Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chinese Dinner Experiment - Part I

Sunday evening we had a couple of friends over and we all prepared a Chinese dinner. I decided we'd try egg flower soup, garlic chicken, and kung pao beef. There was lots of chopping, slicing, and measuring going on. Here's Linda and Miyoung doing some prep work...

Then the cooking begins...

Miyoung brought over all the ingredients for spring rolls and showed us how to put these together.

Chinese Dinner Experiment - Part II

Joe and I were at IKEA Sunday afternoon and they just happened to have those cool Chinese soup bowls and spoons on the cheap, so we picked them up for the dinner. Also, I had picked up some pretty chopsticks on clearance at PierOne a while back and decided it was time to put those to use.

We had a great time preparing the dishes and a nice, relaxing dinner. If you like Chinese food, you've got to try the egg flower soup and kung pao beef recipes...they are both wonderful! The soup was just as good any restaurant soup and the beef dish was SO good. If you try the beef dish, make sure you get the cut of beef called for in the recipe (flank steak) because it was very tender. I don't really recommend the chicken recipe, it was our least favorite.

We had such a nice evening, I think this needs to be a regular thing.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Weekend Fun - Part I...

I wanted to post some photos from our weekend and it seems I'm trying to download too many photos to fit in one post, so this is in two parts.

On Saturday morning my brother dropped the kids off (Katie, 12; Emily, 9; and Josh, 4) and we took them to lunch and a movie (Over the Hedge is very cute). On the way back home, we stopped at a scrapbook store so the girls could pick out some supplies for our craft project...we made mini-scrapbooks using paper lunch bags (I got the idea from a scrapbook magazine). You fold the bags in half, hole punch them, and use ribbons or fibers to bind them. I helped the girls with the initial assembly of the book and they took it from there. Katie did a "best friends" book to give as a gift and Emily did a book with photos from a Hawaii trip. Considering thier ages they are SO creative and are definitely scrapbook divas in the making. Here they are hard at work...

while Lucy supervises from the doorway...

Here's their finished books along with their favorite layouts...

Weekend Fun - Part II...

After the scrapbooks were done, my mother stopped by and joined us for pizza. Joe ordered the king kahuna of pizzas...the 24" party pizza. The kids got a kick out of how big this thing was...

We had a few food-related challenges with my nephew, but the funniest one was when we served up the pizza. We put his slice in front of him, he took one look at it and promptly announced that he couldn't eat it because it was "broken." We asked him what he meant and he just kept saying it was "broken." Joe and I are looking at each other like this is some secret kid lingo that we just don't understand, but his sisters couldn't even help interpret this one. Finally he said it's "cracked" and started pointing at the spots on the slice that weren't covered with cheese. Well, evidently he's used to those kid friendly pizzas with the thick rubbery cheese covering the entire crust with absolutely no sauce showing through and doesn't know what to do with good pizza. Luckily we had a slice in the box that wasn't "cracked" and a crisis was averted.

After dinner we watched two movies that we picked up earlier at Block Buster. It was a challenge to actually find two acceptable G or PG rated movies that the kids haven't already seen (thanks to NetFlicks), but we settled on The Dust Factory (not very good) and Beethoven (the older movie about he family with the St. Bernard dog...pretty cute). Towards the end of the second movie I'm hearing snoring from the living room, so I sneak in and what do I find...

Yup, Joe is sacked out on the chair at 9:30pm. We had to drag him off the chair so we could get the kids set up to sleep in that room...he was exhausted!

On Sunday, we actually got up and out the door to drop the kids off by about 10am. This was only after another food challenge when we learned that Josh is the only kid on the planet who would refuse to eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast...you would have thought they were stuffed with broccoli or something! Question for you parents...do you ever actually get to sit down and eat or are all meals eaten while standing up?

When we dropped the kids off, my brother and sister-in-law had a gift for Lauren. Check out this beautiful handmade quilt...

It's so pretty I almost hate to have Lauren use it right away. I'm thinking maybe we'll hang it over the changing table. The quilt stitching is done in heart shapes and the different shades of red and pink are so pretty.

We had a great time with the kids and I think they had a nice time too. We definitely got a reminder though that we'd better REALLY enjoy the rest of this waiting period, because our lives are going to change soon. Not that we don't know this already, but everytime we spend time with the kids it's a reminder to appreciate each other now because our focus is about to change big time!

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Look!

I felt it was time for a change and created this new look for my blog. So far I've only converted over this blog and haven't changed over Lauren's Room Blog or 100 Good Wishes. I figured I'd live with this for a few days until I convert everything else.

So, how do you like it?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Long weekend ahead!

Thank God tomorrow is Friday and we have a nice, long weekend coming! It's been a heck of a week at the office and I'm ready to chill out and have some fun.

I don't know how many of you would consider this fun, but we're having our nieces and nephew over for a sleep-over. On Saturday we'll take them to the movies (I think we're seeing Over the Hedge), lunch, then I'll do some crafting with the girls while Joe and Josh do some male bonding. On Sunday morning we'll have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast (with some fruit on the side for something healthy).

Sunday afternoon we have a couple of friends coming over and we're all going to prepare (and hopefully enjoy) a Chinese dinner. On the menu is egg flower soup, garlic chicken, kung pao beef, rice and dessert. We're eating the main dishes with chopsticks only, so this should be interesting (gee, I hope I get to eat). I'll post some photos if the dishes turn out half way decent.

On Monday we get to relax and hang pool side at our friend, Linda's, house. It will be a busy, but fun weekend! I hope everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday!

Monday, May 22, 2006

This and that....

I wanted to post a photo of the apron and handmade card that my friend, Michele, gave me for Mother's Day as a mom-to-be gift. I can't wait to wear this apron while baking chocolate chip cookies (my favorite) with Lauren someday.

Isn't the fabric totally adorable? Thanks again, Michele, that was so sweet! This is my very first official Mother's Day gift!

I had a really nice weekend...Saturday evening was our monthly FCC-AZ Waiting Families meeting. Our scheduled guest speaker was a no show, but we made the best of the evening spending some time in our hostess' nursery checking out her cute baby things (her and her hubby were LID in June, so I think they are the next in our group to travel). On Sunday I met a couple of friends (Heather and Nancy) from the Waiting Families group for an afternoon of scrapbooking at a local scrapbook store. I started a little scrapbook with photos of my secret pal gifts, but I didn't get very far...I'm not very creative, so it takes me a while to come up with ideas. My goal is to get caught up so by the time I get my next gift, I can add each future month as they come.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thanks to you and a ladybug too....

Thank you for all the supportive comments and e-mails! I can see that the adoption "funk" is pretty common and I'm certainly not the only one. I have a couple of fun things planned for the weekend, so hopefully the cloud will start lifting.

Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows I love Starbucks. Well, Lauren now has her first official cup from Starbucks. Earlier this week, I picked up this adorable ladybug cup. They also had a turtle that was awfully cute too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In a funk...

I'm not sure why, but I've been feeling kinda blah and in a little funk. I had a nice weekend and I even took a vacation day from work yesterday, so you would think all would be well, wouldn't you? But no, for some reason I'm just blah...you know that kind of low feeling when it just seems like too much to even smile?

I just can't pin it down. Maybe it's the passing of another Mother's Day without having a child, thinking about the failed attempts, and knowing that I can't be certain that Lauren will be here by this time next year. Maybe it's my constant struggle with my weight and not having any luck with weight loss lately. Maybe it's the never ending stress at the office. Maybe it's the fact that I'm due for another scan soon to check up on my kidney mass and the worry about it changing. Hmmm....I guess it's just all these things rolled into one and I'm throwing myself a private pity party. Anyone care to join the party?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!!

Whether you have your precious little one already or you're a waiting momma like me, I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day! Next year at this time I'll be holding Lauren tightly and thanking God for finally making me a momma.

Here's a tribune to all types of moms everywhere...

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers
in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and
cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's alright honey, Mommy's here." Who
have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies
who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in
their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their
purse. For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and
sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who don't.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see.
And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes. And for
the mothers who lost their baby in that precious 9 months that they
will never get to watch grow on earth but one day will be reunited
with in Heaven!

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging
on their refrigerator doors. And for all the mothers who froze
their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of
watching from the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids
asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't
have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery
store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream
for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to
ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and
explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand) mothers
who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can
eat. For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night
for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their
shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who
opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their
daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a
little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home - or even away at college or grown up with
babies of their own.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with
stomach aches assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there,
only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to
please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find
the words to reach them.

This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or
children, and gave their time, attention, and love... sometimes
totally unappreciated!

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their
14-year-olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and
the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the
survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror,
hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be
peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion?
Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a
button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter
disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very
first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed
to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 a.m. when you just
want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in
your home? Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your
child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for
young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep
deprivation... And mature mothers learning to let go. For working
mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married
mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us Hang in there. In the end we
can only do the best we can.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Banner day at the mail box!

Yesterday was a great mail day...I received my secret pal gift and a good wishes page! You can check out the wishes page here.

This month's secret pal gift theme is Special Treat for Mom-to-be this Mother's Day, and special treats are what I got!! Check out this beautiful white, silky dress with embroidered cherry blossom flowers and matched head bands with bows. I can't wait to have Lauren's photo taken in this dress some day! This photo doesn't even do it justice...it's soooo pretty!

I also got two Little Suzy's Zoo books...Who's Laughing is about Tickle Bugs (ladybugs) and how they tickle and make Boof laugh. I also got a Mother's Day card just for Secret Pals, and it's so cute. I also love the little "I love my mommy" bib with a cute little ladybug.

As if all the other stuff isn't enough, I also got this wonderful, over-sized Chinese cookbook. The book is filled with China photos, stories, and recipes. The best part is that the recipes actually look easy to make and very good. I've been planning to have some friends over for a Chinese cooking day soon, so this book will come in very handy!

THANK YOU so much, Secret Pal, you are the best!! I can't wait to find out who you are so I can personally thank you for my great gifts.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Set the VCR...

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, on the Travel Channel, is in China this coming Monday, May 15th. If you've never watched this show, you might want to tune in for this episode. He usually gets right in there with the locals, eating the local cuisine (no matter how strange it is) and doing whatever the locals do for fun (usually something odd). It's not like the usual travel shows...he gets down and dirty. He'll be in Beijing and Chengdu, and it should be pretty interesting to see the China footage...I will definitely be watching.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The power of Blogville...

The furniture we have for Lauren's room is because I saw a post on Jacquie's blog back in January and fell in love with the stuff. Soon after, off we went to buy the pieces we wanted.

Now, Catherine saw my post of our completed armoire and low and behold, that was just what she was looking for. Check out Catherine's road trip adventures from her home in Canada to Niagara Falls to pick up pieces from the very same furniture collection.

Hummmm....wonder who's going to see it on Catherine's blog and decide that's what they've been looking for too! I think advertisers are missing out on a world of opportunity here! Maybe they should send us items to road test and if we like them we would post a positive review...then the chain goes on from there. ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Great photo slide show...

This was posted by one of the women in my JanDTC group and I like it so much I wanted to share. It's a collection of referral photos and then a photo taken two years later created by a Sept 2002 DTC group.

You can check it out here. Grab a hankie and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Furniture and wishes...

Joe assembled another piece of furniture for Lauren's room. You can check it out here.

Also, check out Lauren's latest good wishes pages here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hungry Anyone?

Joe received a barbeque smoker as a gift quite a while back. For some reason (maybe because of the beautiful weather), the mood just struck him to assemble it and give it a whirl on Sunday. It's a good old fashioned charcoal smoker that you add wood chips to to flavor the meat.

He put it all together, then headed out to the store to buy all the supplies. He soaked the hickory wood chips, seasoned the pork ribs and then into the smoker they went. He watched over that thing like a hawk checking the temperature and carefully adding water and wood chips. 5 hours later (yes, 5 hours...this is REALLY slow cooking) he took the ribs off. Man oh man, did they smell GOOD!! We basted them with barbeque sauce and had them for dinner with coleslaw and beans. It was wonderful and Joe was one proud grill master! Boys and their toys!

Heather and Nancy, hope you and your hubbies like ribs because we may have them again when you come over!