Friday, December 16, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (Hosted by Soulemama)

David's portrait of Mama...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ho Ho Ho!

Earlier this month, Al and I took the kids to our adoption agency for their annual Cookies With Santa event. Last year was David's first Christmas with our family, but we missed seeing Santa due to a snow storm on the day of the event (and my instincts told me that taking David to see a mall Santa would just not go well at all). So this was David's first visit with Santa and his first chance to enjoy a tradition our family has grown very fond of.

David couldn't wait to show Santa his picture in the Sunny Ridge newsletter!

David was excited to meet Santa "in person" and had no trouble getting up on Santa's lap!

Santa gave each of the children a small gift to open.

Having a little chat with Rachel...
Santa gave Abbie a craft book for making little fairies (Santa knows how much Abbie loves to do crafts).
David spent a lot of time on Santa's lap, just taking in all the excitement.
We treasure this annual family tradition!

Rachel and the Bee

On Tuesday, Rachel competed in her school's annual spelling bee. This is Rachel's second bee. Last year, she made it to the top 10 (out of 30) spellers, to go on to the district bee. This year, Al and I were praying that she'd make it that far again. We didn't want her to be terribly disappointed if she didn't get to the district bee again. We needn't have worried - she rocked the bee!

Here is Rachel, spelling her "warmup" word. She chose the word "pulchritude" - Akeelah's winning word in one of our family's favorite movies, Akeelah and the Bee. (Pulchritude means beauty - it's from the Latin pulcher, meaning beautiful. Rachel likes knowing that!)

Patiently waiting for her next word. Notice all the empty chairs around her...
With some of the Top Ten group...
Rachel has every reason to be proud of her accomplishment. She worked hard to prepare for the bee, staying up late every night to practice new words.

On to the District Bee in January!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Can't quite believe our precious boy is four years old! This sweet, loving, energetic, joyful little boy has brought so much life into our home! None of us can imagine our family without him! He is a great blessing to every one of us!

Happy Birthday, dear little David! We love you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sixth Grade Chorus Concert

Last night, the 6th Grade Chorus at Harter Middle School performed a beautiful concert. Instead of the usual Holiday Concert that many ensembles present, the Chorus sang selections to honor our veterans on this Veterans Day.

Students were invited to bring in photos of family members who have served in the military. The photos were displayed on the walls leading into the concert.
Hannah brought in pictures of her Great Grandfather, Albert Skalski (my Grampie)...
...and of her Dad!
The 6th Grade Chorus. Hannah had a great spot, front and center. There are some advantages to being petite!
Sing "ooooooo"...
Sing "aaaaaah"...
Hannah's made some great friends in Chorus.
Her friend, Gracie, sang a lovely solo.
Hannah just loves her Chorus director, Mrs. Grant!
We're so proud of our lovely musician!

Like father... daughter.

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (Hosted by Soulemama)

Happy Birthday, Ida May!

Happy Birthday to my cousin David's maternal grandmother, Ida May Fabyan! Ida was born on November 11, 1911 - that's 11/11/11! This dear, spunky lady is celebrating her 100th birthday today. She is so very special to our entire extended family, and we wanted to publicly celebrate her special day!

Telling stories...

David showing Ida how many blueberries he picked from her bushes...

We love you, Ida!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Halloween 2011

Evidently, middle schoolers can wear their pajamas and get away with calling it a "costume"!

Since Rachel took so long to decide what she wanted to dress up as, I literally slapped this Red Riding Hood cape together in an hour on the day before Halloween. Never want to cut it that close again!

Abbie's got Kaneland spirit!

Cowboy Dave's got a lot of style!

Ready for trick-or-treating!

The Love and Wisdom of Mother Teresa

Her words and works inspire me...

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (Hosted by Soulemama)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Rachel's Poetry

Our little poet, picking blueberries in Vermont this summer.

 Last night, at Parent Teacher Conferences, Rachel's fourth grade teacher presented me with some of the poetry that Rachel has been writing in class. With Rachel's permission, I present two of our favorites here...

Poems by Rachel Cormier, age 9

Going to the pet store to get the perfect pet,
I'm going to get the best one that you will never forget.
I spy a little brown puppy,
That's the cutest one so far,
But what about that silver fish that shines just like a star?
That little orange tabby is the shade of a tangerine,
Although that little hermit crab looks the roughest one I've seen.
That bunny rabbit probably can jump up really high,
But that colorful parrot flies like an airplane in the sky.
Too many pets, too many pets,
They have to, have to stop!
Maybe I should have thought of that before I bought the shop!

Food Chain
The worm ate an apple that was juicy, ripe and red.
The bird ate the worm and that's all that I have said.
The bobcat ate the bird and that's all that I can see.
I could have made this poem longer if it hadn't eaten me!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

School Portraits 2011

Hannah Zhipan, 6th Grade

Rachel Zhiheng, 4th Grade

Abigail Lihuan, 2nd Grade

David Heshi, Early Childhood

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Group photo taken at the reunion. I'm sitting on the floor left of center in a black dress. I won't share how much trouble I had getting up from that position in that dress...

Last weekend, I headed to Rhode Island to spend some one-on-one time with my Mom to celebrate her birthday, and to attend my 30th High School Reunion (Classical High School in Providence). I had a wonderful time spending the evening with old friends and a bunch of folks I only really knew from yearbook pictures.

Senior Portrait, 1981
 Over the course of the last year, I have been connecting with a lot of my classmates on Facebook. Our class formed a Facebook group to share information about the reunion and to generate enthusiasm for the event.

I'll be honest - if it hadn't been for Facebook, I doubt I would have attended. I had a few good friends through high school, and knew a bunch of kids from elementary and middle school, but I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, what you would consider "popular". Not that I didn't want to be - maybe a little too much. If it's one piece of advice I'd like to pass on to my kids, it's to be happy with who you are, enjoy your friends, and don't worry about trying to fit in with the "in" crowd.

I was grateful to be able to have dinner with two of my very best friends from high school, Lynda and Dee (and Dee's husband, Brian). We had a chance to really get caught up before heading to the reunion. And it meant I didn't have to walk into the reunion alone, like walking into the school cafeteria and not being able to find anyone to sit and eat lunch with.

Thirty years later, I was worried that no one would talk to me.

The nice thing about reunion night was that I did spend a lot of time talking with a lot of people. I got caught up with friends I had spent time with in high school, and folks I had known in middle and even elementary school. And, wouldn't you know it, I talked with some of the "in" crowd, too! And they talked back! And more than once, I found myself wishing I could tell my 16-year-old, terribly insecure self, "Don't worry. You'll turn out OK..."

I appreciated the fact that, amid MDs and PhDs and attorneys and all the other interesting careers represented, I never once was made to feel that the work I do at home was less than respected.

Reunion Night 2011
  I wish I could spend time with many of these folks now. They're intelligent, interesting, funny, and a privilege to know. I'm looking forward to meeting up again with some old and new friends next time I'm in Rhode Island. And the next reunion is only five years away...

Monday, August 29, 2011

David's First Day

Today was David's first day of school in his Early Childhood class. He went back and forth between being excited to go and not wanting to leave me. Getting dressed in his handsome new First Day Outfit seemed to encourage him that this was going to be fun.
Posing under one of our smaller (!) sunflowers...

At this point, he was thinking that maybe this wasn't such a good idea...

He went in willingly with his teachers and friends. No smile, but a wave for me...

Getting off the bus. He exclaimed, "Me had FUN!!!"