Wednesday, December 28, 2005

For Lauren

Today I completed my first scrap book page! Donna is making a scrap book of 100 Good Wishes for her daughter.She invited family, friends and fellow bloggers to create a page for Lauren. She mailed to me, the coordinating papers in the picture to the right and I had to figure out what to do with them! So many patterns, so many choices, I was completely overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do and how. For some reason I felt the need to use each color and pattern but after much consideration, I narrowed my selection to two patterns and two solids. Next I went to the craft store as I wanted to add something pretty to the page. OMG, let me tell you, I was standing in the scrap book isle for over an hour, looking like a deer in the headlights, trying to narrow down my selection and make a decision. Wow, so many beautiful choices. I finally found the basket of flowers and the butterflies and I thought they picked up on the flowers and colors in the paper. It was a fun project and now I have the confidence to start on Baby S's book!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kim Brown rocks!!

Today I had a surprise in my mail box from Kim Brown, one of the Moms-to-be in my August Yahoo dtc group. To thank me for organizing the secret pal swap, Kim made and sent the beautiful ladybug necklace pictured above! Kim, thank you for thinking of me, I love my wonderful gift. I can't wait to wear it and I will think of you each and every time.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fried brain

Either I've fried my brain or I've gotten really stupid. First, I almost missed a really wonderful gift from one of my secret pals. On top of that, I keep sending emails or telling people that I'll see them, or talk to them, in 2007. Then yesterday, I washed the tile floor in the kitchen and family room only to then, decide to bake some cookies for Eammon's office mates. Of course I end up with flour on my freshly washed floors, allowing me to wash them all over again. Next, I was watching the cookies bake thinking that they were awfully thin, later realizing that I probably left out at least a cup of flour! Eammon and I both tried a cookie and decided that even though they were the worlds flattest cookies, the flavor was wonderful and the texture was good, being a little crisp around the edges and chewy in the center. They were deemed a successful failure and hopefully his office mates enjoyed them.

Then, very, very early this morning I headed out to do a few errands, only to find that I had left my car in the driveway all night, unlocked. Ok, it must have just been yesterday that I was "out of it" and today would be better...Right? Wrong! I started to pull out of my driveway only to realize that I was still wearing my slippers. So I go back into the house and I couldn't remember the alarm code, thus setting off all the sirens in the house. I then had to wait for the alarm company to call so I could officially tell someone, "I am stupid!"

I finally get out of the house, appropriately dressed and head off down the road, looking at all the pretty Christmas lights displayed by my neighbors. I got to the end of my road and noticed that I didn't have my headlights on! I turned them on and I was on my way. I drove 10 miles and arrived at my destination to find that I had never put on my seat belt!!! I was shocked as I *always* wear it and putting it on is automatic...Where was my brain? Ok, I thought, shake it off... I did my errand and got back to the car to find that the car is still in gear and the emergency brake was not pulled up! Luckily I wasn't on a hill...OMG, what is wrong with me! Can you believe that the Chinese government is actually going to allow *me* to raise a child!!

Now I am afraid to go anywhere for fear of what havoc I may cause! I should be doing what I do best, which is what I am doing in the top picture.... Laying in the shade, reading, with nothing around which I can damage, harm or forget. But, since I can't be back on the beach, I am going to be careful, stay home, be quiet and safe, and carefully use the computer.

Here are few more Aruba pics. All of the pics in this post were taken by our friend, Karen (see her in the pic from Madame Janette's).

I'm enjoying my book

Laurie feeding a friendly iguana

No worries of someone sitting on this fence!

Collapsed Natural Bridge

Beautiful beach

Wave bye bye

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, wishing everyone happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I almost missed this!!

OK, my CCAI pal is even more generous than I first posted. The box she sent was huge. In it I found the lovely scrap book, adorable stuffed elephant and the house shaped frame, I posted about below, all carefully packed in thousands of styrofoam peanuts. So, I was thrilled, loving everything she sent...Not the end of the story though. Today I received an email from the swap organizer in which she tells me that my pal says I missed something in the package! So I pull out the big box again and dive through thousands of peanuts to find the most adorable sandal frame with a ladybug!! How perfect for a beach bum like myself! Thank you my fab pal!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Secret pals are great!

While away, I received over 1700 emails, at least 50 catalogs, numerous magazines, a huge crate full of snail mail, but best of all were the packages from my July, August and CCAI Secret Pals.

It is so fun to open up the packages each month and see the wonderful and fun items that my great pals send. I can't wait to read the book to Baby S while she holds on to the stuffed elephant then put all her piccies in the scrapbook and frames. (The Chinese writing on the large frame says I love you)

Thank you my wonderful pals!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

MTB* holiday brunch

Sunday at the Georgian Terrace the "Ladies who lunch". *Mom's-to-be, Cindy, Jill, Sonia and I had a good time chatting, eating and exchanging prezzies. We always have such fun when we get together. All the little prezzies are cute, and I love that Baby S has her first pair of sunglasses so that she will be ready for the sun in Aruba. Thanks girly girls,it was a blast!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Relaxation... For the most part

The picture above shows the chikkie where Eammon and I spent all of our days during the past couple of weeks. This was our temporary real estate where we read, chatted, solved puzzles, relaxed and enjoyed numerous afternoon naps. Below are a couple of pictures of my view of the world looking past my deeply tanned toes, during various times of the day.

Here's Eammon working on his savage tan.

As in years past, this year we enjoyed beautiful weather, with only two mornings of rain. Each year Eammon and I discuss doing activities such as going Snuba, snorkeling sailing, parasailing or going to De Palm Island and doing Seatrek or even, going on a submarine, but laziness, lack of motivation and intense relaxation take over thus, we've never made it off the beach during the day.

Mornings I enjoyed being on the beach, sitting in the sun or floating in the ocean with friends, discussing the obligatory topics of: where everyone went for dinner, what they ate and where they're planning to dine on upcoming nights; news of weather reports from home and how pleased we were not to be there; and of course the depth and color of everyone's tan. Afternoons, I enjoyed sitting in the shade of the chikkie, reading, doing my puzzles, watching boats sail by and enjoying my afternoon alfresco naps. This year I was reintroduced to a girl that I grew up with, who I haven't seen in over 20 years. It was wonderful seeing her again and who knows, maybe we will keep in touch.

Evenings we often ate out on our patio, watching the sunset, as the view was spectacular and with the tradewind breezes, it was always comfortable

Of course we did dine out a couple of times with friends. One night we had a very way too long leisurely 3 hour dinner at the Tulip with (from left to right) my parents Phil & Ruth, me, Eammon, Barb, Joe waving hello, Sue and Bob.
Eammon and I had eaten at Tulip in December'04 and found the food only to be fair, and service relatively slow. This year the food was still only fair, but the service was painfully slow...So now it's off our list as there are plenty of other wonderful places to dine.

Our next dinner out was with Barb & Joe at the Calypso Restaurant at Casa del Mar. It was a Caribbean dinner and show. The food included numerous seafood salads, lobster tails, curried beef, pork loin, Keshi Yena, grilled fish, Island Ratatouille, Cinnamon Baked Plantains and various desserts.

The dancers were fun to watch and at the end of the evening Joe was pulled up on stage to learn a dance and then he and Barb had a nice dance with each other.

Eammon and I love Iguana Joe's and thus we ate and drank there a couple of times. One night we dined with (from left to right) Sue, Me, Eammon, Carl, Sandra, Allan and Bob. We enjoyed wonderful drinks, including my favorite Cactus Colada and Eammon's lethal drinks, Kunuku Moonshine and Hurricane Joes.

Everyone in our group flipped over Joe's Award Winning Shrimp and the Original Recipe Baby Back Ribs.

A return visit was in order as everyone wanted more ribs and drinks, so a few days later we made a return visit. This time our very tanned and lovely group included (from left to right)Allan, Sandra, Carl, Eammon, Me, Ruth & Phil.

Our final night on Aruba, we dined with Karen and Laurie at Madame Janette. It was the perfect way to end our time on the island as both the food and company were wonderful.

Overall, the trip was wonderful and it was so nice to see all our friends on the beach, especially since Eammon and I hadn't planned on visiting Aruba this year, with the China trip in the wings.

We did have a number of mishaps along the way which could have potentially put a real damper on our trip, and that is why I say that we had relaxation for the most part. Our troubles started the morning we left for Aruba. Our alarm sounded at 2:30 am and we were out of the house as scheduled at 3:00 am. It took us 40 minutes to drive the 31 miles to the off-airport parking site and then we took the courtesy shuttle to the airport, arriving at 4:00 am. We waited a while in line and when we got up to the counter, the ticket agent asked us for Eammon's immigration papers or green card. Holy crap! Since we just got new passports, the information that was stamped in his old one wasn't in the new one, and we didn't have his green card with us. By then it was after 4:00 am and our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:15 am. We check our bags and then make a mad dash to the taxi stand to take us back to the off site parking place. We arrive back there at 4:40 am and then literally flew through Atlanta making the 31 mile trip in 25 minutes flat. I knew exactly where Eammon's green card was located, so I dashed into the house as Eammon delt with the house alarm. We were in and out of the house in less than one minute and back on the road. Thankfully it was a Sunday morning and the lights were in our favor. We made it back to the parking place at 5:33 am, just under 25 minutes! The shuttle raced us back to the airport and we arrived there at 5:43 am, we raced to clear security and had just enough time to make a very brief bathroom stop and pick up a cup of coffee as they were closing the gate. Thankfully we made the flight because we wouldn't have been able to catch another connection from Miami to Aruba until the following day. So, after all that stress it was good to make it to the beach that afternoon and unwind.

On our flight coming home, for some reason the pilots in Aruba arrived late, so the boarding could not start until their arrival. Then when we landed in Miami, we sat on the tarmac for just over an hour. Then they started pulling up the the terminal, but they sat about 20 feet short, waiting for the ground crew to do something. Had things been on time, we would have had just shy of a 2 hour layover. But, by the time they opened the doors to the plane, we had less than 12 minutes to make our connection and of course it was in a different terminal. We raced through the airport and arrived just as they called for all rows to board, final boarding. So, we made the plane...yippee!! Get to Atlanta and we circled for a good 40 minutes before we landed, but finally on the ground. Waiting, waiting, waiting for our luggage only to get to stand in line with over 70 other passengers to file a missing luggage claim. Now, our luggage has been delivered, laundry has been started, the tan is already starting to fade, the good memories of the trip supersede any of the problems we may have had. We loved our trip, but it feels wonderful to be home!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Four months

Four months since our dossier was logged in at CCAA. Keeping my fingers crossed that these referrals start coming quickly.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ansley Rhiannon ZiHui

Fellow local adopters Joanna & Billy just received their referral for their daughter Lian Zi Hui, soon to be Ansley Rhiannon ZiHui. Born March 15, 2005 in Lian Jiang, Guangdong. Checkout their website for all the details and updated information.

Congratulations to all the new parents who received their referral this month. Check out all the beautiful new babies, listed in the side bar under "We have our Referral."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bye bye cold weather

Eagle Beach is where you'll find me, my books, sudoku puzzles and maybe a brown lady or two. If you're there too, stop and say hello, otherwise I'll be speaking and catching up with you when I return. Have a great couple of weeks all my blogging buddies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

For the love of a Rainbow Roll

OK, I ventured back to the grocery store. Why? I know, I know, there's plenty of food in the house, in fact more than we need, but you see I needed...OK, really *wanted* a rainbow roll. So, don't have this in the house, *must* have it, need to go to store! I did at least plan it well, arriving just after 11am, when I know the sushi is just being made and put out fresh, before the lunch traffic and rush. Was it worth the trip?!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Because I wanted to...

I didn't have to go to the store because as I bragged before, I am finished with all my holiday shopping and I have enough groceries to last until we leave for Aruba. So truth be told, I wanted to go shopping. Now that my desk has been put together, I decided to take a quick trip down to IKEA to pick up this chest organizer thing that fits perfectly between the shelves of the desk.
I haven't had time to get anything organized in the desk yet and we still need to get a new computer monitor before the computer can be moved, but I love my new desk.

Now you may think that a quick trip to IKEA is impossible, and that's sort of true, but I have a secret way to avoid the crowds and make my shopping trip easy. If you want to shop when the store is virtually empty, shop Monday through Thursday and arrive there when they first open. At least here at the Atlanta store, if you do that, there will be more employees in the store than shoppers and everyone is looking to help you.

Now, no one can go shopping at IKEA and only buy one item and I'm no different. I spotted this adorable monkey and her baby and knew they were perfect for Baby S's jungle room. In addition I found a really pretty vanity mirror that I absolutely needed for the guest bedroom, thus another purchase added to the buggy. On my way out the door, I did stop and pick up a few of the chocolate bars that Eammon loves so much. That way he too got something out of the shopping trip, other than just the bill.

Over the past few months I have recovered from my addiction of stalking the postman. I now will be away for two weeks without a computer, thus I will have to go cold turkey and break my blog stalking addiction, so in their place my newest obsession is Sudoku. I only started doing these puzzles in the past week, but already I am almost finished with my first book of 76 puzzles. So, while I was out shopping, I decided to drop in at the book store and get a new book that I can work on while sunning on the beach. This book has 200 puzzles including the 9x9 puzzles that I have been doing, as well as jigsaw and triplex grids.

Then, just so Eammon wouldn't feel left out, I found a book of Kakuro, which is even more brutal than Sudoku. I love how this book rates the difficulty of the puzzles, It starts out at Level 1 Delicious, moving on to level 2 Pernicious, continuing to Level 3 Malicious and finally ending at Level 4 Vicious. Hopefully this will keep Eammon entertained as he lounges on the beach.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Updated look

I decided that my header was boring and that I needed something new, so I contacted Julie who created a new and wonderful look for my blog. Thank you so much for creating such a fun header and for explaining how to make it all work. Hugs, hugs, hugs...Thanks!!!

Spoiled again

Today I received a wonderful package, full of ladybug items, from my CCAI Secret Pal.

There were two books for Baby S, Ten Little Ladybugs and The Grouchy Ladybug. Eammon and I both can't wait to snuggle with Baby S and read the books to her.

Also in the package was the cutest ladybug cell phone charm. I'd never heard of a cell phone charm but after speaking to friends who knew what they were, I feel old and behind the times. But now, I'm hip and I have one too!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

No More food!!!

Wednesday at the aquarium, Eammon ate something that he must be allergic to, because by the time we were leaving he was starting to feel quite ill and by the time we got home he was covered in hives. Poor guy spent Wednesday evening in bed popping antihistamines and rubbing on cortisone cream, while my parents and I dined on leftover chili and prepared the ingredients for my Thursday morning cooking.

Thursday started early as I made tapenade tarts, sweet potato gnocchi in a browned butter sage sauce, pumpkin cheesecake squares, white chocolate raspberry almond fudge, cranberry cake and chocolate raspberry squares. Eammon soaked in the bath, lounged outside in the sun for a bit, tried to get himself going, but in the end, he was still too wiped out to go to our friends home for T-day dinner. So, my parents and I left poor Eammon tucked in bed as we went with home cooked goodies in hand, and enjoyed a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving dinner with about 40 other people at Al & Anita's home. I love holidays at the homes of friends. Not too much family around to cause depression, no childhood angst or repressed rage rearing it's ugly head, just people you choose to be around, an excellent way to spend holidays.

Eammon was so disappointed that he missed out on a really wonderful dinner, but nice wife that I am, I cooked a repeat turkey dinner on Friday. I made turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, pecan crusted sweet potatoes and a corn souffle just so that he could have all the goodies of Thanksgiving. Friday's dinner was wonderful but now I am so sick of the taste and smell of anything and everything Thanksgiving, that it will be salad for me for a few days. Eammon still wants his favorite, leftover turkey soup, so that will be the last thing I have to make and will do that this morning.

My parents visit was nice, they were here for six days. At 5:45 this morning, I was driving them to the airport so that they could fly off to Aruba where later this afternoon they will start recuperating from being here, by laying on the beach and relaxing. Monday, my Dad and I put together my new IKEA computer desk so it was nice to get those boxes out of the family room. I was hoping that during their visit, my dad and Eammon would get the crib assembled, but with Eammon sick for three days, that didn't happen. At the rate of referrals, I don't feel too pressed for time in getting the crib assembled, but would like to get it done already. Maybe over Christmas that will be our project getting us used to putting things together, in preparation for all the assembly needed toys and bicycles in our future.

I haven't decided if I'm even going to decorate the house for Christmas this year. Usually I have the house decorated well before Thanksgiving, because we generally leave for Aruba two days after Thanksgiving, and don't return until a few days before Christmas. But this year we hadn't planned on going away, so I thought I would hold off on decorating until the beginning of December. Now with the change of plans, I have just a week until we fly off, and I have so many things to organize and get done. I just don't have the time, patience or energy to decorate. Then, we get back a couple of days before Christmas, and do I really want to put all the stuff out, only to have to pack it away a few days later. When we return from out trip, I may go buy one of those tabletop Charlie Brown Christmas trees and call it a holiday. Right now I have a week to get myself organized and packed before I can rest on the beach reading my books and indulging in my newest obsession, sudoku.
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