Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gotta Love a Small Town Newspaper!

This article appeared last week in our local newspaper. This was front-page, above the fold news. I called my sister, Claudine, and read it to her and we had a good laugh. Hope you enjoy it...

A wild trip though a Stafford grocery store landed a county man in jail late Friday, police said.

The suspect tried to run over a store employee with a battery-operated handicapped cart after the employee confronted him about his actions, which police said included throwing eggs and Cheetos in multiple aisles and eating food he hadn't purchased.

The suspect left the Bloom store before police arrived, but was apprehended nearby a short time later, Sheriff's spokesman Bill Kennedy said.

According to Kennedy, the suspect entered the store at 905 Garrisonville Road just before 11 p.m.

He got into a motorized cart and picked up various items, including sandwiches, cartons of eggs, beer, wine and Cheetos.

Kennedy said the man was eating one of the sandwiches and drinking a beer as he rode up and down aisles throwing eggs and knocking items off shelves.

When a manager confronted him about his behavior, police said, the man told her he wasn't doing anything wrong.

He then chased the manager in the cart as she ran to safety. He ran out of the store when the manager informed him she was calling police.

Kennedy said about $190 worth of items were either damaged or eaten during the incident.

Deputy Nathan Thompson stopped the man as he was walking west on Garrisonville Road and took him back to the store, where he was identified as the suspect.

Michael James Selz, 21, was charged with assault, destruction of property, petty larceny and public intoxication.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Early Christmas

Although it was only an hour and a half drive up to my sister Claudine's house, this is what the girls looked like on the way there! We left at 9:30 AM. Bunch of slacker, my girls are! As we pulled into the driveway we found that Suzanne & Greg were right behind us, having left Philadelphia a bit earlier - like us. We had a nice day, but Josie never left the Christmas tree, waiting patiently until it was time to open presents.

Once everyone had arrived we had a nice light lunch and let the kids open their gifts. In my family, we open gifts from the youngest to the oldest. That way, everyone gets to see what everyone else got. Jack (our nephew) was totally bummed out to remember that he wasn't the youngest anymore - Josie got to go first.

Here's the progression of happy faces from Saturday afternoon:

Jack - who received all things 'Baltimore Ravens'

Kate - who love clothes and snow globes

Liam - who shows off his Manchester United jersey from Aunt Claudine

Maddie showing off the hat & gloves she received from Aunt Claudine. (Aunt Claudine gives the coolest gifts!)

Zack (being supervised by Liam) opens one of many 'gift cards' (the favorite of teens everywhere!)

James opens his 'Philadelphia Phillies World Champions' T-shirt from BIL Greg. (It's a long story, but it started when Liam was about 3 and Zack was 8 and we sent them home from the beach in LA Dodgers hats and T-shirts!) The rivalry continues...

Josie gives her Grandmom a hand opening a present

Suzanne gives Mom a hand in reading a note from our Dad (His gift to her was a trip to Atlantic City with $$ spending money!)

Pop opens a gift while wearing his new Phillies hat

We all had a lovely time and received extremely generous gifts. We headed home around 8 PM and we were just about 3 blocks down the road before Josie crashed. She had so much excitement being around her cousins - combined with a lack of a nap - that our little angel just toughed it out as long as she could! Maddie fell asleep too. Upon our arrival home, she fed the dogs and went up to bed. She slept until 2 the next afternoon! (She finished mid term exams on Friday, so she's been keeping some late hours!)

More to follow...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seasons Greetings

I haven't posted since before Thanksgiving- it's been a hectic season. We've been having a lot of fun, so I'll give a rundown of what's been going on...

Back in early December, Maddie got a phone call from one of her middle school classmates. Jeri was responsible for finding 'elves' to help out with a Christmas luncheon being held for underprivileged children and their families. Two elves were unable to meet their commitment, so Maddie was asked to fill in. She departed at 8 AM the following morning in her elf suit. (of course, I grabbed the camera before she left!) Maddie had a wonderful time. She reported that the kids were just adorable and the families were so appreciative. I'm thankful to Jeri and her mom, Donna, for giving Maddie the opportunity to start off the season in proper fashion - it put things in perspective for her... We are so blessed with warm clothes, a comfortable home and loving family around us.

Moving on, last Friday Josie's pre-school enjoyed 'Breakfast with Santa Claus'. The children sang Christmas songs, had a light breakfast and then waited patiently to sit on Santa's lap.

Here's Josie and her classmates singing:

Here's Meghan improvising a dance to go along with the songs:

Santa caused a mob scene when he appeared on the balcony. By the time he made it downstairs to the party, everyone was so excited! Josie was literally jumping for joy!

Here's Josie sitting on Santa's lap. Have to give Santa his props - there were over 100 children present (all 3 and 4 year olds) and he managed to get time to speak with each and every one of them. Josie told Santa she wanted a Barbie. She's still a bit 'iffy' about the big guy, so when she sat on his lap- I was thrilled.

The following two days were filled with shopping and attending friend's Christmas parties. On Saturday, we joined Dave and Lisa and received a wonderful gift (I'll share a photo later) and on Sunday, we attended Ed & Martys annual Christmas gathering.

This week, we had Josie's class performance of the Nativity. Not many photos from that one, as I arrived only 15 minutes early and was only able to get a back row seat. Apparently, you have to stake your claim on seats at least an hour in advance. Also, Josie was not on her best behavior - I'll explain in the next post....

In two days (Saturday the 20th) we will be celebrating an early Christmas with my family at my sister Claudine's house in Maryland. My older sister, Sue, BIL Greg and our two nephews, Zack & Liam, will be driving down from Philly. My brother's family and ours will be driving up from Virginia and Mom & Dad will be coming in from Delaware. Should be a lot of fun. Josie is so excited to see her cousins! She asked if her other cousins, Alex, Brandon, Alicia and Zoe would be there. She was terribly disappointed when we explained that they lived in California and wouldn't be making the trip. So, for our family in CA - please know that we miss you and are thinking of you everyday.

Special shout out to my darling Mother in Law, Shirley, who broke her shoulder this past week. We've been checking in daily to ensure that she and Dad are doing okay. Please keep a good thought for her speedy recovery.

I'll have some time tomorrow to share more news and photos. Maddie has been on half days all this week because of finals. She has only 1 tomorrow - so she'll be around to lend a hand with Josie. This will give me a chance upload more photos and spend a bit of time on line. I hope that all of you are enjoying the holiday season. See you soon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birthday Cake Belly

On Friday we celebrated James' 47th birthday. It was a quiet affair... just the four of us, a pizza and red velvet cupcakes. Every year I try to make James a red velvet cake, and every year I mess it up. This year, I decided to play it safe. I ordered half a dozen cupcakes from our favorite cake shoppe. Everyone was happy, but Josie was thrilled. Cupcakes are her favorite thing in the world! (at least this week they are...) Here, she shows off her "Cupcake Belly":

We have all been incredibly sick for the majority of this month. It started with Maddie, she let herself get run down by not getting enough sleep, and the rest of us followed in short order. I thought I had dodged the 'crud' but this was not the case. Even James, who normally stays healthy, was down for a few days. It's been just terrible.

Worse of all is watching Josie suffer with a horrible stuffy nose and wicked cough. Her sleeping pattern has been disrupted- so I'm up most nights around 2:30 AM comforting her. When I get up, the dogs get up. So, in the middle of the night our house is lit up like a Christmas tree, the dogs are running around in the yard and I'm stumbling around, looking for the most promising option for temporary relief of coughing spells.

During this time, we also had painters in the house. We decided to lighten up the kitchen and family room areas - as I've stated many times, these areas are in the rear of the house. The yard is heavily forested so the house gets only filtered light for most of the year. Now that all the leaves are gone, we get a bit more natural light, but it's still not enough to brighten my rooms or my mood.

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my brother's home in the Richmond area. It's not a long drive from here and it's the first time in while that I don't have to worry about cooking. Josie had her Thanksgiving celebration at school last Thursday and the kids were just adorable. All dressed like pilgrims.

Thats about all from here right now. I would like to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that you all take the time to visit us here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Okay, don't watch the video if you don't have a sense of humor. It's hysterical and it was sent to me by my friend, Sue, in Alaska.

More Halloween

Here are the few Pics I promised of Maddie and Josie. For the past 3 years, Josie and Joey have hit the streets together on Halloween. Maddie also stayed with tradition and went out with our neighbor Jason and assorted friends. Maddie made a late night of it - trick or treating and then hanging next door. She moseyed in about 10PM. We turned off the lights at 9PM as the street was deserted. All that left over candy !!!

Here's another of Maddie and Josie and Josie and Joey respectively:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween 08

We had a wonderful Halloween! We started out on Thursday,with a trip to the Pumpkin Patch with Josie's preschool class. We learned about bees and how honey is made; we learned about how pumpkins grow and we learned about all different kind of farm animals. Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Roosters and Cows.

I also learned to double check my camera before packing it - as I neglected to put the battery back in my camera after I charged it . Thus, no photos of the pumpkin patch. I don't think the kids would have stood still long enough for a photo, though. It was VERY COLD for our morning outing - when we arrived at 9:20 it was 48 degrees with a 15-20 MPH wind!! We dressed properly, but that wind cut through us.

Here's Josie just after carving her pumpkin:

And here is Josie's 'scary face':

On Friday Morning we celebrated the Fall Festival at Josie's Preschool. And it was a hoot! The kids were just adorable and there was so much to do! They had game booths, a parade and then a party. James and I had a ball with Josie. It was great to see how much the other parents used their creativity in the kids costumes and how much they really got into the whole Halloween spirit:

Here's Josie with part of her Preschool posse: Megan, Roma, Josie and Riley:

Here's Josie in her costume:

And here are a few of the other costumes we just loved:

Here are Josie and her friends enjoying the festivities:

We thought that the best costume by far was worn by Josie's teacher, Mrs. J. She looked just awesome as Madeline! And in a nod to the wonderful books, Sr. Mary Vincent posed as Mrs. Clavell for my photos. Just loved the spirit of these two wonderful ladies!!:

I will post a few more photos of our actual Halloween night. Very subdued this year, which was a surprise because it was a Friday night and it wasn't really too cold. Anyway, next post will have some of Maddie and Josie in costume...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Melamine is a chemical with a number of industrial uses, and an already scandalous history as one of the major contaminants in the 2007 Chinese pet food debacle. It is suspected that it was added to milk at milk collecting stations in China to disguise the fact that milk was being watered down, since melamine artificially increases the testable protein content. We don't yet know how long this has been a problem. According to Sanlu, a popular budget formula manufacturer implicated in this event, contaminated milk was used in the manufacture of infant formula processed before 8/6/08, as well as in other dairy products like liquid milk, frozen yogurt, and coffee creamer.

Turns out that children who were adopted from China as far back as 2005 were exposed to the melamine tainted powdered milk. Given that Josie was born in 05 and lived in China until March of 2006, we are having her tested.

We are unable to learn what brand of formula she was given by the orphanage or her foster family. Also, news reports state that 22 different brands were found to be tainted but not one report lists all those brands. I have spent endless hours on line trying to find pictures... turns out we have some photos in which our bags of formula are in the background. I was hoping to match the photo to find out if the brand we were given in China was included in the recall. I also brought back one package of the formula from China because we were transitioning Josie from the Chinese formula to American formula.

Josie is an exceptionally healthy child, so we're not in panic mode. We're working with our pediatrician and following the advice and treatment plans offered by the American Pediatric Association for Adoptive Families.

Josie will have a urinalysis, a blood draw and a renal/urinary tract ultrasound to be sure all areas of concern are addressed. We are on the same tract as our pediatrician who believes "better safe than sorry".

We'll let you know how our little one makes out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baby's Day Out

Josie spent Saturday on an adventure with her Dad. Mom got to stay home and do laundry, while big sister, Maddie, went to her High School football game...

She rode the carousel outside the Smithsonian 'Castle':

She ate Dim Sum:

She flew an airplane (at the Air and Space Museum):

And took in a few of the exhibits:

What a lucky girl!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hershey Park

This past weekend, Josie, Maddie and I visited with Aunt Claudine. We drove to her house in Maryland on Friday after school. Grandmom & Pop-Pop drove over from Delaware to get in a quick visit with the girls. On Saturday morning we (Aunt Claudine, Maddie, Josie and me) drove up to Hershey Park, which was about a two hour drive from Claudine's house. The park was open for a special event - allowing only employees of Claudine's agency and their families.

The weather was beautiful as we departed Maryland, but the closer we got to the park - the more cloudy and cool it got. When we reached Hershey (where all the street light tops are Hershey kisses - really!) it was rainy and very chilly. Just about 50 degrees. The weather did not dampen our enthusiasm, though. We took the tour of 'Chocolatetown' and waited for the weather to clear.

Once in the park, Maddie and Claudine headed for the rollercoasters. Josie and I headed for the kids rides. I did persuade Maddie to ride the merry-go-round with Josie before making herself scarce. The picture above was the best one I could get... that thing was really spinning!

Josie rode a few of the rides by herself... Not willingly, but she did it! Worse ride was the kiddie 'pirate ship'. The pendulum effect always gets to my stomach, but I figured Josie would be okay on the kiddie version. I was wrong. In Josie's own words, she "freaked out a little". She was practically climbing behind the little girl next to her, hiding her face. Then she would hold the bar in front of her with a death grip and grit her teeth. There was nothing I could do - longest minute and a half of my life! Just as the ride was at a complete stop, she raised both her hands up in the air and came off smiling. Whew!

After riding on the antique cars we ran into the Hershey kiss. Josie was thrilled!

We returned to Claudine's house around 6:45PM and my Mom had made a delicious roasted chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans. Awesome! Nothing beats Mom's cooking! Here's a photo of Josie with Aunt Claudine's 'baby', SoCo:

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!