Sunday, July 31, 2011


Charlotte acquired her very first pair of Chucks recently... and she is smitten. Naturally, all she wants to do is wear them EVERYWHERE... I don't blame her. These days, she wants to ditch the stroller and just walk all by herself. Poor little thing doesn't look up, usually is looking down at her sweet little shoes, or just making sure she's walking properly, so she has a tendency to bump into things. This weekend, we took her for a stroll "downtown", and lets just say she was almost struck by a Korean on a moped. Good thing they were looking where they were driving (even if it was at the last second)...

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lessons Learned: July 31

Lessons Learned: July 31

- A bathing suit is always necessary for "pool time"... make sure you have it with you, before you leave your house... more so importantly, make sure you have it before your child sees the pool in excitement and then you have to break it to them that you left their bathing suit at home... especially when they don't understand why they can't swim naked... I mean they do in the tub, why not at the pool, right?

- Yes... it can take a few hours out of your life day to collect urine and poop samples for the doctor. Having a little girl "aim" into a cup, is mighty difficult... this is when it pays off for those that have boys.

- Just because a baking recipe calls for a cake to be in the oven a certain amount of time, doesn't necessarily mean it's the same amount of time for your Korean oven...

- Going to bed after 10 o'clock doesn't really "cut" it anymore... seriously, the night owl in me is disappearing... that doesn't mean I'm a morning bird... but, somehow I'm becoming more of one, especially with my pot of coffee.

- When things go missing... it's not always little hands that have taken "it"...sometimes you misplace things as well, especially when your desk is a mess. Note to self: clean and organize desk this week.

- Just because your child is obsessed with the song, "We are the Dinosaurs" by the lovely and talented Laurie Berkner, does NOT mean that she'll love any other product with "dinosaurs" on them... including the dental flossers that the dentist gave you at this past week's appointment.

Now it's your turn... I want to hear all that you've learned this week... funny, wise, new quotes, etc... (sarcasm is completely welcome)... and link up dear friends!

Feel free to use my banner when creating your own list, but please link my blog to your post... Happy Sunday everyone.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Lemony Goodness..

We haven't had sweets in our house, since before we left for Ukraine... you see... if Papa can't eat them, because of an upcoming PT test (those that don't speak military: physical training test)... we can't eat them. In our house, if one must suffer... all must suffer... it's the motto, and take it or leave it, we stuck by it occasionally Charlie and I snuck a few yummies without him knowing . Yesterday was Papa's PT test, and he passed with flying colors... so today, we celebrate. Yup, Charlie helped me bake a yummy Lemon Yogurt Cake, a sweet, yet sour summer "Must Bake"... really should just stood in awe and wondered what I was doing the whole time. And to make it cute and blog worthy, we followed a really simple/fun tutorial on how to make a cupcake holder garland, from here... with a few alterations. Fun, right? I think I'll be on the lookout for crazy colors/patterns in cupcake holders from now on...

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Silver Lining...

This week was quite a difficult week... The hubby was working mornings... meaning, he had to be up and at 'em between 3-4 am (meaning, I get up around that time too, just because of all the commotion)... and worked until 5 pm most days (came home, and would just pass out...), Charlotte had multiple doctor's appointments, and had blood drawn for routine labs (kind of normal to do EVERY test known to man on a little adoptive child... to make sure there's not something they're missing), and it rained all week long. You know, the kind of week, where you don't want to cook dinner, but you have to, because everyone in the family has to eat and so you pick up the box of macaroni and cheese in the cupboard, and you shake your head, because you never wanted to be "that Mom" that fed her kid Mac and Cheese, when she eats everything under the stars... but you're too tired to slave away in the kitchen for another few minutes because you just need a "mama timeout"... Yes friends... it was just THAT kind of week, and I'm so grateful that it's Friday. Grateful that tomorrow the hubby will be home... and that we can spend some time together as a family. Because lets face it... as much as I love seeing his handsome face, our sweet little girl has fallen in love with her Papa, and misses when she gets "rough housed" by him, because he's too tired or out all day.

One silver lining during this crazy week was an impromptu visit from my dear friend Anna, and of course she brought along her sidekick, baby K. We had a great time catching up with "chit chat", and we even snacked on some "Mango Lassis" that I blended up (a recipe is coming soon, on a dear friend's blog, that I guest posted for while she's on vacation-I'll let you know when it goes up...) overall, it was a lovely visit, and just what I needed to get through the rest of the week.

Charlotte LOVED waking up from her nap that day to see baby K fast asleep... have I mentioned before how in LOVE she is with baby K... when he's sleeping, she does the "creepy stalker stare"...

Unfortunately, when baby K woke up and saw Charlotte... this is how he felt... (it was really because he needed a new diaper...)

According to Charlotte... everything... even some tears... can be cured by a "high five"...

It must have worked, because after that he was quite the happy baby, and loved smiling and looking handsome (didn't have to try hard) for me (had to capture that sweet little face.. he keeps getting bigger and bigger each time I see him.)

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Imperfectly Perfect...

While many people strive for perfection... I just don't even try anymore... it's not that I'm lazy... it's that I know it's impossible to achieve. Clean and perfect house... yeah, that definitely doesn't exist, especially now with a 3 year old. Clean and perfect put together appearance... yeah, that's definitely not me. The list can go on and on...

When I ask my friend Anna to cut my hair, I always ask for chunky, uneven bangs, because I LOVE how imperfect looks. Whenever I take photos of families, my favorites always seem to be the ones where no one is looking right at the camera, but rather, enjoying one another. You see... I see beauty in the "imperfect"... and I wonder, do you?

See these cute little imperfect cross eyes? As cute as they are to me... they're actually hindering our sweet little girl from her full potential (climbing stairs, looking at the tv-or pretty much anything, depth perception, etc.) This week we have an appointment to have her eyes evaluated, and we're expecting to receive news from the Korean doctor that she'll need surgery to "uncross" her "crossed" eyes... but more on that once we know...

Lets talk about Charlotte's teeth... or lack thereof. Little kids should have 20 baby teeth, sweet little Charlie's 20, were NEVER taken care of at the orphanage... when we first met her, we were taken "aback" by her smile... because she had NO front teeth and all of her other teeth were completely rotted down or chipped and broken. Wow, these little teeth are quite imperfect.. cute, not so much... but are they signs of what she's been through, and how far she's come... absolutely!

When I took her to the dentist yesterday, it was an appointment I've been dreading. There's that perfect part of you, that wants the doctor to know, that this child hasn't grown up with you, and that you would NEVER let your child's teeth turn out that way... sort of clear your name, because you don't want them to think awful things about you, but... I'm passed that point... I just needed a diagnosis, and plan of action. Not that I'm trying to have her teeth corrected for perfection, but rather because these broken teeth hurt my little girl... they're supposed to help bring her body nutrition by breaking down the yummy healthy food (she gums away at it right now and tries her best)... and who can forget that these rotted teeth can affect her "big girl" teeth... So next month, Charlotte has an appointment to have 12 teeth removed! Yup, that means she'll only have 8 baby teeth, and more than likely they'll be crowned and sparkling... poor girl... I keep thinking, "At least it's only her baby teeth..."

This is Charlotte's, "Are we about done here?" face... again... achieving the perfect "smiley" face photo... doesn't always work...

This is Charlotte's, "I'm getting dirty from all this tall grass and flowers...GET.. ME... OUT... OF... HERE... like NOW!"... Oh Charlie... your outfit can never be perfectly clean all the time, you'll realize this soon enough (like when you have to do your own laundry!)

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Giveaway: Ashley from "One in the Hand"

Oh boy oh boy, do I have a goodie for you... that's right a giveaway! Today, I'd like to introduce you to Ashley, from " One In The Hand "... Not only is she the mastermind behind her blog (you ought to check out her "Dance Party Fridays"), but she also has an etsy shop, full of delicious handmade items. Of course, I the lover of all things coffee, was so excited to see that she creates sewn "lovelies" just for my coffee cup... that's right, she sews up some amazing coffee cozies with bright and fun colored fabric.... seriously, this one, is my favorite. And something I find truly wonderful, is that she donates 10% of the profits of each sale to the Emergency Fund: which provides immediate financial assistance to help low income Chicago area individuals and families through a crisis or transition. Here's some more inside scoop on Ashley...

Tell us a little bit about yourself, by using 5 words to describe who you are:

What's your favorite color combination?
Red and aqua! Hands down.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
Ooh. Someplace with all four seasonsand easy access to good music, good libraries, good outdoor life and cheap flights. I'd want a mix of conservatives and liberals and a lot of different races, ethnicities and income levels. Does this place exist? Where I live in Chicago has all of those things, though I'd make our winters shorter and less harsh!

What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?
Oh Lawd. I can't think of a specific moment that was so much worse than others, but I occasionally totally bite it while walking somewhere, that's always embarrassing.

Okay now some "shop" questions:

Just like the chicken or the egg... which came first, blogging or crafting?
Blogging. No, wait, crafting. I've been blogging (though on a more private platform) since 2003. I've had my Blogger blog for a couple years. I've crafted since I was a kid, though at the time I was just playing around - making tissue-paper flowers for my headbands, friendship bracelets, beaded jewelry. But it wasn't until late 2010 that I began using my Blogger blog to focus on my Etsy shop, and it was around that time that I became acquainted with all the crafty ladies on Twitter.

How did your beautiful creations come about?
I learned to knit in 2008 and began making little things for friends and co-workers, including a cup cozy. They said (as I'm sure we've all heard once or twice), "You should sell those!" Which of course I said was nonsense. One of my oldest friends had a really successful jewelry shop on Etsy, though, and I thought, maybe I could do it! So I started working out how I would want to make my cup cozies. As I visited craft stores for yarn, I became infatuated with fabric, and wished I knew how to sew. So I bought a cheap machine and taught myself, thanks to the manual and YouTube. I've gotten better at sewing and knitting since then but essentially, the items in my shop are the same today as what I started with. I'm really excited to be introducing some new versions of my standard items, and some new items altogether, in the coming months! Plus a sewn cup cozy pattern!

Which of your creations is your absolute favorite?
It's really hard to pick a favorite - one thing I love about these small items is that they allow me to buy small pieces of a lot of different fabrics. I get to satisfy wanting EVERYTHING IN THE STORE. I'll say that I am currently in love like whoa with my Summer Damask cozy.

Any words of advice for those that are wanting to start selling handmade?
Be as prepared as you can be, but at some point you just have to jump in. You will likely change things along the way and that's ok. Use resources like your local craft community, Twitter, blogs, etc. to connect with other handmade sellers. They're great for offering feedback, partnering with and listening to you vent when you just don't know if you can sew on ONE MORE BUTTON . . . or maybe that's just me. ;)

Thanks SO much Ashley for introducing yourself/shop to us. Want to know something uh-mazin'... Ashley has so generously donated $30.00 shop credit (with free shipping) to one of you-my lucky readers!

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

- Follow this blog via GFC (on the right hand side there), and leave a comment saying that you do...

- Follow Ashley's blog, and leave a comment here saying that you do...

- Go and "like" Ashley's facebook page and come back here and leave another comment...

- Visit Ashley's shop, come back here and let me know which coffee cozy is your favorite in another comment...

So, that gives you 4 different ways that you can enter this giveaway! You have until next Monday, August 1, to get your entries in! Good Luck!

Oh, and for those of you that can't wait... Ashley has a coupon code for all of you... it's your lucky day! For 20% off use: TwentyOffLikeWhoa

Also, I guest posted over at Caroline's blog today, go check it out here, for a fun and easy DIY! oh, and you can leave a little love... that won't hurt you!
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 24: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned this week:

- Long necklaces and poopy diapers don't work well together... yes, it makes for a "stylish/hip" accessory, but it does not make for a practical/sensible Mama when she wears the "stylish/hip" accessory. {side note: H2O cleans poop off jewelry REAL well!}

- Waking up at 4 am to your daughter stomping around her room with her big girl shoes (shoes that are 2 sizes too big...) is no fun... until you see that she had them on the correct feet (R and L-doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, I get excited).

- Sometimes you just need to pick up a good book to help "the process" move along... do you catch what I'm putting down (if not, no worries, of course I took pictures!)

- Never ever trust a GPS... enough said.

Now it's your turn... I want to hear all that you've learned this week... funny, wise, new quotes, etc... (sarcasm is completely welcome)... and link up dear friends!

Feel free to use my banner when creating your own list, but please link my blog to your post... Happy Sunday everyone.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Such a tease...

Usually it's birds that tease Runyan... that they can be outside, flying free in the air... but now, Charlotte does... I can only imagine the thoughts that are running through Runyan's head. I'm sure they're not happy...

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sun Kissed

Yesterday, we headed to our neighbor base... or wait, I should say post, because it's Army... and we visited "Splish and Splash" for the very first time. Yes, I feel sort of guilty taking our little one there, without Papa...since he's the fish in the family and all... but I couldn't resist when other Moms (friends) invited me out with their little ones. Even though we spent most of the time (she made it 2.5 hours in this place!) doing what Charlotte wanted to do (run through all the sprinkler like things, and splash, and try on other people's shoes...oh, and lets not forget, beg for food-even though I fed her right before we left, and had snacks for her), I had a great time. We'll definitely be returning... especially since I didn't get any other photos of the place and of Charlotte, other than the one down below. I mean seriously... do I really want to truck my Nikon around and through water park features... this Mama had to keep up with her daughter's agenda.

I love how the combo of sun and water= a very tired little girl, with "sun-kissed" features... I put SPF 60 on her, and she still picked up some color... it's that Ukrainian blood. By the way... this is the very first time she fell asleep in her car seat. I was rejoicing quietly as I drove home.

Lastly, I just want to tell you, how after we made it home... I had to snap some pictures of Charlie in her Britax... not just because she's the cuteness... (I'm pretty much smitten), but seriously... can you see it? She's "filling out"... "plumping up"... finally looking like the girl that God intended her to be. I just couldn't help but stare at her for a while...
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nap when they nap...

Since we've been back from Ukraine... our little furry four legged beast, Runyan... has been suffering from "neglected child" syndrome. He actually comes to us for attention (which he never had to do before)... he's completely thrown off by my waking up early because of Charlotte... we used to sleep in a lot (oh how I miss those days)... but, I do believe that he's content we brought home a child that doesn't pay him attention, because lets be honest, he's NOT a fan of little kids. He LOVES adults, but he does not get along with little ones that are more on his eye level. Poor guy hasn't had his photo taken, nor has he said, "hello" to my blog readers... so when I went to photograph him, of course I found him sleeping. You know how newborn mothers are supposed to sleep whenever their baby naps? Well... Runyan completely follows that rule. He naps any chance there's peace and quiet in the house.

This is his, "What you're actually paying attention to me... and want to photograph my manliness? Whatever... I'm going back to bed... the little critter is sleeping, so I need to sleep."

Don't let him fool you... he still gets plenty of scratches...
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WIWW-Mommy/Daughter edition

One of the outfits that Charlotte and I wore this week, involved fun salmon/coral and pea green colors... perfectly bright and fun for the summer. We had Papa take some photos (well of Mama at least) on Sunday after church, so we could show everyone. It is SO much fun dressing a girl... I don't know what I would do if I had a boy... seriously... I would probably make them wear tutus regardless. But this little girl, she LOVES her tutus (yes, she has 3 of them)... and always opts to wear them instead of her shorts... she's a diva through and through. Every time she puts on a new outfit, she does a little pose, and says, "Oh La La" or something that resembles that at least. Anyone else have a little "fashionista" on their hands? What have we (more so Papa!) gotten ourselves into?

Charlotte's Outfit:

shirt- Gymboree
tutu skirt- gifted from a friend, but from Gymboree
pink laced legging capris- gifted from a friend, Children's Place
sandals- Clark's... from a Clark's shop in Ukraine
little hair clip- Ouchless clips from Goody **I need to work on accessories for her!**

and take a look at my "new do"! Yup, I had a bunch of inches cut off... I feel about 50 lbs. lighter... and lets just say, it takes half the amount of time to wash in the shower, and a quarter of the time to style.

Mama Karen's outfit:

floral dress: Korean! (favorite part is the pockets!)
belt: Forever 21
flip flops: Rainbows from Pacific Sunwear... about 8 years old, and LOVE them.
ring: jade and gifted from my hubby
haircut: from my dear friend Anna... she sure does know how to use shears!
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sewing Session

Saturday, late afternoon, dear friends, Ferial and Anna and I came together for a sort of last minute sewing session... I LOVE these moments, especially since with a little one, they have been far and few... wait, I lie... there have been NONE since becoming a Mama! The hubby was so sweet to let me escape for a few hours to get in some "adult interaction" and sewing... I think he knew I needed it. I didn't accomplish too much, but it still felt great.

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