Sunday, December 02, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shutterfly photo books offer a variety of layouts and cover options to choose from.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Can you believe it?  My baby turned 5 on Sunday!  We had an amazing day at the American Girl Doll Store.  And as you can see she chose the new historical doll Caroline.

Life has been extremely busy and I hope to update more and get back into the routine of keeping our blog.

Everyone is doing great and I am mad at myself for not keeping this up and missing out on posting all of our little ups and downs.

It is hard to believe that Jilliana has been here only 1 3/4 years.  She is amazing and extremely smart!  And oh, so loved by all of us!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Visit to Nai, Nai's and Aunts

Natalie came for a visit.  Her Daddy was teaching at the University in our town so Mommy and Natalie came to be with us.
 Here she is in her car seat!
 Aunt Lily gets to hold her.
 Aunt Jilliana admires her toes!
 Eeek, she is a moving doll! Aunt Meilynn looks a little unsure.
 I love this picture of Emma and Natalie!
 Emma gets an award at school!
Daddy and Jilliana at her open house at her preschool.  She is pointing at the fish she made.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

First Family Photo!

Natalie Ella Benson
September 6, 2012
11:25 PM
7pounds 7ounces
18 inches long

Mommy, Daddy, and Baby are doing just fine!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Meghan's Due Tomorrow!

Yeah, I am about to become a Nai, Nai (Grandma).  I am so excited to welcome little Natalie Ella Benson!  to our family.  September 1st is her due date.  Doesn't she look cute?  I don't remember looking so cute at 40 weeks pregnant!  We are just so proud of her and Nick.  I will take some credit for raising such a wonderful daughter!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"I Not a Pirate Anymore, I am a Princess (an ear piercing story)

Guess who wanted her ears pierced?

Jilliana..........looking a little unsure

Jilliana has been asking for her ears to be pierced.  Lily and Emma have theirs done.  Meilynn has never wanted them, and Jilliana has been asking for about a month.  I held off on it and told her that after her yearly visit with the Cleft Team we would get them done if the Dr. said it was ok.

After our visit she reminded us of the ears.  I really  had thought she might forget.  I don't have a problem if they want them done and will take care of them, but I did not want her to get them done if she didn't understand what it meant.

On our way home from the visit we stopped at a mall to get them done.  With Lily and Emma there were two girls to do theirs so both ears were done at the same time.  There was only one girl that could do them and Jilliana acted so sure that we decided to go ahead.  (Mistake!)

After this she refused to get the other one done.  I was not going to force her,  but I really didn't want just one ear done.  We decided to walk around the mall and see if she might change her mind.  Nope, there was no changing her mind.  We then turned to bribery I hate to admit.  We offered something from the Hello Kitty store, candy, ice cream, you name it we tried it.  I even tried telling her that we would have to go back and have the one taken out that they did.  Nothing worked. So we went back to the store and got the earring that she did not have.  The way it works at Claires is each earring has its own "shooter" to put the earring on.  That way there is not contamination.  So, they could not give us the "shooter" and the earring would not be able to be put in another one.  They told us that another Claires may or may not do it for us without charging again.

So we left with our little pirate in tow.  We got back to the beach house and her sisters saw that she had her ear pierced and Jilliana told them, "I pirate".  (You may remember a story I told a while ago where when I put Jilliana to bed one night she covered her eye and said "I pirate".  It was so cute since she had only been with us about 6 month, I think and we did not even know she knew what a pirate was.  We always tease her about that and we say "I pirate" quite a bit since.)

I really did not want to keep it this way, and I did not want to do the whole 6 weeks of cleaning and turning and then end up taking it out, or then getting the other one done and spending another 6 weeks of three times a day cleaning and turning.

Later that day we went to see Meghan and Nick's new house.  We kept talking about getting her ear done and she kept saying, "no".  As we were leaving we asked her once again and said we could all go for ice cream after she did it.  This time she said, "yes".  I wasn't sure if she would or not.

So we all headed out to the mall near Meghan and Nick's house.  I really did not think she would do it, but she marched right in and sat down. (Who knows?  Maybe it was her sisters all standing there watching her, but something changed that made her very brave.)  The girl told us that she would do it if we were sure she would do it since they would have to waste the other "shooter" since she was only getting one.  I really didn't know.

She didn't even cry, but I sure felt like it!!!
 At Farrels Ice Cream Parlor

The cutest thing was that night when I put her to bed and she said, "I not a pirate anymore, I am a Princess!"

And she is!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Fourth of July at the Beach House

 I know, I know!  It has been a terribly long time.  No excuses other than busy, busy, busy.  We are at the beach house and so I am finding a little time to do some blogging.  And I did promise that I would try to post more often now that Kami has moved to Barcelona  I do need to keep her up on what is happening here at home.

  Here are the girls when we first got here.  We ran down to the beach to collect some rocks for later painting.  A few interesting things about this picture.  With the girls standing on the rocks it probably would be hard to tell who is who.  Of course you can tell which one is Lily, since she is the oldest and tallest.  She is 9 years old, 49 pounds and 50 inches tall.  Then Meilynn in the pink shirt and white crop pants.  She and Emma who are only three months a part have always gone back in forth in size.  They are very close, but for the most part, Emma has been the the taller of the two, until this year.  Meilynn is 44 and 3/4 inches tall and weighs almost 40 pounds and Emma is 44 inches tall and weighs 40 pounds.  Meilynn is 7 and Emma turns 7 next month.  In this picture Emma looks shorter than everyone and it looks like she has short hair.  I think it looks really cute, but her hair is really the same length as Meilynn's.  And then there is our little Jilly (Jilliana).  I think she is going to be the tallest when they are full grown.  She is 4 1/2 and is 40 inches tall and only 29 pounds.  But in this picture she looks taller than Emma.

 After collecting rocks the girls got ready to paint them.  Of course this meant a trip to Michaels's because we needed some supplies.

 We set up a craft table in the garage.  The beach house is quite a bit smaller than our house so we needed a craft room since the girls love to do crafts and we plan on doing a lot while we are here.  Mike goes back and forth between here and home since he goes back for meetings and to motorcycle ride.

 One of the really fun things we did was to take the train down to Little Italy in San Diego for dinner.  The girls had their nooks along for the trip.  It is a long story but we decided on Nooks for the girls instead of game systems.  This way I can choose to put only books and educational games on them.  I also thought they would be a great investment if I decided to homeschool this year.  (More on that in another post, I hope.)

 Little Italy

On fourth of July my Mom and Dad came down for the day and to spend the night.  In the beach house community there is always a 4th of July parade.  The girls always decorate their bikes for the little parade.  This year my Dad got to help decorate.
 Jilliana and my Dad
 Meilynn and Emma
 All ready!
 The beginning of the parade

 Grandma and Grandpa were the spectators.

After the parade we had a bar-b-que and then went to the fireworks.  The next day we drove down to La Jolla and watched the gliders at the gliderport.  We went up to Leucadia for Mexican food.  It was a great Fourth of July.

Monday, April 09, 2012

An April Panda Reunion!

In 2005 I joined a Yahoo Group of women that were waiting for their babies from China.  We were the April Panda  DTC group.  It was an amazing time.  We all waited together.  We supported each other through the wait and all of the trials, joys, and disappointments that came along with our journey together.   

While I was waiting I got to meet another Vicki that was waiting along with me.  She had three grown sons and had already adopted two daughters from China while we were waiting on Emma.  We were close in age and had our first names in common and that we both had grown children.

Vicki lives in Washington and she had family in California.  So when I heard that she was coming down I wanted to meet her.  We arranged a meeting at a mall.  I was so excited to meet her and her two daughters from China.  I had a million questions and since she was experienced it was so great for me.  Her daughters were so sweet.  I just kept looking at them and could not wait for the day that we would meet Emma. 

As the years have passed we have kept in touch.  She was the one that told me about Meilynn.  Vicki was also the one that first told me about Lily.   She is directly responsible for both of these adoptions!  Thank you Vicki!

Time has passed and both of us have seen our families grow.  So when Vicki told me that she was coming down to California I told her she had to stay with us!

And she did!

Here she is with her most recent daughter, Lily

She and her wonderful (any man that has opened his arms to 6 daughters deserves the title of wonderful) husband as well as their 6 daughters came for an overnight stay.

The girls became instant friends!

This is what feeding 10 little girls under 10 looks like!

Vicki's daughters are so sweet and polite!  They were a joy to have!

Since the girls had driven for so many hours we let them play and then we went out to dinner.  After dinner we got baths and everyone in to bed.  Then the adults got to visit.

The next morning we had breakfast, played more, got a little piano practice in for the girls.  Vicki has four that take lessons.  We then gave them a little tour of our town and then took the girls to the park.

 Trying to line up for a picture at the park!
 Emma 6, Ruby 4, Abby, 10, Lily 8, Maddie, 7, Meilynn 6, Jilliana 4, Ellie,9, Lily 4, and Annie 7

After the park we came back for lunch and more playtime.  And all too soon it was time to say good-bye.  I have to say, it did not feel like 10.  The girls got along so well and everything ran so smooth.  We hope we can get together again!

 These next pictures are of us trying to get all 10 in a picture!  Of course there is always one not cooperating.  Jilliana did not want in the picture.
 Jilliana is not in this one and Lily is trying to walk off
 Me trying to convince Jilliana to get in the picture.
 A good one without Jilliana.
Ruby 4, Maddie 7, Meilynn 6, Abby 10, Ellie, 9, Lily 8, Emma 6, Annie 7, Lily 2
 Ok, so I hide behind the girls holding Jilliana in the picture!

And the Good-bye shot with the girls already to go!

Thank you so much for visiting us and please stop by anytime!  You girls are precious!
Have a great Easter break!