Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mom & Dad are here!!!

Did everyone hear me yell "WHOO HOO!" on Thursday afternoon? My mom and dad arrived safely after four days of driving across country with a VERY full car. It took Katelyn about 3 minutes to warm up to grammy and papa. She had them reading to her within five minutes....and I didn't hear them complaining about that. :)
The weekend before they came my brother and his fiance and Katelyn and I went out to the lake to paint the living room and entry way as a surprise for mom and dad. They have a lot of painting, cleaning and organizing to do and we wanted to help them get a jump on it.
Here it is when we were getting started...

Katelyn was so good all weekend. Here she is eating lunch on the floor in her booster seat while watching Elmo on the laptop. I have such a great kid! We were able to get so much done because she was cooperative.

Here's Niki working on the entry way....and Katelyn...still watching Elmo.

Niki and I were in charge of the trim and Mike was in charge of all rolling.

Katelyn and I spent this last weekend going back and forth with mom and dad to the house. My mom worked on unpacking and getting stuff put away and my dad and I worked on painting the sunroom and clearing branches that had fallen on the property. (What a great workout!)
I'll take the camera out there this weekend to get some updated shots of the progress. It's going to be beautiful when it's all done....oh and the boat is coming this weekend...and we got Katelyn a life jacket...so we might be taking some extra painting breaks! Yippie!!!
Mom and dad are going to come in and spend the night tomorrow night and watch Katelyn while I'm at work on Thursday. Ahhh...reinforcements are here at last. :)
We love grammy and papa!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Perfect pigtail day :)

I waited a long time to have a little girl with pigtails...and Katelyn has not disappointed me in this area. :) Have I mentioned how big she's getting and that she's not a baby anymore? It was like overnight she became this little girl. Sigh.
Here she is eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich...
...reading herself a book....

and trying to balance the plastic butter on my candle (not sure what this is about but every time she does it she throws her hands in the air and says "taa daa" with a big smile on her face.)

Katelyn is a really big helper too. She helped me put her dirty clothes in the basket, helped feed the cats, put stuff in the recycle bucket and helped clean up her books and kitchen before bed. She also has really good manners. She says "pweese" and "tank tank" on a regular basis...and is even starting to do it without being asked. Yep, she's a big girl now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

and some more fun....

For those of you who aren't utilizing Craigslist.com...you should be! I love it and if you have kids it's a great way to find and sell used stuff. Most of the profits I made last weekend from the consignment sale are designated for other things, but I decided I wanted to get Katelyn something she could play on in the backyard. I want to do a bunch of gardening this year and I want to be out there a lot and Katelyn loves to play...so the Kangaroo Climber is a win win. It retails for $150 and I got it used for $50. Katelyn LOVES it. Now all she wants to do is go outside and play on her slide and blow bubbles. Now we just need the weather to cooperate.
I couldn't say no...we bundled up and played outside for just a little bit today. :)
She likes to go in the door and she is very concerned about making sure the door is closed before she'll move on to the slide. This is a good trait...maybe I won't have to holler at her a zillion times to close the door when she gets bigger and is running in and out all the time on her own!

I mean really, how cute is she???!!!!

My brother Mike and his fiance Niki (or Neemee as Katelyn would say) and our friends Rich and Megan and their two boys made me a GREAT dinner and dessert for my birthday and I had so much fun hanging out with all of them. It really was a great day. Here are the beautiful flowers the Bliss family brought me...I'm so blessed to have such great people in my life!!

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

What a fun day I've had so far! It's my 35th birthday (oh my gosh...am I really 35) and Katelyn and I went to see Disney on Ice together this morning. It was fabulous. For most of the first half of the show Katelyn was a bit freaked out. She cried some and buried her head in my shoulder. She wasn't sure what to make of all of the characters, lights, noise....but then the It's a Small World number started and I kid you not, this kid perked right up and got into it. (Dad, I laughed out loud just thinking of you....My dad HATES It's a Small World). Then they had a little electric light parade deal as the closing number going into intermission and Katelyn really liked all the lights. She said WOW!
After intermission, Katelyn was really into it. There was a really long Mulan number and the Mulan movie is set in China. I wonder if the sound of the music was familiar to Katelyn and that's why she really like it?? Anyway, from there on out she sat on my lap eating her goldfish crackers and soaking it all in. When it was all over we walked back to the car and after the first five minutes of the drive home I realized the princess was sound asleep in the backseat. It was a big morning. :)

Here's the Electic Light Parade that Katelyn liked.

And of course she loved Mickey and Minnie.

We have a man that's working with our staff at the church on spiritual formation. He has met with us collectively and individually. He was in Lexington once with us for a few days and we will have him here several more times over the next year. He also talks with us individually on the phone in between those in person meetings. Anyway, in the individual times he is helping each of us individually to grow in our relationship with Jesus in some key ways through some spiritual direction and the last time he and I talked my assignment was to celebrate. Good assignment, right!? He wants me to be intentional about receiving God's grace and celebrating all the little and big victories that I have along the way.
This last year has honestly been the most difficult of my life. I am so blessed by Katelyn in so many ways, but specifically because I know that God has given her to me in this season as a reminder that there is always hope and new life. When really difficult things happen in our lives we have a choice to make. We can either be defeated, or we can accept the circumstances as they are and find joy in each day. I choose joy.
So here are this year's victories:
Becoming a mommy...this is the best one.
Finding out that I'm stronger than I ever thought I was.
Losing 40 pounds. I feel so much better inside and out.
Figuring out how to do more with less.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We're still here...

Whew, it's been a busy few weeks. There's a big church here in town that has a children's consignment sale twice a year. It's a huge event and I was fortunate enough to get to be able to be one of the sellers in it. Katelyn has grown so much that there isn't ANYTHING she wore last summer that she can wear this spring/summer. But getting everything organized and tagged for this sale was a big ordeal...well worth it for the extra cash though!!
So, here was my trip to Kroger last night...I spent $23.00...Pretty good for three boxes of cereal, milk, shampoo, toothpaste, three boxes of Fiber One bars, ice cream, salmon and 6 pounds of fresh ground turkey (along with some other odds and ends.) !!! Some of you have asked where I get my online coupons and what websites I like to look at. I get most of the coupons at www.coupons.com and I like the following "frugal" sites: www.mommysavingabuck.blogspot.com, www.freebies4mom.blogspot.com, www.couponcravings.com, www.dealseekingmom.com, and www.centsiblesavings.com
I have gotten tons of valuable info off of these sites...(Beware, it's addicting.) I haven't paid to rent a movie from RedBox in a couple of months, I've eaten out multiple times for free and I've gotten a heads up on great coupon deals from retailer sites...lots of free samples and coupons have come my way. My grocery budget for this month is $100 (food, paper goods, health/beauty/diapers) and I think I'm gonna make it! (Of course I do try to stockpile stuff when it's on sale and I have coupons so I'm never paying full price for anything unless it's a staple item that I absolutely have to have.)
And it is possible to eat healthy (I even buy a good amount of organic items) on a budget. Last night I ate salmon, broccoli and couscous with curry, feta and tomatoes. Yummy!

And then there's Katelyn. Have I mentioned lately what a fabulous child she is? She's happy and fun and talking more and more. She can count to 10 and recognizes most of her letters by sight. We're working on colors. She knows a few...but mostly when you ask her what color something is she says, "Purple." Grammy and PaPa are coming in a few weeks and will be out here for the next 6-7 months at their new lakehouse (35 miles northeast of Lexington). We can't wait for lots of time to play with them. Katelyn says her prayers at night and gives me the list of all the people in her life...Grammy and PaPa always get the mention! Katelyn just started using the big girl cup with no lid at meal times. She's really good at it. I just put a little water in the cup, but she loves drinking out of it. I was looking at pictures of her in China earlier and I just can't believe how much she's changed in the last 11 months. It's amazing. She's such a big girl...but she still likes to cuddle with mama so I guess it's okay. :)

There are two families from our area that are in China right now adopting little girls from the same little orphanage Katelyn is from. I'm so excited that she'll have the opportunity to have others nearby that have come from the same place. From rural China to the bluegrass...three little girls. The world is smaller than we think.