Monday, December 31, 2007

A Sick New Year's Eve

Thanks for checking in to see how the Kramer Christmas went. We are truly blessed!

Wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year this New Year's Eve. We'll be tucked tight in our beds come midnight so I'm posting this message now.

Isabella has a nasty upper respiratory infection and I have pneumonia. So-doctor's orders-stay in bed!

Wishing you a wonderful start to the new year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Christmas Story

Merry Christmas! Wow! What a busy and blessed few days. We were so lucky to spend Christmas with our wonderful families (who are way too generous!)! We all were spoiled with presents, savoy foods & desserts and lovin'!

Check out this video of our fun-filled week. But first get some popcorn and turn off your screen-saver because this is a long one-over 20 minutes.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Beginnings

Merry Christmas from the Kramers!

We've had a wonderful start to the holiday season, spending time with friends and family. More memory-making plans are in the works and Christmas is just five days away.

If you've got 10 minutes to spend getting in the holiday spirit, watch our video.
View this montage created at One True Media
Holiday Beginnings 12/20/07

Have a joyous Christmas! We'll be back late next week with new posts and pics.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend pictures

What a great weekend even with Isabella's sudden onset earache!

Kevin's office party was a blast-so many kids, growing families. I remember jut five years ago when the company had only 10 employees. Now it's huge! Movies in all the theatre rooms, food, desserts, a visit by Santa and his elf, presents, friends-what a great time.

The foster family party was exciting, too. Seeing the excitement in the kids eyes was so worth the paper cuts from wrapping paper (kidding). Every child got every gift on his or her list. They won't forget this Christmas! It was at this party that Isabella went from crazy kid to a crying one. She spiked a fever of 104.5 degrees and we headed home thinking we were going to miss the Polar Express.

After taking with the After Hours doctor service we filled her with Motrin and Tylenol and hoped for a miracle. Within three hours, her fever broke and she was acting normal. Weird!

She we went on the Polar Express! What a fun night even with the four screaming 8-year-old kids sitting behind us. Christmas carols, hot cocoa and cookies, the story, elves, a visit to the North Pole, a visit from Santa and a special bell present. Isabella had a blast-until she passed out from exhaustion on the train ride home.

I'm posting a few pics tonight and will get to the hundred others later this week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

First holiday parties of the year

Well, last weekend marked the first of many Christmas parties for the Kramers, and a busy party-filled weekend kicked off last night with the Kent State University Faculty Holiday Party.

You may ask, what, you went to a faculty party? Well, yes, Isabella and I attended the festivities since I have the new role as the official PR/event management agency for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I've been working with The J School for about six weeks and will continue my work with them through at least June. It's been a fun and challenging experience so far and I look forward to the great events we are hosting to open the brand new school in Spring 2008.

Enough of that and back to the party schedule! Tonight marks the annual STI/AVI Family Holiday Party (Kevin's office party). It's great for the kids because every single one gets a bag full of presents. The big kids (us) enjoy food and drinks. It's a wonderful time.

Then, tomorrow we head back to STI/AVI for the first annual foster family Christmas Party. Every single employee donated money which the company matched to adopt four families. We got wish lists from the kids and bought them a ton. Kevin, Isabella and I helped wrap the gifts last week. Let's just say, these kids are going to remember this Christmas for years. Santa will make a special appearance; we'll have food and cookies (I'm actually baking!) and we'll show Christmas movies and specials in all the movie theater rooms. Can't wait.

Then, tomorrow night we journey on the Polar Express thanks to Aunt Linda's lucky raffle ticket number and her generosity. She gave the tickets to Grandma Sue since she already had tickets for her grandkids. I've never ridden the Polar Express because it's REALLY hard to get tickets. You must enter a lottery in August and then IF your number is picked, pony up $30-$45 a ticket. So this free night will be one to remember. Grandma Sue and Papa Al will join us and Tiffany, Kelsey and Kylie for pizza before we all head off to see Santa! (We'll see how it goes since Isabella is petrified of him!)

I'll post plenty of pics next week!

Now it's off to frost more cut-out cookies...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2007 NEO Guat Family Group X-mas Party

Adoption has changed our lives! Not only do we have Isabella, but we also have been very lucky to make great friends who have enriched their lives through adoption.

Thus, the NEO Guatemala Family Group!

It was started a little over a year ago by a mom who was waiting to bring her daughter home. Christmas was approaching and she was down much like I was the year prior. She longed for her baby. So she reached out to others in NEO who were in a similar situation. She posted a note on asking anyone who was in her situation who wanted to meet to talk and cry and bond, to meet her for lunch. Twelve people responded and the group was born. Now most of the babies are home and we were able to celebrate with all of them at the 1st annual Christmas Party.

I got involved with the group mid last year when I met the "president" online. And now I'm lucky to call her a friend. Thanks so much, Mindy, for such a great day!

View this montage created at One True Media
NEO Guat X-mas Party 12/8/07

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

'Tis the Season for....STRESS

Let me start out by saying that I love Christmas. I love the music, the time with family, the decorations, the scents. But what I don't like is the stress!

It's only Dec. 5 and I'm already stressed out. I can't fit everything in the day that needs to get done. I usually have my Christmas cards and shopping done before Halloween but this year, I'm having a hard time getting it all done. And the thought of baking cookies, making it to all the parties, wrapping all the gifts, signing all the cards....AHHHHH! There's not enough time in the day!

But I'll make it work! 'Tis the season!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Tradition

We started a new Christmas tradition last year. The family (Gaylord side)-Grandma Mary, Papa Steve, Aunt Julie (and Uncle Chris when he's not at the base), Kevin, Isabella and me-head to Hartville Flea Market for a day of shopping. Aunt Dee Dee, Uncle Ted, Brit (and Bobby) and Jessie joined us for the day.

The market is decorated so nicely with trees and garland and Santa and Mrs. Claus were even there. (Too bad Isabella is petrified of him!). Dinner was delicious! And after seven hours-Isabella was a tired baby!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Latest Christmas Craze

Thanks to Office Max you can "Elf Yourself" and make anyone dance. Check out Isabella!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Video

We really enjoyed are family day! Hope you enjoy the video of our Thanksgiving holiday!

View this montage created at One True Media
Thanksgiving Day 11/22/07

Friday, November 23, 2007

What a Great Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful day of family and food yesterday. Lots of pics to upload which I might make into a short movie this weekend. I wanted to update you on the day, though.
We started the day at home. When Kevin got out of bed, I asked him, "What is today?" He answered Thanksgiving, of course, but I had another answer in mind.
"It's the first day of 24-hour Christmas music!" I found out later in the day that I was wrong; some local stations started the music earlier in the week.

Isabella was dressed in an adorable orange jumper with a matching purse, so I matched her with an orange sweater.

We headed to Grandma Sue's and Papa Al's house first. We had a lovely time eating and playing with Uncle Tim, Aunt Melissa, Uncle Keith, Aunt TT, Kelsey, Kylie and Grandma and Papa.

After dinner there, we headed to Grandma Mary's and Papa Steve's. Aunt Julie and Uncle Chris were there, too. We eat, and played Tickle-Monster and Hide-n-Seek. Then we started to watch Shrek 3 until Isabella said she wanted to go "night-night". We headed home at 7:30 p.m.
What a great day! I'm so thankful we were able to spend it with family!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble, Gobble

Wishing your entire family a safe, happy and "filling" Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why I'm thankful

When I got up this morning, I opened the Akron Beacon Journal. I wasn't looking for anything in particular. I just wanted to catch up on the daily news, check out the Heldenfiles for celebrity gossip, see the pre-Thanksgiving ads.

But an article caught me eye and made me cry.

I've linked the article here. It's titled:
Adoption changes wrenching
U.S. couples in limbo as Guatemala looks at rules that would drastically slow now-unregulated system

While I've used this blog to call for reform in the Guatemalan adoption system, I've also heralded seamless adoptions for families in the process. This article points to the need for the seamless transition for those families. And it makes me count my blessings, that Isabella is home.

Even though she's sometimes fussy, bossy, messy and time-consuming, she's here, in my arms, forever. I can hold her and hug her whenever I want. I don't have to look longingly at pictures of my baby so many thousands of miles away.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful she's home! And I pray for the 3,700 Guatemalan babies who are waiting for their forever homes. But most importantly, I pray for those parents who so badly want their babies here and are wondering if and when it will ever happen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Holiday Season Begins

We headed to Sharon, PA with friends (and next door neighbors) Candice and Todd for a fun-filled day at Kraynek's, Quaker Steak & Lube, The Winner, Daffin's and Reyer's.

Kraynek's was amazing! The Christmas trees and accompanying displays are magical. Isabella just loved it (so we'll definitely have to make a trip to Akron's Holiday Tree Festival). The toy store there had everything and we got a lot of shopping done!

The Daffin's Chocolate Village was appetizing so we, of course, bought tons of candy to kept us filled up during our day.

We finally found Isabella's Christmas dress at The Winner. I would go into details because I want to share pics later on. All I'll say is that it converts to a summer dress very easily.

The guys were disappointed with Reyer's being the big "shoe guys" they are but lunch satisfied their cravings!

What a great day! Enjoy the first Christmas video of the season. They will be many to follow.

View this montage created at One True Media
Start of Christmas 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Busy, Busy!!

I promise to write a post this weekend.

I've been so busy with work. I thought working from home would be less stressful but with the mortgage job and the flurry of new clients for my company, I've been working a ton of hours. Grandma Mary and Papa Steve have been helping out with a very good Isabella who has been a delight to be around lately-no fussing, no crabbiness-just pleasant and helpful. (How long will that last?!)

I do promise to post pics soon!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dear Readers

When I started this blog, I began writing for several reasons:
1) Therapy-for me because infertility and the adoption process were stressful.
2) Informational-so friends and family could receive adoption updates as they happened.
3) Educational-so other families in the blogosphere/online could turn to me for my thoughts on infertility and adoption, my experience with the processes and my joyful story of family.

Those reasons still apply, and I thought I'd share my thoughts with you on WHY I still blog, which is fitting since it's National Adoption Awareness Month.

While many posts are about Isabella's latest activities or our fun weekend plans, this blog is still (and will always be) about working through personal issues of infertility, the disappointment and celebration of adoption and of the family that has come out the other side so much stronger. For those reasons, I blog.

I often think about who out there cares about what I have to say on any issue let alone these. I often think readers get bored with my rants about doctors and counselors and social workers. I know you don't want to hear my sob stories, but you keep coming back so I'll continue to write.

As Isabella grows, she's involved in more and more activities, and you will continue to see those fun posts, but bear with me if I write about an occasional personal triumph, post about an international adoption case or write about how I'm feeling about infertility or adoption in general.

I appreciate you, my readers, and I hope you read again soon!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Anniverisary

Eight years ago today the sun was shining, and we were well into an Indian summer heat wave with temps in the mid 70s. By this time, the hair and makeup were done; the dress and tuxes were on; the flowers placed; the guests had arrived; the "I dos" said.

The "I dos" said. Wow! Can it really be eight years ago. By this time of the day, we were Mr. and Mrs .Kevin Kramer. After 6 years of being together, we had done it.

And we did it in style. 250 guests! Balloon arches! DJs! Videographers! Cake fountains! Drinks, food, music!

But does all that really matter now? Now eight years later with the house payments, long work days, crying baby, stressful lives. No.

It's fun to look back and remember the excitement of the preparation and the buying of the dress, checking out halls, and going to Pre-Cana. It's wonderful to think about the family who were there that aren't with us anymore; to share stories of showers and parties with new friends; to recall memories of those first days together as a new family.

But really it's about today and the tomorrows we have, that we have picked each other to hold onto through the tough times; that we have each other to support; that we have each other to care for; that we have each other to love. Today! That is what is important.

Celebrating the anniversary of the start of this new family is wonderful, but it reminds me that I shouldn't just remember those things once a year; I should celebrate this anniversary every day because together we got through life. Together! Everyday!

I love you, Kevin!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Annual Rock Show

Kevin, Isabella, neighbor Candice and I all headed to the annual Gemboree to visit Papa Al and all his Rock Club friends. Isabella had a blast digging for rocks in the Gem Mine. Plus, she got "discovered."

A nice lady came up to us and asked how old Isabella is.

"She's so beautiful and that smile," she said. "Has she ever done any modeling?"

We, of course, answered no since we've not done anything like that with Isabella.

"I work for Little Tikes in the graphic design office. We are looking for fresh faces for our new catalog; would you be interested in having her in the photo shoot?"

We decided to go for it so I emailed the lady recent photos of Isabella along with her height, weight, clothing and shoe sizes.

She emailed me back and said it's a go for January, that she'd be in touch to set up the dates after Christmas.

We'll let you all know how the test shots come out. For now, you'll have to just look at mine shots! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

National Adoption Awareness Month

November is national adoption month. It is estimated that about 1 million children in the United States live with adoptive parents, and that between 2% to 4% of American families include an adopted child. (Stolley, 1993). The majority of Americans are personally affected by adoption. In 1997, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute conducted a benchmark survey of 1,554 adults to examine public attitudes toward the institution of adoption and members of the adoption triad. The survey found that 6 in 10 Americans have had personal experience with adoption, meaning that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption. (Evan B. Donaldson Institute, 1997).

You are in that 6 in 10 Americans because you know us, so you should feel blessed to know the love of an adopted child. I know we do!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


What a bummer! It was rainy and cold so we only hit four houses. The trio of kiddos didn't care though. They had fun handing out candy to other trick-or-treaters who braved the rainy night; Plus each time they passed out a piece on candy they tool a handful each for their own bags. Thank goodness Grandma Sue and Papa Al were well stocked. They even had pizza and yummy brownies for us!

Before trick-or-treat, Isabella and I met friends at Stow's 10 & Under Halloween Party. What fun for the kiddos 2.5 and up! Crafts, pizza, candy, parades! Isabella had fun making scary stick-on pictures.

We didn't do much on the actually Halloween night. We had planned to carve the rest of our pumpkins but some goblin snatched them aways.
But, it was still a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

From our little spider to all you ghouls...
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Final Adoption Anniversary

I can't believe it's been a year since Kevin, Isabella and I stamped the final adoption decree at the Summit County Courthouse. Time moves way too fast!

I heard my mom say all the time while growing up how quickly the time goes. I always thought she was just being sentimental, but now that I'm a mom , I know what she meant each and every time she said it.

A year ago Isabella was barely talking, was just starting to get her bearings as she ran around the house, was not even feeding herself. Wow-what a year changes!

Today, my chatter box keeps me on my toes running from room to room, moving from one game to her favorite toy. She tells me when she wants lunch and when to change her diaper. She takes off her own clothes and brushes her own teeth. She soothes herself to sleep and swims like a fish.

I long for the days of spoon feeding my princess and rocking her to sleep; of bathing her in the sink and feeling for the newest tooth; of running for every peep and soothing every whimper.

But, now I love the days of talking about zoo animals, coloring in her books, reading her stories, singing nursery rhythms, baking cakes and just being together. I love when she asks for hugs and when she kisses my nose for no reason.

I can't wait to see want this year brings (but I do wish the time didn't go by SO fast!)!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Carving our pumpkin

Isabella carved her first pumpkin on Saturday. She helped draw the face on the pumpkin and helped carve out the eyes and nose with the kid-safe pumpkin carving knife. She had so much fun pulling the guts out and finding the "nuts". We baked the seeds and ate them up. For some reason, Isabella continues to call the seeds nuts but whatever she calls them, she loves them!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Painted Pumpkin

Isabella is SO proud of her painted pumpkin from her friend Nicholas's birthday party. She wanted to share these special pictures with all of you!

P.S. Good luck to friends Laura (and Josh) as she delivers baby, Ally, tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And Another Party

The brithday party for Nicholas was a blast! You'll see in the photos how much fun everyone had. And Isabella got to paint her very first pumpkin! And Bella and Daddy matched from head to toe!