Monday, January 24, 2011

My Mom found a tutorial for a little girl's pillbox hat on Sew Forum, so she made my girls each one.  They immediately knew which one was made for them.  My redhead loves zebra print since that is her class mascot, and my little one loves polka dots and blue (that the color of her winter coat, too).

After their afterschool fudge bar, they decided to ham it up and wear each other's hats.

Thanks, Grandma - they love them and can't wait to wear them to school tomorrow!  In fact, little Ann hasn't taken hers off since I gave it to her.  And yes, I remembered to give them their gifts as soon as they walked in the door.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I haven't been blogging much - because I've been a reading addict.  I haven't sewn in at least a couple of months.  I haven't picked up my knitting needles, either.  I have, however, carried my Nook everywhere I go.  I've read while I dry my hair, in the bed, at red lights...

I thought maybe I'd keep a list of what I read in 2011 and, since I like to keep my posts short and sweet, a very short review of each one.

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, Book 1) - Pretty good original little story, about a girl who realizes she is a changeling and finds her true idenity.  Short, quick read.

Torn (Trylle Trilogy, Book 2)

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3)

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble: The Jolie Wilkins Series, Book 1 - Best paranormal romace I've read.  H.P. Mallory is a very good author and I can't wait until the 3rd book comes out.

Toil and Trouble, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Jolie Wilkins Series)

To Kill A Warlock: Dulcie O'Neil Series - Another good book by H.P., but, in my opinion, I like the Jolie books better.

Water for Elephants: A Novel - Best book I have read in awhile.  Very sweet and touching story and I can't wait for the movie to come out.  The husband even read this one and loved it.

Bet Me - um, good while I read it, but already forgotten the plot.

My Blood Approves - ugh, dragged on and on without going anywhere.

Darkfever (Fever Series, Book 1) - My newest series of books.  Good and original  I just started this series midweek and I'm already on the 4th book.  Gripping story that I can't put down.

Bloodfever: The Fever Series (A Mackayla Lane Novel)

Faefever: The Fever Series

Dreamfever: The Fever Series

Once I finish the 5th book in this series, I am putting my Nook down for awhile.  There is an apron that needs to be sewn, a scarf that needs to be knitted, and some dishes that need to be cleaned.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Departure Day

Yesterday we had to take our boy to the airport for him to head back to Ukraine.  One of the saddest things happened before we even left home.  Derek was filling out the luggage tag and asked Valera to write his name in Ukrainian - he wrote Valera and then used our last name.

Some friends from church hosted a brother and sister from Ukraine.  They came over to our house a couple of times and Molly got so attached to Natasha.  She was happy to get to spend another hour with Natasha at the airport and she pretty much stayed attached to her side like below.

Valera enjoyed spending his last hours with us goofing off with the kids and laying around getting some last hugs from Derek and I. 

He also reconnected with a friend from his orphanage, Vitaly.  Any other time we got around other people from Ukraine, Valera wouldn't talk to them.  He would RARELY use any Ukrainian words in our house, even when we'd ask how to pronounce something.  So it was really fun and neat to see Valera interacting with Vitaly and hear them talking in their own language.

Above, Vitaly is playing with his host Mom's cell phone and Valera playing with Derek's Blackberry.  Who knew Brick Breaker could be so much fun?

We really were not prepared for saying goodbye.  In the training manual and in talking to other folks, I learned that the children usually will not cry.  They are taught not to cry and in their situation, they really just shut down and don't show much emotion.  That is what I was expecting.  When the time came for us to part, Valera had his back to us waiting to be taken to security.  A lady closer to the scene mouthed to us that he was crying.  Derek went to him and said there was a puddle on the floor from Valera's tears falling off his face.  Derek just held him and let his own tears land on Valera's shirt.  Derek let him go and I went to hug him one last time.  He wouldn't look at me or talk to me, so I just held him and his shoulders shook as I did.  The group (the chaperon along with about 15 kids) took off to security and Valera didn't once look back at us. 

I knew that I would be upset.  I wasn't prepared for my own kids to cry.  I wasn't prepared for the 45 minute car ride home in complete silence.  I wasn't prepared to get so attached to a little bow legged Ukrainian boy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I do believe that tomorrow I'll have to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  We will have to say goodbye to the sweet boy who has lived with us for the past five weeks.

We made a little photo book for him to take back to Ukraine with him.  We all signed the back cover, and Valera tried to get his favorite one of us, Tippy the dog, to sign it.  No joke, he was putting the pen in Tippy's mouth before Charlie grabbed it and signed it for her.

This is his favorite page of the whole book .... all because of the picture below.

Awww - we're going to miss Valera!  It's been a trying five weeks and I've learned a lot about myself.  I think the good memories and blessings will far outweigh the bad.  I wonder how long Derek and I will say, "Voila!" after doing every little task?  I wonder how long before my kids stop dancing and singing, "Boom chicka boom chicka boom boom boom."  Will I ever refer to my nephew by his given name instead of, "Big Boy" with a cute Ukrainian accent?  Will I ever be able to look at a sausage again without saying a prayer for Valera?

People keep asking me if I'll do this again.  Ask me again next month.  It's all too fresh right now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I found this great new up and coming author via the Big Deals section at Barnes & Noble.  I'm not really sure if it's okay to mention Amazon and B & N in the same blog post; but so be it.  The author is H.P. Mallory and the first book I read was Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble.  If you're into paranormal romances, trust me, this is the book for you.  Within three days I had read it and the sequel Toil and Trouble, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Jolie Wilkins Series)

If you have Nook or Kindle, do yourself a favor and go download these books now.  For less than $5 you get almost a week of entertainment.

I just finished my third H.P. Mallory book, To Kill A Warlock: Dulcie O'Neil Series this morning.  I was reading on her blog and found out that she is in the middle of the second book in this series.  There is a contest to be a character in the next book that I entered.  I must admit, it's not really so much to be a character in an upcoming book, but more with the fact that I would get a signed copy before it's released!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just joined the Flirty Apron Swap 14

fas14 badge

You should, too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow + Ice Day, Part 2

Valera was one of the kids that was a little afraid to go down the big hill.  It really didn't help that there was a fence at the bottom that they would run into (due to construction).  He finally decided to go down the two-person sled with Derek - but only if he could ride in the back.

Valera didn't quite make it all the way down.

And Derek didn't, either.

These two didn't have any problems, though.  If it would've been up to them, we would have stayed out until dark.

Snow + Ice Day

We had so much fun tonight with the southern snow and ice storm.  This afternoon, there were a couple of inches of snow with about 1/4 of an inch of ice on top - which made for some good sledding.

I know that this first picture is blurry, but I wanted to show the fun the boys had this morning.  One would get to sit on the sled while the others would run them up a bike ramp.  My camera kept messing up and I couldn't get an in focus shot or one that showed them in air.

Later on, we went to our school field that has some great hills.  My Mom let me borrow a really cool antique sled with blades in case the ice got thick enough.  You wouldn't believe how fast it was!  However, only my youngest son was light enough for it to fly and not get stuck.

Valera had a blast on the smaller hills.

I don't think anybody enjoyed it more than my little bit.  She was fearless.  She would find the steepest part and jump on the saucer and go.  She would also climb on her brother's laps and steal rides with them.

We moved to the bigger hills after about an hour, and it took some of the kids a little while to work up their courage.  In the picture above, you can see that the girls decided to slide down on their rears.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Mother Bracelet

My Mother gave me a mother's bracelet for Christmas.  One of her friend's daughter is a jewelry artist and happened to be down in Atlanta doing a show.  My Mom talked her into making a bracelet for me using my children's birthstones.  The result is beautiful and I love it!  In fact, I've worn it everyday since I've received it.

So pretty ....thank you, Momma! 

My man gave me tickets to see the Blue Man Group in a few weeks.  I can't wait for that since I think they're the coolest blue things since the Smurfs. 

The biggest present I received (if you asked my kids) was a Snuggie from my boss.  I have never seen seven kids more jealous in my life.  They thought I struck gold with that gift; so guess what they are all getting for their birthdays this year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The apron I made -

I never did post pictures of the apron that I sent out to my partner for Shawnee's Flirty Apron Swap.

We were supposed to spell out a wintry word and include "tuck ins" for each letter of the word.  I chose the simple word SNOW.

For the letter "S", I sent my partner socks. 

I kind of reached for the "N" tuck in.  The only thing I could think of was a nutcracker, and I just couldn't find one that I liked enough to send.  In the end, I decided to send her a garland of  her Name.  Thanks to my ultra cook father in law, I got a Cricut for Christmas and was able to make this super easy!

For the letter "O", I sent two ornaments.  My partner decorates her tree in pink and cream - so I hope these two beauties looked good on her tree.

For the "W", I sent a recipe for Wassail along with two mugs.  Unfortunately, I heard that one of the mugs was smashed in shipping. 

Finally, here is the apron - since the theme was snowflakes, I went with the snowflake patterned fabric.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's been too long, and I have so much to catch everyone up on.  First off, we had a wonderful Christmas!  Since many of my friends and family did not get a card from us this year (due to sending them out December 23 and using address labels from three years ago), here is the picture we used.

My kids are having so much fun with Valeriy and I think he is having just as much fun.  I truly have never seen someone so excited about Christmas and presents.

The kid eats EVERYTHING!  One thing we learned in training is that a lot of the Ukrainian kids are very picky eaters.  They like bland food and the condiment of choice is ketchup.  In fact, their idea of spaghetti is noodles with ketchup on it.  However, Valeriy is nothing like that.  He eats everything we put in front of him and about three times more than my kids eat.  He has gained over five pounds since he got here.  His favorite things are pizza and McDonald's.  Since he loves pizza so much, we thought we'd take him to the place that serves the biggest pizza around, Big Pie in the Sky.  Yup, he and all the other kids loved it.