Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trimming the Tree

I am really slacking lately when it comes to taking pictures. I took this "before" picture, with four of our eight Christmas boxes, but I never took an after picture!
Rachel alternated all day between helping me decorate, reading a book that she has to do a report on and playing outside with friends.
We do two trees, one in the living room (pictured here) and one in the family room. The one in the living room has white lights and red and gold ornaments. The family room tree has multi-colored lights and has all the fun ornaments collected over the years and all of Rachel's hand-made ornaments.

Rachel was able to reach the top of the tree by herself (with the help of a step stool) this year to put the angel on top.
I'll post after pictures soon....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Day After

The day after the wedding we went over to Dennis and Amanda's before we headed back to NJ. They were just getting ready to open their cards and gifts.
This is Abby, one of their cats. At first she wasn't too crazy about Ferris, but she never hid from him. Even when Amanda's sister came in with three big dogs, Abby stayed right there on the step. Ferris loved having the other dogs there. Playing with big dogs is one of his favorite things to do.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Congratulations Dennis & Amanda!

Today, Fred's brother Dennis married Amanda. His grandfather officiated the ceremony, just like he did for Fred and me, Fred's other siblings, Fred's parents and aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a beautiful ceremony, and the reception was a lot of fun.
This is an ice sculpture that was at the reception of the Penn State Nittany Lion. This picture does not do it justice.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they had cupcakes. Very cute, and very good!
Rachel loves her Uncle Den-Den and her new Aunt Amanda. And she was so honored that they asked her to help out at the wedding (she manned the guest book and handed out programs) and asked her to go to the reception.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! (A little late)

For Thanksgiving weekend we went to Harrisburg. We drove up there on Wednesday afternoon. Dennis and Amanda were getting married on Friday, the 27th, and Wednesday night was the rehearsal dinner.
For Thanksgiving dinner we were at Fred's parents' house. Fred's mom always makes everything herself, and she does a great job. It's always a wonderful meal.
She also makes all the desserts. Pumpkin pie, apple crumb pie, lemon sponge pie, banana cream pie, pecan pie, Montgomery pie, shoe fly pie, pineapple upside down cake, banana cake, fudge dumplings!

Monday, November 23, 2009

So much for posting a picture a day!!! Some days I forget; some days it just seems there's nothing different to take a picture of.
I'll try to catch you up on the last couple weeks.

On Saturday 11/14 Fred had to go to Harrisburg for his brother Dennis' bachelor party. My friend Kim and I made plans to go to Atlantic City for dinner, shopping and gambling, and Rachel stayed over night at her house. We did shop and we did have dinner, but neither of us really felt like gambling. So we did a little more shopping. I was home by 10:00.
I had planned on getting some work done, but made the mistake of turning the TV on and saw that The Wedding Singer was on. I've never seen it before, so I grabbed the laptop to check out Facebook and watched the movie in bed. Well part of the bed. I had a little company. And I fell asleep right before the end of the movie.

One day last week we realized that our spare refrigerator was dying. This is the one we keep in the garage. It's mostly for drinks and we stock, obviously, frozen foods in the freezer. So I took all the beer I had in it (about a case of Heineken) over to a neighbor's garage to store in their extra refrigerator. Quite honestly, the beer was mostly for the neighbors anyway! Fred and I don't like beer, so I just keep it on hand for friends. We have to get something to replace the fridge. Fred wants to get a Coke machine. But how are we going to store stuff like extra milk and orange juice, or even leftovers, in a Coke machine? Not to mention the lack of a freezer.

This was Rachel working on her "Daily Geography" cards on a Sunday night.
Yesterday there was a little mini hot rod parade in our court, led by this Trans Am and followed by a few Grand Nationals and Monte Carlos. Turns out they were there to meet up with a neighbor who goes to a lot of car shows.
Also yesterday, we hung our outdoor Christmas lights. It was a beautiful day, and since we won't be around much this weekend and we don't know what the weather will be like, we took advantage of the sunshine and warm temperatures (about 60 degrees). We transitioned to all LED lights outside this year. Last year the lights on the roof line were LED and the lights in the bushes were just regular bulbs, and it drove me nuts that they didn't match. I'm old-fashioned when it comes to Christmas, so I don't like the looks of the LEDs quite as much. They're so bright! But they save on electricity. Our meter stayed the same after turning all the lights on.
Rachel climbed the ladder and got on the lower roof for the first time! It's a little harder coming back down the ladder, but she did good.

With both Thanksgiving and Fred's brother Dennis' wedding, I'm hoping to have more picture opportunities this week. Tomorrow I have a 9:30 job, and Rachel has an 8:30 orthodontist appointment. If Fred can't take her, we'll have to reschedule that. Then tomorrow night I have to make a cheesecake for the rehearsal dinner, Rachel has cheerleading, and Fred has to pick up his tux. Wednesday morning I have to clean the house and pack, pick Rachel up at school at 1:15, stop in Philly for my check, pick up Fred at work and head to Harrisburg, drop Ferris off at my in-laws and be at the church in Hummelstown by 6:00. I'm praying for few traffic delays. Yeah, right. On the day before Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ten Years

Ten years ago today we were standing in the hallway of the Lakeview Hotel in Nanchang China waiting to hold our baby for the first time. We watched the four Ningdu girls as they were carried past our room to the end of the hallway, and we watched as the other three families received their Ningdu babies. Then it was our turn. The woman with the green jacket, a nanny, was holding Ning Wen Ling, our Rachel. She handed her to me, and I'll never forget what it felt like to hold my baby for the first time. She looked at me for a few seconds, and then started crying. The nanny came back and would stroke Rachel's face, then take Rachel's hand in hers and stroke my face while saying "Mama, mama." After a little bit, Fred took her and she stopped crying, until she looked at me. Every time she saw me she'd cry, then stop. Finally, Fred's dad (Fred's parents had travelled to China with us) held Rachel and hummed softly to her, and she started to quiet down and fall asleep. I took her again after she was sleeping, and she slept soundly for 12 hours. And from the moment she woke up in the morning, she bonded to us. It only took a day or two to get her first smile.
This was about a week later, on a shopping trip in Guangzhou. No wonder she's such a shopper now. We started her young!
Ten years later. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is my baby, and I'm so, so proud of her.
We celebrated by going out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, PF Chang's.
We gave Rachel a jade and silver pendant that we had gotten at the jade factory in China in July. She really liked it and subtly hinted that for Christmas she'd like a jade bangle bracelet to go with it. :-) I love this kid. Rachel, you're the best.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pig Sitting

We took care of our neighbors' guinea pigs while they went on vacation this week. This is Snowflake, and he's not as skittish as their other one, Frosty. I've never been able to get Frosty out of his cage when I pig sit. But I think Snowflake really misses his owners when they're gone, so I like to get him out every now and then and let him eat parsley on my lap. My parsley garden is still going strong, so there was lots for them to eat this week, and they love it. They also got banana peels a few mornings.

Snowflake chews to a beat. Munch, munch, munch, munch. Pause. Munch, munch, munch, munch. Pause. And so on. I think Snowflake and Frosty will be very happy to see Sarah and Michael tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Rachel was off school today (NJ Teachers' convention) and as part of her chores, she raked leaves in the front yard. These leaves are from a silver maple tree that we planted our first summer here, the summer of 2003. The tree cost $16 from Home Depot and fit in the back of our Expedition. Six years later and it's as tall as the house.
Of course, you can't rake leaves without having a little fun.

Violet enjoyed being outside for a change, too. Ferris is almost always out with us, and if the cats are out at the same time, all he does is chase them. So this time Ferris had to stay in and Violet got to play in the leaves.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Rachel and I were watching the World Series tonight. As soon as Rachel laid down like this Violet jumped up and got comfortable on her legs. It didn't take long for them both to fall asleep.
A short time later Violet woke up.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Come on, Phillies!

I took this picture crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge going to work on Friday. The Phillies are down 2 games to 1 in the World Series. :(