaved well and responded appropriately to the movie's scenes.

I do have to say that we watch *very little* television at home. Consequently, Madeline is exposed to very little violence, even comedic violence. I have to say that I was proud of Madeline. There were a few comedic violent scenes. (1) There was an old lady that kept beating up on the animals and (2) okay, this was a bit closer to nature, but the Alpha and Beta lions fought and Madeline kept saying, "No, No!!!!" during each of these scenes. Good girl, Maddie! Keep it up!

I Have Bangs

One of my very good friends is a stylist. For personal reasons she took a leave of absence, but because we are friends, she continues to cut my hair. I griped to her that I am having "Mom Syndrome". I cannot seem to find the time to even look at a hair dryer, mousse or hair spray. Last night, we opted for the the low maintenance cut. I got bangs! Luckily for me, bangs are back in style.
The only problem is that my mug in this photo does not do the cut justice. No, I am not wearing ANY make-up. And, besides that, why is my one eye wide open and the other half-shut? Other than the fact that I am not very photogenic, I am very happy with my new cut. Not once today did I feel the urge to pull my hair back into a mini-pony at the crown of my head. Now if only I could get out of my elastic-waisted lounge pants and apply some cosmetics I would be in business!

More Payback.....But Funny!

I totally wanted to refrain from making any political statements on this blog but this story is actually pretty funny. Many of you might already know that I am the "black sheep" of my family. Politically, my siblings tend to lean to the right while David and I tend to lean to the left. My brothers' Mazurland blog is evidence of their political tendencies. Yes, David and I proudly voted for Obama. For my brother Chris' October 1st birthday, I couldn't resist an obnoxious card that said something on the lines of "Party like it's 1-20-09" (the end of the Bush era). I included a little note about how I "just couldn't resist this card" etc, etc. I never got any feedback regarding this silly card but that is to be expected because Chris lives 8 hours away, in New Hampshire. But like I mentioned in the past, revenge is best served cold.

After returning from Orlando, Madeline had a birthday package waiting for her. Madeline was excited to open her birthday gifts. She received a nice winter themed book, Wonder Pets Colorform Activity Set and yes, the "My Dad, John McCain" book pictured here. Madeline wondered why I was laughing hysterically. Yes, I deserved it. I started it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium - R.I.P.

Finally! The preparation for the demolition of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium has begun! The Aud closed in 1996. Like so many other stadiums that have seen their demise, Chicago Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Boston Garden, etc, this too holds dear memories for those that were lucky enough to attend events in the house's hay-day. But we Buffalonians are a nostalgic group. Try to make way for progress and the preservationists stand in line to protest. Don't get me wrong, preservation is needed in certain circumstances....but this was not one of them.

David, through his connections at work, had the opportunity to go on a private tour of the Aud the week before last. This is one of the last tours as the Aud will be demolished over the course of this winter. Yes, David was pleased with the opportunity to get one last peak, yet the condition of the building further punctuates the need for its removal. For example, there were talks of removing and auctioning off the seats from the Aud. What die hard Buffalo sports fan wouldn't want a section of 2,3,4 of the Oranges, Reds, Blues or Golds for their sports room? Yet, only some of the Blues can be salvaged due to the mold damage. Yes, it is always sad to see a piece of our history gone forever. David was lucky enough to revisit it briefly, yet the time has come. Progress is at our doorstep.

Boobie Update

This might totally qualify as TMI (too much information) but I had my mammogram today. Diagnosis: My boobs look good. Why am I posting this? Just a reminder for the ladies to Check Your Boobies. Make your appointment!

Also, as I left my appointment with my good results, I thought about those that leave their appointments with the unexpected dreaded news. I said a small prayer for them as well as those suffering other types of cancer and asked God to grant them courage, strength, hope and peace. Please take a moment to do the same.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Have Issues!

First off, we are home and arrived in one piece. During the flight I was thinking to myself that the Princess figurine souvenir set for Madeline was the BEST $13 I ever spent! She played with them for about an hour and a half of the flight. I would've given her a 10 out of 10 but she lost it upon the final descent into Buffalo. No, it wasn't her ears that sent her over the edge. She was simply exhausted, wanted to lay down on the seat without the seat belt, but couldn't because we were about to land. Once Madeline got worked up, there was no consoling her. But a 5 minute meltdown during the end of a 2 1/2 hour flight was still pretty good considering how much we were running her ragged over the past few days.

As for my "issues" David thinks I am a freak. I just know that I have "Grandma Jimmie-itis". My maternal Grandmother Odziemiec (Jimmie for short) lived through the Great Depression and became conditioned to *never* pass up a freebie. She would leave a senior's luncheon with extra treats in her purse for later. One time in particular there was a celebratory function to commemorate the anniversary of the place from where my grandfather retired. I think that the stuff my grandma got out of there fed my grandparents and my family for a week. Well, my mom learned from my grandma and I learned from my mom. Of course, each generation still loses a bit of this skill but I think I would still make my grandmother proud.

The Orlando hotel left nice things in the room for our use. Nice name brand items. Starbucks coffee, Tazo tea, and Bath & Body Works shampoo, conditioner, soaps and lotion (my favorite scent too) And the flight down also offered toothpaste. For anyone not familiar with these name brands left by the hotel, these are not cheap. I wouldn't do this for no-name brands, but this was good stuff. So, each day, I tucked away any of the unopened items into my suitcase so that housekeeping would fully replenish our stock when they cleaned the room. David makes fun of me. He says I am "stealing" these items. How can I be stealing them if they are giving them to us for our use? Isn't it part of the room rate? Keep in mind that David picked up every possible freebie available with his conference (flashlights, mugs, mints, chocolate, etc) David says that the conference items are gifts.....hmmmm?? I just don't see a difference. So my question is, where do *you* stand on this? What are your thoughts?

And by the way, don't be surprised if you see Coconut Lime Verbena lotion in your stocking this Christmas....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It Actually Happened!

Today was a nice relaxing day and wrap up to our time here in Disney. Madeline slept in LATE so we pretty much started our day with lunch. She obviously needed to catch up on some ZZzz's because we have been going like crazy since we got here. David had a break from work in the afternoon so the three of us were able to enjoy the pools as a family. Yes, Madeline did the water slide by herself (we were at the bottom to catch her) two times! In the evening, we went to Downtown Disney. On the shuttle bus there, IT actually happened.

What is IT? Well, family and friends have commented in the past how Madeline resembles me or a combination of David and me. Although I have sometimes thought that myself, I am sort of biased. I always appreciated those comments from family and friends but I also somewhat discounted them. "Oh, they are just trying to be nice because Madeline is adopted", I figured. I thought "I will truly believe a statement like that when someone unaware of the adoption says something like that to me". Well, today IT happened. The three of us were on the shuttle bus to Downtown Disney. Madeline was sitting on my lap and out of the blue, the forty-something year old lady seated across from us said Madeline had my eyes. How do you respond to something like that when your child was adopted? I simply said, "You think? Thank you". Little did the woman know how much she made my day.

Once Downtown, we ate at the T-Rex restaurant. Maddie got a kick out of all the animated dinosaurs. We sat right next to two animated ones. I had Madeline convinced that I understood Dinosaur. I would translate when they roared. I told Madeline that the Mama dinosaur wanted the Baby dinosaur to go on the potty. And when I told Madeline that the dinosaurs said they were hungry, she offered them her carrots. After dinner we did some more shopping and I know officially own more Disney stuff than I ever thought I would.

Time for bed now. We are traveling home tomorrow so it will be another long day.

Orlando Trip - Day Three (Monday)

We are in Magic Kingdom after-glow. Madeline's souvenir from yesterday was a set of miniature Disney Princesses. She played with them all morning. We planned that this day would be a quiet day. We had a lot of excitement the two prior days. plus Papa was busy all day with work stuff.Madeline and I did a little souvenir shopping and had lunch on the Boardwalk and then headed to the pools.....we hit 3 of the five at the hotel. She was a trooper at pool, she even did the waterslide! (although she wasn't up for a second trip down it - maybe tomorrow). We ended up at the Boardwalk again for dinner (long story) but a big factor in that was that we wanted to save Downtown Disney for tomorrow. Tomorrow should be a little warmer than it was today so we'll be able to get more pool time in.

Orlando Trip - Day Two Recap

We went to the Magic Kingdom and had a great time. As for our day, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

David with *his* princess at Cinderella's castle.
3 was *not* a crowd on the merry-go-round Getting ready for the teacups....
Madeline loved to spin fast.This is the good photo. Madeline had the same reaction to Buzz Lightyear as with Pluto and Goofy.But NOT with the Disney Princesses!! Madeline was in her glory! Here she is with Cinderella....Madeline with Belle...and with Sleeping Beauty...Papa and Maddie visit Papa's Indiana roots with the Indy Racing.This picture is blurry but is the only fireworks shot that came close to coming out right. (We also watched the big show at the castle, the daytime parade and the light parade in the evening...And the inevitable end to a long fun-packed day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Figured It Out - Day One Photos

AAAhhhhhh!! Go Away Pluto!
Papa makes it all better!
Pluto, I guess you are not so bad after all!It kind of looks like Mama is scared too!Let's all play pat-a-cake

Orlando Trip Day One Recap

For whatever reason, I am having the hardest time uploading photos from here. I don't know if the Internet connection is too slow or not, but I will try get some on at least when we get home.

Anyway, I thought Madeline was doing a great job on the plane ride....key word *was*! She ended up having a mini-tantrum about who-knows-what about an hour into the flight. After that, she was walking the fine line between angelic princess and being set-off into tantrum land....I tread lightly for an uneventful second half of the trip. Madeline's in-flight report card, a 7 out of 10.

Once we got settled into our hotel it was time to figure out dinner. Since before we left on this trip, Madeline was talking about Cinderella and her castle. We tried to go to a Cinderella character dinner but they were booked so we opted to stay at our hotel for their character dinner. Madeline got to meet Goofy and Pluto. She was completely intrigued by these gigantic canines. From our table she kept waving to them and calling out their names......*but* she lost her courage as they came to see her. She practically crawled out of her seat to get away from them. But things were much better when Mama or Papa were holding her through the interaction. Overall Madeline fared well in this. It didn't scar her for life and I think the overall experience was well worth it!

After dinner we strolled along the Disney Boardwalk area and took their little ferry shuttle back to our hotel. While on the boat back we could clearly see the fireworks from Epcot. Great timing (luck) on our part and a nice start to our visit to Orlando