Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm pregnant!!!

Surprise.....We are having a baby!
I am 11 weeks, and due in June 2013.
Size of Baby: A lime

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I am down 4 pounds pre-pregnancy weight, but I am definately growing

Maternity Clothes: Not really, but I have caved and bought some maternity jeans and I LOVE them!!

Gender: Too early to tell, and I don't know that we will find out. I think we like the idea of the surprise!!

Movement: None yet, but we did some great acrobats on the ultrasound this morning :)

Sleep: Great, but I wake up every morning at 3:30am religiously. I am awake for about an hour and a half then sleep a little longer.

What I miss: Wine
What I am looking forward to: The next appointment on December 19th when I hope we can hear the heartbeat

Cravings: Nothing major, but I am happy with a good dip and chip session

Symptoms: I still get sick from time to time....but especially when I brush my teeth....gets me every time!!

Best Moment This Week: Our ultrasound appointment this morning. We had the NT measurement this morning and everything measured perfect. We still get the bloodwork etc... in 10 days or so but today everything looked great! We saw the heartbeat and watched the baby move around a little, which was AMAZING!! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Setempber 19--Happy Gotcha Day

Happy Gotcha Day!!
 This was the moment that Tatum and her Nanny walked into the Civil Affairds office one year ago, and we first laid eyes on our beautiful little girl for the first time.
 This was the moment that I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time...I was so scared, so happy, so in love....and I think she felt the exact same way!! But....mostly scared.
 And this is all 1 year later to mark this special day.....can you believe how much a year has changed our beautiful little Ju Lin from Yiwu China?
I just love this little girl more than you know....
Happy Gotcha Day!
We love you Tatum McKenlin Elliott

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day weekend

 This weekend, we headed to Baltimore to meet up with a few families that we travelled in China with last year. It was WONDERFUL to reconnect again after this past year and even more exciting to see how much all the kids have grown.
 Tatum loved seeing her big brother, Kyle and big sister, Sofia again!!
 Fun times at the Children's museum driving a car
 Tatum and Lily having some fun at the hotel together

 More Children's museum fun
 Tatum loved seeing all the fish at the aquarium--this was our first visit there and we loved it!
On the way home, we stopped in Stevensville to see Nai Nai and Pop Pop at Kentmoor for a drink. Tatum had some great fun with them while we enjoyed some time winding down with a cold one (or two) after our weekend.

 Nai Nai and Tatum exploring Nai Nai's purse....make up was a BIG hit!
 Frozen strawberry drinks are yummy!!

Tatum's first ice cream in a CONE was a HUGE hit too!!
Needless to say after this weekend, she slept like a BABY Sunday night--didn't hear a peep until after 9am the next morning. Monday, we stayed home and enjoyed some quality time together. I am off work this week before I start my new job on Monday.
I had a fabulous send off from work last week with a great lunch, and a wonderful gift of money and a Kindle Fire. I am very touched for such thoughtful friends and such a great gift. This week I have been getting the house cleaned up, getting ready for upcoming consignment sales and enjoying a little ME time.
Tatum is transitioning to the next class up at school this week, so it is nice to be close in case she needs me. Yesterday was her first day, and she did great!! She was in the classroom for a few hours. Today she will stay all day. I am so proud of all her accomplishments. Tatum is moving up a little earlier than we expected. This little girl has caught up with all of her peers and is just full steam ahead!! She has a busy, yet fun month ahead at school this month....I can't wait to follow along with her for this journey. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The end of a chapter...

This week marks my last week working where I have worked for the past 5 years. I have made a lot of wonderful friends during this journey...many of which I will miss terribly when I leave on Thursday. However, I am happy to be moving on.

I graduated from college in 2004, moved home to Maryland to marry the man of my dreams. I went back to work after a few months at home as a happy newlywed as a chemist at a local laboratroy that tested on animals for the envrionment. I worked there for 7 long, miserable months. Then, I left and went to work at a local opthalmologist office. This was just a means to an end...then an opportunity arouse where I went back to work at the Pharmacy I worked at when I was in high school as a compounding Technician. I knew then that I always wanted more. Todd saw an opportunity in the paper on Sunday morning for a Chemist job at a local company and I thought what do I have to lose?! So, I applied for the job....and I got it!

When I started at this company in 2007, I didn't know a thing about being a chemist. But that was okay, because they knew that too and they were comfortable training me and getting me up to speed. Who knew that would entail me working solo in the laboratory under the direction on only a compliance manager? But you know what? I did it....then things started to change....over the past 5 years, I have had 5-6 different bosses and seen the company split and be sold a number of times. With all that change meant that each management head had a new idea of how they wanted the laboratory run, each customer had a demand and I had to follow these directions. This also meant that at one point, the Director of Quality left right in the middle of the big lab renovation and I would stay at work until midnight some nights getting things moved. I hired general contractors to complete the flooring project, I arranged outside vendors to come in and move and recalibrate equipment so that we woul have ZERO downtime and I was successful at that. During this process, I hired a jr chemist, who is now one of my best friends ever. Probably like the sister I have never had. We worked so well together....she started on her first day and asked where her new boss was, and I had to tell her he was let go last week and that I didn't know who was in charge. We tried to get the lab up and running on our own, and she was a great help. As we grew, we hired on another jr chemist....then after a few compliance managers, a failed business project that required a ton of time from the lab. To this date, I had a number of reviews, management awards, etc...each review said that I exceeded expectations and that I was on track for management at this company.

Then, 2011 came and I went on leave for 12 weeks while we adopted Tatum and travelled to China. Some changes were going on during my leave, they hired a replacement temp for me and also another jr chemist. I came back to a new work envrionment. Then in the new year, a Laboratory Manager started. I welcomed this because obviously there was something that either I was not doing right, or not being appreciated for. I welcomed the opportunity to have my workload decreased, someone to take the fall when things go wrong, and most importantly some direction.....that wasn't really the case. In June I was told that my position in the laboratory would be eliminated. I was devastated, hurt and confused. Okay, and most of all, I was plain just PISSED off. I was told that I could either take severance or move to another department. I had always wanted to try my hand at product management, so I went for that option. I don't regret this decision and for me now, this is not something I wish to persue. I need to be challenged more in my everyday life working outside the home. I need a new opportunity. I don't need to push papers through various departments. I need to think.

Again, my husband found an opportunity on Career Builder and I went for it. (Do you notice a trend here?? LOL) I sent my resume/application in at 7am one morning online and by 11am I had an interview scheduled with a new compnay. A new opprtunity was laying right in front of me and I couldn't wait. I think most of all, I just wanted to go for it and see if I could obtain this opportunity....and guess what, I GOT THE JOB!! Everything in life happens for a reason....I have learned a lot from the company that I am currently employed with for the next 4 day. Most of all, I have learned what NOT to do. I have learned how NOT to conduct myself and I have learned that this is NOT what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I have seen a number of people come and go from this place of employment...but I have gained a number of TRUE friends during my 5 years here. These friends I will miss seeing everyday. They were the ones that got me through some good times, and some bad times at work both professionally and personally. Many of these people have been my biggest supporters...and for that, I want to say Thank you! That is something that I plan to take with me. This is how people should be treated...and I want to take this with me as I try my hand as a manager.

On Monday, September 10th I will the manager of a laboratory for the number one company in their type of manufacturing. They are the best worldwide at what they do, and they know that. These people think I have what it takes to run their laboratory and I am going to give it my best shot. My sweet husband bought me a book for my kindle the other day for me to read...he knows I am nervous and scared, but he also knows that I can do this, and you know what? I CAN DO THIS!!! I am ready for this new challenge....more than you will ever know.

Monday, August 13, 2012

ABC Song

Tatum and I spent some time at the beach in Oxford this weekend. After a few minutes of playing in the sand building sand castles, she jumped in my lap and wanted to take some pictures of us together. We had such a gerat time. We laughed, talked some very 'serious' talk together and then sang the ABC song. I am so proud of how far she has come....this was a great weekend!! We missed Daddy while he was working at a new 'flip' house, but are so thankful for all his hard work to help make all our hopes and dreams come true. Tatum and I had a great weekend together :)

Meal Plan for the week.....

Monday-Grilled fish, orzo pasta salad, broccoli
Tuesday-Burgers and baked beans
Wednesday-Pork chops, stuffing, green beans
Thursday-Chicken parm with noodles
Saturday-date night :)
Sunday-Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and salad

Happy Monday...have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Melt my heart...

Daddy: Tatum, you are from China.
Tatum: Ok
Mommy: Tatum do you look like Mommy?
Tatum: No
Mommy: Tatum do you look like Daddy?
Tatum: No
Daddy: Tatum where are you from?
Tatum: Tatum from Mommy

I held back the happy tears, held her close and kissed that sweet baby girl.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My girl has Rhythm....

Tatum getting down to some Nelly before school. I left the iPad playing some music so when her and Todd came downstairs she was ready to do a little dancing....

Have a great day everyone!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I know it's been awhile since my last post...So I have decided to catch up with something fun!!

My husband....we have been married for almost 8 years, and I just adore him. He is the best father to Tatum, and the best husband I could ever have dreamed of marrying. He makes me laugh, he makes me cry and he just gets me (even though I beg to differ at times...he really does get me more than anyone else in the world). We have been together for 15.5 years...we've had our ups and downs just like any other couple, but the ups sure out weigh the downs and I am truly lucky to have him by my side to help guide me through this crazy world.

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley but am very anxious to start the new book by Emily Giffin called Where we Belong.

Waiting For
Some good news on a new opportunity for our family...that's all I can say for now. Except after a call today, I am learning that the grass is not always greener....

Excited About
Labor Day weekend in Baltimore with some of the families from our travel group in China. We are all getting together for a reunion and I can't wait to see all the girls together, their biological siblings and how much everyone has grown!!

Our 8 year old Golden Retriever, Marley. We chose to re-home Marley last week as she has shown some aggression signs over the past few years. She became very possessive taking toys from Tatum when she wasn't looking then holding them hostage under the coffee table. We were very afraid that Marley would snap at Tatum when she innocently reached to obtain her toy back, and we just couldn't take that chance. I have cried myself to sleep for the past week...I miss her terribly, but know we made the right decision.

Trying to
Decide whether of not I should cut my hair. I had been growing it out for my sister in law's wedding which was this past weekend, and now I can't decide if I should cut it or keep growing. Todd thinks I look younger with it is easy to just throw it up should I need to be in a hurry...but I just feel like it hangs there.

Working on
Losing's just time. I didn't birth a baby...I want more energy and I am about to turn 35 and I want to look like a HOT 35 year old! LOL I am sure my husband agress with me....although he better think I am HOT already! ; ) No, but seriously...I want to feel better, I want my clothes to fit me better and I want to buy clothes that are smaller in size, so game on!

Being a Mother to our daughther, Tatum. Tatum challenges me in ways that I never imagined possible. She will get the better of me from time to time....but I just adore being her Mommy. She has taught me so much in these past 10 months as her Mommy and I truly have enjoyed every minute of this ride.

A cleaning service. They come every 2 weeks and I couldn't be any more happy with that decision.

The Olympics...but I mean who isn't right not?!

Platinuim Jack Rogers this summer. I will be sad to see the summer days end....because I just adore these shoes!! They go with everything.

Tatum's 3rd Birthday Party. I originally thought I wanted to do a Strawberry shortcake theme...but she doesn't seem to have as much interest in her anymore. I think I might just pick some color themes and go from there. It's hard to believe that she will be 3 already...where does the time go?

Okay, wants and needs....but I am needing this David Yurman ring I have been drooling over for the longest time AND I need to have a pair of diamond earrnings. My Birthday is in Spetember and our Anniversary is in October....a girl cal dream of her needs ; )

To let things go...those of you who know me well know I can be wound a little tight. BUT, I am working on that....I used to hae border line OCD with keeping the house that Tatum is here, I have a cleaning lady, I am able to stop and smell the roses a little more. I want to enjoy my family time and not sweat the small stuff.

To my daughter sing the ABC song and count to 10 (and sometimes higher). After 10 months home and learning a new language, I think that is pretty awesome!

For a romantic getaway weekend with my husband. I love Tatum and spending time with her....but I just want (even one night) away with Todd, just the two of us...laughing, drinking wine and enjoying a nice hotel or bed and breakfast together. We are so fortunate that we go to dinner once a week just the two of us, but I would love to sleep in again....and just spend time together. Remember above in the Loving section...I love my husband!! ; )

What is best for my daughter and family every single day. It's a hard thing to wrap your mind around, but as a parent it seems to come natural no matter what the decision is.

Dreaming of
Owning a house on the water and a boat that we can spend the night with a cabin a real bathroom and a mini kitchen area.

And last but not's a shot from my sister-in-law's wedding this weekend. It was a beautiful day & we were honored to be party of their special day. More to follow....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

....if you are a parent and have had a child with this horrible virus...I don't need to say any more. It is the pits :( We are on day 2 of a fever, the rash is spreading all over and my sweet baby girl is just miserable. We all miss sleep....terribly.

On another note, I moved to the Product Management Group at work this Monday. I am very thankful for the opportunity this is providing myself and my family. I think I am going to be very happy in this new role. Now....if I could just get back into that new office and show them what I am really made of. Unfortunately though my sweet little nugget needs me more than anything right now....and this is just one of the challenges of being a working Momma.

I am off to syringe some pedialyte into my sweet baby who is refusing to drink or eat anything....refusing in a terrible, terrible kicking, screaming kind of way. :(

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day 2012

Tatum and I had a very LOW key, quiet weekend after a scare last weekend that landed us in the ER during our trip to The Hill for Todd's 15 year high school reunion. Tatum does not do well in the this has caused us to change some plans for the summer, and take a step back and make sure she is safe. Todd went to his future Brother in Law's bachelor party last night. Tatum and I enjoyed a Chinese Dinner at the House of Hunan in our small town, just the girls. It was so nice. Today we all just relaxed around the house then got ready for dinner with Todd's Mom at Bridges in Kent Island. His Dad is in the Newport to Bermuda sail race right now, but we missed celebrating with him too.

There are a lot of changes for our family right now....Todd has started a new job and I was told on Thursday that my job was being eliminated. I don't know when my last day will be, but I am hoping some light will be shed this week. Everything happens for a reason, and we are taking one day at a time.

It's a busy week gearing up for my Sister in Law's bridal back soon!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Photo catch up

 First pig tails
 First bike ride
 Our first Mother's Day
 I love our sweet little family
 The whole family got together for Mother's Day dinner
 We released a balloon for Tatum's Chinese Mommy

 My balloon, Mama?!
 My Mother's Day gifts from my beautiful daughter, husband, my Mother in Law and my sweet neighbor, Carol
 My Princess her her ride

 First day at the beach in Oxford
 This is fun!!
Not sure what she was doing here, but it was funny!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A letter to Tatum's first Mother...

A letter to Tatum's first mother....

You are one of the most important people in my life, yet I know I will never meet you. I think of you every single day of my life...I thought of you even before I met your daughter. You are one of the strongest women I know, and although we have never met, I feel that even with you half way around the world away from me, I know you...I feel your presence in my life and I love and admire you.

Adoption was a choice for our family. We don't know if we can biologically have our own children, and that is okay by me. We knew that there were children in the world that needed a home, and we left the fate of being matched with our child in the hands of our adoption agency. I can honestly say that was the best decision we have ever made in our life. And with that decision and now seing the outcome of who we were matched with, I know even more that was the right choice. Tatum is amazing.

I went to bed last night thinking that tomorrow was my first Mother's Day. I was excited and happy yet sad....I shed a few tears as I lay in bed next to my husband thinking of you. I wonder if you think of our you miss her? Were you scared of her when she was born with her cleft lip? There was some time that she was in your care, and I wonder did you do everything you could to take care of her and it just wasn't enough? I wonder if Tatum has other siblings...either before or after her birth? I wonder what you were feeling and thinking on the early morning of October 14, 2009. I have so many other questions, but I will save them for the opportunity that we may have one day to meet. I know that may never happen, however I hold onto the possibilty.

I think you are an amazing woman. Sometimes I look at Tatum, and I see you in her. She has such an old sole, and I know you would be so proud of her. I will never forget the moment we returned to Tatum's orphanage in China for a visit...were you watching from a far for our visit? Did you know we were coming? Or...were you far away in the village tending to your house, the fields or even working in a factory? I will never know...but I want you to know that I loved your daughter even before I knew she would become our daugther.

Tatum has overcome so many obstacles in her short little life, and she is surrounded by the most amazing friends and family members anyone could ask for. She has the most wonderful Daddy...I have never seen his face light up the way it does when he holds our daugther...he will do anything for that beautiful little girl, anything in the whole wide world...we both will.

We talk to Tatum about you, daily. We tell her that you love her very much, and that you always have loved her, and that you always will love her. Tatum will have questions as she continues to grow, and I promise to be open, honest, and loving towards her through these questions. If she wants to meet you one day, I will do what ever I can to find you. I want that for Tatum. I want you to know that she is okay, she is loved, she is smart and she is the most loving little girl in the world. She will do something big in this lifetime of hers, and we have you to thank for that. Thank you for giving Tatum the biggest gift anyone could ever give....LIFE. I promise to allow her to live this life to the fullest.

And, as I enjoy my first Mother's Day with our daughter...I want you to know you are close to my heart, and when I hug our daugther today, I know that we feel your presence. We will be letting a red balloon go this evening into the sky in your honor. I don't know where that balloon will go...but every Mother's Day, I want the world to see you soar. Thank you for giving me the gift of your daughter. I promise to take care of her, and I hope that one day our paths will cross.

Lots of love,
Tatum's Mommy

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oxford Day and Picking Strawberries

 Swinging with Daddy at Oxford Day
 We found Wendy and Leland, and the kids swang together and learned to dance...they held hands and just froze! Too cute!!

 Nai Nai took us strawberry picking this week, and it was a lot of fun. Tatum still has a lot to learn about strawberry picking...
 helping Nai Nai

 Then we met Wendy and Leland at the park in Oxford for some fun

 Finished up the day with some ice cream
On Saturday we met Deb, Julia and Josephine for lunch in Annapolis. (Julia was the flowergirl in our wedding--now she is 11 and just beautiful & so wonderful with Tatum). It was so amazing to have lunch with Deb and our daughters. It brought tears to both of our eyes. What a great day. Tatum was so well behaved, so polite and ate so well. I was a very proud Mama of this little beauty.

Today we are just playing at home this morning and then I am getting ready for a bridal luncheon my sweet Mother in Law is throwing for my sister in law that is getting married in August. I am really looking forward to spending time with April's friends, who are just so fabulous. There has been a lot going on for the bachelorette party (really good things), and everyone has really pulled together to make it special for April.

Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sneak Peek...

We had a little photo shoot on Sunday evening with Second Star Photography and this is the proof that we were sent for review. Isn't this just fabulous?! I absolutely cannot wait to see the rest....but we have to wait 3 long weeks! So, stay tuned....

Life is very busy here right now. We did enjoy some down time this weekend, but I still feel like I got nothing done around the house. I am happy to report that Todd has agreed to let us get someone to clean the house. It is just too much on top of everything else we have going on. We tried to do it all for 6+ months and I wave my little white flag in defeat. I just cannot nor do I want to, do it all. I miss my daughter during the week and I don't want to spend my down time cleaning and not with her.

Tomorrow Tatum has an assessment for the 3 year old program at the local public elementary school. I think she may qualify for her speech, but nothing much further than that. We will have some decisions to make once we have the final review May 31.
Thursday we head to the dentist for another check up for Tatum and then we are heading to the farm to pick strawberries with Nai Nai. Saturday we have a girls lunch planned with Deb and Julia in Annapolis, and it will be so much fun to spend time with them. And Sunday is a bridal luncheon for my sister in law who is getting married in August....throw in a Friday night date night, and we should have a great time coming up!! Tomorrow night is Book Club....I need to straighen up the house and decide on what we are going to read next month!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What a difference a year makes...

One year ago today, we were matched with the most beautiful little girl from China. We saw Ni Ju Lin's face for the first time at 10:45pm this evening and it was love at first site!! We had 72 hours to review her medical file and officially accept her referral, and after a fury of phone calls to medial professionals, we knew what we were up against...but no one could have prepared us for the love we have for one another.

Tatum McKenlin Elliott has been a gift to our family. A gift we treasure each and every day. She makes us laugh, she makes us cry...she makes you feel like the most important person in the world when you are together. I love when we are in the car, she says, 'Mama' and pats the arm rest of her car seat....I put my hand back there and she places her hand on top of mine and says, 'Hi, Mama' and rubs it gently. You pick her up and she rubs your back as you hold/carry her through life. Our all time favorite is when she will grab your nose and giggle...she did that for the first time we were in Hong Kong together...that's how I knew she let us into her heart. She was playing with us, and it felt great!

Last night she let me kiss her good night as her Daddy was curled up in the chair in her room ready to read to her...she let Daddy read to her and put her to sleep...she asked for Mama constantly, but she let Daddy take the lead and share this special time. I think we are in, and boy does it feel great!! I never thought being Tatum's Mommy would feel so wonderful.

Alot of people ask us why we didn't try to have our own child. Adoption is a choice for us...we don't know if we can biologically have our own baby, we don't care to know. We just knew that we were lead down the path of adoption, and boy are we glad we took that journey. This is going to be one heck of a ride!! :)

Happy Referral/Match Day, Tatum!! We love you xoxo

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

On Saturday, Tatum and I went to the Elks Club with Nai Nai and Pop Pop for their annual Easter egg hunt. This was Tatum's first time meeting the Easter bunny.Not a huge fan, but didn't mind him from afar.
Mama, Tatum and the Easter Bunny

Tatum ready for the egg hunt

We didn't quite get it this year....and after a rough few weeks recovering, she might not have been on top of her game.

Nai Nai helping Tatum gather an Easter Egg

Happy Easter....the Easter Bunny was very good to Tatum
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the card and money you sent!!

Aunt Cory and Uncle Nick sent a fun Panda art bag
Ms Terry and Mr Ricky sent a fun peek a boo bear, which Tatum LOVES

Nai Nai and Pop Pop also got Tatum a basket and some stuffed animal goodies

Lunch with Daddy at Panera, Tatum loves her sunglasses

Tatum and her Nai Nai

Mama and Tatum on Easter Day (before we dressed Tatum)

Playing the piano with Daddy

Tatum finally started to turn a corner later Thursday/early Friday. We went to our local pediatrician for her to look at Tatum's ears and we had some constipation concerns. She checked out fine, but there was some swelling in her left ear. We will keep an eye on her and take it from there as needed.We are so happy to have our lively baby was a long two weeks without belly laughs, smiles and her sweet and happy disposition. She's also developed either a cold or allergies on top of everything. Her nose runs constantly and I have changed her bed sheets almost daily because of her nose and any additional discharge still coming from her mouth. I feel so bad for her. She is still not sleeping through the night, we hear her fuss about every 2-3 hours, but thankfully she just soothes herself and goes right back to sleep.

We still have Tatum on a soft diet. It is only 2 weeks since surgery and they have recommended 3 weeks until hard foods again...we are stocked with yogurt, jello, pudding, etc...but I need to get more in her too. Thank goodness for Ravioli and ABCs and 123s!!

We are so happy to be making this great progress. Thank you everyone for your support, love and prayers.