Thursday, December 31, 2009

We're Going to China

It's official!! We received confirmation about 15 minutes ago that we will leave for China on January 20th to bring home Madi's little brother. We are over the moon to start the New Year in such a magnificent way. As an added bonus, Mommy will be spending her birthday with her son and his birthday too. God is so good...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was lovely. We spent the evening with Bubba & Grandpa and rather than a formal, sit-down dinner, we opted for a slow, casual, standing in the kitchen sort of thing. It worked out great and we enjoyed a seafood feast over the course of an hour or two. Everyone was relaxed, and Madi enjoyed opening a gift here and there throughout the evening.

It has always been our family's tradition to open some gifts on Christmas Eve. Madi got some cool gel pens, and a couple of Barbie dolls but her favorite gift, at least from her reaction, was a toy computer from Bubba & Grandpa. She was fascinated that it came with a mouse. She wasn't really concerned about how to work the computer correctly, but she was pleased to emulate her Mother and just pound away at the keyboard, as if she knew what she were accomplishing. This toy is destined to be broken in no time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Madi's Gingerbread House

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One of Madi's Christmas gifts from Aunt Sheila, Uncle David, Murphy & Myles was a gingerbread house and chefwear for the project. I finally figured out how to record some footage on my camera!

O Christmas Tree

A few days before Christmas, we ventured downtown Delray with friends Sophia & Carmelina to see Santa and the 100' Christmas tree. Madi had her list prepared and gazed at Santa very lovingly. She also got to go on a carousel ride accompanied by Bubba.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The week before Christmas

Last week was a very busy week for Madi before the holiday break began. The kids did a beautiful singing performance of Christmas songs at her school. The same day, she danced in her jazz recital. on Saturday, she finished up Cheerleading for the session and earned her second trophy! It was an exciting week, and we were ready for break!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Murphy Christmas

Last weekend, we celebrated Christmas with the Murphy side of the family. Aunt Sheila and Uncle David hosted and we had a great time. Madi was adorned with many awesome Christmas gifts. Her favorite parts of the celebration were swimming with Myles (and doing flips off the edge at the same time) and playing drums with Murphy. She also loved helping little Brooklyn do whatever she needed to do!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bethlehem 2009

Every year, we try to make it to Cason United Methodist Church for their living nativity. It is a wonderful tradition. Last year, Madi wanted to take a flower for Baby Jesus. This year, she remembered and insisted on bringing a rose for Baby Jesus again. We met up with some of the Mei Mei's and the Gemma family. As usual, it was the perfect setting to put one in the Christmas Spirit.

Grandpa Turns 75!

On 12/14, "Grumpy Grandpa" hit his big 75! In order to celebrate appropriately, we planned a little surprise birthday champagne toast in his honor! He walked in with a bottle of champagne, promptly surveyed the crowd, determined he didn't bring enough champagne, and scowled in his usual fashion! So typical--it never occurred to him that we picked up a case for all to enjoy! We had a really nice time. Madi loved helping to surprise Grandpa. She helped make a picture poster board and helped pick out the perfect birthday cake for him. She was a wonderful hostess.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in New Smyrna


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This year, we drove to New Smyrna Beach to spend Thanksgiving with Aunt Diane & Uncle Rick (Uncle Shrimp). Madi was so excited for the road trip with Grandpa. When we arrived, they had an assortment of gifts for Madi to help occupy her time. One of which was a very special green M & M watch. The best part for Madi was that Aunt Diane had a matching watch too, since Madi is always making sure that they are "on the same team".

On Thanksgiving Day, we went to the beach to collect sea shells and walk around the town, while Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick prepared a lovely feast for us. We really enjoyed just spending time together and catching up. Madi was also able to take a dip in their pool, since the sun was shining (and the pool was heated:)

Yesterday, we received a phone message from Aunt Diane & Uncle Rick that they miss Madi and the house is way too quiet without her. Let us just say that Madi enjoyed sharing her vivacious personality for a few days! Thank you for having us!

The Royal Treatment at NuTurf

We went to NuTurf last weekend to get some herbs and tomato plants. Uncle Bill treated Madi to a ride on the golf cart, which she loves. She happily drove off with him to get carted around the nursery.

Madi's Singing Debut at School

A few weeks back, Madi and her classmates at First United Methodist Preschool performed at the 11:00 am church service. It was her first singing performance, so needless to say, Kleenex was in hand! The performance was great. Madi led the pack to the altar. She was audible and it was just precious. She smiled and looked like a pro...so cute. Our (and her) favorite was 'Jesus Loves Me'.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Run, Daddy, Run!

Daddy ran his first road race on Saturday! He did great! I went to the race to set up a Juice Plus table at 5:30 am with Sherril and Jules. Daddy and Madi showed up with Matt and Jonathan around 7:00. At the beginning of the race, we watched the crowd run by and looked for Daddy, who was not to be missed in his bright orange 'Powered by Juice Plus' shirt that I bought him at conference.

After about 14 minutes, we walked over to the finish line to see the exciting finish for all the runners. We watched for Jimmy. After a few minutes, Madi asked with concern, "Is Daddy going to be last?" I laughed and reassured her that Daddy would not come in last. At 28 minutes, we watched him turn the corner. It was a very cool moment. I didn't expect to get sentimental! Daddy finished strong, and we were both very proud of him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

For years, I have looked at the precious writings of my friends and family's children with those fill in the blank questions asked in school, like 'my favorite thing is...' or 'I love Mom because...". You know what I mean--those questions who's answers must be so very adored and cherished by their parents.

Well, yesterday we got our first taste of that experience. Jimmy and I walked into Madi's school to pick her up and noticed a big paper on the wall that read, "What I'm thankful for..." As our eyes scrolled down to Madi's entry, our hearts melted and our eyes teared. It read "Mommy and Daddy".

I always wondered how it felt as a parent to read those sweet answers expressed by your child. I am so glad to know it feels every bit as wonderful as I ever imagined it would:)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Madi's Dream

Madi woke up this morning and told me about her dream last night. She dreamed about our Christmas tree. Santa brought presents for everyone--for her and for Daniel, for Mommy & Daddy, and for our three cats-Cinnamon, Schroeder & Rooty too.

After she told me about her dream, she became very concerned and asked me if I think Santa Claus will remember to bring presents for Daniel too. I assured her that Santa Claus would never forget about her little brother:)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Daniel Update!

For all of you anxiously awaiting news of some sort, we received a nice update from Holt today on Daniel's progress. Here's the latest:

He exhibits well developed eye accommodation. He can walk up and down stairs one at a time with pauses. He can turn door knobs and climb on furniture. He chews more effectively. He walks and runs with a stiff gait and wide stance. He can use a spoon but will spill. He can kick a ball in front of him without support. He has daytime bladder and bowel control, but nighttime control not complete. He doesn't talk too much. He speaks only some simple words such as "Ba Ba" which means Dad and "Ma Ma" which means Mom. He helps to undress and tries to button. He wants to hoard and not share his favorite toys. If others take his favorite toys away, he will try to get it back. His favorite toy is a set of toy kitchen and cookware. He gets along well with other children. But sometimes he will compete toys with others.

We are smiling after reading this update. It sure sounds like he's holding his own!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fingerprints - Check

Our fingerprints expired on 10/29 for our adoption. We were sent new appointment notices which I quickly added to our calendar. We were ready to leave for our appointment yesterday when I looked at the paper, and I almost jumped out of my skin. How could that paper have read 'November 2nd' when it was already November 3rd?? Yes, Queen organizer wrote down the wrong day on the calendar! I instantly fell into a panic, especially when I read the disclaimer, 'if you fail to make your appearance, your case will be abandoned'. Oh my Good Lord!! I freaked out! Thank God Jimmy was there to calm me down. Madi started getting upset and saying, "Daddy, I want our baby. I want our baby!" I called our USCIS case worker and he calmly recommended that we show up at the support center and see what happens. So we did. We drove to Royal Palm Beach and much to our Murphy's Law surprise, we were treated like royalty without a single hitch. We were printed and gone in 15 minutes!! No coincidences, I say, no coincidences...

Now we continue to wait for our travel approval. Once we receive it, we are on to the next step: planning travel!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

What a difference in Madi this year! Gone was the fear of costumes. Gone was the fear of trick-or-treating at a strange door. In fact, she raced from door to door, knocking and ringing doorbells without any fear at all. It was so fun to watch her from the street and see her bravery escalate. She loved every part of it.

We were joined again this year by neighbors and friends. Madi trick-or-treated with Heidi and Kaitlyn, the twins down the street and with buddies Ana and MoMo Socha. We are happy to report that there were no incidences of dogs attacking!

After circling our phase of the hood, the girls were satisfied and elected to run and play in the yard. They had a great time together.

On Friday night, we went to a Trunk-or-Treat event at our church. They closed the parking lot and all the kids paraded through the lot together and then collected candy. People went all-out decorating their cars and dressing up. Hannah Schulte came with us and walked with Madi around the lot. They had a great time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Legacy of an Adopted Child

My dear friend and fellow Mei Mei Mommy, Carmen, shared this beautiful poem with me this morning. I just had to post it for Madi to read someday:

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women, who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives, shaped to make your one...
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first gave you life and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.

One gave you up ... that's all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me, through your fears,
the age old question unanswered throughout the years...

Heredity or environment, which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling neither.
Just two different kinds of love.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Murphaloneys Go Camping

Last weekend, we went camping with the Maloney's for Emily's 5th birthday. It was Madi's first camping experience and mine too! Camping at Disney's Fort Wilderness isn't exactly like "real" camping, but it was real enough for us! It was comforting to have a nice, clean, cool place to take a shower and use the facilities. It was a pleasure to have a bbq grill handy and running water to clean our dishes. It was convenient to have a golf cart to shuttle us all around the campus. It was fun to have access to a resort swimming pool equipped with a large water slide and sing-alongs every night by a campfire for roasting s'mores. Nonetheless, we did sleep in a tent. That's what made the camping experience "real". That and having to go potty in the middle of the night!! Despite our 90+ degree days, the nights were quite comfortable.

The highlight of our trip was our first time at Disney with Madi. We were given three magical tickets to Disney for Madi's birthday. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We headed for the park nice and early. The girls were beaming. We took a boat over--it was Madi's first boat ride that she can remember, anyway! To see her face at the Magic Kingdom entrance was priceless. She didn't know what to think. During the course of the day, we managed to go on 15 rides. We even had the experience of being escorted off a ride that broke down--that was a first in our book!

At about 2:30, we headed back to the campsite to give the girls some down time. They promptly passed out, and we had a chance to chill out. I was so relaxed that I locked our keys in the van! It could have been disastrous, but we called AAA and they were out in a record-breaking 20 minutes time. It was unbelievable.

At approximately 6:30, we headed back to the park for more fun. Madi agreed to go into the Haunted Mansion, which she will now tell you was her favorite ride. It wasn't her favorite when we were in line! She was quite apprehensive but was a very good sport and now feels very 'grown up' that she handled it so well.

The best part of the night was the parade. It had already started at one end of the park and we were having trouble finding a place to park our stroller to watch. All of a sudden, we were approached by someone asking us how many in our party. He escorted us to a special area, which miraculously had one empty bench right next to the street. These were paid seats, and I'm sure they weren't cheap! I truly believe it was Grandma in action--her and the Holy Spirit hooked us up big time! The girls were in awe, jumping up and down and it was truly an event we won't forget. The parade was followed up by some unbelievable fireworks too. The next day, we took the girls for pony rides and went back to the pool for some more swimming fun.

It was a great trip, and we couldn't have planned our first family camping excursion with better company. The Maloney's had every meal planned, prepared and cooked! The girls, as usual, had a blast together even doing simple things like collecting acorns around the campsite. Thanks Ed, Clare & Emily for showing us the ropes!!! There are so many pictures, I'll have to post them as a slideshow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Which Witch is Which?

Is it me, or is the cutest little witch you've ever laid eyes on?? When we were in NH, Auntie Mo asked Madi what she wanted to be for Halloween. Madi replied that she wanted to be a witch. Two days later arrives the most beautiful witch costume I've ever seen. Thanks Mo, Rob & Sean:)

For three years, we watched Madi become incredibly fearful in the presence of witches--fake ones, toy ones, even little girls dressed up like witches. This was something that Grandma worked with Madi on every year. She would always say to Madi, "Which Witch is Which???" and really knew how to lighten things up for her. To our surprise, this year Madi declared that she wants to be a witch for Halloween! Grandma working her magic from above again...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Visit to New Hampshire

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Madi and I took a trip to NH last weekend to visit Uncle Andrew, Aunt Colleen, Matthew, dog Lindsey and new cat Henry. We had a great time with the family and really enjoyed the crisp Fall weather. We collected some beautiful Fall leaves for Madi to take back to school and show her classmates.

Aunt Mo, Mommy's best friend, came up to visit with her son, Sean. We went to a local apple orchard to pick apples, and the kids made smores over the firepit. We had a lot of laughs together. Thank you Aunt Colleen for cooking your famous comfort foods and thanks to all of you for your hospitality!

Friday, September 25, 2009

To answer your question

Lately when I ask Madi a question, she will answer with, "Because" to which I reply, "Because is not an answer, Madi."

Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, she asked me a question to which I replied, "I don't know." She looked at me squarely and said, "I don't know is not an answer, Mom."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Camping Out for Grandpa

Grandpa has been babysitting quite a bit lately. Madi is always so excited for his arrival that she will build a small camp site by our front door in anticipation. She likes to set up a couple hours in advance so she doesn't miss his grand entrance. They have so much fun together it's easy to see why she enjoys his company so much. He'll play dolls, read books and he's clearly good at taking her orders! He really gets a kick out of her too...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Madi's Riddle

Yesterday on our drive down to the Disney Princess on Ice show, we played a little game called "Guess the Princess". Madi says, "What princess never wears dresses and has a husband named Jimmy?" Hmmm...sounds like Princess Mommy:)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Step Closer!

We received our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China this week! We were told this could take anywhere from 6 weeks to 4.5 months. Thankfully, we had it in our hands in exactly 2 months. We signed all the necessary documents and sent the package to Holt via FedEx for Monday arrival. We also included a soft photo book for them to send to Daniel in China, so he can begin studying the faces of his new family.

This week, we also learned of a new step in the process that we didn't have to do the first time around. We have to take 10 hours of parenting classes to satisfy the Hague requirements! Helloooo!!! Has anyone seen our daughter Madi lately??? I'd like to think we're doing okay over here!!! Actually, we're okay with it. We realize they do this for the safety and protection of the children. Jimmy and I started the online courses last night and they are pretty cool. I think the Lord prepares us in certain ways, and maybe this time around we will need more preparation than we did for Madi. The circumstances are obviously very different.

So, thanks for the prayers! Please keep them up! The next step we need to complete is getting our approvals from USCIS. We are hoping that this takes less than a month. Estimated travel date: still too early to tell!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Madi's Favorite Teacher

The other day, while driving Madi home from her first day of Pre-K at First United Methodist, I pointed out how lucky she is to have so many teachers. She has Miss Dana and Miss Debra at Banyan, Mrs. Bivens at FUMC, and Miss Kristie at gymnastics. So, I asked her who her favorite teacher is. She thought for a moment and with a big smile she pointed at me and said, YOU, Mommy!" Does that child know how to melt my heart, or what??? What a compliment:)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Madi's beautiful nails

Today was a milestone in the exciting life of a little girl. Madi went for her first salon manicure/pedicure, and I'm sad to say that I wasn't there to witness it! Aunt Carol, next door, wanted to take Madi and how could we refuse knowing what a joyful experience she would have!

Thankfully, Carol took some great pictures, and Madi called us while she was 'drying' to report that her nails and toes were just beautiful! That cute little voice almost had me in tears. She is so proud of the little flowers they put on her. What a girlie girl!!

Pictures from Gotcha Day!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

GOTCHA Madi!!

It is so hard to believe that three years ago today, this beautiful, sweet, sassy, smart, funny, cute, obstinate, one-of-a-kind child was placed into our arms.

Today, we celebrate our togetherness as a family. It is a very special day.

We've watched this special baby blossom into this extra-special little girl who melts our hearts on a daily basis.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day at Banyan!

Madi's first day of school at Banyan Creek, a speech Pre-K class, was last Wednesday. Biba and Grandpa sprung for a new backpack, and she was so excited to go. Mommy, Daddy, & Biba walked her to school on her first day. She wasn't very sure of things once we arrived. She clung to Daddy like a koala bear! We knew she'd get in the groove once she settled in.

When we picked her up, she declared that she didn't want to leave! She absolutely loved it, even though she's the only girl in her class. I know that Madi will excel in school. She is so good at taking instruction and following the ground rules. In fact, when I picked her up today, her teacher came to my window and with conviction, said, "She is a SWEET HEART!!!" Ahhhh...the proud moments of parenthood:)