Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Stocking & One Year

The first couple pages about Christmas at my parents' house ...

That box of journaling says: ... was huge! And I’m not sure “huge” does it justice. Grandma decided Milla and Cate needed these enormous stockings she found at Rite-Aid. And, boy, did she fill them! Cate got a lot of books in hers, which you can see that she enjoyed.

Cassie and Zac told us about the possibility of us adopting Cate when they were in Louisville for Christmas. Oh, what a difference a year can make! This year, we brought with us our nearly 8-month-old daughter to Christmas. Cate definitely enjoyed her time with Aunt Cassie and Uncle Zac.

Does that page with Cassie and Zac look finished? Does it need some brads, eyelets or jewels -- something else to go with the circle theme I have going on?

Fellow scrappers, have you seen Basic Grey's Figgy Pudding line of paper? It's wintry and Christmas-y without being overbearing. Great colors too. That's what the paper on those pages above is, as well as some of my earlier Christmas pages.

The Army Crawl

I admit, I like my camera better than the video camera. Now that Cate's on the move, I probably need to break out the video camera more often. But until then, here is her crawling sequence last night -- in still shots.

A brief moment of frustation ...

... then back to moving along!

Truth be told, it's her elbows and arm strength that get here where she wants to go. Think Army crawl!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Almost 18 years ... and counting ...

Cate (and I) enjoyed seeing Katie this weekend. The best thing about having Katie visit is I feel absolutely no pressure to have any activities or meals planned. I think that's just what happens after almost 18 years of friendship!

Be bold; wear gold

You might know that MSU's basketball game against Southeast Missouri State was on ESPN2 yesterday. If not, now you do. So the atmosphere was a bit more energetic than usual. The whole bottom level got free T-shirts and some of us had these foam spirit stick things. (Yes, that's really the best description I've got!) The student was even more jam-packed than usual and people were just wound up. Everything was just louder.

All of that to say, this is how Cate spent the 20 minutes before tip-off and the first part of the game ...

Then she spent some time with Uncle Charles and Aunt Angela -- and one of those foam spirit stick things. At first she wasn't sure ...

But then she caught on. (Who cares that it's upside down!)

Things calmed down for the women's game that followed. Really kind of anti-climatic following the one-point, down-to-the-wire men's game. Cate still entertained herself. This time with the program.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This would be why I'm glad Greg lowered Cate's crib last week. This morning she was pulling herself up from a sitting position, stopping to peek through the crib at me and then finish standing all the way up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One more ...

... before I call it a night!

More Christmas pages ...

... into the album!

Moving ...

She's not speedy yet, but she's on the move. And, of course, it's cute to watch her figure this crawling thing out! At first it was just a couple scoots here and there. Then Earlier this week, Greg enticed her with his water bottle and got her moving around the room while I wasn't home. Since then, she's showed off her new moves to me. Today she was enticed by a stuffed bear, and the hardwood didn't slow her.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Cate has been enjoying graham crackers lately. (Thanks, Katy, well, really Megan, for the idea!) Really she'll take whatever I give her, especially if it means sitting at the table with us.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

playing, finding, watching

It's been a good weekend of sticking close to home. Well, fairly close to home. Friday night I cooked dinner in my new kitchen for Jaclyn and Bryan. Then we played three games of Settlers of Catan. I won one. I had been having a dry spell, so the victory was appreciated.

In an unrelated matter, the past week -- um, maybe even closer to two -- I've wondered where my engagement ring and wedding band were. I checked the pockets of every pair of pants I own. I looked in the bathroom countless times. I kept lifting up necklaces to make sure they were attached to those. I pretended not to consider the possibility that they got lost, even possibly disposed of, when the guys were here working on my kitchen; I do, after all, tend to put them on the kitchen counter when I take them off. I told Greg more than once that the rings being lost annoyed me. And I was getting ready to tell him that I might need a new ring for First-Date Day.

Then Greg saved the day. On Friday night when we were laying in bed, he casually asked if I had checked the bathroom upstairs (aka the guest bathroom that has become Cate's bath-time bathroom). So I think to myself: Um, no. I only ever go up there to give Cate a bath, which happened last earlier in the day. I didn't LOOK for my rings, but wouldn't I have seen them?! I'm sure I answered Greg. Told him I'd look in the morning. (Three games of Settlers of Catan and an episode of "Numb3rs" wore us out!)

Not long after getting out of bed, I went upstairs and came back down with my rings. Yep. They had been sitting for a week or maybe two on the pink sink. (Yep. I just said pink sink. We didn't choose that. But, hey, could be worse!) Anyway, Greg was totally right with his casual question that I wished he'd muttered a week ago! Really, he should be glad he doesn't have to buy me a new ring. (I'll just settle for a Cricut font now.)

OK, so onto the rest of our weekend ...

On Saturday afternoon we headed to Martin, Tenn., for the Murray State game. It's about an hour away, so Racer fans tend to travel well there. And it was an exciting win for Murray State.

This is us before the game. I asked Greg to take a picture so you could see that we both were wearing tan corduroy pants, but this was a cuter picture to share with the world online. Look closely ... You can see Cate's cute little teeth. (By the way, I think she's working on her fourth.)

And speaking of cute, what about the jean jacket in the first picture? It's even lined with fabric inside, so it keeps her warm as she looks cute.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ho ho ho!

OK, one more before I call it a night. If Greg doesn't get home soon, I may start another, but this is it for finishing tonight! And, yes, I know you've seen the picture before!

Someone else's pets

You may know that I'm not a pet person. I had cats growing up and my parents got a dog when I was in college. That's the extent of it. I had a thing for cats for awhile, but I'm over it now, especially since 1997, when I left home for college, they've generally made me sneeze.

And NO, we didn't get a dog ...

But because I'm fine with being around other people's pets, especially when they're friendly and small, Cate got to meet some puppies tonight. And you can see she was pretty excited about it.

My friend Holly breeds Australian shepherds and invited Cate and me over to see the three she's hoping to sell soon. I'm telling you, letting Cate interacting with other people's animals is my way of exposing her to a variety of cats and dogs!

Cate was hesitant but interested. She let the puppies "kiss" her and even tried to "kiss" them a couple of times. The best moment was when she pulled one of the puppies toward her, like she does with her toys.

Yes, they're cute. No, we don't want one! :)


I'm on a roll today ...

And the best part is I'm really quite fond of this page!

walking in a winter ... PARADE

(Click for larger view ...)

I'm into December with my scrapbooking. I'm sure you're not surprised that I'm a chronological scrapper. Sometimes I do pages slightly out of order but they're in chronological order in my album, although my newest album -- which came in the mail today! -- starts with mid-September and will go into 2008 until it's too fat. I don't know what I was thinking trying to fit all of 2007 in one. (For you scrappers, I use the 12-by-12 version of this.)

The New Kitchen

I love my new kitchen! I think the people who have seen my kitchen in person will especially appreciate the transformation. Otherwise, all you have is an in-progress shot from last week.

Yes, we still have the floor to do. You can see where I need to come up with a temporary fix for the patch of hardwood showing. There used to be a strange little shelf thing there that jutted out from the counter. We removed that, which opened up the room. Next up is the floor. I want to put down those 12-inch-by-12-inch ceramic tiles. (We're not going to use the hardwood that is beneath the vinyl and carpet because it doesn't exist where the room was enlarged years ago and we'd never be able to match the original floors.)

And a new-to-us kitchen table is coming soon, thanks to furniture in a beautiful lake house the company is buying. It's black and has four chairs. One day I'll want something bigger, but it will be fine for now and it will fit there better than the oval one that only has three chairs, none of which are acting like they want to make it much longer!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Miss Fix-It

Apparently Cate needed to inspect her toy and make sure everything was good to go ...

And it must have met her approval because it continued entertaining her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cate & Katie (On Paper!)

I've had this piece of paper for a couple of years, and I was never quite sure how I'd use it. Well, it had the colors I wanted and I was working with five possible photos. I eliminate one that was similar (apparently I did on my earlier blog too!) and made this paper work well for this layout. Rather than have the blocks limit me, I tried to use them to my advantage.

Fellow scrappers, what do you think? The page is pretty simple, but does it work?

Her Story

"What if the very act of receiving a child into our arms was an image of God receiving us into his arms? No judgment, no criticism, just pure love and acceptance. ... If God is a God who is about restoring all things, he must be passionate about restoring our child's missing pieces and his or her heart."
--from "Before You Were Mine" by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk

These women talk about creating a "Lifebook" for an adopted child. Basically, it's a way to compile all the facts about the beginning of life -- from conception to adoption -- and have a guide for when the time comes to talk about adoption. Unlike a scrapbook, this type of book would be more private with the details about the birthparents and their reasons for deciding not to raise the baby.

The whole time we've had Cate, I've been developing a similar idea. I want to make a book for her called "Chosen." I want it to be her story, leading up to her birth. Well, maybe leading up to us coming home with her. Regardless, I'm totally on the same page with these women who wrote the book.

Well, mostly.

Susan TeBos has three internationally adopted children. The processes to adopt internationally and domestically are different, so I'm having trouble relating when she keeps talking about the missing pieces and the loss the adopted child must feel. But then I think, maybe I'm just naive. Maybe Cate will experience some feelings of loss when she finds out she is adopted.

My prayer is Cate realizes she gained much on May 6, 2007. On that day, another woman -- a brave, giving woman -- birthed her. She had our baby. But in her words to us throughout the weeks leading up to May 6, 2007, she was thankful this baby was going to have a home, particularly our home.

We've had Cate in our arms since the day she was born. Her life hasn't been disjointed in a way that children who begin their lives overseas with one family or in an orphanage experience before they're relocated to another, more permanent home. Again, maybe I'm naive, but I think the consistency of this being Cate's home is worth something.

(I'm analytical. I tend to wonder if I'm processing everything appropriately. Like this. Nervousness wasn't an emotion I experienced in the weeks we were waiting for Cate. Maybe I should have been. But I wasn't.)

Like before and now. With Cate, I have God's peace in a way I've never experienced. She's made Greg and I better people, individually and together. And we gel as a family.

Now, that's not to say we're not going to talk to her about her birthmother and how she came to be in our family. We are. I've thought about it many times, and she's only eight months old. BUT I believe God gave her to us for reasons we know, reasons we'll learn as she grows and reasons we may never know.

I also pray that whatever Cate's perceptive and emotions are will be real to us and we'll have the wisdom and insight to deal with them appropriately. I'm almost ready to start on her book so her story will be bound in the pages that will be hers.

And, just for the record, "Before You Were Mine" is an excellent resource of questions to ask yourself as an adoptive parent so the information included is thorough. There's also great scriptures used to help relate the idea of adoption to the way God accepts us into his family.

"From what we could tell they were well adjusted and doing just fine. We could see no signs of pain or loss now nor did we anticipate any in the future. In hindsight, we were naive. We now understand that every adopted child will process her adoption her own way. ... What is important is that they know they have a story and that it began at conception, not adoption."

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

This Old House

So far this week I've eaten at Quizno's, Sonic and Cracker Barrel. And it's just Tuesday. Yeah, so much for any notion of a New Year's resolution to at least try to eat better.

As you can see in the shot above, my kitchen is in disarray. Oh, but it's such a happy disarray.

Little background: We live in a charming old house that used to belong to Greg's great-grandparents. While there are many characteristics that I love (like the arched doorways and built-in bookshelf in the living room, higher ceilings), there has been plenty of room for improvement (for instance, tile where there was once carpet in the bathroom, drywall in two bedrooms and the hallway, off-white paint instead of aged mint green in the attic). But the project I have been planning in my dreams is the kitchen.

Well, consider it underway.

Greg found a good deal on some gently used (and I emphasize gently used) oak cabinets. We're talking a third or fourth of what brand new, wood cabinets would cost. We considered it a sign to get moving on the kitchen renovation. Well, an almost total renovation. We're holding off on the floor because that's a pricey project. But maybe now that we've started that will come sooner than later.

I say we. I should say they.

Anyway, "they" started Monday. Since then, the old, canary yellow cabinets have been removed and are sitting in our garage. (Canary yellow is MUCH better than the forest green that was on them when we moved in. I suppose, I'm a bright kind of person. But for some reference, see the window frame that is yellow because it also was once green ... Don't worry, it's not staying yellow either.) Some of the taller, prettier cabinets have since been hung. I've picked out counter top, back splash, a sink and faucet, dishwasher and range.

Yes, I said dishwasher. As I type, there are baby bottles soaking in the bathroom sink. That's how I've always washed them. In fact, for the past 4 1/2 years, the sink has been where I've washed all our cups, plates, bowls, silverware ... although usually it's the kitchen sink.

Our stove was extra wide with much wasted space (maybe you can tell in the picture, as it can't fit in the hole designated for our new range), so we used the renovation as an excuse to scale that down.

Cate isn't sure what to think of sounds of men working in our house, but I love them. Old houses are indeed works in progress. That's why I'm doing my best to hold out for the tile that will one day replace the white vinyl flooring in the kitchen and the carpet in the living room that is really like an extension of the kitchen.

This old house leaves me room to dream. But for now, I better go finish washing those bottles.

First Halloween

Here's my scrapbook page for Cate's first Halloween ...

Eight Months ... and a couple of days

Cate is eight months old now, as of Sunday. In the past month, she's gotten her third tooth (also on the bottom) and learned several syllables (mostly "da," "doh" and "oh") that she likes to repeat. She often uses her pointer finger, although she's still learning it takes two fingers to pick up small pieces of food to put in her mouth. But she'll eat any of our food (chicken, pinto beans, potatoes, bread, creamed corn, green beans, tomatoes, pizza crust, French fries ...) that we give her.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to Georgia

Here are the five scrapbook pages from our trip to Stone Mountain. I'm excited to have them finished and added to the album. In fact, I think these will be the last pages in what I thought would be a 2007 album. But the binder barely closes, so I think I'll start a new one now. I'll start pick up with the rest of October and then move on into November, December and then the new year. Having a baby makes my scrapbook fatter!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's party!

We celebrated Elijah's 4th birthday earlier today. He turned 4 on Thursday; Milla turns 4 tomorrow. (I know, seriously, hard to believe.)

Anyway, Cate was ready to go ...

... in the cute vest Aunt Cassie gave her for Christmas.

Cate and I weren't the only ones with congestion and runny noses, as evident by the box of Kleenex on hand. John and Greg chose to momentarily act dramatic. Those Taylor boys.

Who needs to socialize with other party guests when there is entertainment with a paper party hat and helium balloon?

That wore her out because Cate slept while Elijah opened presents.

He took a break to show off the Shrek flashlight Uncle John got him. Then later Charles seemed pretty excited about his son's games. They are classic.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Roly Poly

Title courtesy Jodi's comment about Cate's ability to get where she wants to go ...

My grandpa gave Cate a great playhouse for Christmas. It (along with Greg's cornhole board and Cate's chair) wouldn't fit in our car coming back from Christmas in Louisville, so Mom brought it down Wednesday. Realizing his future in putting together toys, Greg put it together last night.

And Cate wanted to help.

She rolled from where she was playing (see toys in background) to help Daddy.

She brought Elmo (another Christmas gift from Angela's mom) with her at one point.

After assembly, she did get to play with it for awhile before bedtime.