"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

First off, I'm going to apologize for the poor picture quality in advance! Camera is on the fritz and about to be replaced when I have a free second! We had a busy but relaxing weekend. We had family in again for the last of the dance recitals. The last show was Saturday, so we had everyone back to the house to hang out . Fun stuff. My girlfriend and her girls stayed the night.

Lexi's buddy Jack just had a birthday and got an electric scooter. Lexi also just got one so they are over the moon excited to ride them. We woke up Sunday morning, and looked out the window to see them riding down the sidewalk in the their Sponge Bob pajamas! Gotta love these two!

Sunday evening we went to a party for Jack so I of course put a cute outfit on Sof. Once she had it on I decided it's my new favorite outfit of hers! Too bad the pictures are so bad!!!

Monday was the parade. Sof was interested but not overly impressed. She was just happy to sit and have a snack! Adrienne was in the parade for dance.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! We're finally getting weather that feels like summer!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why I Love 9

Because you can come down for school looking like this...

And you can hang these on your wall...

But you can still put your stuffed animals to bed...

Great News

The doctor called about Sof's MRI! His words..."Everything is absolutely perfect!". I figured that's what he would say, but still a relief to hear it. She should have no effects from it, no more monitering of it, and as she grows it should be less and less obvious. Yay!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to School

I got lots of hugs, lots of stories, and lots smiles! It was fun to see my kiddies today! Sof had fun with Daddy, and even went to gymnastics. I was home in time to read books, rock, and put her down for nap. Perfect:) Gives me time to blog!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Looking Back

Five months ago we walked into Baby Home #16 in St. Petersburg, full of hopes, fears, and questions. We sat in the head doctor's office listening to the sad story of a mom and a baby. A baby that would be ours. I concentrated on everything they said knowing it was our one and only chance to gather information about our daughter. I was struck by the similarities between the birth mom and myself. We are both the same age, and each started our families 12 years ago, her with a boy and I with a girl. My focus was lost however, when the door opened and the tiniest little girl walked in. This was her, the girl in our picture with the beautiful big, brown, blank eyes. Eventually we went to the playroom and she was EXACTLY what we thought she would be. Timid, apprehensive, and smart. She never made a sound that visit nor cracked a smile, but we left full of the love of her. Even we could not have imagined how this child would blossom before our eyes.

Tomorrow marks 10 weeks since we walked out of the Baby Home with our Sofia. Since being home she has learned so much! She knows to come to her mommy to kiss a boo boo, to go to her daddy to play outside, to go to her middle sis for breakfast, and her big sis to dance! She knows how to "take care" of her babies and stuffed animals. She can go down stairs on her bottom, kick a ball, scoot on her bike, and run, run, run! She has learned to love her extended family. She knows what Emmy's house looks like and that there is a baby there(squeals!). She has favorite books and songs. She loves gymnastics and now allows her teachers to help her. Her eyes know how to sparkle and heart knows how to smile.

Tomorrow I will get up and go to work. A job I love and have missed. I should clarify, I teach Kindergarten part-time and there are only 13 days left of the school year. Teaching part-time is the PERFECT situation. It's the best of both worlds. Mark will be staying home the next 2 days, my sister will be watching Sof next week, and Grandma is coming the week after that. Then I'll be back home with all 3 of my girlies! I can't lie, I'm sad thinking about it. Going to work tomorrow feels like moving on with the rest of our lives. It feels like an ending to this 18 month process we've been on. Never again will it be just me and Sof getting to know each other, dropping the big girls at school, hanging out at Starbucks and Target! It's the end of a period in our lives, but the beginning of our family norm. I will be sad leaving Sof in the morning, but I'll be back in 4 short hours just in time for nap:)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Week in Pictures

Finally warm enough weather to wear this sweet outfit...yes Sof, I pick YOU!


Bike Ride to the Library

I almost got it!

Sof had her MRI for the Sacral Dimple. No results yet, will update when I have them!

Grandma Jackie has now moved into her new retirement home. Sweet Lexi taught her how to play Skip-Bo so she can play cards with her new friends.

This is what has been taking up all our time! Recital! Mark is a Dancing Dad which is way out of his box. Gives new meaning to the saying, "He'd do anything for his girls!"

The cousins ended up being in the same show(we have 7 different shows!),which made it easy on the family!

Sofie discovered the fun of summer...WATER!

Help from sis!

Lexi and her friend have the first outside lunch of the season:)

Look at how nice this hair is starting to look! Won't miss the bad "orphan" haircut!

Mom, if you go this long without blogging again, I'm going to do it for you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

16 Years...

Today, Friday the 13th, is Mark and my 16th wedding anniversary. I consider it a lucky day. A day I can remember what we did as two very young people, 16 years ago, started us on this journey that we now call our life. We have learned a few things along the way and grown up together. This has been one of those weeks where Mark and I have been ships passing in the night. He has a big move going on at work and has been there 16 hours a day. There won't be any big celebration tonight, he will be at work and I at the dreaded Elementary School Spring Fair:) I'm not that high maintenance, and I'm not bothered by this at all, but I do look forward to some hang out with hubby time late tonight. So, with all that going on I was so impresssed to learn that hubby had not only remembered the day, but acted on it. When I had my daily visit to Starbucks this morning, they said "Happy Anniversary! Your drink is paid!". Mark had gone in before work and prepaid my drink. Later, I discovered a dozen roses on the doorstep. Who is this man?? Maybe 16 is the magic number for us?! Anyway, love the drink, love the flowers, and love the hubby.

Thanks Honey! I may not say it or show it everyday, but I am so thankful for all the gifts you've given me, what good father and provider you are, and your love and respect for me. Here's to another 50 years!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


People always want to know how Sofie is doing with Mark. In short, they're great! She runs to him when he gets home from work, and loves playing outside with him! When it comes to nap or bed she doesn't go down well for him. She will let Lexi put her to bed, so that works! All in all they are becoming buds and that's all I care about. She's learning quick that Daddy is the source of most the fun at our house!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the old mothers, new mothers, mothers to be, and especially those who want to be mothers. Special shout out to Heather, Kathryn, and Denise who are celebrating their first Mother's Day with their adopted sweeties. Congrats!

Friday, May 6, 2011


One of the concerns I have had about Sofie is her reaction to dolls and stuffed animals. When we visited her in the baby home, I brought a doll. She had no interest in it, and seemed to have no idea what to do with the bottle that went with her. In preparing her room I decided to put all the "house" stuff in there so we could spend time role playing. When we got home she went a step farther and showed a real fear of the dolls and stuffed animals. I left them in her room, but didn't push the subject. One day, I put one of Sof's shoes on a baby that sits in a high chair by her closet. She thought this was funny and continued to do it. Over time we began to feed the baby, put socks and shoes on, and even brush the baby's hair(which there is none of!). She flips out if I attempt to take the baby out of the high chair, but nevertheless I have been happy with that progress! This week Alexa had a birthday party at Build a Bear. She came home with a new bear and a stroller. Sof was totally interested, so Lexi went and got her a bear and a stroller. She has been "taking care" of her bear ever since! She pushes him around in the stroller and will even stop and take him out. She will say boo-boo and bring him to me for a kiss. Today she did the absolute cutest! She put the bear in her chair, put her bib on him, and fed him her banana! Sooooo cute! It is relief to see her learning to be a little Momma, and thinking about the needs of something else. This is something you never think about with biological kids. They grow up with role models and naturally know how to play with babies. Both my big girls just knew to pick up the baby, pat it's back, and feed it. I'm so excited that Sof is learning this too. It's an important piece of developement to learn to care for someone else and to imaginary play. One more concern I had that I can check off the list!:) Now I'm just waiting for the day she puts her bear in time out...she's spent plenty of time there!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Grandma's Jewels

On Monday my sister and I made a trip back to my Grandma's house to continue helping her go through her things and pack. She had set aside a whole box of costume jewelry for us to go through. It wasn't anything we would wear, but the girls were in heaven! I let Alexa skip school and come with us. She came home with a whole box of stuff!

It was also Natlie's first(and maybe last) visit to Grandma's house. She got snuggle time with Grandma Jackie!

Grandma will be moved into her new place in two weeks. We are all excited for her and she is being a trooper. I know she doesn't want to leave her house, but I really think she will be happier in her new place. She has so many friends there all ready! Change is always hard!

Ice Cream

If some semblance of spring(let alone summer) doesn't come I'm going to lose my mind! We haven't even had a few days tease or anything! I am thankful that we don't have the flooding, tornadoes, or earthquakes that other regions are dealing with, but I would like a day that my kids could play outside. So, Sunday we decided to pretend it was summer and get ice cream! No surprise, Sofie loved it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

She's a Culley Girl

Adrienne had a charity dance compeptition this weekend. It's the only competition our studio does, otherwise we are performance based. The kids earned around $2,000.00 to be split between a local food pantry and one of our former dancers who was recently paralyzed in a car accident. Tragic story, and such motivation for our kids. They wanted nothing more then to do well to bring home the money for their charities. They even agreed to give back the trophies in exchange for more cash. No other studio came even close to ours, we cleaned house! So proud of the kids! Competition is an ALL day event. Started at 7:00 am and ended at 9:45pm. I didn't want to leave Sof for that long, but I certainly didn't want to her with me that long either! So, she stayed home with Mark and Lexi in the morning and for nap, then I came home and got her around 6. She had the perfect outfit in her closet for the event, and let me tell you she was a hit! So, back to the title...Culley girls like bows, shoes, Starbucks, and cell phones.

Ahhhhh yeah...she's a Culley girl:)

Culley girls love it even more when you can combine all that with helping a great cause.