Looking back at 2010

2010 has come and gone! I can't believe how fast this year flew by.

Everyday, I am amazed at the blessing that Londyn is in our hearts and home. These last 18 months have been filled with lots of learning as parents and growing as a family. Just a moment ago, I was holding her in my arms before putting her down for bedtime. I couldn't help but feel her strong spirit and know that she is a daughter of God.
Andrew and I are still learning to be parents of a very active, sassy and loving toddler. She is constantly keeping us on our toes and surprising us with her entertaining personality.

Andrew has been working so hard between his full-time schedule of college courses, working part-time and his military responsibilities. He even manages to juggle his crazy life along with his crazy wife.
Earlier this year, Andrew took a trip to Washington D.C. with his dad and brother Jonathan to attend the memorial service for his Uncle Gerry. Uncle Gerry was a loved and highly respected United States Marine, laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. This was a special experience for Andrew as he had visited Uncle Jerry right before we got married in 2008. During that visit, Andrew was able to hear lots of amazing stories about the Corps. Uncle Gerry will be greatly missed.
This summer, Andrew tackled a huge home improvement project and put a lot of time and planning into giving our backyard a makeover. With the help of his parents visiting in July, it turned out to be a great addition to our house.
Most importantly, Andrew has been working really hard in school. I can't believe he has wanted to study in the field of Electronics Engineering since he was 16 years old and now he's actually getting to do it! Although the material he's been covering is super complicated and 90% of the time I have no idea what he's talking about, I can tell he will be an amazing engineer someday. I love how passionate and excited he gets about new concepts that he learns in class. I am really blessed to to be married to a man that works hard and has drive to do more in life.

As for me, I feel as though I have grown so much in the last 12 months. Not only as a wife and mother, but as a woman and individual. Searching for my birth family and discovering information about myself that I never knew existed has been just like taking a ride on a roller-coaster. It has many ups, downs and even full circles, but is beyond exhilarating all at the same time. Although this journey has just begun and may never end, I am thankful for the courage I have gained through the support from my husband, family and Heavenly Father.
Fear of many things... especially commitment, unfamiliar and unchartered territory has been a constant struggle and has kept me from various life experiences over the years. As I have grown into adulthood, I have associated this fear with my adoption and the unknown of how my life all began.
Having now found myself at a place where I can face my fears, regardless of the outcome is not only empowering but fuel to continue searching and learning about who I am and where I came from, with faith.


We have so much to look forward to in 2011 and will hold memories of this year dear to our hearts.

Happy New Year!!!

Christmas 2010

Christmas was absolutely fabulous this year!

On Christmas Eve, we started the day out by having some friends over to build and decorate graham cracker houses. We love having people over and don't do it enough, so this was a perfect opportunity to get to have the Adamson's and Leith's in our home.

Later that evening, we went to my parents' house for the tradition of Christmas Eve Bingo & a yummy meal of soup, salad & bread.
Waking up to our own little family of three brought back all the magic of Christmas morning. It was such a joy to see how much Londyn truly loved the gifts we put thought into giving her.

Londyn has a thing for shopping carts and it's safe to say, her cute red cart is her very favorite toy now. When we brought her downstairs on Christmas morning, she went straight to her shopping cart and didn't want to see, play or have much to do with anything else. She made a point to put everything she possibly could, inside the cart.

To go with her cart, I found an artist who re-purposes random furniture into children's play kitchens. She used knobs and faucets from old appliances with a metal mixing bowl for a sink to transform an old nightstand into Londyn's adorable new toy! I got to pick out the paint color scheme and even the fabric to add a curtain. I am absolutely in love with how it turned out!

At about 10am, the fam all met at my parents' house for brunch and gift exchanging. Instead of each individual family giving gifts to each other, we do a gift exchange among the cousins by drawing names and staying within a limit of $10. Here are all the cousins with their thoughtful gifts for each other!

It was a full house at the Milne's this year as two of my mom's brothers decided to surprise everybody the day before Christmas Eve! My Uncle David and Aunt Gaila from California arrived right after my Uncle Brian, Aunt Shoko and cousin Kai flew in from Tokyo, Japan. It's always a treat to have them visit as we don't get to see them very often.

(As you can see... Londyn found a stash of Hello Kitty band-aids)

Safari Sam's

Last Thursday, my parents were watching a few of the Milne grandkids and they invited Londyn and I to go to Safari Sam's with them. Safari Sam's has a huge "jungle" gym/play place, arcade and black light mini golf. This was LJ's first time at Safari Sam's and we will definitely be going back! They have this perfect little playground for toddlers and she could not get enough of it. To top it all off, she was free to get in! Thanks to Gma & Gpa, we got mini corn dogs, yummy fries and had lots of fun!

Toddler Playground

Londyn could not stop pushing every single button in the arcade. She was in heaven with all the lights, sounds and buttons!

Thanks for a fun night Gma & Gpa!


Childcare Appreciation Luncheon

This year, we have been blessed by family and friends that are willing to watch Londyn so that I am able to go to work. To show our appreciation, I decided to throw a Childcare Appreciation Luncheon for Grandma Milne, Auntie Nell, Auntie "Bubba" & Miss Erin. These are Londyn's peeps. They are always so amazing about helping us whenever they can and I really can't thank them enough for all that they do! Unfortunately, Miss Erin was not able to make it but we dropped off some love in the form of sweets & treats to let her know how much we love her.

To spoil these lovely ladies, I decided to try preparing fondue for the first time! It sure was delish, but boy was it a lot of work! We had a Swiss and muenster cheese fondue with multi-grain baguette sliced bread, an assortment of blanched veggies and roasted fingerling potatoes. My favorite part was the bacon-wrapped chicken with spinach. Yummm-o!

We also gave Londyn's peeps a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider and some divine Euphoria mint chocolate truffles.

For dessert, we moved onto a "Naughty & Spice" chocolate fondue. It's a simple combination of chocolate, heavy cream and chili powder. For dippers, we had fruit kabobs! It was just like eating at the Melting Pot!

It was tough to get a photo with everyone (mostly Londyn) looking at the same time.

See what I mean?

There's only one reason enjoying a fondue feast at the Melting Pot is better than preparing one in the comfort of your own home... someone else gets to clean up the mess.
(this was after already going through one load of dishes)

Thanks ladies! We hope you know how much you mean to us and how lucky we are to have such a fabulous team of childcare for our little Londie Lou-Who!

Merry Christmas!



With our third Christmas together as a little family, we are enjoying creating memories and starting traditions. The first year we got married, Andrew and I started gifting pajamas to each other on Christmas morning. This tradition is especially fun because I love seeing what we picked out for each other and then wearing them all day!

Here we are in 2009, Londyn's 1st Christmas with all of our new jammies

This year we started the tradition of getting a real Christmas tree as a family. Andrew was used to this tradition from his own childhood, so we wanted to carry it on for Londyn to experience.

Ever since I can remember, my mom would give all the kids an ornament for Christmas. To begin a collection of our own ornaments, we decided that we would pick out an ornament for our family and an ornament for Londyn each year. We marked the ornaments with the year and wrote Londyn's name on hers. Someday, when she is all grown up, we will give her all of the ornaments collected over the years.

Londyn's 2010 Ornament - Tutu Cute

Our 2010 Family Ornament - Santa

As you can see from the picture below... Londyn did not enjoy meeting Santa this year. As pitiful as it looks, I couldn't help but laugh... and laugh some more. We had geared her up to visit Santa for a couple weeks prior to meeting him. She know's what Santa looks like and says "Santa". With all of our preparation, she still wasn't a Santa fan. After waiting in line for over an hour with a restless toddler... this is what we got. Although we will never forget this very memorable holiday moment, I am still undecided as to whether this will be an annual tradition.

There's always next year...


Nana Brendi Visit

Nana Brendi is here visiting us and we are having a blast! Even though Andrew, Londyn and I are fighting colds, we have managed to fit in some fun activities. Brendi arrived on Thursday and since then, we have eaten at some of our favorite places (Mashitas, Olive Garden & Pho Thai), went to the Portland Intl. Raceway to see the lights, did some shopping and best of all... lounged around at home watching the princess.

It's always so relaxing and fun having Nana here to help and play with Londyn. We still get another day with her and will be sad when she leaves. Boo. It won't be long until we see her and the rest of the Armitage clan in June!

So far, Nana has taught LJ how to blink (so cute) and the words "kitty" and "meow".

Londie Lou loves to look at books and especially saying/repeating the names of all the objects in her books. Here she is hamming it up for Nana's camera.


It's Giveaway Time!

Over at Seoul Searching Mama, we achieved our goal of reaching 75 Facebook fans! To celebrate, I am holding my first ever giveaway, just in time for the holiday!

Head on over and check it out the fabulous items you could win!
Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, December 14th @ 11:59 PM PST.

Don't forget to share this giveaway with your friends and family!


Holiday Goodies

I have a love/hate relationship with holiday treats. I have never liked sweet things much, but when I was preggers with Londyn, I got a hankering for ice cream and an occasional candy bar. Unfortunately... those hankerings haven't let up since. My love/hate relationship is because they are everywhere and everybody loves them... but as mentioned in a previous post, I do not bake. Rarely I bake... and when I do, it's from a mix and it's for my husband's sweet tooth.

So as much as I would love to whip up some fab treats for friends/neighbors/visiting teachers... I simply do not find any joy in doing so. With that said, I found this prophetic gift idea at LDS Handouts that suits me quite perfectly!

Not only do they represent my anti-bake lifestyle, but they were super affordable! I picked up these brownie mixes with Albertson's 10 for $10 deal and then used some scrapbook papers and candy canes that I already had at home.

Just a thought...

Like all of you, Christmas has constantly been on my mind lately. In shopping and planning for the holiday, I am repeatedly reminding myself that we are "poor" and don't have the money to do a ton.

Earlier this week, it hit me that we are anything BUT poor! I am so disappointed with myself for even thinking such a thing. We are wealthy in love, family and more than we need to live comfortably. There are so many people with much less and occasionally throwing the "poor" word around is the complete opposite of what Christmas is really all about.

I am going to start acknowledging more how richly blessed we are, rather than the few financial restrictions we may have. You won't hear me using the "poor" word anymore!

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Cheer

This year, we wanted to start a family tradition of getting a real Christmas tree! We tried several different stands/farms and just couldn't find the right price or tree. We were starting to feel like maybe we should just get our fake tree out of it's box and use that again this year. But, on the spur of the moment... we stopped at a local stand and found just the right tree for a great deal! It is absolutely perfect!

The moment Andrew brought it into our home, it made the entire house smell so festive!

Decorating the tree was the best part! Of course, Londyn was constantly un-decorating our decorating efforts. The poor thing was getting so frustrated that she couldn't do exactly what she wanted to do.

Our home is a bit small, so I decorated what I could without making it look like Santa threw up in our living room.

I just love Christmas time! It really is "the most wonderful time of the year!"


It's drill weekend for Andrew and today he got lucky and was able to do Toys for Tots in Tualatin. Although he was standing all day in his dress blues, it was still a break from the regular drill schedule. Since he was only 10 minutes away from our house, Londyn and I picked up our Marine and went out to lunch at our favorite teriyaki joint, Mashitas. Even though it was a drill weekend, we actually go to see him for a bit! The best part ... he got home early at 5pm!

Such cuties.

Checking the score on the Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon St. game

Little Miss Sassypants didn't want to pose with mama


Work & Play

I had the opportunity to work every day this week! I worked 1/2 a day Monday through Thursday and then all day on Friday. As always, it's a treat to work with my girls in our Portland office. It is a family there and I adore the entire staff! Not to mention, seeing my dad every day is a treat in itself!
Aside from actually working, the commute was what got to me. Sitting in traffic and driving the monotonous drive... to and from downtown Portland EVERY DAY was what got to me about halfway through the week. I don't know how my dad has done it for 30+ years (my guesstimate on how long my dad has been practicing surgery).
At the end of the week, we celebrated my dad's birthday as an office. Since his birthday is today, we partied yesterday by having a potluck lunch. We all brought the makings for tacos/taco salad. Rebecca (friend/coworker) even brought him his favorite soda (Henry Weinhard's root beer).

Since my dad has been on a strict diet regimen of gluten free, dairy free and soy free eats... I knew we would have trouble coming up with a birthday cake. So the ambitious anti-baker in me, sucked it up and attempted to bake him a cake that he could actually enjoy. I took a trip to Whole Foods and paced back and forth in the bakery for a good 20 minutes. After finally deciding the dollar signs were way out of budget for me, I headed down the baking aisle. I rarely ever meander in this section (just ask my dust-collecting Cuisinart mixer) as I have no desire or talent for such items. But, I finally settled with a gluten free/vegan vanilla cake mix and gluten free/vegan dark chocolate frosting mix. As an emergency back up, I grabbed two cupcakes from the bakery... just in case my cake turned disastrous.

When I took the cake into work on Friday, I had to wait until lunch time to try it! Surprisingly it was delish! The cake was not only moist, but rich and fluffy all at the same time! The best part, my dad loved it!

As convincing as this bakers' conversion post may be... I have deceived you. Let's just say, you won't see me opening up my own bakery any time soon!


Thanks & Giving

I feel like the Christmas spirit started filling the air in early November and whooshed right into December... where did Thanksgiving go?

This year, Andrew got to have a nice long 3 day weekend with us over the Thanksgiving holiday. We were able to spend lots of time together as a family!

Together, Andrew and I made 20 pounds of mashed potatoes to bring to the Milne family turkey dinner. I don't know how I could have made all of those potatoes without his help! You can never have enough mashed potatoes, right? WRONG! Out of the 20 pounds... probably 18 pounds were left over!

Our Thanksgiving was unique this year because we got to celebrate a birthday on the same day! My niece Emma turned 7 years old, which made the holiday even more special.

After stuffing our faces with turkey dinner... we stuffed our faces with birthday cake and all different kinds of pie.

As for the day after Thanksgiving, we were in no rush to shop with all of the die-hard Black Friday shoppers, but did venture out in the afternoon to hit a few stores.

All in all, it was a relaxing and stress-free Thanksgiving holiday. The best part was just spending it together as a family.

Sorry, no photos for this post... ugh. We really need a new camera!


He's Da' Man

Today I was scheduled to speak in church. When I walked into the chapel, I noticed that both counselors were on the stand but my dad wasn't. I figured he was probably chatting or welcoming people before the meeting started.

Time passed and one of his counselors started to conduct the meeting. He announced that the bishop was stuck in surgery and would make it later in the day for tithing settlement meetings.

Although I knew that my dad was on call at the hospital, I was bummed that he wasn't going to show. I kept looking at the door the entire time before I got up to speak... hoping he might just walk in late. I waited... and waited. No show.

Announcements had been made, sacrament passed and after the second youth speaker sat down... I slowly got up to walk towards the stand. I looked at the door one more time, and there he was. He quickly walked in and took his seat on the stand. I knew he would come through!

Later, when I got home from church, I noticed I had a missed call from my dad and a voice message. The message was my dad calling from the OR, letting me know he might not make it and he was trying his hardest to get there in time to hear my talk. He wished me luck, told me to break a leg and said he loved me.

This is my dad. He is just amazing. I teared up when I listened to that message. I know my dad loves me so much. He didn't have to call and I would have understood if he hadn't made it. But he is always there and always has been. That's just my dad.

I am the luckiest daughter ever.

He's da' man!

The Secret

For my fellow bloggers out there, do you have that weighing accountability and bloggers guilt when you withhold happenings or posts you've been whipping up in your head for days... weeks? I do.

Finally clicking "PUBLISH POST" is fulfilling and a stress relief for some very odd reason.
Anyway, I can't keep it from you any longer. I must divulge my secret. Last week, when Andrew and I were away having our weekend reatreat, he was feeling really REALLY romantic... and did something I never thought he would do again. He pulled through the McD's drive-thru and got me a LARGE diet coke. Yes, that's right. It was beyond heavenly. I have no words to describe that first sip.

I had been off of DC for 6 weeks and I'm not going to lie, they were agonizing. I had imagined our split would make me feel lighter, more healthy and even rejuvenated. But, quite honestly- I felt the very opposite.

I know many of you have a LOT to say about diet coke and the endless cons of it's consumption. But, really? We're meant to be together. I'm sure I will try to quit again in this lifetime... but ultimately, diet coke makes me a better wife and mom. There. I said it.


Romantical Weekend for Two

Andrew and I have been looking forward to some much needed R & R that we had been planning on for months.
Last Friday dropped LJ off with Grandma Milne and Auntie Nell for the night. We knew she was in good hands because she could have cared less if we stayed or left. I could barely get my baby to kiss me goodbye!

Then we headed downtown to try out a new Korean restaurant. The delish Korean BBQ hit the spot! Then we went to ComedySportz, a comedy club that we first found in Provo and found out they have one here! It was hilarious and so fun! To end the evening, we were spoiled at the Benson Hotel, which is the hotel we stayed at right after we got married. The king sized bed and sleeping in until 9am was heavenly!

On Saturday, we took our time getting up and ready for the day. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Andrew had Smoked Salmon Hash and I had a Denver Omelette. So yummy!

After breakfast, we hopped in the car and went to the Portland Saturday's Market. We walked around and looked at all of the creativity that the local vendors had to offer and were tempted to make a few purchases. I love walking around downtown and people watching.

Spending time together... just us two, was a treat. I felt like we were dating again.

The R&R came and was gone far too quickly. But, I would be lying if I didn't say I was antsy to get back to our Londyn Joy.


Londyn Lately

Londyn is becoming such a big girl lately!
She loves to repeat what we say and is starting to connect two words together at a time.

Her most common words used are:

Mah-ma (Grandma)
Papa (Grandpa)
Nell (Auntie Jenelle)
Nun-dun (Londyn)
Ay yay yay

More than her vocab, it amazes me how much she understands! When I tell her to do something or go get something, she listens and usually does it... aside from her sassy moments.

Grandma Milne got Londyn a hot pink Hello Kitty purse about a week ago and now, she doesn't go anywhere without it! Clearly, she is my daughter! Today, she even wanted to eat her lunch while holding her purse.

I am loving her little pony tail! After barely-there-hair for 16 months, I am fully taking advantage of what hair she does have!


Rise & Shine!

My alarm went off at 6 o'clock this morning and after a few nudges from the husband to silence the alarm, I begrudgingly rolled out of bed with shut eyes and somehow ended up in the shower. After waking up with Londyn once in the middle of the night, followed by restless sleep, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go to work.

As I was standing in the shower, half awake... I started to think about how this day was going to go. The first thought was, why did I ever quit Diet Coke (a daily thought lately)? My second thought was, how much I didn't want to go to work. I wasn't reluctant because of my co-workers or the actual work itself, but just simply having to get up and get going... drop Londyn off and sit in morning traffic. Then I started to think about how this day COULD go... and it donned on me that my prior thoughts were totally unacceptable and I should be ashamed for even thinking them.

I am lucky enough to be in the situation that I am. I have a great boss and a fabulous job that is only 5 minutes away with opportunities to pick up extra hours. I only work two half days each week, with free babysitters that I can honestly trust to love and care for my child.
Today I worked an extra half day in our Portland office, which I will be doing for the following two weeks. I am so blessed to have work because without the extra hours, it would have been difficult to have anything under the Christmas tree for little Miss Londie Lou this year.

Recently I have been working on technique with Liberty dance team in Hillsboro. I get to spend one hour per week for 7 weeks with their awesome team. The girls are so sweet and eager to learn! I love dabbling in dance again and being able to share what I know with these young girls. Not only is it fun, but I am saving the compensation for our trip to Michigan next Summer for an Armitage family reunion. This opportunity is such a blessing as we almost weren't going to be able to make the trip if it weren't for this extra help!

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one."
{Oscar Wilde}

So as you can see, I have nothing to complain about! During these harsh economic times, it is a blessing to have a warm home, food to feed my family and lots of loved ones near.


Happy 235th Birthday Marines!

Last night, Andrew and I attended the 235th Marine Corps Birthday Ball! Andrew has had a long weekend with the Marine Corps, driving back and forth from Portland and as I type, he is headed out the door to go back to drill right now. Since he was in the ceremony this year, he had to go to a couple rehearsals to practice for the big night. I was looking forward to the ball because you get to dress up and be baby free for a night! Andrew was pretty worn out and not looking forward to standing in the same position, looking at the same spot on the wall for a good hour, but the ceremony was beautiful and he made it through.

The food is always a hit or miss, and this year it was actually pretty tasty! The salad was a little strange but for the main course, we had yummy chicken with rice and string beans, and chocolate cake for dessert!

For me, the best part of the entire night was when the ceremony was over and I got to spend some time with my husband. Although I wasn't feeling so good and Andrew was pretty beat, it was nice to be just the two of us for a change.

Of course, on the way home I was missing LJ and couldn't wait to get home. I knew she would be in bed already, but it's just nice knowing that I'm there if she needs me.

Happy Birthday Marines!


ZZZZs & Grub. What's that?

For the past... almost three weeks, Londyn hasn't been sleeping. We thought it was due to her first molars coming in, but now I'm not so sure.

Londyn has always been an amazing sleeper and eater! She has always eaten anything and everything! As for sleep, she was sleeping 11 hours at night with 2 naps during the day. AMAZING, right?! All that is history now, because she is barely eating ANYTHING except for her "ba-ba" (sippy cup with milk) and occasionally a couple bites of whatever I feed her for meals. I can tell she is hungry because she walks around signing "eat", which she never does unless she is hungry. But then when I put her in her high chair, she protests anything edible. This refusal of food includes unhealthy food too! She'll humor me by eating a little bread or a couple bites of yogurt but that's about it.

As for sleep... ay yay yay. Where do I start? I put her down at her normal bedtime, which is between 7 and 7:30pm. She sleeps for a good block of time but then wakes up in the middle of the night, anywhere from 2 to 6 times. She has always been pretty good about crying herself back to sleep (which I am a huge advocate of doing) but now when she wakes up, she sounds like she is in pain and totally miserable. I am testing out only giving her one nap a day, ranging from 45 minutes to an hour. By nighttime, she is exhausted but yet still wakes up constantly.

Today I bought some toddler formula to put in her milk, so at least she's getting some extra calories. I have noticed that she is thinning out a bit and it's making me nervous!

If things don't get better by next week, we will be heading into our pediatrician. What is it with Londyn not being able to go a month without seeing a doctor?

Londyn interpreted "quiet play time" in her room as nap time on the floor. Poor thing.


Halloween Weekend

On Friday we went to Baggenstos Farm. Londyn wasn't sure about the kids haymaze, the few animals they had... or the mud. But she did like the part where she had her own pumpkin!

Following the Pumpkin Patch, we decided to carve/color our punkins'! Andrew and I carved the Marine Corps emblem, the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. Londyn... produced a Picasso-like masterpiece.

On Saturday night, we went to the Tri-Ward Trunk-or-Treat. Of course, out of the entire Halloween weekend, it was the only day that it was pouring down rain... which made it miserable for poor Londie Lou. She was not feelin' it. Although, she did bring in a pretty good loot of candy for a 15 month old!
For our Costumes, LJ was the cutest Lady Bug that ever was! Don't you think? Andrew and I came up with a last minute costume and went as Ceiling Fans. We thought we were hilarious, but nobody got it. I guess our humor is just SO funny, it is beyond anyone's comprehension?

Overall, it was a fabulous celebration and I am SO excited for the holiday season to begin!