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!