Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 ~ A year of Maisie

In January Maisie started ballet class and absolutely loved it. She also loved being a little fashionista sometimes sporting some very creative and interesting outfits.

February seemed to be a month filled with sugar. Maisie and I did a lot of baking together, she ate cotton candy at the circus and enjoyed her first ever lollipop which she loved immediately and is still one of her favorite treats. February was also the month of Little Einstein p.j's, the girl was obsessed and wanted to spend all day, every day wearing those p.j's.

In March Maisie continued her love of Little Einstein p.j's but added the love of bandaids and we went through so many boxes I lost count. Maisie was invited to join the Jr. Pre-team at her gym and she just couldn't get enough time there so I installed a bar at home so she could play and practice. March wasn't all fun for little Maisie though as she suffered through her first stomach virus and struggled with terrible sleep issues and night terrors.

April brought lots of fun times with friends old and new. Maisie was beyond thrilled when our new neighbors K & A moved in next door. Also new was her first big girl bike which she loved.

In May it seemed like all of a sudden my little toddler was gone and Maisie seemed and looked so much older all of a sudden. May was also a bit of a crazy month with the end of Wee school, her first ballet recital and her gymnastics spring blast. The one day of the month that I'll probably always remember was my birthday day, total craziness as somehow Maisie managed to dislocate her elbow and then we said goodbye to my beloved Volvo. Thankfully once Maisie's elbow was popped back into place she was good as new and honestly, I'm loving my new car.

June was a great month for Maisie as she started gymnastics camp and what made it even more fun for her was that neighbors K & A attended with her. June also stared our busy travel schedule, first heading to Florida to spend time with my parents as well as one of our China travel families followed a week later by a whirlwind trip through New England to visit many of my old friends. Between gymnastics camp, regular gymnastics practices and our travels it was go, go, go all month.

July was a wonderful continuation of June with lots of playtime with friends, gymnastics camp, gymnastics team practice and a super fun trip out to Salt Lake City to visit and play with even more friends. We were busy and always on the move, a super fun summer and seeing so many friends was great fun.

August was a big month for Maisie as she started kindergarten, looking so wee yet at the same time oh-so grown-up. The beginning of the month was super fun as gymnastics camp was finished and Maisie and I got to spend time together without our usual full schedule of activities. We enjoyed picking veggies from our garden, dressing up and dancing around the house, learning to hula hoop, making and eating grilled pizzas, birthday parties, pool time, social time, bouncy times, fun times, big sisters and water fun with friends.

Compared to August, September seemed like a laid back month as we found our groove having a good routine of school, ballet class, gymnastics practice and swimming lessons. It wasn't all work though as Maisie still had fun being a princess , and playing with friends. September also brought some big milestones. Eammon and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary as well as the three of us reaching 1000 days as a family. We survived not only the flooding that hit Georgia, remaining high and dry but also the flood of Jonathan...everything Jonathan.

In October my beautiful little Maisie Miao Miao turned 4 years old, so grown up but I couldn't help thinking that just short time before she was my little baby. Maisie enjoyed some new experiences, her first cruise, her first school field trip to her first play and she received her first report card. Our month ended on a high note, fun play dates with friends and what's becoming a yearly tradition, Maisie & friends at the maize maze where Maisie had another first, her first pony ride.

November was a fun month of birthday parties, getting together with old and new friends, camp days at gymnastics, a fun little gymnastics performance and Thanksgiving with Grandma & Grandpa.

December was a month of travel and family. First Maisie and I enjoyed two weeks in Aruba with my parents where we celebrated our three year gotcha anniversary. Unfortunately Eammon had to remain home and work but he was left well cared for and supplied. In Aruba Maisie got to spend time with old friends, new friends and have lots of very special one-on-one time with my parents but she sure did miss her Baba. We returned home for a quick four day turnaround and then were back on a plane heading to the U.K. where we spent Christmas in Wales with Eammon's eldest brother Michael and his family and then we headed to London where we spent the remainder of 2009 introducing Maisie to and visiting with her Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunts, Uncles and cousins as well as numerous friends. It was a wonderful trip and hopefully all of Maisie's Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends will be booking trips to the U.S. this year so that we can see them all again very soon.

Overall 2009 was a good year and we're looking forward to all the new adventures and changes that 2010 will bring. Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year and happy 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Some traditions are fun, great and wonderful and you look forward to repeating them year after year but then there are those which keep coming around even though you don't want them yet you just can't seem to break the cycle and get rid of them.

Good tradition, hopefully to be repeated for many years to come: Decorating Christmas cookies with friends.

Today Maisie and I spent the afternoon next door with K, A and friends playing together then making, decorating and eating Christmas cookies. It was good fun for the children and adults and everyone enjoyed a little sugar buzz.

Bad tradition which will hopefully stop coming around year after year: Pneumonia and sickness.

During our last week in Aruba Maisie came down with conjunctivitis in both eyes and then started to drag a bit sounding like she was coming down with a cold with a bit of a cough. During the flight home she complained of head, stomach and ear pain. I too during our last two or three days started feeling a bit run down like I was coming down with a cold, being very stuffed up with a sore throat. We arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning and once the day started my first order of business was to take Maisie to the doctor. The meds which the doctor in Aruba prescribed were working well and her eyes were looking great needing only two more days of the meds. Her ears, throat and lungs all looked clear and other than a major build-up of wax in one ear the doctor said she seemed healthy. The wax build-up in her ear was quite substantial so it was decided that the doctor would flush it out which was excruciating with an exhausted and screaming Maisie but once it was done Maisie said her ear felt better.

Once home from Maisie's doctor I was really dragging wanting nothing more than to veg out on the sofa, watch my recorded shows, drink tea and nap. I figured that I was tired from lack of sleep and just had a cold and that if I felt worse on Monday I'd go to the doc. By Sunday I knew that I had something going on in my chest so first thing Monday morning I called my doc but because of the holiday and people away I couldn't get into see anyone so I headed off to the doc-in-a-box at urgent care. After an exam and a review of my history with pneumonia in 2006, 2007 and 2008 I was sent off to x-ray where they found a small cloud in my lung. The doctor said that it was caught early and sent me home with a script for wicked expensive ($97 for 5 stinking pills!) high dose antibiotics, an inhaler and codeine cough syrup.

Even though on Saturday the doctor said that Maisie was okay, I think that she has something going on as she's a snotty mess, coughing and dragging. As we set off tomorrow evening for England I think we'll be doing a return trip to the doctor first thing in the morning. I too am considering a return visit for myself as I'm finding it more difficult to breathe and with the long flight and cold weather we're heading to, I just want to be cautious and not land my tush in the hospital again this year.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and merry Christmas filled with only good times, health and traditions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maisie & Grandpa, oh-so-sweet together

Tonight is our final night in Aruba and though it's been a wonderful holiday, both Maisie and I are tired, ready to go home, sleep in our own beds and to see Eammon/Baba again. Tonight though we had the most beautiful sky after sunset and we were able to enjoy it from our balcony during dinner as the color seemed to last and last.

Maisie has had an absolutely wonderful time on this trip especially enjoying some daily one-on-one time with my Dad. Each morning my Dad is the first one up and as soon as Maisie hears him in the kitchen she jumps excitedly out of bed to go see him. Each morning my Dad makes breakfast for the two of them then they eat together. After Maisie finishes her meal Grandpa gives her a special "Aruba only" treat, half of a Dunkin' Donuts sprinkle donut. Maisie really enjoys this special time with her Grandpa and I really appreciate the extra time I get to sleep in a bit.

Once down at the beach Maisie's first order of business is to go for a walk with Grandpa. The two of them walk quite a distance and Maisie always comes back soaking wet from the waves and ready to walk again or to hit the swimming pool. Maisie has become a little walking fiend wearing out three or four adults a day. There was one day that she walked for almost an hour with my Dad from Aruba Beach Club all the way down to the Tamarijn and back. Then immediately upon their return she wanted to walk again so Sandy and I walked with her up past Costa Linda and back. She wanted to go again but I told her after lunch we'd walk again. So after lunch and our quiet time she wrangled my Mom and they walked up to Costa Linda where they went swimming for a bit but when they returned she wanted to walk some more so she and I walked down to the Tamarijn. She would have walked some more but all the available adults had walked their limit so she had to wait until the following day to do all over again.

Our trip has not been without some problems though. Maisie had a bit of a cold before we headed down here but nothing major. Then on our fifth day here, by late afternoon she started really dragging and she wasn't herself. That night she spiked a high fever which thankfully by the next morning was down and with some medicine she was feeling better, not wanting to stay indoors but wanting to be on the beach. She was much more quiet than normal preferring to play quietly in the sand over spending all day in the pool or ocean, so that's what we did. Then once she seemed pretty much back to normal the poor little girl came down with bacterial conjunctivitis in both eyes. Thankfully we were able to contact a doctor down here and in less than an hour we were at the pharmacy picking up prescriptions. The first day of trying to get the thrice daily eye drops and once nightly cream into her eyes was pure he11 but by day two she was less frightened and we got into a groove so now it's easy-peasy...thankfully! I'll tell you though, with just the first application of eye drops her eyes looked and felt significantly better which was a relief to all of us.

Our final little stress this trip was about our next trip. Maisie and I are due to arrive home in the wee hours of Saturday morning and we're scheduled to leave for London on Wednesday. But now with all the talk of a British Airways strike, even though there's now a High Court injunction blocking it, who knows if the trip will happen. At this point whether it's Christmas and New Years in Atlanta or London, at least we'll be together and we'll have a great time.

Signing off from Aruba, next stop Atlanta.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Three year gotcha anniversary

Three years ago today, sweet little scared Wan Chun Miao was placed in my arms and life hasn't been the same since. Life is great with my Maisie Miao Miao and she's no longer that scared little girl. Maisie's now a beautiful, vibrant, talented, smart, driven, sweet & lovable four year old and she's the best little girl in our world.

We enjoyed a nice anniversary day spending lots of time in the pools, playing in the sand and with Grandma, Grandpa & friends. We're send big hugs and kisses to Baba back at home and hope that he had a good day too...even though it was a full day at work. We're also sending happy gotcha day anniversary wishes to all our travel mates and Julie & Tess, big hugs to all of you.

Below are some piccies from the past two days.

Maisie & Bob feed the birds. Bob is so sweet with Maisie and always brings bread & crackers to the beach so that Maisie can help him feed the birds. Maisie started talking about seeing "bird man" Bob a couple weeks before we came down to Aruba, she couldn't wait to see him again and feed the birds together. In this post from last year you can see them feeding the birds together. Bob is just so very sweet and funny with Maisie, we're sad to see him heading home tomorrow but we're look forward to hopefully seeing him again next year.

Sandy & Allan are friends we always look forward to seeing. Usually it's just in Aruba where we see each other but this year back in June we stayed with them up in Boston which was great fun, even if oh-too-short of a visit. Maisie looks forward to visiting with them daily and I'm sure that it has nothing what-so-ever to do with the candy treats they bring down for her each afternoon. A couple of weeks before we left for Aruba Maisie started asking me if I thought Sandy, Allan & Carl (their son) would have anything for Maisie in the afternoons. I'm telling you, that little girl has people pegged and she never forgets.

Maisie and Kayodee were best friends from the very first moment that they met earlier this week and each afternoon they've had a blast, giggling, swimming and running around together. Both of them have talked about the other from the time that they awake in the morning, asking when the other will be at the pool and how long until they're together. Here they are sharing some crackers together. They would each eat a cracker or two then look at each other only to crack up laughing and then sweet hugs.

Sadly, Kayodee flies home tomorrow so today was their last day together. Email addys have been exchanged so Maisie now has her first Dutch email-pen-pal.

Though Maisie's generally the Energizer Bunny she sometimes winds down. This piccie is from yesterday when I told her that she didn't have to take a nap but that she had to play quietly with her dolls and toys in the sand while I rested a bit after lunch. After about 15 minutes of playing she asked if she could cuddle with with me on the lounger and within 5 minutes she was sound asleep. Gotta love those naps.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Maisie & Kayodee

Here's another video mostly for Eammon as I know that he's missing his little girl so I'm trying to post videos so that he can get his Maisie fix.

For the past two afternoons Maisie has been having a blast with a little Dutch boy named Kayodee. The two of them love playing together in the pool, being silly and talking with one another. The funny thing about them talking is that neither speaks the other ones language but somehow they get their message across.

The weather continues to be perfect and Maisie and I are having a blast enjoying the sun, sand, pool and ocean.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Swimming like a dolphin and sand angels

Maisie and I had a relatively easy trip down to Aruba and have settled in nicely. When we first arrived Maisie's comment was "Mama I'm so excited to be in Aruba, I can't wait for all my friends to see me!" And let me tell you, all her friends were quite excited to see her. Maisie also couldn't wait to get her feet wet and play in the sand so while I said my hellos and caught up with a few friends, Maisie and my Mom headed down to the waters edge to play for a bit. We didn't stay on the beach long that first day as by the time we got to Aruba and my parent's place it was almost 5PM and we'd been up since 3am so needless to say we were quite tired.

Our first full day on the beach was great and Maisie had a blast being buried in the sand & making sand angels. The water was quite calm with smaller waves so both my Mom and I were able to easily get Maisie in and out of the ocean which is a treat as often there are big waves making impossible for even an adult to get in and out. We also played in the big pool but Maisie had her best time in the kiddie pool. Maisie has never loved getting her face wet or putting her head under the water but after only a little while in the kiddie pool she was swimming around like a dolphin, her swimming instructor is going to be so happy when we return to lessons in January. Below are two videos, first of Maisie being a dolphin and the second is her making sand angels.

Friday, December 04, 2009

He won't starve

Tomorrow we will be waking in the wee hours of the morning as Maisie and I have an obscenely early flight out to Aruba. It will all be worth it though because tomorrow afternoon we'll be frolicking in the surf and sand, basking under the warm sun and away from the ridiculously cold weather that currently exists in Atlanta. I've been packed for weeks so this week I've focused on getting everything around the house organized, getting the laundry done and changing all the bed linens. I've also made sure that Eammon will be well fed while we're away by stocking the freezer with healthy and delicious homemade meals. Figure if the poor guy has to work while his wife and daughter flit & frolic on the beach and have fun with Grandma & Grandpa, the least I can do is have a nice selection of his favorite meals available for him.

Here's what fills the freezer for Eammon while Maisie and I are basking under the warm Arubian sun:

6 meals of Spaghetti Bolognase
2 meals of Udon with Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled Eel)
4 meals of Baked Stuffed Flounder
2 meals of Vanilla Scented Pork Loin with Sauteed Spinach & Saffron Rice
4 meals of Shrimp, clams, olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Capers over Angel Hair Pasta
3 meals of Hearty Curried Beef Stew over Jasmine Rice
3 meals of Curried Shepherds Pie
2 meals of ChapChae (Mixed Vegetables with Noodles) w/Korean Spicy Beef
3 meals of Roasted Chicken w/Roasted Vegetables
4 meals of Crab & Vegetable Quiche
3 meals of Buffalo Chicken & Potato Casserole
2 meals of Thanksgiving Dinner
3 meals of Rib Steak w/Corn Souffle, Roasted Vegetables & Stuffing
4 meals of Chicken & Mushroom Pie
1 meal of Pork Chop w/Sauteed Spinach, Saffron Rice & Grilled Tomatoes

I think there's a good enough selection and 46 meals should get him though the two weeks and get me out of a little cooking when we return by having a few extra in reserve.

Now because no post is ever complete without a picture or video, especially of my little Maisie, here's a video from yesterday at the gym. The bar is her favorite piece of equipment and she just makes it look so easy. At the end of the video she's on a lower bar and I'm amazed by how big she casts and the momentum she gets...even if she did over-rotate and fall off, it's her strength that just impresses me.

Time to get back to work and finish up so that I can get a little sleep tonight. I hope to post a bit while away but if not, we wish everyone a fun two weeks.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Guilted into it

This year I had absolutely no intentions of putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house or even baking a cookie because this month after Friday, Maisie and I are barely home for four days and will be out of the country over Christmas. But alas...Sunday we were at K & A's as their tree was going up and the house was being decorated and made oh-so-festive, Maisie just loved it. Then everywhere we go Maisie points out all the beautiful decorations and lights and she can't seem to get enough of them. I wanted to make my girl happy so while she was at school this morning I put out some decorations and when we returned home she was so happy, her eyes lit up and she was very excited telling me how beautiful it looked. Then as I was putting her down for her nap she asked if we were going to have a tree as she really, really wanted one. while she slept I set up our tree and started decorating it and once she awoke she was over the top excited and helped to finish decorating. Maisie loves the tree as it's decorated with giant bells, feathery peacocks, flowers with sparkly crystal centers, lights and pretty fairies...what more could a little girly girl ask for.

Looking back I've really been horrible at getting the house decorated and into the whole holiday mood and season. Just how much of a slacker have I been, check it out.

* I had a really good excuse for Christmas 2006. We left China on December 25th and arrived back in Atlanta on December 25th, a 36 hour day of which 27 hours was spent traveling so no tree, decorations, presents or even a special meal. On top of all the travel and time changes, I had pneumonia and ear infections and both Maisie and Eammon had colds and ear infections so sleep and getting healthy were our only priorities.

* Christmas 2007 was a normal 24 hour day but we were home from Aruba barely two days and I was sick with pneumonia and Maisie had a bad cold so decorating and putting up a tree just wasn't in the cards. I also figured that Maisie was so young, she didn't yet realize what she was missing.

* Christmas 2008 we did a little better. We were home from Aruba for five days before Christmas so I pulled out our little two-foot tall tree, got a nice meal made for Christmas day and actually got gifts wrapped and under the tree. Looking back it's amazing that I got that much done as I was actually still quite sick, recovering from being in the hospital for a good part of November and I was still tying to get over pneumonia (yet again) and c-diff. I remember making a wonderful dinner but it was really only Eammon who was able to enjoy it.

* Here we are 2009, our fourth Christmas with Maisie and I had figured between the palm trees all decked out in Aruba and being with family in England for Christmas with their trees and decorations that I'd get out of all the decorating but now Maisie "gets it" and so for her it was worth putting up a tree and putting out decorations. Just seeing the excitement and joy on her face will make her four days of Christmas at home worth it. Come January I'll have to remember her joy because it's the packing everything away that's truly the part that I dislike and try to avoid each year by not pulling the stuff out to begin with.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Funnies with Maisie

* The day before Thanksgiving break I was pulling into Maisie's school for morning drop-off and Maisie was belting out:
Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my bedroom (making love)
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed
Someone's taken my place

Cecilia, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home
Yeah, and she goes to a nice little Christian school. Glad the windows were rolled up and I'm thinking that maybe I should introduce her to some new and more appropriate songs ;-)

* The other night Eammon was doing bedtime with Maisie and started singing Old McDonald. Eammon sang:
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a
(at which point he stopped to let Maisie pick the animal.)
And what did she pick?

A silent pig!

She then proceeded to mouth the pig oink without making any sound...where does she come up with this? Got Eammon quite silly though.

* Maisie will twirl and whirl until she falls down dizzy and then she'll ask me, "Mama do you feel the dizzies?" Funny girl can't quite figure it out that since I wasn't spinning, I won't feel the dizzies.

* We started Elf on the Shelf and Maisie named her elf Mortimer. I was talking about her elf and referred to him as Mort so Maisie asked, who's Mort? I explained that Mort is short for Mortimer to which Maisie replied, "I'm tall for Maisie."

* This was a few weeks ago. It was first thing in the morning, Maisie was already in the kitchen when I came walking in. Maisie was staring directly at my chest and said "look at those cupcakes." All at once my brain was thinking, am I dressed and why and where did she learn to call them cupcakes all while envisioning the November picture from Calendar Girls. I was still half asleep and a little brain dead as it took me a moment to realize that the pattern on my night shirt was cupcakes.

Above is an iPhone piccie of my funny girl which I snapped today at gymnastics. The twins on her team celebrated their birthday and brought in cupcakes for all the girls. Generally Maisie loves just licking the frosting off the top and discarding the cake but she must have been hungry today as she polished off the entire thing. Love my girl, all her quirks and the funny things that she comes out with.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Oh what a difference a year makes...with most things at least.

This time last year Eammon and I were both just recently home from the hospital. My parents were here taking care of all of us as Eammon was using all his energy to get in some time at work and recover from his illness and I could barely make it though a day, unable to care for myself let alone Maisie. We did have a Thanksgiving dinner but I was barely keeping rice and water in me so I really couldn't eat any of the meal, in fact the only thing that I really remember from Thanksgiving day was that the smell of the turkey roasting made me

This year my Mom has a little cold which hopefully will bake out of her quickly as tomorrow morning they're off to Aruba where she can rest under the warm Arubian sun and get healthy. The rest of us are all thankfully healthy and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we stay that way. We've had a nice visit with my parents this past week. Maisie's loved having her grandparents here and I've appreciated my Mom's help in cooking and getting meals together for Eammon for when Maisie and I are away. To finish off my parent's visit, today we enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

So what hasn't changed since last year? Check out this piccie of my Mom & Maisie from last year compared to the picture above. Just by dumb luck Maisie's pants and my Mom's jacket are the exact same this year as what they were wearing last year when I snapped their piccie, too funny!

Hope that everyone enjoyed a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knuckle Sandwich

It has been another fun week here in the land of Maisie. Friday we met up with Kathy & Chani for lunch at Zucca. It was nice catching up with Kathy as it's been a while since we were last together and the little girls had so much fun together and oh my how they've both grown up, just the way they interacted and behaved. Don't you just want to squeeze those two, they're just so stinkin' adorable!

Saturday my parents arrived for a week long visit. Maisie was so excited that Grandma & Grandpa were coming to see her, she couldn't wait to make the trip to the airport to pick them up. We enjoyed a nice dinner at home and a quiet evening together.

Sunday morning we took my parents out for brunch at Maisie's favorite restaurant and our favorite sushi place. Everyone enjoyed the food...a little too much as we all came home stuffed to the gills. After the meal the adults wanted nothing more than to lay down and take a nap but Maisie was little Miss energizer bunny and had no desire to lay down, rest or even slow down. As soon as we arrived home I set Maisie up with a video and then all the adults hit the beds for a little snooze. Eammon and I could only rest for an hour then we had to get up so that we could take Maisie to A's fifth birthday party. Even though the party was fun I only stayed for a short time before heading home as I wanted to get dinner started. My sacrifice in going home early was worth it as the roasted butternut squash soup that I prepared for dinner was absolutely delish...even though everyone could only handle a small amount as we were all still full from brunch.

Monday was an extremely busy yet absolutely fun day. My Mom, Maisie and I headed out early to do all the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and the week. The stores were thankfully quite empty, I was very organized and had my list together so even though we hit three stores we still made it home in record time. Once home I put my Mom to work and the two of us went into major cooking mode. Most of what we cooked was for Eammon's freezer meals. My Mom made some absolutely delicious baked stuffed flounder and I made a couple of crab and veggie quiches, a shrimp, clam, olive, sun dried tomato and caper sauce which was put over angle hair pasta as well as spaghetti bolognase. Before we knew it, it was time to take Maisie to gymnastics. The gym was closed for regular practices so it was more of a camp set up and Maisie had fun being with a different set of girls. After all the shopping and cooking of the day, my Mom & I enjoyed sitting down for a bit and just watching. As soon as we arrived home I started heating up dinner as I knew that I only had an hour before it was time to head out for my girls night out. But just minutes after arriving home Anne called to find out if I could be ready in 20 minutes. I gave my Mom some quick directions for dinner and getting Maisie to bed, I got myself washed up and dressed and it was kisses goodbye as I was out the door with not a minute to spare.

A few weeks ago Anne invited me along with another neighbor Natercia to join her and her sister Barbara for the Guy Fieri Road Show in Atlanta. The reason that Anne wanted us ready early is that she wanted us to join her at a pre-concert reception. By the time we got to the venue Guy Fieri had just left the reception but we did spend some time with the totally buff Robert Irvine who's been a long time friend of Anne's.

After the reception we were off to watch the show where we all had a great time. I think it was midnight by the time we arrived home but oh what fun it was. Maisie was a good girl for my parents but once I arrived home and started getting ready for bed she awoke and wanted to chat and spend time with me because she had missed me so much. So sweet but I was knackered and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and quickly fall asleep but I love that she missed me so and we spent about an hour cuddling and talking before she was ready to sleep again. A long, busy and fun day!

This morning my parents watched Maisie as Anne, her Mom and I headed out to do a little shopping at the Asian market. After shopping it was great to arrive home and find Maisie fed, in bed for nap (though not sleeping, nor did she ever sleep during nap time today) and all the laundry I had in the washer dried, folded and ready to be put've gotta love having Mom visit! After no-nap-nap-time my parents headed out for a walk and Maisie and I headed over to K & A's so that she could play with her friends. I spent time chatting with Anne, her Mom & sister while we all watched Anne do a bit of cooking and benefited with sampling all her creations.

Tomorrow I'll start prepping and cooking for Thanksgiving. I can't believe that 2009 is almost over, time just seems to be moving at warp speed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cooking, maturing and days racing by

This has been a really good week thus far. Friday morning started with my taking Maisie to get the H1N1 mist. One of the urgent care offices really close to our home had the mist available so we headed on over, got in quickly as there was no line, I filled out the paperwork and was all set...only to find out that we have to wait until at least next week for her to get it as it could interact with the seasonal flu mist which she received the end of October during her physical. So, next week we'll have to see if and where the vaccine or mist is available and do the whole thing over again. Then that afternoon Maisie had an awesome swim lesson with her instructor Rosemary. Due to our travels, scheduling conflicts, a class time change and teacher illness, Maisie missed a couple of weeks so it was good to return. I was happy to see that Maisie had retained what she'd previously learned and was able to pick up right where she left off.

Our weekend was fun too and the beautiful sunny warm weather made for awesome days. On Saturday Eammon took Maisie, K & A to the playground and they had fun running around and playing games. I liked that it gave me some alone time at home to run the vacuum and sort though some of Maisie's old toys getting them ready for donation pick-up. On Sunday Maisie had fun playing outside for a good part of the day with K & A. I on the other hand spent most of the day cooking, cooking and a little more cooking. I've started making meals for Eammon to have while Maisie and I are away in Aruba. I figure if the poor guy has to stay home and work while we're lounging on the beach and playing in the surf and sand, the least I can do is pack the freezer with some delicious homemade meals. Before I leave I want to have about 30 meals in the freezer ready for him. So far I've frozen a couple containers each of roasted lemon-garlic chicken with caramelized vegetables, curried shepherd's pie, hearty curried beef stew with jasmine rice and grilled eel with udon noodles. Each time I make a meal this and next week I plan to make extra so that I can pack more away for him but if anyone has some good suggestions or recipes that freeze and reheat well, please pass them along.

Since I was cooking up a storm Sunday I invited K, A & their parents over for Sunday dinner. Our meal started with a spiced cream cheese spread topped with homemade pumpkin butter on butter crackers and also some brie with a great pepper jam on multi-grain crackers. We then feasted on some of the roasted chicken & caramelized veg, the curried beef stew and some wasabi coleslaw. We finished the meal with homemade s'mores brownies which I'm sad to say were only a partial success. It was a new brownie recipe that sat on top of a graham cracker based crust and topped with browned marshmallows. The crust and brownies were both wonderful but for some reason the marshmallows were too thick and chewy to the point of being difficult to eat. In the end I pulled off the marshmallow top and everyone enjoyed the brownies and crust. To make up for the failed topping Eammon pulled out the can of squirt cream and filled Maisie, K & A's mouths with cream and they all thought that was wonderful. By the time they all left it was bedtime, a super fun way to finish the weekend, good food and time with friends.

Monday felt a bit strange at first with Maisie not having ballet but I loved having the afternoon free as having extra time to spend with Maisie was fun. We worked on a few arts & crafts projects, did a little cooking and even made some homemade larabars. Tim our gardener was here working and I could have kissed him as he made me so happy when he told me that his plans of moving to Texas in January had changed and for now they're staying here in Georgia, woohoo! He is just such a nice guy and the best gardener ever, I wasn't looking forward to him leaving so I'm happy beyond words that he'll be here for at least a little longer.

Tuesday was school and gymnastics and it too was a really good day. Just like at school Maisie's the youngest and smallest of her gymnastics group and even though she's always been good at doing the required skills and exercises she would often have a tendency to float to the back of the line, allowing the other girls to cut in front of her and she wasn't always the best at paying attention to the coaches, numerous times missing out on her turn. Not that she was ever bad or naughty it was more that she would do her skill and do it well mind you but then she'd zone into her own little world figuring that she had done it and was ready to move on. Lately though I've noticed that she's maturing, being better about paying attention, keeping her place in line and if the bigger girls cut in on her, she's telling them no. Even though she's always loved gymnastics and being at the gym, with her new found maturity and standing up for herself, she's enjoying it even more.

This morning I finally took Maisie's long-sleeved school shirts to the monogram place, poor little Maisie has been in sort-sleeved school shirts with sweaters as I had yet to get everything monogrammed. Maisie had a good day at school and right now she's sound asleep for her nap and once she wakes we're off to do a little shopping. We have a fun weekend ahead with my parents arriving on Saturday to spend the week and Thanksgiving with us and on Sunday it's A's 5th birthday party which we're all looking forward to attending. Monday I have a girl's night out which I'm really looking forward to and I'll be sure to blog about it because I know it's going to be great fun. I have yet to think about Thanksgiving and the meal I need to prepare...OY!! So in addition to recipes for Eammon's freezer meals, any good suggestions for our holiday menu?? I love recipes!

The picture at the top of the post was taken this morning. Maisie's wearing one of her winter school uniforms topped with a sweater as she has a short-sleeved shirt under the jumper. I do love that they can wear any plaid and Maisie still loves picking out and wearing her uniforms each day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My sweet sleeping angel

After school today Maisie took a nap and looked so sweet I just had to snap a piccie. I love how she nestled herself on top of the down comforter and covered herself with a pillow, just tucked in oh-so-sweet.

* Recently, sleep for Maisie has been better as she's mostly sleeping through the night and has been free of night terrors. In addition, most days she's been taking a nap and trust me when I say, that added hour of sleep improves both our moods. The solution for the time being has been to allow Maisie to sleep in bed with me at night as well as take her nap or quiet time there too. Unfortunately none of us sleep well if all three of us are in bed together so poor Eammon has been sleeping in the guest room, which needs to end soon. Since Maisie and I will be away all of December and she'll be sleeping with me then, we figured that there's no point in trying to transition her back to her own bed at this point but after the first of the year it's something that we're going to have to work on. I on the other hand have been experiencing a bout of insomnia so it's nice that when I do finally fall asleep she's not waking up screaming thus interrupting what little sleep I do get.

* Maisie's schedule has eased up a bit as I've pulled her from ballet. Maisie's been resisting going to ballet for a number of weeks but I've sort of forced the issue. Each time after class she'd go on and on about how much fun it was and how much she enjoyed the class but the following week she wouldn't want to go again. I'm not sure why she's decided that she doesn't want to attend any longer and hopefully in the future she'll decided to start up again but for now her schedule is pretty busy and an additional afternoon off is probably a good thing.

* This past weekend I cleaned all the summer clothing out of my closet and every item either went into the Goodwill pile or I packed it for Aruba. Here I am, just over three weeks until we fly out and I'm already fully packed! Twenty-three sleeps until Maisie and I are wiggling our toes in the warm Arubian sand...not that I'm counting or anything!

* Do not buy this item as they're totally addictive! All I can say is that I'm glad the bag is finished and they'll never be allowed back in this house again.

* This item and this one too are totally delish and I've stocked the house with extra boxes as they're only available this time of year so hurry, go get some while you can. (I found them locally at Walmart)

* I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks from today, where has this year gone?? Other than being packed for Aruba I'm so unprepared for the remainder of the year. I have nothing planned for our Thanksgiving meal nor have I started getting meals ready for Eammon for when Maisie and I are away. I need to get myself organized too as once Maisie and I return from Aruba we're home for only four days before we fly out again...OY, my head is spinning! I just purchased a couple of small Christmas pressies for Maisie that I can easily pack and take with us for our Christmas in London but that's all the holiday shopping I've done. Thankfully though during our brief four days home between trips I won't have to worry about getting everything washed immediately as we won't be taking any of our Aruba clothes on our England trip. On the other hand, I'm already dreading the amount of laundry that I know will await me once we return from that second my head is spinning even faster!

* Well, Maisie's sleeping soundly and it's time for me to get off the computer and try and get some sleep too. Ta for now.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Gymnastics times two

This afternoon started with Maisie and her gymnastics teammates doing a little performance at an event at a local park. The girls were adorable (naturally!) and they did a good job. Sorry for the bad quality on the video, I need a new camera and hands that don't shake like an earthquake is happening but it's the best I have. It's a bit difficult to see but Maisie is the last girl to enter and does her skills without a partner. If you can hang on and watch through the trembles to the 2:45 mark, check out my girl's awesome back-bend-kick-over.

After the performance we headed over to the gym to celebrate K's 7th birthday. (K is in pink and silver standing directly behind Maisie) The party was great fun as even I took a turn on the trampoline! Oh yeah, the children had a good time too doing all the gymnastics activities. Before heading upstairs for pizza & cupcakes they all received their medals. It was a long, beautiful and fun day and spending it with friends and having Maisie doing what she loves the most was just perfect.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Low-Low, Maisie, Emi & Bri

Today Maisie and I met up with Pug Mama & Low-Low, Liene & Emilija and Lisa & Briana at The Cheesecake Factory. We've been looking forward to meeting Low-Low since her arrival home in June and finally we were all able to arrange our schedules so to meet. It always amazes me how perfect our children are matched to our families as Low-Low is the perfect addition to the Pug Mama family. It was a great lunch, the company and the food and we can't wait to meet up again.

Low-Low was a great eater and a perfect little lady but chose to do only serious poses for my camera. Hopefully next time we meet up she'll be all smiles.

Emi seemed to enjoy watching the big girls but she did a lot better in the eating department than Maisie & Bri.

Maisie and Briana as always had fun together. Both of them filled up on bread & butter so that when their meals of mac & cheese arrived, neither ate more than a mouthful. They did though have fun playing math & word games on my iPhone and of course lots of giggles were involved.

When it was time to say goodbye the girls were so cute giving hugs.

The Mamas and their girls. Me & Maisie, Pug Mama & Low-Low, Liene & Emilija and Lisa & Briana.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Three years ago today

Is it three years already? On the other hand though, has it only been three years?? It was three years ago today that we received our referral of our sweet Maisie Miao Miao. The time has seemed to fly by yet it feels like a lifetime she's been with us. I still get teary eyed thinking back to that day, remembering the first time I laid eyes on our little cue-ball cutie. I'm truly thankful every day, even on the challenging ones, that we were matched with the perfect child for our family. We've loved you Maisie Miao Miao from the first time we laid eyes on your picture to today and that love will continue tomorrow and forever, you are our love and best girl ever.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Loser Mom Blogger

Shoot I don't even have a picture from Halloween. Time just seems to be getting away from me lately and I've been so bad about taking pictures, just not pulling out the camera. I know I've said numerous times in various posts that I need to or will get better about taking pictures and posting and the next thing I know, a week has passed without a picture or a post. In fact the pictures in this post weren't even taken by me, Michael & Ilene took them with his cell phone when we met for brunch on Sunday. I'm a total loser, I know!! So in my attempt to play catch up, here comes a post about what's been happening since the last time I posted.

I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, the colder weather has had me craving heartier foods and soups so I've made quite a few new recipes, some of which can now be found on CookLisaCook. Our recent dinners have included both new creations as well as some old favorites: Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder, Red Curry Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup Florentine, Curried Shepherd's Pie, a totally absolutely awesome Coriander Roasted Salmon with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce and of course some sweets all of which have included pumpkin but the only one posted thus far are some super moist and delish Pumpkin Blondies. So needless to say, we've been doing a lot of good eating!

I also seem to be doing a lot of shopping lately, the sales have been too incredible to pass up. Just for example, yesterday I was at Land's End where I scored some great bathing suits for me at 85% off, perfect for when we head to Aruba in December. Then today I was in Macy's and though not as fabu of a deal, I now have some nice pants, sweaters and tops at 70% off, not too shabby and they'll serve me well this winter. Then of course there have been days like last Tuesday when I headed to Costco for gas and to buy one giant bag of Romaine lettuce (we've also been eating a lot of Caesar salad) and by the time I walked out the door, somehow managed to spend $187. I did have one other big purchase this week. Can you believe that after ONLY 24 years and trust me, not super heavy usage, my vacuum decided that it didn't want to work anymore?? Gosh, they just don't build things to last! So Saturday I purchased a new vacuum and just slap me silly as to how much better and how much easier it is to use. Of course even though it's shiny, new and powerful that doesn't mean it's going to get used any more often than the old one, but at least when I do use it will be easier and do a much better job.

This past week has been good in that Maisie has responded well to her increased allergy meds. After only four days at the higher dosage her nose was no longer running, she was no longer coughing from the drip and her throat no longer bothered her. In addition, because she's feeling better, she's sleeping better so her attitude and mood is back to normal. She's had a good week being busy with school, ballet, gymnastics and time with friends.

Maisie had the best time on Halloween. Both Maisie and K decided that they wanted to be gymnasts so an easy costume of a leotard, warm-ups and their gymnastics medals, easy-peasy but as I said, loser Mom here so no piccies. Saturday afternoon we all went over to K & A's house along with some other neighbors where we had a totally gourmet dinner as each person who brought over a dish really outdid themselves and all the food was awesome. After dinner and some playtime the Dads took the group of seven kids out trick-or-treating while a few of us Moms stayed back at the house, continuing to socialize and passing out candy to the oh-so-few trick-or-treaters. The weather wasn't the best, raining on and off so not many children out but Maisie and her friends had a blast. After all the excitement and way too much candy Maisie was wired and even though we all got into bed at the same time, Maisie was too wired to sleep and out lasted both Eammon and I, staying up way past her bedtime. Since she's been sleeping better and had been up very late Saturday night, I had high hopes of her sleeping in Sunday morning but alas she was up at sparrows fart and had no desire or plans to lay still, keep quiet or let anyone else get some additional sleep.

Sunday was another fun day as we met up with friends Ilene, Michael and April at Maisie's favorite restaurant, Nori Nori. As always we had a great time together and brunch was incredible. Maisie and April always have so much fun and of course are adorable together so that always makes for an enjoyable time. After the girls finished eating they had fun playing games on my iPhone while the adults finished and spent time socializing. Then it was hugs good-bye and sadly because of busy schedules for all of us, it will probably be next year before we all get together again.

Well that about sums up our week and here we start again, another chance for me to pull out the camera and post more often...let's see what happens...

And because no post is complete with out a piccie or two, the pictures of April and Maisie that Michael took with his cell phone.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amazing Maisie and Fabulous Friends at the Maize Maze

Last year we had so much fun year meeting up with Lisa, Doug & Briana and Kathy, Matt & Chani at Cagle's Dairy we just knew that we had to do it again this year. We all met first thing Saturday morning for a day of fun getting lost in the Maize Maze, going on a hay ride, taking a dairy tour, feeding goats, pony rides and jumping on the bouncing pillows. Last year we had spectacular warm weather with blue skies but this year we weren't quite as lucky as it was overcast and quite cool but that didn't dampen our spirits.

Our day started with a trek though the maize maze and where last year we chose the easy maze, this year we challenged ourselves and made our way though the more difficult one. We made just a few wrong turns but eventually made our way out.

Towards the end of the Maize maze there is a bridge and the guys and little girls climbed up for a picture and to enjoy the view.

We then headed over for a tour of the dairy where we went on a hayride.

And the cow said, "I spy two little cuties!" I think Maisie may have jumped had she noticed the cow's face being so up close and personal.

After the hayride everyone was given some feed to feed the goats. Last year Maisie had to be coaxed and wasn't too thrilled to be near the animals but this year she had no fear at all and had a blast.

What a difference a year makes. Last year Maisie wanted nothing to do with the ponies not even wanting to get near them to watch Bri and Chani but this year she couldn't wait to ride and the smile on her face shows how much she enjoyed her first ever pony ride.

All the girls pose for a piccie.

The three and four year old children play on the bouncing pillow. Yes, when Eammon and Doug get together it's like having another two children in the mix but it's always fun.

Maisie enjoying some bounce time with Baba.

It was a fun day, both the activities and the company and we're already planning a return visit next year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday Halloween play date...A fun ending to a very long week

This week has felt like one extremely l.o.n.g week. Maisie's birthday party on Saturday was great and Sunday was a quiet day at home with all of us just a bit over tired, recuperating from too much sugar and not feeling 100%, but an okay day.

Monday I awoke with a sore throat but Maisie said she was feeling better even though her nose was streaming, it was running clear so I gave her some allergy meds before taking her to school. When I picked her up though her teacher Miss. Nancy said that Maisie had been dragging, said she was too tired to participate during phys. ed. and just didn't seem to feel well. Maisie barely stayed awake during the drive home and willingly and quickly climbed into bed for a nap so I knew that she was not feeling great. After nap we spent a quiet afternoon at home playing with play-doh and doing puzzles instead of going to ballet. At bedtime Maisie was ready and willing to go straight to bed so an early night it was and she slept through the night.

Tuesday morning Maisie had no desire to get out of bed and asked if she could go back to sleep, a first for her, so we slept in and I kept her home from school. In the afternoon she took a brief nap, said that she was feeling better and wanted to go to gymnastics practice and since she hadn't been running any fever and I thought it just allergies bothering her, we went and she had a good practice.

Wednesday morning Maisie was up early and had a good day at school but was quite tired when I picked her up and she willingly took another good nap. Wednesdays are nice because we have no after-school activities so we spent a quiet afternoon at home together.

Thursday morning Maisie said that her throat hurt a little but it looked okay and I was still thinking that it was just her allergies as there was no fever so after some more allergy meds I took her to school. She had a good day at school and once home really fought nap time, only sleeping for about 35 minutes. When she awoke she said she wanted to go to gymnastics so we headed off to practice. Once at the gym though Maisie did not want to be there and I could tell that she just wasn't into it and didn't want to participate, which is highly unusual, so about 20 minutes into the practice I pulled her and we headed home. She and I had a quick dinner and then she asked if she could get into bed and play her Leapster, which she did and just before 7PM she was fast asleep.

Friday morning Maisie had her four-year-old physical which worked out well as I could also get some advice on her week of not feeling well. I was correct in my assumption that it was allergies bothering Maisie and the doctor has me doubling up on one of her meds for the next week and said that within a week she should be feeling better, and I'm very much looking forward to having her better. The doctor said that Maisie is doing great and growing well. In the past year she gained 4 pounds, now weighing 30.5 pounds (13th percentile) and she grew 3 inches now measuring 39.5 inches tall (43rd percentile). Poor little Maisie though got four injections and the flu mist so not a happy visit for her. On the way out she received a token to get a prize from one of the gumball type machines and she got a little toy dolphin along with a princess sticker and a lollipop so that made her happy.

After the doctor we headed over to Lisa & Briana's house for a Halloween play date. Lisa went all out having her house decked out for the holiday, crafts for the girls to do and even goodie bags for the girls to take home. Everyone brought food for lunch but Lisa and Angela really went with the Halloween theme with Lisa making ghost and pumpkin shaped sandwiches for the little girls and Angela made an adorable veggie plate skeleton. I on the other hand didn't do anything that cute but I contributed pumpkin blondies which were quite delish even if I do say so myself. I feel as if I haven't done a play date in ages so it was fun to be with all the girls and the Moms.

After the play date Maisie and I headed over to the gym as they were having team pictures taken. By this time though she was really tired and her injection sites were hurting so she was less than happy. She did sleep in the car for about 20 minutes but was just so uncomfortable. She was good for the photographer but kept asking when we could go home. Once home she only wanted to get into bed but I made her eat a little dinner, gave her some ibuprofen and her allergy meds then we both climbed into bed and we both were asleep before 7PM.

I'm glad that it's only allergies that have been bothering her and I do hope that the increased allergy meds help her feel better, and soon! We have only one thing planned over the weekend and as it's supposed to be quite cold it will be good to stay in, get some extra rest and hopefully start the week on a healthier note.

Briana & Mary Lin working on their crafts.
Liene helping Emilija with her craft.
Halee and Laney working on their crafts.
Maisie showing off her craft.
Angela's veggie skeleton.
Lisa's adorable ghost & pumpkin PBJ sandwiches for the little girls.
Maisie & Briana enjoying the computer together.
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