Thursday, December 29, 2011


I thought it was going to be incredibly hard to have an amazing Christmas while our sweet boy was still living half way around the world. So, instead of getting down, we stepped up to the challenge. We had four, yes -four, days of celebrating with family and friends and this holiday was every bit as wonderful as the past. Only one thing could have made it better, and we found comfort knowing that he would definitely be home for Christmas next year.

Zoey had a rough start to the festivities with her belly issues and the emergency GI visit but that couldn't keep her from having fun.

She had a very special gift to open from a very special person :) and she LOVED it. Belle has been at her side since she opened her on Christmas Eve morning. They sing together, read together, have tea parties and dinner parties, and just about everything else my very busy girl does. ♥
                      Zoey had the important job of opening her baby brothers presents too. We know that James will be very overwhelmed when he comes home, so instead of keeping his gifts wrapped, we decided to open and assemble them so they will be ready and waiting.

This was the first one she opened for James and she was very excited. Thanks to all those who thought of our sweet boy on the other side of the pond. He has an amazing extended family here who already loves him so much and for that we feel so blessed.

Baby girl opened her 5th Christmas ornament
from Mom Mom Carol who always finds the perfect Hallmark ornament for every occasion. It is just amazing to me that we have celebrated five years of Christmas with our little girl. Really, where has the time gone?!?!  It seems just like yesterday she was coming home from the hospital with her big  monitor and wires and now she is growing into her own little independent person.

This year she upgraded her tree from 2 feet to 4 and from purple to pink. She took such pride in her tree and we loved to watch her marvel over it each morning. Zoey also loved to set up the nativity under her tree and talk about baby Jesus and his mommy Mary.

 She also made this gingerbread house all on her own and I have no idea how I am going to dispose of it. I feel so horrible disposing of something that means so much to her...something that she put so much time and effort into...something she was so proud to present me. But, the thing weighs 10 pounds and could feed an army of rodents if I pack it up in the attic till next year.

So, this cute little house has a limited time here at the Wong's and will be relocating to the curb in the near future.

Anyway, now that I am way off track, lets get back to the Christmas festivities.

We had a wonderful Christmas eve celebration at our house.
We lit candles and had yummy food and celebrated with family and friends.

We toasted....

We conversed....

We ate....

We opened gifts...

and we were all very merry.

Cousins played together all through the house....

They "fed the reindeer" a mix of oats and sparkles incase Santa's sleigh pullers were hungry during the night.

The little ones took the task very serious while Janie helped to give them some pointers. Afterall, she has quite a few years of experience on them.

... and they ate lots of desserts. 

....lots and lots of desserts.

Because it was Christmas, and special rules always apply on Christmas.

These two little ones really know how to do dessert well :)

Can't you tell?!?!?

                                               But wait.... this little one isn't too shabby herself.

Present time....
The newest addition to Christmas Eve...
But before long it was late and time for evebryone to go home and get ready for Christmas Day. 
Zoey was so tired she fell asleep in about four minutes.
Like for reals.

and while she was sleeping Santa came.

and the next morning daddy recorded... as a sleepy but excited little girl, made her way downstairs... to see the Belle tea cart that she wished for Santa to bring... right there under the tree.

Zoey loved all of her gifts - but her favorites, after the tea cart of course, were the easy bake oven ....
and her "ipad"...

            and her "Cafe Barista" that both of her Grandma's are trying to get out of the package behind her.

and ALL of her board games.

And for James - Zoey says his favorite is this train set.
Perhaps it is "big sister" intuition.

We spent the rest of the day struggling to get toys out of packages and assembling them. We played every board game santa could have possibly carried on his sled, we made cakes in the easy bake oven, and played and played and played some more. Then we had a nice dinner with family and did it all over again - well the playing all the new toys part.

It must have been a pretty good day because Zoey totally forgot that she asked for Santa to bring her baby brother home... and no matter how much pull Mama has at the north pole... it just couldnt happen. So, even know we were misisng our little boy, we were happy knowing that Zoey's last Christmas as an only child in the house was happy and that she didn't have any worries about adult things like when her little brother was going to get an EP and make his way to his forever family.

Today, Christmas made its way back to the attic.
The house is slowly returning to its normal clean and organized state.
And this MaMa is happy to have made another years worth of memories
And even happier thinking 2012 is coming - and next year -
 both my children will be together on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What a week!

It has been a CRAZY week. It wasn't supposed to be. I was prepared - I really was.

I made a vow that I wouldn't let James not being home for Christmas get me down. I channeled all my energy on getting everything done ahead of schedule.

The tree has been decorated, presents bought and wrapped, cards mailed, photo sessions finished, and lots and lots of baking completed.

Lots of baking went on... and not just any kind of baking... some good over achieving baking that you only see from me two times a year. (My kids Birthday and Christmas)

We went big this year- if baby brother can't be home, my golly, big sister is going to have some darn good baked goods.

We turned cake pops into reindeer's and painted light bulb lollipops. We baked things that didn't just consist of reading the side of the box like we do all year long. We were on top of our game.

We didn't stop at baking either.

We did ART too. We made ornaments and trees and  I covered a wall in paper and Zoey and I painted a mural - complete with a tree and snowmen.... and a yellow blob with a long line looking thing that Zoey says is her and her brother sledding. Gotta love my artsy girl - sometimes her imagination is bigger then her skill but if she says that it is a hill and her and her brother sledding then this mama thinks it is the best one she has ever seen.

We didn't stop there.... 

We took drives around the neighborhood and looked at the lights.

We read stories at night about the holidays and about Mary and baby Jesus.

We took lots and lots of photos.

We mailed packages early so they wouldn't be late.

We watched Christmas specials on TV.

We broke out the winter coats and hats and scarfs. ..............

.....................We were totally rockin the holiday season.

We embraced the tradition of the "ELF" all month long. Elvis the Elf hung from fans, drank glasses of milk late at night, he dangled from the mistle toe ,left letters and trinkets all while I wondered if this whole elf thing would come back to bite me in the, you know,  a - double  s.

With each new ELF adventure I had to be sure not to take it too far and scar my already anxiety ridden daughter for life. This parent thing isn't easy.

Zoey became a fan of the elf. Santa not so much - but the elf and her were definitely okay.

But then, everything changed, and Monday came and BAM!!! No matter how ready I was, no matter how much I planned and prepared, no matter how well I was trying to do with James not being home EVERYTHING EXPLODED.... well not everything...

We realized it had been weeks - like 3- since Zoey did number 2...and while she has always had some belly issues - way back to the early NICU days - never had it been like this. She was quickly becoming agitated and irritated. She wasn't sleeping. She was tired and cranky and mad and irritable.

We upped her regular belly meds and nothing. We added in a few other "things" and nothing. She sat on her potty for hours and the poor litlte thing just couldn't go. We took her into the pedi and they sent us for some tests and xrays and prescribed  a new "remedy" and trust me readers.... be happy I am sparing the details. Things are a little better - but the pedi has us going to an emergency GI appointment Friday. Good thing - since we have been on the waiting list at CHOP and the soonest appointment is in March.

We definitely didn't plan for all this during Christmas week - good think we were ahead of schedule.

Because the week is full.
With parties

and pageants
and missing sweet baby James.
Because no matter how busy we tried to be, and no matter how happy we try to stay, and no matter how many number two, or lack thereof, situations we have we are still thinking about him ALL THE TIME. The waiting is hard, but we know, will be so worth it.

10 more days until 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Survey Time

Let's get in the Holiday Spirit blog style. After reading, copy and paste on your blog or answer in the comments section :)

What is your favorite Christmas movie ?

The song makes me cry every single time I hear it and the movie just turns me into a sobbing mess. It is just so touching. Nothing the matter with a good weepy weepy movie over the holidays.

When it comes to decorations, are you a Griswald or a Grinch?

I think I have a good balance - well I used to - BK (before kids). The outside was always classical, you know, white lights and a nativity. Fast forward to AK (after kids) and the front lawn looks a little like a three ring circus. Mary and Baby Jesus are sharing space on the lawn with Charlie Brown and Snoopy with his Snow Cone Machine. Maybe Joseph wants a slushy ?!?! Add in some twinkling snow flake lights and big colored bulbs strung in the trees, some light up snowmen, a projector illuminating snowflakes cascading down the house and you got- well - a hot mess.

I keep telling myself "One day I will miss this". Will I ?  Maybe the look on my daughters face every night at five o'clock when the automatic timer goes on and the lights start flashing and Charlie Brown comes to life. Or maybe when we can't marvel at how cute it is that Zoey knows who Jesus' mommy is and that she knows the 3 Wise Men brought gifts. So, for now I will pretend that I love the hodge podge of Christmas on the front lawn as much as she does :)

What is your favorite Christmas song?

The Christmas Shoes.... oh, and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer... like a little Addem Sandler Hannukah Song too.

Would you rather be a partridge in a pear tree or a lord-aleaping?Would you rather be a partridge in a pear tree or a lord a-leaping and why?

What the ?!!?  How far can the lord-a-leaping leap?  There is a little boy on the other side of the pond I would love to see.

Does your family send out Christmas cards?

Absolutely! I love Holiday cards!!!! I love designing them, I love sending them out, and I really love getting them in the mail and hanging them in the house. I save them all every year and take them out and look at them the following year.

This years card was hard. We really thought James would be home for Christmas and we would have a card with both of them on it - together- like, in the same picture. Well, we all know how that turned out. So, I decided to do a bright multi color card so that Zoey's pictures and James'  wouldn't need to match. On the back we used 3 photos of James and wrote how he will be coming to his forever home in early 2012. 

When do you start shopping for Christmas presents?

Octoberish  :)

Tree - is it fake or real?

Fake - and I  L.O.V.E. it!! I was never one for a fake tree until AK ( after kids). Three years ago, when Zoey was a year old, I crossed over and will never go back. I love that I can put it up right before we go to New York for Thanksgiving and it will not die. I love that I don't have to worry about the house burning down if I forget to water it and my tree never needs to be swept up after.

Do you believe in Santa?

Absolutely!!! ;)  Your never to old to believe in the magic of Christmas.

What is your Christmas Wish?

Do I really need to be asked?  I wish for EP's in abundance come January. I wish for quick movement and James to make it home quickly in 2012. I wish for my entire family to be under one roof before winter ends. :) and that groundhog better not see his shadow!!

Your turn!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Little Things

           All the little things that December brings is certainly helping the month pass quickly. We have now entered our eighth month of waiting since we saw James' sweet pictures for the very first time. We also have passed the thirteenth month mark since we started the process. Last year we told everyone over the holidays that we had begun the process and we really thought that this year we would have already welcomed our new child home. I am finding comfort knowing that we are getting close and that for sure James will be home next Christmas. Exactly 3 weeks from today we will say goodbye to 2011 and ring in 2012 - and I have never been so excited to roll into a new year.

We are making the most of these last few weeks of 2011.

We are making frequent trips around the neighborhood so my sweet girl can see the lights. She loves to sit back and give everyone the play by play. "Look Red and Green with a Santa" and "Jesus and his mommy Mary" can be heard between the lines of her rendition of "Deck the Halls".

Yes, "Deck the Halls"!!!  We can ALWAYS make out the Fa La La part and even the first line but somewhere after "Tis the season to be jolly" it all goes south and we just hold back the laughter. It is HYSTERICAL!!!!

We started baking.  December is the one month when I actually do bake - alot.  Every other month you might see a batch of cookies or maybe some cupcakes or brownies, but during the holidays we bake and bake and bake some more. 

<----  Today's cookies.

I love to make them and decorate them but they never get eaten. I think they are more like  acraft project :)

and what else have I been up to????

Looking at pictures and video of this sweet litlte boy. -------->

James took part of the Holt September Birthday Dol celebration. He looked so cute in his hanbok and he participated in the dol-jabee, a ritual in which the child is encouraged to pick an item laid in front of him to forecast his future. James picked the gavel - do we have a judge or lawyer in the future?!?

I don't know how I would have survived  on this journey of adoption without a little thing called .... the internet.  Because without the internet I wouldn't have formed all these connections and friendships with wonderful people all over the country.

A fellow adoptive mom who recently traveled to pick up her baby girl brought back a video and photos of several of the babies who were there at the party back in September. She then used the handy dandy internet to distribute it to all the waiting familes. Thanks again Maggie for this awesome gift.

Adoption  has allowed me to form so many wonderful connections all over the country.

 Remember last month we met Nicki and her family in Disney for a few days. Nicki lives in Kansas and also has a September baby waiting to come home. She has almost the exact same timeline and became my waiting buddy and then my total bestie on this journey. I cannot wait to see Nate in her arms.

Then there is Karen and her wonderful family from PA. This family is nothing short of amazing. No matter what they have going on in thier world they handle it with such grace. Knowing Karen just makes you a better person for it. She has strengthened me so many times during this journey and I have no doubt that all five of her daughters will be just as awesome as she is.

How about the connection I got when one of my adoption facebook friends messaged me and said "I think James' foster mother fostered another friend of mines son". She put us in contact and sure enough, right after her little boy came home, James went to live in his new foster home. Our sons both had the pleasure of knowing this sweet woman as Omma. Today, I am thankful for my new friend Denise in California. She has been able to give me a wealth of information and now we will stay in touch and have this connection for our boys as they grow up. Oh, and she sends out pretty awesome holiday cards too. :)

Oh, and what about Tracey who is always so supportive. We always pick each others head about what is going on in the process and when are we going to get these litlte boys home. I have never met her in real life but our boys have met each other and played.  I have priceless photos of her Maddox and my James together. They held onto the same table and ate the same puffs - and that is just pretty stinkin special. Her and her little boy will always be a part of James' story and I think that is AWESOME!

I could write all night and the list would go on and on. So many people have been part of this journey.  From those that live right here in NJ who shared paperwork...... or who I met at PIP classes ....or those that I have just met on the BB ....who live in the same county... so we can have playdates when our babies make it home.....or those friends on facebook... who live all over the country but seem so close because we get to watch each others kids grow through pictures and share eachothers journey via blogs. It is all just amazing.

No doubt that God is with us on this journey. A friend recently wrote that "God is in the Details" and I do agree. Instead of feeling sad that James isn't home yet I keep reminding myself that He is in the details and what wonderful details they have been.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Little Things

I have been a blogging slacker!!! The last few weeks I kept telling myself that I just don't have anything to write. We haven't gotten any new news on the adoption front. Zilch, Zero, Zippo!!!! No updates!!! No pictures!!! No Well Baby Checks!!!! Nothing!!!

<---- This is the last picture of sweet Korean cuteness to make its way into my inbox.  It was taken late October - how cute is he?

I refuse to write another post ( well for now) about how hard it is that we are still waiting. I won't write about how much our hearts hurt that James won't be home for Christmas or how hard it was to hold back the tears when I had to explain to Zoey that Santa will not be bringing her brother James for Christmas no matter how good "Elvis" - elf on the shelf- reported that she was. Not sure if she "gets it" but I am hoping that her new toys distract her from wondering why Mr. Claus  didn't get the memo.

Instead , I am going to focus on the little things. Instead of wishing away the month that already passes quicker then the others, so that January can arrive, and the EP ( aka  *exit permit *golden ticket) quota can reset and all of us mama's stuck in the long wait can get our precious kiddies home...... I am going to stop and take time to enjoy the little things.

So, here goes. Day 1 - The little things.

"Christmas is sights, especially the sights of Christmas reflected in the eyes of a child" - unknown

Decorating  When I was a little girl I loved the holidays. My mama had some eye for decor and at one point as I got older I swear our perfect tree could have been on display at Macy's. I remember the year that my mom got the festive (but crazy) idea to cut all of the holly from a tree in the backyard and tie it to the banisters (those leaves really prick) and the year that she "discovered" gold foil star garland at the dollar store and she "owned" it - BIG! I still remember perfect gold spirals of the wire wrapped tinsel hanging from the tree, mirrors, and gifts too. Oh, and she had this ice skater that held a candle and moved slowly and peacefully - it was elegant and beautiful and I just thought it was the greatest thing ever.

When I grew up and left home my mama gave me some of those childhood treasures.  Some ornaments and garland and even that ice skater that I loved so much as a kid. They stayed packed away for several years until I got married and had a home of my own. I remember the first time I took the boxes down from the attic and opened them. All of the treasures that I looked at all my years growing up seemed so ..... different.

The magic just wasn't there. The memories of my childhood were there, but I just didn't see the decorations the same way as I did when I was growing up. Somehow, the years they were stored away ...the years when I was going to college ....and growing....meeting my husband and falling in love...getting married and starting a whole new journey.... something changed.

I changed. I was all grown up. I had lost my childhood wonder. The ice skater that seemed to be 5 foot tall and twirling in my living room while I grew up was now just 18 inches and her movements were rather stiff. The angel ornaments that radiated from the tree when I was a kid now didn't seem to be so bright and large and don't even get me started on that gold star tinsel. I thought I would be able to recreate the same kind of Christmas that I had growing up, but I stood there with all the makings, and it just didn't seem to be working. That first Christmas in our new house with my new husband was nice but it was misisng the magic.

That very next year Christmas changed again. It was the first year we were celebrating Christmas as a new family. I was now a mother, my husband a father, and we had been blessed with a daughter.  All of a sudden the magic was back - big time - and everything started to make sense.

<--  This little girl is the keeper of the childhood wonder and through her I get to feel the magic again.  Oh, and I just can imagine next year when we get double the wonder experiencing it all through both Zoey and James' eyes.

 She makes me stop and enjoy the little things.

When I see her face light up as she pushes the bell on the light up musical gingerbread house for the hundredth time or when she wakes and the first thing she wants do to is plug in the tree - it's those little things.

The magic is in the paint, glitter and glue masterpieces we create.

It's in the little blue eyed elf named "Elvis" who moves around the house making sure everyone stays off Santa's naughty list.

It's in my yard display which consists of a nativity display (that Zoey insists is Mary, God, and baby Jesus),  some gigantic colored lights that totally clash, and snowflake lights that blink and twinkle in blue and white as they hang around the porch because that is what my baby girl likes. 

It's in the little things like snow globes and music boxes. 

<-- It's in her eyes when we drive through the neighborhood and she stares in amazement like we just drove past the Osborn lights in Disney World. I love how she oohs and ahhhs from the back seat giving the same excitement whether its an elaborate display or simple candles in the windows.

It is in the little things.

And somehow all these little things add up to some great big things in the eyes of a child.

I hope that she has the same kind of memories of holidays past when she grows up. I hope one day she will open the boxes of all these "things" that we make and collect and have good memories of childhood. I even hope that some of the things in the the boxes don't  seem as sparkly or shiny or big as when she was a little girl because then she too will have known  childhood wonder.

I am thankful that I had a childhood filled with sparkly trees, prickly holly, and lots and lots of gold tinsel stars. I am blessed to have had a mother who tapped into my childhood wonder and planted the magic in my heart.

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time" Unknown