Saturday, January 31, 2009


A very touching article was sent to me a few months ago by a fellow member of our Down Syndrome network, and today I stumbled on it again on Julie's blog. Reading it for a second time, crying over it as I did the first, I found myself reflecting on the word "anonymous."

Unknown, unacknowledged.

Yesterday someone anonymously donated the cost of Emerson's airfare to us. Once again I am humbled by the generosity that has been shown to us by family, friends and strangers. "Thank you" seems so frail, so empty an expression of the overwhelming gratitude that has followed us on this journey.

There are many other anonymous ones in this world. We are very fortunate. Our daughter is being cared for by people that love her, watched over by a woman who surely must be an angel undercover ... but not all children in this world are so lucky. So many of them live anonymously, die anonymously; the saddest part is that they don't have to. To echo Julie's post, think deeply on the plight of this world's orphans, think what gifts you keep that you can share with them - a thought, a prayer, a word, a dollar, a home. We all have something to give and most importantly, like our nameless donor, while many of these children may be unknown, they need not remain unacknowledged.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

On the third day in Puhachiv, the mission team was able to travel to the village cemetery. As we piled into the orphanage’s ambulance car and waited to leave, I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. In the past, I have been to many cemeteries, funerals and panakhidas with my father, and it just seemed that this would be like any other visit I’ve made with my dad.

Well, I was wrong. This was unlike any experience I’ve ever had with my dad by my side.

When we arrived at the cemetery, I realized that it had a different feel to it. The cemetery was in the middle of the forest, so the trees surrounding us made it feel as if we were in a building. The tombstones themselves were different, as Bishop Daniel had explained earlier on the trip. Bishop Daniel had pointed out the Soviet influence on the tombstone’s design: A characteristic cutout shape, a simple plaque bearing the name of the deceased and no display of crosses.

After entering the cemetery grounds through a small wooden gate, we walked to the section of the cemetery where children from the orphanage are buried. I found that there weren’t as many graves in this section as I had expected.

Then, Bishop Daniel began the panakhyda for the departed children buried there. As our humble group of young adults sang the responses for the service, I attentively listened to the words we were saying, as if I was hearing them for the first time. These responses that I have sung at home, alongside my dad, seemed to take on a different meaning. Here I was in a foreign country without my father or mother, and I was singing for these children who did not have a father or mother present in their lives or at their funerals. These children did not have a father or mother to take care of them, love them, sing to them, or even cry for them when they were called to be with our Lord.

After the service, Bishop Daniel asked that we spend a few moments in prayer for the children that we have never met. As I walked between the tombstones of children who rarely reached 10 or 15 years of age, I noticed that the graves were not well kept. There were weeds and grasses growing over the area, and this small thing made me realize, again, how these children didn’t have a father or mother there to care for them.

This simple thing made me think about how my mother takes care of our garden at home. She may be busy carrying in groceries from the store with her hands full, yet she will stop for a minute to pull out a few weeds from the flowerbeds. I found this a simple concept, but at the same time a difficult idea to grasp that my mother can put such love into small and seemingly insignificant things, such as flowers, when there are people out in the world who do not put similar love and care into something as extremely important as a child of God. So upon seeing these unkempt graves with grasses and weeds growing all over, it reinforced the realization that these children have left this world without having received a love similar to that which the flowers in our garden have received from my mother.

For whatever reason, though I may not understand it, these children’s parents are not present in their lives. As a result, I feel that it has become my duty to fill in the missing pieces of this puzzle and not just share, but give all my love to these beautiful children. So as I stood there, for those few moments, doing as Bishop Daniel had asked us, and connecting with children that I never had met, I knelt down and began to pull out those weeds. The more weeds that I pulled out, the more that I wanted to rid the grave sites of the brush covering up these innocent children. I wanted to remove all the weeds and grasses that were covering them up and hiding them away. With each tug and pull of the weeds, the tears in my eyes would stream out more, so I tried to wipe them away and continue weeding. I was unsuccessful in wiping the tears off my face because in attempting to wipe them away, I felt that I was wiping the kids away, so I just let the tears come out. I needed to cry.

As I stood there, in the cemetery of Puhachiv, I prayed, I weeded and I cried as I thought about the children. The thing is, there was this one thought that kept coming back to me, and it was that these children had been alone. Maybe they were in a room with 20 other girls each day—sitting, eating, and sleeping together—but they were still left, in some ways, very alone, so I stood there and cried. Fr. Stephen came over to console me; then, Bishop Daniel tried. Eventually, I finished my weeding. I pulled weeds out of a few of the grave sites, but I also pulled out of myself emotions that I never had experienced. I was then surprised to find that everyone on the mission team had been patiently waiting for me in the ambulance, and I had been standing there in the cemetery for a long time. I had been standing there weeding, loving, crying and praying.

I prayed for those children that I never had met, and I began to pour out my love to them, hoping and praying that they are with the Lord. For if these children are with our Lord, they are being filled with the love that He gives all of us, and it is this love from God that we are called to share with these children, even though they probably give more to us in return.I pray that you keep these children in your prayers, in your thoughts, and in your hearts because there isn’t a day that goes by where they aren’t in mine.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the magic paintbrush

We are so very lucky to live in an area that has so many services for people with special needs - tonight we got to use a fun one! In the major shopping mall here is a place called The Magic Paintbrush - it is basically a huge art room that can be used by families with a member with special needs and their therapists, educators, etc.

We have the absolutely best therapists in our area who specialize in children with DS, and Dawson's occupational therapist, Anne (she's the lady with the blue shirt in the pictures) set up our first session along with Reva, her boss and Cade's occupational therapist (Cade has some fine motor delays and receives OT twice a week at school along with speech therapy). These two wonderful ladies are like family and everyone had so much fun! Tonight it felt so much like someone was missing... I cannot wait to bring Emerson with us when we go back! :)

Here are some pictures - and yes, Parker did get a haircut, courtesy of big brother Cade LOL!!! (I only cried a little, I promise! :P )

Cade in the bouncy house:

Playing in a pool of paper:

Anne talking with Dawson:

Reading a paint story with Reva (in white):

Getting started:

Time to get messy!:

The damage:

The small canvas the kids did, which The Magic Paintbrush glazes and gives to us as a keepsake!:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

P.S. We didn't seem to have much interest in our guessing pool, so we ended it and refunded the particpants - thank you!! :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

one step closer!

At last, some news I have been waiting to hear - Emerson's Social Work Center has submitted her paperwork to the Ministry!!! There is still a bit more to be done, but this is the biggest and most important step - she is now available for adoption! ^_^

I am very hopeful for a travel date the last week of February or first or second week of March! That is not too far away! :)

And congrats to Carolee and family, who just received their travel date to meet their daughter on Feb. 16!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

isn't she lovely?

A few more of our beauty, many thanks to our sweet facilitator and friend, J! ^_^

growing up

Where has my little baby gone?

Ah, I wish I could see her! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

this is home

We've been told by other families that the Ministry officials love to see lots of pictures of our family and life during our meeting... so, never one to bring just photographs, I made a photobook through picaboo with a great coupon for buy 1, get 1 free. I figure these would make great gifts for Grandma and Grandpa after their long adventure in babysitting. ^_^

So, I had to share the end result - it looks so, so beautiful in person! This is for my little Emerson, who is still part of our family, if only in pictures right now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

new email

Just a little note that as of this weekend my email address is changing. I've enjoyed having my own domain at weelilmonsters, but it's been over a year and I just haven't had time to manage the site, so I'm finally canceling the site and marking it off our monthly budget LOL!

You can now contact me at ^_^

Also, for anyone who has been using my hotmail account, i.e. Carolee, that means you! :) ... please use the yahoo one because I have forgotten my password for my hotmail account and cannot for the life of me remember it.

And now of course I've lost countless emails including the email address of the very sweet man who has been talking to us about the apartment we want in Belgrade and just told me not to worry, he would not charge us higher prices in the spring. I could just cry LOL.

After about 50 tries, I got the right password! Woohoo!!! So any pals out there using my hotmail address, feel free to keep doing so, or my new yahoo one. :) What an ordeal, I'm never changing my email again!! :P

Friday, January 23, 2009

to my Andjela

"To the sweetest, most beloved one,
Inseparable from my heart,
Always wished for..."

- Despot Stefan Lazarević

Well my little angel, I never dreamed we would wait so long to meet! Maybe sometimes it is best we do not know how things will transpire; I am almost certain we would have decided not to adopt you had we known all we do now. But you have changed me in so many ways, the least of which is this - patience.

The people responsible for the legal part of who you are have not yet completed everything. And now we know there are a few more steps to go. It is most likely we will not be coming for you until March. I admit I see April in my mind, the White City beginning to transform into the Green City, trees blossoming around Kalemegdan, a cool breeze from the rivers ... but we will still hope for March.

I am sorry it has taken so long, it seems love should be much simpler than this - but these are the silly parts of being human and you just have to learn to shrug them off and remember through it all there are also always friends working very hard to help.

Your heart will stay strong. You can tell it for me. And somehow we'll find a way to meet the costs when they start rising in the spring. And if I'm wrong on either of those points, then the time we have had together in spirit was worth it all.

I used to think that adoption was just like pregnancy. Expectation, excitement, worries. And it is a little, but mostly it is like birth. It is like needing to have a cesarean section under general anesthesia and waking up to find your new baby is very sick and has been transferred to the intensive care unit at another hospital, far away. You are not allowed to go visit your baby, not until the doctors say it is okay. The nurses bring you pictures occasionally and tell you the baby is doing okay. And you cry, and you fear, but you also love. Never having touched her soft cheeks or held her tiny hand, trying to determine the exact color of her eyes from a photograph... somehow that doesn't matter, because you just KNOW that this baby is YOURS. So as hard as the waiting is, you cannot give up. And you know there is a possibility your baby will not make it, that one of you will lose your fight before you've even held her in your arms... but still, you cannot give up. Because you love her.

Because we love you.

We will keep hoping for you, our Emerson Andjeline. Please wait just a little longer.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

happy endings

"Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock."
- Anonymous

I always hesitate to write a sad post - I can't help but think if I just refuse to admit how discouraged I am at the moment, the feeling will pass quickly and I will be back to my usual realistic-bordering-on-optimistic self. But then I guess my blogging about this journey wouldn't be true to the journey.

Emerson's paperwork has not yet been sent from her Social Work Center. And the Ministry officials have been very, very persistent these last few weeks to try to get it. I am grateful for that fact, but therein lies my discouragement... if they have tried so hard already without success, how can I hope they will be successful in the near future?

I feel very patient for our little sweetheart, but I'm afraid patience won't be enough here. I'm afraid February will pass. March will pass. And April and then May will arrive either still with no travel date or with plane tickets we cannot possibly afford. Our home study expires in July, we cannot afford to redo everything. And of course her heart, always her heart.

I know these are all just fears. And maybe next week the Center will pull through and those fears will have been entertained for nothing. But it takes a lot of energy to bite back fears and maintain hope every minute of every day. And right now I'm just tired and wondering if someone is trying to break it gently that there might not be a happy ending for us. Once doubt creeps in, it's like juice spilled on the kitchen counter - it spreads everywhere, running down the cupboard and into the crevices of the drawers, so you're sure to miss some when you're cleaning up.

Cade will turn 5 on Valentine's Day, Feb 14. He wants a Spiderman party. I can't plan one because I don't know where we'll be, or when. I know it's something so simple, so insignificant in the big picture... but it represents the enormity of what it means to pause your life, hold your breath and wait for something without knowing how long that wait will be or how long you can hold your breath before you pass out. I feel guilty that I have to make him wait to celebrate his birth while we wait to bring another child home. And I feel guilty for not being able to do anything for that new child. It's hard to fight back that doubt that says I'm failing them both.

Right now it feels like hope has retreated to the shadows in my mind. But somehow I can always still just see the outline and remind myself that maybe tomorrow she will step out again, ready to scrub the counter.

heat and hope

Maybe you have seen, the dispute between Russia and Ukraine has been resolved - at least enough to get gas flowing to Europe again! :)

I know I haven't said much about the adoption, we are just waiting for Em's paperwork to get where it needs to be and for our date to be officially decided on. We are still hoping very much to leave the U.S. on Feb 10 and meet our princess on Feb 12, but next week is our last chance for that in terms of how much notice we need. I am trying not to become discouraged, I must stop checking airfares everyday LOL - earlier this week they were SO reasonable, I couldn't help but wish I could buy them. Now of course they're going up again... I hope our time is coming soon.

We love you baby girl!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

we squeak!

I first heard about WeeSqueak Shoes from a post on the Urban's blog and I liked Charissa's thinking of how they might encourage a child to bear weight on the feet by giving them the motivation of a cute little squeak with each step. Our physical therapist suggested we get Dawson some shoes (not just the soft-soled infant ones we have already) so she can work more with him on his feet, and I remembered Charissa's long-ago post and our PT thought they sounded like a wonderful idea.

So after ordering some for Dawson and Emerson, I decided to send the company an email to see if they would be willing to send some shoes along to Serbia with us - what a great tool for physical therapy or just some really fun shoes for the kids! And this is what they sent - around 30 pairs of little girls shoes! We are so grateful to WeeSqueak for their generous donation! ^_^

They were manufactured with a tiny pin hole on the top that is barely noticeable (if I were the owner I would've slapped an extra flower there and sold them as "limited editions" HAHA!!) but otherwise are perfect, adorable and incredibly good quality. The squeaker can be easily taken out and put back in (I'm thinking the wonderful nurses probably do not want to hear 60 squeaking feet all day LOL!) and the only challenge now is... fitting them all in our suitcases! I think I'll have to take them out of the boxes and do some really serious rearranging...

Hopefully I have 20 days to get that done (please, please let it just be 20 days!). In the meantime, here's Miss Macy modeling them for us - excuse the striped pants, she was playing Pirate at the time. Such a princess LOL! She highly approves of the squeaky fun and is now demanding her own pair! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cade the pessimist

[We spent the weekend trying diligently to toilet-train Parker, also known as The Most Resistant Boy in the Universe, and when Cade pulled up a seat - and popped open an umbrella just in case - we couldn't help but laugh ... and snap a picture! I can't wait to pull this one out of the photo album when Parker brings home a girlfriend! Bad mommy! ^_^)

reflections on patience

"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas.
And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination."

~ Robert Fulghum

This is a very interesting couple days for me that has me really reflecting on so many things right now, so please forgive my fuzzy ramblings! ^_^

Today marks 6 months since we mailed our dossier across the big pond. 6 months - wow! Has it really been that long? I know in adoption world it really isn't that long at all - many, many families wait even longer than that! - but I'm more surprised by the patience that suddenly belongs to me than the length of time we have been waiting for that magical invitation.

I have never been a patient person; I was a true product of America's instant-gratification society. I think that impatience has been both a blessing and a curse for our country - you can see the latter in the current state of our economy - never ones to wait for homes and material things we can truly afford, we're all so quick to just take a shortcut and take on more than we really should! - but the former in what is often amazing generosity, persistence and hard work when it's truly needed, in something as simple as our USCIS office processing our paperwork in just 6 days. Not weeks as is the usual, but 6 days. Sometimes we find friends in our impatience. :)

Although I do feel sad that our little angel has waited these 6 months, that we still don't have a definite end date, I'm also forever grateful for this tough lesson in patience and I think it's one we all need to learn - and will be learning - and it will only make us a more generous, persistent and hard working people.

Beyond my own small personal significance for today, I can't help but reflect on the fact that today is the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and tomorrow is the day our country welcomes our first African-American President! I don't like to talk politics and philosophy on my blog very much, even though I am a philosopher by nature LOL!, but the volatility of the world right now - the change in administration, the economy, the war in Gaza, the gas crisis in Europe - always manages to get me thinking deeper. I know many in our country do not agree with a lot of Obama's principles, but I think his greatest potential lies not in "liberalizing" America, but in opening the door to challenging our perceptions of our own morality and others around us so that maybe, one day, we can learn to see both sides of issues and still find love for one another and in that love one day find a greater respect for all humankind.

Many people think too big a deal is made over Obama's "blackness," and too little over the man, but I think it is a significance independent of him and it is one that gives me hope for the morality of our society. That might sound strange or backwards to many people - I will say I am one of those rare pro-life Democrats! - but I feel such a sense of moral victory this week as I would if a man with Down syndrome were becoming President. There was a time when many people saw little value in the life of a black man - as many people today see little value in the life of a person with a disability, or in the life of a fetus - and though laws were passed in an attempt to circumvent that conviction, it was not law that brought us to this Tuesday. Laws do not create morality. Morality creates laws. And the only things that bring morality are time, patience and love.

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I see something like President Bush's proclamation of a "National Sanctity of Human Life Day" - I am left scratching my head. "All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection." It's a beautiful idea because it's true - whomever you want to see as the "Creator". But what of the Iraqis? What of the people in Gaza and yes, in Israel too - where is the American voice there? What of the convicted criminals awaiting their death sentences? What of the countless innocent people that have fallen because of our aggression, or our apathy?

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
- Gandhi

We cannot have it both ways. If we want to teach love for all, we must love all. If we want to teach peace, we must stop waging war. It is only with hearts full of forgiveness, compassion and empathy that we can ever hope to truly celebrate the sanctity of human life - all human life. Without border, color, sex, stage of life, age, place, sexual orientation, opinion or religion. Anything less is hypocrisy.

Maybe such a world is a utopian dream, but it's one we're getting a little closer to on Tuesday - even if on the surface that doesn't seem to be the case. It won't be easy and it won't be instant and it will require a great lesson in patience!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Срећна Нова Година!

Okay, okay, I am a little late in posting this (it's already Jan 15 in Serbia!) but I had to post this beautiful picture and say Happy New Year! ("Srećna Nova Godina!" - which is what it says above, but in Cyrillic - I think I am finally starting to get the hang of those letters and it only took me a few months LOL!)

Our facilitator said she and the little ones are warm (for the time being - the issue between Russia and Ukraine is STILL not resolved!) and I don't think I could be happier if she had emailed us a confirmed travel date. ^_^ I doubt I'll stop worrying, but I will sleep a little easier tonight at least. Please continue to keep the millions of people affected by this crisis in your thoughts and prayers, and especially our wonderful facilitator and lawyer and the beautiful children sharing Emerson's home right now.

It is going to be such an exciting year for little Em - a fixed heart, a new family. What more could a little girl ask for? :)
The picture above is of the Temple of St. Sava and it is right down the street from the apartment we hope to rent. I cannot wait to see it in person! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

no surprise

Just a little update - still no gas. Sadly, I'm not surprised. It's very sad when people have to suffer for ulterior political motives.

I hope the gas starts again soon. :(

Monday, January 12, 2009


Dawson has been learning how to sign "more" and he was doing it a lot today so I managed to catch it on video - along with his absolutely adorable clapping and babbling! :) This is his second sign (his first was "milk") - it's so amazing what babies can learn!

On a side note, tomorrow gas is supposed to start flowing through Ukraine again (finally!!!) - it seems according to the U.S. media some people in Belgrade are without heat so I hope our facilitator is not one of them and she is nice and warm - and the little ones at the children's center too! It's no fun worrying from afar. We are thinking about everyone over there!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

getting ready

As we are looking forward to good news soon for a mid-February appointment date, we have started getting those last minute things ready. Cleaning, repacking, buying a few more things for her... I miss Em so much these days, I hope she is doing well - hopefully we only have a little more than 30 days to go!

We finally went out and bought a new double stroller! We had one already, which I love, but it's one where the kids sit side-by-side and it just wasn't going to work for me anymore. When Emerson is home I will be toting 4 little ones with Cade to and from preschool, and with 2 of them not walking, a stroller is going to be a must - and there was no way our big side-by-side was going to fit through the preschool doors LOL!

It's functional but it looks and feels like a bus - I don't know how you moms with triplet + strollers do it! - but the kids were very happy to give it a test drive! I'm relieved that Parker won't be getting a license anytime soon HAHA! :)

And we also bought new carseats for Emerson and Dawson. Dawson is much too long for his infant seat now and though we have an infant seat for Em as well, she's reaching the max for length too! And how could I resist this girly one? I cannot wait to see her in it!

Friday, January 09, 2009

little cutie

Just had to share these pictures of Dawson, taken without the flash on - he's such a beautiful boy! :)

I've been following the situation with the natural gas across the pond very closely - I'm so happy to see other countries coming to Serbia's aid and hopefully the argument between the Russian and Ukrainian companies will be resolved within the next few days.

Next week everyone should be coming back from holidays, maybe we will hear some good news soon or the week after! It is getting close! ^_^

Thursday, January 08, 2009

all because two people fell in love

Today marks 8 years since Matt and I said "I do!" :)

No grand wedding for us, I was 18 and he was 19, it was a dreary DC day with a constant drizzle and I was sick with the flu. We hopped the Metro to Arlington, crossed the street to the courthouse and tied the knot in true elopement fashion - the judge even asked if he was the only person who knew about it LOL!! The next day we were headed to Disney World. Pretty elegant, huh? ^_~

Now that I'm a mother myself, I do wish we had done some sort of traditional wedding for our own parents to enjoy ... though now I couldn't fathom spending so much money on that when there are so many more worthy causes in need out there. And at least we have a very interesting beginning!

I can hardly believe it has been 8 years already. Matt and I met at GWU - strangely, that first day at our dormitory, my mom and I took the elevator up to our floor with my future mother-in-law. Polite conversation was made, we turned in different directions when the doors opened... who would have thought? Nearly a decade later, five beautiful new people and two who are getting older but still going strong. Isn't Fate wonderful? ^_^

Here we are, our unsuspecting former selves.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

natural gas crisis

I'm sure many of us have been watching the Ukraine-Russia natural gas debacle; I know I have with a mixture of disbelief and sympathy. But now this crazy situation hits a little too close to home.

All natural gas supplies routed from Russia and on to Serbia have been cut - completely. This is a truly awful situation and I hope it is resolved quickly. Not only is it frightening to think of some people being without heat in the winter, but even the idea of factories being stopped to conserve energy reserves... how that might hurt the economy.

Please keep all of the people in Serbia and the other European countries so terribly affected by this childish dispute in your thoughts and prayers. It's Christmas, and it's cold outside. :(


It's almost 1 am here and I cannot seem to sleep. So what else can I do but post? (AGAIN! LOL!) Tomorrow is Christmas in Serbia, I so wish we were there to celebrate with our little angel. I am feeling so wistful for her lately, it feels like those last few weeks of a pregnancy when you have enjoyed the anticipation but just want to hold that little sweetie in your arms!

Our dream will come true so soon! Tonight I noticed a familiar picture on the "Already HOME!" section of Reece's Rainbow, under March 2009. With a little luck it will be the 26th or 27th of February, but I couldn't help but smile at that little reminder of just how near we are to her! Until then, I am just dreaming of when I can finally kiss those soft cheeks and brush that wild hair! :)

Hristos se rodi moja beba. Volim te!
(Merry Christmas, my baby [literally, Christ is born]. I love you!)

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Who would've thought that trying to get a nice picture of all 5 of our children to give to our family could be so ... er... impossible? LOL! Out of about 20 shots, not one of them has all children looking at the camera and looking normal - even Emerson sometimes wouldn't cooperate (or at least, the ones in charge of holding her picture wouldn't haha!!) They sure are cute together though, aren't they?
Lately I am especially longing for the time they're all truly together. ^_^

Saturday, January 03, 2009

celebrating ONE!

We finally celebrated Dawson's 1st birthday (only 22 days late, but who's counting? ^_^) We originally planned to right after Christmas but since he was sick at the time we didn't think cake (or rather, the oodles of homemade buttercream frosting!) would go over too well with his stomach!

My parents and sister came down (they live about 2 1/2 hours north, in the foothills of the Adirondacks, where we lived for a few years before moving to Binghamton) and we also had a holiday meal of yummy lasagna!

Dawson loved his presents and especially the cake (or rather, that infamous frosting!) He is such a cutie pie, he has the best smile in the world - he just lights up the whole room. :)

I love this one, being silly with Papa - who happens to be heading south in a few days for boot camp with the Army National Guard. :( He spent 10 years in the Navy before he had enough of the long deployments away from his family, but now he wants a new adventure. It's unlikely he'll be sent to either Iraq or Afghanistan; he was a great Recruiter in the Navy and that's the position he'll be taking up again. We'll miss you Dad/Papa! :)