Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter & Family Preparations

Things are a little busy here. After a girls' weekend away, it is time for me to buckle down and get ready for Easter. Easier said than done because I am convinced that I am an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder! Nonetheless, I attempt to prepare.

I need to be pretty much ready for things by 7pm on Thursday as I am having book club at my house that evening. As book club is wrapping up, my first of the troops will arrive - my sister Margaret, her hubby Mark and their 2 kids, Chris & Kate. At about midnight, my brother Paul will arrive. Late on Friday my niece Becky and her boyfriend Zac will be in town. All of the above mentioned will be staying at my house although they will depart in waves.

For Easter, I will have the group above but also my brother Marty & his wife, Vicky will be here, My Aunt Sue & Uncle Ron and then later Sunday evening, my Uncle Tom & Aunt Mary Grace and family will stop in for a visit. Things are going to be soooooo hectic here for the next week but I absolutely can't wait! It is going to be so much fun!

In preparation for the visitors, Madeline and I took a ride down to Buffalo's Broadway Market. This is a Easter must for Buffalonians, particularly if you are of Polish descent. This wasn't exactly the best use of time for me as I will be going again on Friday (definite MUST for out-of-towners at Easter time) However, I can tell you that the Market will be mobbed on Friday. It was nice to wander through earlier in the week while the crowds were pre-madness stage. Madeline had fun, as you can see from the photos. She saw the Easter bunny (oopppss...I misplaced that picture), got an Easter Egg painted on her face by a clown and of course Mama had to get Madeline posing as a butter lamb.

I am so looking forward spending time with family, Easter celebration and then, of course, Dyngus Day festivities. More to follow.....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Scary Girls' Weekend

Yes, a scary girls' weekend. What was scary? Well, I think the opening picture is a good start in describing how the weekend went. What was really scary was NOT the fact that our husbands were home with our children for the weekend but rather the fact that we lost pretty much all class during this girls' getaway. First, I must say, that I went with 3 of my girlfriends to a two night scrapbooking weekend. A scrapbooking weekend sounds pretty tame and boring, right? Well, not this group! The 4 of us joined about 40 other women to be productive with working on our family pictures. Well, you get a bunch of women together that don't typically have an opportunity to get away and unleash them on the world and they can easily get into trouble in the most innocent of venues.

Tammy, Kelly, Debbie and I were excited to arrive on Friday. We set up our gear and got busy. After the first evening's dinner we all got comfy in some lounge clothing and settled in for more evening scrapbooking. We agreed before arriving that we wouldn't want to spill our beverages on each others scrap stuff therefore we needed to bring a covered cup for our beverages. Again, just an idea of the spirit of the weekend, the girls almost died of laughter when I pulled out my covered cup. Yep, I brought a sippy cup to drink my wine from in the evening. By about 1:00am, as we were still scrapbooking, Kelly decided to DJ music from the ITunes on her computer. By about 2:00am we were dancing in the conference room to Sir MixaLot's "Baby Got Back" (along with other songs). By 2:30am we we dancing on chairs but we finally called it a night at 3:00am.

Did the shenanigans from the night before stop us the next day? No! Our group was the first one back to our scrapbooking (after being the last ones to leave) the next morning. We were out of town, on a scrapbook mission. Heck, we didn't even shower, nor did we change from our lounge clothes from the night before (and this is the major reason that there we no pictures taken of my girlfriends). Who cares...we had no responsibilities on this get away and we just wanted to act in such a manner. We were such lazy bums that after scrapping in our lounger clothes (from the night before) we wore them to the restaurant (along with slippers) for lunch AND dinner. Ok, only Kelly & I went to this extreme but we didn't know anyone there.....oh wait, I did almost run into two of my former students and their parents but I just pulled the hood to my hoodie over my head and tried the incognito strategy while ducking into the restaurant. By 8:00pm on Saturday we decided to take a break and dip into the hotel's hot tub. Despite the crazy evening the night before and being extremely tired, we dedicated scrapbooking gals headed back for more scrapbooking until midnight.

Yes, we had a GREAT time but each of us, feeling quite refreshed, were excited to get back to our own families. So, how did David fare?? David is just awesome! David got Madeline off to dance class on Saturday morning, took her shopping (and yes, Daddy's girl was spoiled. She got a new bathing suit and an Ariel doll), and the two of them went to the grocery store for the makings of pizza. They made a pizza together for dinner on Saturday night. Additionally, David got the makings for recreating a Berlin specialty, curry wurst, for Sunday's dinner. David and I were excited to try out the curry wurst sauce that he brought home from Berlin.

Now that I am feeling renewed, I am ready to try to whip my house in shape for our Easter festivities. You'll hear more about those as they happen...stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Papa's Travel Companion

I think David had a little toooo much fun on his business trip. Ok, I know he worked hard but on his down time, David and Polly spent a lot of time together! Who is Polly?? Well, I'll get to that later....

First, I want to tell you about one of David's side trips while traveling. I guess, first, I should mention that David has been in Germany for the past week. He traveled to Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg and Berlin. His first stop was to Frankfurt. David and I spent a night in Frankfurt on the way to Russia (2nd trip) to bring Madeline home. While there, we visited St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, said a prayer and lit a candle. During David's stop in Frankfurt, David made the time to find his way back to St. Bartholomew's for a prayer of thanksgiving. He also, lit a candle and placed it in the exact same spot we did on our first trip. What a great hubby!

Now, as for Polly.... When David was preparing to leave for his trip, Madeline gave David two toys to take with him so that he would have something to play with on the plane (AAwwwww!). Madeline offered up a Woodstock and a Polly-Pocket doll. In the evenings, Madeline and I would talk to David on Skype (video calls) and Polly would inevitably peek her head onto the screen while we were talking. Madeline got a huge kick out of this. So David took it one step further and took Polly sightseeing. I think that the co-worker that was traveling with David probably started questioning David's sanity however David was having a good time with it and Madeline and I were enjoying the photos. Below are the adventures of Polly.

Overlooking wineries in Stuttgart, Germany

Hard Rock Cafe in Munich, Germany

On the streets in Nuremberg, Germany

Polly at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Madeline's "Date"

Okay, okay, I must clear the air. I will do so in a public forum. I admit, I have "pre-arranged" two marriages for Madeline. My good friend Kelly has a son, Owen, who is two years ago. After Owen's birth, Kelly and I would joke around that we were going to arrange the marriage of Madeline and Owen. Gosh, Owen is such a cutie and I know that Madeline already loves Kelly and Owen's sister Hailey so, we are good to go!

Well, Kelly follows my blog and usually reads the adoption blogs that I have linked to on the right side of my blog. A while back I posted an entry announcing the blog, "Bringing Marat Home". The author of the blog, Lisa, went to the same high school as I did. Although she is a year younger than I and we didn't necessarily hang in the same crowd in high school, we reconnected through mutual friends on Facebook. Since Lisa knew about my own adoption journey she had a few questions for me. Since reconnecting with Lisa, we have been in contact numerous times and really seem to "click".

Here is where the problem lies....I commented on one of Lisa's blog entries about how she and I could "arrange a marriage" between Madeline and her son Brody (Marat) - by he way, Brody's "Gotcha Day" is Tuesday! What an exciting day for Lisa and her family!! Anyway, since Kelly follows the same blogs I do she e-mailed me to say, "Hey...what's that all about?!?!?!" Now, before you think that I am a total freak, all this talk of arranged marriages is nothing but light-hearted fun. But, my response to Kelly was that David and I will consider other offers and that we will just wait to see who offers a better dowry :-)

Today, I needed to head over to Kelly's house for her to help me with my new scrapbooking software (gotta prepare for the girls' scrap booking weekend getaway - departure on Friday the 26th!) While the two of us tinkered with the computer, Madeline and Owen had a good time playing. The two of them eventually trotted down the hall to play with some toys in Owen's room and we laughed about how that will not be allowed in a few years. They seemed to have a good time playing together and when we got home Madeline said, out of the blue, "I like 'Baby Owen'. He's nice." Hmmmmm......Lisa, looks like you'll have to schedule a visit to Buffalo with Brody for a playdate once you guys get settled. :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Slumber Party

At present, David is probably in a beer hall in Germany, enjoying some type of German sausage and a German beer. Yes, David is traveling for work, and although his week days are crammed with business meetings, today is Saturday. And although it is almost 5pm here it is almost 10pm there (Germany hasn't had their Daylight Savings time change yet so there is only a 5hr difference for now.) So, currently, David is in Munich and will be traveling tomorrow to Berlin for the remainder of his trip.

Time drags by when David is gone and Madeline and I miss him terribly. Thankfully, we are equipped with Skype so that we can occasionally video-conference while he is gone. It is bizarre, however, to be talking to him while the sun is glaring here but being able to see that it is already dark where he is. And although Skype makes David's time away easier for me, Madeline also really enjoys being able to see Papa on the computer.

Also, to help keep us company this weekend my friend, Tammy, and her two daughters, Jenna and Tanya, came over for a "girls' night in". We had a great time.....I made dinner, Shrimp Pasta - a dish that David normally does not care for due to the shrimp and the garlic involved. We had bunches of wine (for the grown girls only, of course). We had chic movies lined-up although we didn't quite get to those because we spent too much time in the hot tub. Madeline had a blast playing with Tanya and Jenna. Although Tammy's girls are much older, they are great with Madeline and Madeline completely looks up to them.

Finally, it was way past Madeline's bedtime. We knew that I would never get Madeline to sleep with the Tanya and Jenna still awake. Tammy and I instructed the big kids to pretend that they were going to sleep too. Madeline was then completely satisfied that it was time for bed and was asleep in no time flat. After indulging in naughty, sinful desserts (Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake from Wal-mart...to DIE for!) we headed into the hot tub. The photos I included were taken just before we were heading outside so that is why Madeline is not in the pictures. And yes, in case you were wondering, Tammy and I DO have matching bathrobes. Tammy got hers from me for Christmas one year and I happened to by the same one for myself.....too funny! The evening was good fun and we ended up filling the evening with girl talk until 2:30am! Now, today is filled with rest and recuperation as I am not as young as I used to be. I think tonight will be an early night.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Funny One-Liners

Kids say the darnedest things, and Madeline is no exception to the rule. This picture was taken Sunday morning. The three of us, Mama, Papa & Madeline, colored together in a giant coloring book. There were 3 princes and a princess on the paper. Papa colored the prince on the far left, Madeline's was in the middle and mine was on the far right. As I colored my prince with brown hair and brown eyes I told Madeline that I was coloring the "Papa Prince". Without missing a beat, Madeline exclaimed, "That's not Papa! Papa's hair is gray"!

Later the same day, I was setting aside a new Ariel bathing suit that we bought for Madeline. The suit needs to be exchanged because it is too big. Madeline told David that he can exchange it when he goes to China (When David went to China we explained to Madeline that Princess Mulan comes from China.) After telling Madeline that although her bathing suit was probably made in China, David was not going to China. We did, however, tell Madeline that pretty soon Papa is going to a different country - Germany. I said to Madeline, "Guess which princess comes from Germany". Although I was looking for Sleeping Beauty as an answer, Madeline guessed, "Cinderella"? "Nooo", I responded.
"Snow White?""
Finally, Madeline took another guess. "Uncle Jon??" While trying to control laughter I asked, "Is Uncle Jon a princess"? "Yes", Madeline responded. Ohhhhh too funny! I had to call Jon to tell him that one!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Madeline's Room Before & After

We are slowly getting settled in the house (and I mean SLOWLY! I am embarrassed to say that we still have TONS of unpacked boxes in the basement!). We had the remainder of the wallpaper in the dining room removed and that room painted a little over a month ago. Currently, the dining table is paperwork central so once that is cleaned up I will post pictures of that. We also had Madeline's bedroom and "her" bathroom painted. I still need to hang a few more things in the bathroom before I post those pictures. Although we still would like to paint other rooms, those will have to wait for a while. However, for my friends and family that live out of state and have been wanting to see how things are progressing, I have posted one before picture of Madeline's room and the after pictures. I am still playing with the decals on the walls which are flowers and butterflies. Luckily the decals can be removed and reapplied easily. I am still trying to figure out how many to apply to the wall.....hmmmmm. But, you'll get the idea.
Anyway, as I get my act together I will continue to post more pictures of our progress in the house.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Sister, Marysia, The Life Saver!

I haven't posted in FOREVER. We've been so busy!! I have an inbox full of emails that I haven't had time to get to. I apologize if you are waiting for me...

Some of the things that are going on are: Most important, David is doing much better from his bout with pneumonia. He just needs to get a follow-up X-ray this weekend. During this time too, I helped run/organize a fundraiser and am gearing up to start working on another one soon. Also, we have had some more painting work done in Madeline's bedroom and Madeline's bathroom. The painter just finished up a few hours ago! I will try to post some pictures once I get everything back in place. But the painting of the room is where my sister, Marysia, was a lifesaver! After two sleepless nights of having Madeline kick us as she slept in our bed (while being temporarily relocated while her room was being painted) Marysia gave me the great idea of getting Madeline excited about sleeping in a tent in our room. Madeline LOVED the idea, especially since we called it a "castle tent". That saved us all from having a week's worth of crappy sleep. YEAH!! Tonight, Madeline will be back in her own bedroom.

Additionally, I am trying to do some Spring cleaning. We have had some nicer Spring weather and I have the itch to get things spruced up. We did, however, take some time to enjoy the hot tub as a family on one of the nicer days.

Now, I gotta run as I am meeting up with some friends that I used to work with 17 years ago!!!! Holy cow, has it been that long ago? Gotta run....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Ending!

Happy ending, indeed! Yes, my ice cream sundae was a "Happy Ending Sundae" at Friendly's this evening, but my blog post title means so much more than tonight's dessert. The happy ending I am referring to is a good part of what has kept me busy for the past week and a half.

The day after my last post, David woke up feeling achy and by mid-afternoon he was dealing with the chills. After about a week or so of fighting off a cold - a "run of the mill cold", or so we thought, we just figured that David was just coming down with the flu. Late in the afternoon I took Madeline out to run some errands so that David could rest in a quiet house. David was still in bed when we came back home several hours later and so I thought, for sure, that David was coming down with the flu. When I checked in on David he told me that he had terrible shoulder pains that ran into his arms as well well as lightheadedness and sweats. Since these symptoms are also symptoms of a heart attack I was quite concerned! David assured me that he was fine and he proceeded to rest the remainder of the evening. At about 2am I awoke to David groaning in pain with the same symptoms, along with a severe headache. Despite David's arguments that he didn't need to see a doctor, I climbed out of bed and dragged his butt (and Madeline's) to the emergency room.

While at the ER, they performed an EKG, a chest x-ray and a blood test. The EKG and the chest x-ray came back fine! That was a relief, however David was still in a lot of discomfort. The white blood cell count came back very high which meant that David was probably trying to fight off some type of infection. After scratching their heads, the ER released David with some pain pills and told him it was probably a virus. Of course after telling us to check in with our own Dr. on Monday they gave us all the worst-case scenarios....meningitis, lymphoma and leukemia.! And then as we were leaving, I kid you not, they told us "Good Luck". After being in the ER until 6am with a sick hubby and a sleep-deprived 4-year old, I was happy to climb back in bed when we got home but I was quite worried nonetheless about what was going on with David.

By morning, I could literally hear gurgling as David exhaled and wondered how in God's name could he *not* have pneumonia! Still worried about David's WBC counts, I called my brother Chris (who is a doctor) in New Hampshire. I played phone tag with Chris and left a message with him to call me back. A few minutes later the phone rang.....although I thought it was Chris, it was a doctor from the hospital. I was told that another look was taken at David's xray and that, yes, David had pneumonia! Wheeeeww!!! How bizarre, pneumonia can be serious but after all the worst case scenarios, I was actually relieved to get that news. Shortly afterward, Chris called me back. I expressed my concern about how in the world that was missed the night we were in the ER and Chris did tell me that does occasionally happen. He explained that some pneumonias are subtle on the x-ray and could be missed by an ER doc. The radiologist is probably who caught it in the AM however David's WBC count should've been a key indicator that should have had them take a second look that night (or at least listen to his lungs again!) Okay...

SO, pain pills and antibiotics....we can handle that! Yet, David's headache was so severe that even when the pain pills should've been at their most effective, they barely made a dent. This of course concerned me. The pain made David so sensitive the to light that he was now on day 3 in bed with the shade drawn, lights off and even the light from the TV was too much for him to handle. WHAT was up with this headache??? My poor brother, Chris....I hounded him in New Hampshire with endless questions. Also, David wasn't happy about this but I dragged his butt to our doctor's on Monday evening. After him enduring a nauseating ride with an excruciating headache (and a 4yr old that was still recovering from a sleep deprived night on Sat night), David was given stronger pain meds and anti nausea drugs that in turn, I think, allowed his body to concentrate on healing and letting the antibiotics do their job. Slowly David grew stronger!! Finally, we began eating dinner together as a family again. Actually, Madeline wanted to say grace one night and she said, "Dear God, thank you for making Papa stronger, stronger,stronger....now please put hair on his head!!" Okay, that gave us a good laugh, but seriously, I was very worried about my hubby!

David ended up losing a week of work as a result of his illness. The week off was due to doctor's orders. The doctor did warn David that he may not feel up to going in the following week (this week) although David vowed to work a lighter week. So where is he now?? It's 10pm and he is entertaining clients at the hockey game. Granted, this was a last minute fill-in on David's part (and why Madeline and I ended up going to Friendly's) but I am sure under the circumstances David's boss would've done fine with out David's assistance.

So, happy ending?? Yes, that was my ice cream sundae tonight. Happy ending?? Yes, of course, we are all so grateful that David is well and getting stronger everyday. Happy ending?? I think tonight it means that the happy ending will be if I don't kick David's butt for working 14+ hours today when he should still having lighter days and easing his way back into chaotic work demands. Seriously, David!?!??!?!?