Monday, December 20, 2010

May The Spirit of Christmas.........

bring you peace,
the gladness of Christmas give you hope,
the warmth of Christmas grant you love.

May you always find a smile tucked beneath the tree and a friendly shoulder to lean on,

May childlike innocence & the wonders all around rest in your heart, not just on December 25th, but each day of the year,

May light & peace guide your days,

May the wonders of Christmas never fade, nor its magic cease to amaze,

"It matters not how tall your Christmas tree is ~ to every child it will seem to be 30 feet high,"

May a warm embrace take you by surprise,

May you always make room in your heart for old friends & new,

May you always remember that the best gift around any Christmas tree
is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~ Burton Hills

Wishing you all a merry, joyous and blessed Christmas Season, from our little slice of the blogosphere to yours. See you all in 2011!!!! :)
As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be,
Christmas is.


Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big Man in Red.........Himself

A few weekends back we awoke to a Saturday that had no immediate obligations OR in other words an occurrence so rare that it isn't even recognized in most dictionaries or encyclopedias. The kind of day you dare not whisper aloud lest you find yourself suddenly earnestly scrubbing those neglected floors, cleaning out the closet of no return or worse, your oldest child answers the ever persistent knocking door *ringing doorbell* to admit one or more (ready to play!) kiddos from "the hood".

So we did what any other rational and sane 'parentals' do, thrust the children into a semblance of Christmas finery, loaded the knapsack :) with fundamentals ( mostly kid stuff and my Carmax), squeezed toddler boy chariot into rear of mini van and dashed to the mall in search of bargains and the Big Guy Himself. Oh, knocked back a few Diet Cokes too........I mean I'm not Wonder Woman ya know! :)~

Oooh...rubbing hands together with glee here because you see it worked out splendidly ~ low crowds ( it was still November after all and all Pre Black Friday), no wait for Santa and Daddy was in tow to distract said munchkins while Mama shopped. Oh sweet bliss!!

But I digress. (Shopping I!!) This year's trip to Santa was marked by one very unique experience in that it was our first successful trip to Santa, EVER! For you see each previous year, usually with just our best girl, we would gussy up, stand in what felt like the line from....well, "Foreversville" only to witness her change of heart as her turn neared. Year after year...........2 years in a row we even took the train ride with Santa and pictures we got, but mostly of Me standing by Santa and Lauren in my arms as far over from Santa as humanly possible in the narrow aisle of a train car.

Last year, emboldened by her gaggle of girlfriends, she did finally sit on Santa's lap at a school function (pretty cute stuff too!) but of course our Little Man would only peer out from the safety of my shoulder.

So really? We had no illusions about this year. None. But a funny and wonderful notion kept coming up, prompted by ( of all people) Tyler. HE really really wanted to see Santa and his Big Sis gamely agreed, cause honestly she can't really say no to him anyways. (Unless he's touching her beloved Squinkees or D.S game). Could you look into those dimples and begrudge him?

So we packed the family sleigh and sailed (over the river & through the woods!) to the mall. Delighted we were to find NO LINE for Santa and by golly Tyler marched right up (first) and waited patiently to be lifted high, all the while smiling with glee at the bearded one. No fear ~ no hesitation! Lauren followed and once settled BOTH kids posed for a the same time! Looking (at the camera) I mean. Both kids!! :)

And when asked what they would like, Lauren responded with a go-cart ( I know) or a kitten. ( yeah, I know) And Tyler? Who had waited weeks for this moment, blurted out..............

Strawberries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yup. Strawberries.

And Santa? Bless his heart, he chortled ( oh yes, he really did ) cocked an eyebrow and said that while that was a first for him, he thought he could manage it and maybe tuck in a surprise or two also. LOVE Santa!

Turns out? Tyler wants strawberry gum and he's still chattering up a storm about his 2 visits to "Santa Claussen".

Ho! Ho! Ho! Here's hoping a bit of strawberry gum finds its way into every stocking this year!!! And maybe a go-cart??? *gulp*
And the extra cutie in this photo? Mimi K. couldn't resist a Santa photo over Thanksgiving weekend with cousin Alyssa and Tyler once again requested strawberries....but this time he added the gum part. ;) Plus do you spy Lauren's boots? She calls them her "fashion heels" and its nothing short of a Christmas miracle that she is able to walk in them and stay upright! And ladies she can run like the wind in them.........I've seen her!!! :0

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled post ( a Thanksgiving-Palooza wrap-up) to share a darling website that came to my attention today that allows you to create personalized (email) video Santa Claus messages for your children! ( Children of any age!) :)

I stumbled upon it while commenting on a friend's blog ( shout out to BuckerooMama and my amazing friend Wanda (at) At Last......) and its......well.....its pure magic!

Free, easy to use and best of all..... your kiddos will be in awe ~ frankly I was even nodding along with Santa as he recalled special moments from our children's past year, mentioned an item or 2 from their individual wish lists and reminded them to be kind and good, because Santa himself believes in them. I so rarely have anything like this to share and I'm beyond tickled to pass it along!!!

A quick tip before starting would be to go ahead and save 3 favorite photos of each child to your desktop for ease of downloading and close up shots seemed best. I selected a close up of each child for "Santa's Book" and dug in our 2010 archives for pictures of special events. Lauren was incredulous to spot photos from Disney tucked into Santa's big book and Tyler thrilled at seeing a 4th of July picture!

For a child on the cusp of wondering if Santa is "real", this was/is a tremendous gift. Its just that authentic and sweet. Even little Tyler was incredulous and his eyes were as big as saucers. He loved answering Santa's little questions and couldn't stop waving and blowing kisses. When it was all done ( they both watched each video 3 times!) Tyler flew to the window convinced Santa was circling overhead.

Pure delight and I hope the photos can share even a bit more!! Then check it out to make one for your Christmas sweetie!!

We told our matching jammies clad munchkins that Santa was sending special email videos to some(very lucky!) children and that IF we were fortunate enough to receive one (or 2!) they would hit the Midwest after 7 p.m.; this (above) was their reaction to the news that Mama's inbox had 2 messages waiting!
I can't even look at this without grinning right back at them both!!

Tyler...waiting patiently for his turn.

AND then it WAS finally his turn! And Big Sis was right there with a hug!
AND since my original intention was to share a bit (more) of our Thanksgiving tidings with you all, here are a few photos from our long and wonderful weekend at my parent's house. The time simply went too fast and already we are counting the days until we see everyone again!

Sadly my Sister and her family were not able to join us this year due to work considerations; thankfully our niece Alyssa was able to spend much of the weekend at Mimi & Papa's and we all loved having her there with us! She's wonderful with both kiddos and so beloved by them too!

Ho Ho Ho!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank You, Thanksgiving

Oh Thanksgiving, such a sweet little respite before it all........begins. :)

I intended to share a peek back at Thanksgiving memories of past but instead find myself solidly rooted in the present, keenly aware of all that our family has to be thankful for, both on Thanksgiving Day and every day.

Our days have been so busy of late ( and doesn't it seem like I'm always writing and/or saying that now?!?) but very sweet. We have been relishing and taking full advantage of a very mild Autumn. To watch Little Man splashing in his rain boots in only a light coat yesterday morning is nothing short of amazing........pure bliss. Oh, I know Winter is coming and I welcome aspects of that Season too. But gracious ,this has been a gorgeous season and we have endeavored to make THE VERY MOST of it as only Midwesterners really can! (and maybe our friends to the North too!) :)

And I'm so behind on posting the oodles of photos I have been wanting to share! You all might still see pumpkins and skeletons peeking out from behind my kiddos in December if I ever get around to actually piecing those posts together. LOL

But if you came to my doorstep today you wouldn't find a trace or hint of Autumn. We bid farewell to the last remnants this past weekend, taking advantage of another gentle late afternoon and welcoming our Christmas least on the front porch!

Years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of bumping my pumpkins and gourds from their spot of honor before Thanksgiving but it seems that, like most other things, our family too was eager to leap into the Season & squeek out as many days of twinkle lights as possible!

Inside the house I caved in too. Yes, I did. Our big tree is up, festooned with its lights ~ but NO decorations yet. I stamped my foot right down on that, feeling quite smug in my self control, only to suggest this very afternoon that it might be fun for each kiddo to decorate their miniature trees and Lauren's petite bedroom tree. *sigh* Just call me Target or Wal-mart( well, I sort of prefer Target then I suppose).......LOL.......clearing the debris from one holiday before its even begun to make room for the next!

But gosh was it fun watching Lauren admire her diminutive pretties, some from her very first Christmas with us and little Tyler thrilling at each successful ornament placed on its perch, no matter how unsteady it might have sat!

And hey! I did insist on NOT bringing out the classic Christmas DVD's. I mean, I do have standards ya know! And we read every single Thanksgiving book we own today. Twice! :)

So here I sit, with handmade Turkeys vying for attention ( and space) with the first few trinkets of Christmas; there will be more to come, as Turkeys get tucked away and Christmas treasures unearthed from their basement slumber. Honestly? I can't wait!!!

There's also one more confession I need to make: we took the kids to see Santa this past Saturday. I know...I know. More to share, photos and all, on that one ~ but can I just say that walking right up, with no wait (no line!!), no fidgeting kiddos and overheated husbands AND witnessing our tiny guy hop right up beside Santa with no hesitation.........well, it was mighty darn magical even IF it IS still November. Ho Ho Gobble?? *grin*

And our attempt at taking our traditional Christmas card photo? Ummmm....let's just say its a work in progress and there's good news! It seems I will have another post of "outtakes" to share much like last year........cuz getting them both to look(and not appear constipated or in pain) in the same general direction AND smile AND have outfits coordinated, smoothed and wrinkle free?.........yeah, this year I might just settle for coordinating outfits!

And that brings me to my only grievance to share tonight. I do believe that at least one of you *ahem* or more ( you know who you are!) were supposed to remind me to begin taking said Holiday photo in June this year OR seek professional help as needed. Somehow I missed that memo friends. :) But its okay, cuz even if you had sent word in June, I probably would have been secretly eyeballing our Halloween (decoration) tubs down in our basement and would have missed it anyways! ;)

And, I'm going to be offline for most of the coming long weekend, so I'll wish you all a blessed & yummy Turkey weekend now. I'll be anxious to get caught back up with you all again soon!

Of course I can't close a Thanksgiving post without sharing a bit of sugar.

How thankful I am for these two: for his dimpled grin and belly laughs and her quick wit and huge heart. For his exuberance and her flair. For all that they are and because I wake up each day, not just on Thanksgiving, grateful for the gift of them. Just so happy to be their Mama.

Thank you, Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Matters: One and a Half

First I wish to thank you all for your warm, supportive and encouraging remarks regarding my last post. I read many of them to Lauren and she was shyly pleased, and a bit perplexed about why such a fuss was made about something that happened "so long ago". :) For me, its always a bit of an exhale, as I can't help but wonder how certain posts or messages will be received, especially the ones of a more personal nature. I had held on to this memory for so long and it was intriguing to go back and read again that snapshot moment and reflect on it through not just my own musings but through the lens of all of you, as you contributed through your shared insights and commentary. Always I am left grateful for this collective community and what a compassionate and powerful community at that!

Why then is this post titled One and a Half?

I could have just as readily titled this: What I Wish I Had Also Said, as I feel a lingering sense of unfinished business with this one.

Shortly after publishing my last post, I received an anonymous comment from a fellow adoptive Mama who wanted to reach out, but didn't wish to have her comment actually published. With no email to respond to and no way to trace back to her, only her anguish was left for me to consider. In her comment she shared that her daughter, also adopted Internationally and roughly Lauren's same age, was not handling similar issues and questions in a way that she felt was appropriate. Or not in the same way that Lauren had done so that summer before last. And I............well, I was left saddened and a bit thunderstruck. In my words, she imagined that she had found a formula or litmus for how our precious babies should respond and feared that she had somehow failed to discover it.

In truth she broke my heart just a bit. That my words caused such consternation and grief for another, albeit unintentionally...........well, words don't fail me often, but this once they did.

So for this sweet Mama and anyone else who may have felt similarly, I want to share a bit more ~ what I should have maybe said before.

That each child is vastly different and will approach these types of situations in equally varied ways. That what might feel right for one child, may not be right for another.

That there is truly no right or wrong response and measuring one child's response to another or looking for a standard from which to measure future outcomes just doesn't exist.

That our daughter while only 6 (at that time) was just 4 months shy of turning 7 and that every. single. month. can make a difference.

That she has always been a bit of an old soul, touched with a flair and tendency for the romantic. Notions of hearts and a faraway land called Taiwan would have suited her fancy in much the same way a child being raised Catholic would have felt comfortable mentioning God to a son of another Catholic family. Lauren and A were not just classmates in public school but also in Religious Education. They shared a common foundation of faith.

That I believe she was able to share of her heart so freely, without measuring each word in fear of judgement because she was standing among children and only children; where friendship was mutual and innocence reigned. Had I rushed in or had A's Mom been present, I suspect her response may have been quite different. All of their responses.

And while I was careful to say that this was a snippet........and but a moment in time, I should have better emphasized that a 6 year olds perspective on Race Matters may not remain static and that same perspective may look different at age 8 or 10 or through adulthood. How could it not?

That while this remains the ONLY time I witnessed Lauren being asked to affirm her sibling status to Tyler due to their differing physical characteristics, that I have observed her handling of other intrusive adoptive queries by strangers ( or friends ) and that sometimes she stumbles or elects to deflect or simply stand behind me, her Mama, wishing for me to handle it. And I do.......though that's a work in progress also. :)

AND that I'm proud of her each and every time, no matter her response or lack thereof. Because sometimes not using your voice says just as much.

That we can do our best. That we can arm our children with techniques, tools, strategies and confidence for coping and that it still might not be enough. Or not all the time or for every scenario anyways. Over the years I have been stumped on more than one occasion when confronted with the absurd ,so imagine how it must be for our precious Littles.

That while our love for them might be color blind ( and so BIG!), sadly the world might seek to label them otherwise. The trick then is finding the right balance for each child and at any given time. And that will probably look very different for each family and child.

That I'm always learning and trying to do better too.

That her daughter is probably right where she needs to be in her own journey.

That all of these miracle children deserve celebration. No. Matter. What.

Oh yes, I would have also sent a great big virtual hug too ( cuz I'm known to do that!) and reminded her that she's not alone........never alone in this crazy and amazing thing called Parenthood!

Pssst.......yes, I still hope to add one more installment to my Race Matters series (the one I intended to originally post); but I promise, just one more!!! Scout's honor. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race Matters

A few months after arriving home with Baby Tyler we found ourselves winding down Lauren's Kindergarten year with a trip to our local pool on an unseasonably steamy day in late May. Tyler was around 10 months at the time and spent the majority of his time gazing with keen interest and delight at the children splashing, the gurgling fountains and the general mayhem that you might expect between the borders of the zero depth and the deep end rope. Sprinkle in the palpable energy of the school year nearly being completed, summer looming large AND the pool only having been opened for a day or so......and well, you can probably imagine with clarity then (me) standing in waist deep water, with baby cradled at my side, about 10 feet from Lauren who was frolicking and swimming with a friend or 2 from class.

10 feet, otherwise known as the distance deemed acceptable to an "almost First Grader, you know Mama" who was anxious to strut a bit and honestly was/is a capable swimmer. So there I stood, swaying as I'm known to do (it comes so naturally now that I'm pretty sure I do this even when NOT holding a baby!) delighting in both children, one discovering a bit of independence and one just blissed out "discovering". **So sets the scene of this particular moment, forever now in my mind & heart.**

A short time later I heard (and was liberally sprinkled by crashing sprinkles of water spray) a classmate joyfully shout out to Lauren as he thrashed his way to her spot near the middle of the activity pool. I remember smiling a bit to myself and wiping a few water droplets from my face, thankful that the baby didn't take the full affects of the dousing, but beyond that my thoughts were just a lazy jumble of the day to day contentment & fluff. I may have even drifted a bit closer to the 10 foot zone, unintentionally breaching it, caught up in my murmurings to Tyler.

Because of that I don't really know what prompted the conversation I shortly became aware of between Lauren and her friend from class. (we'll call him "A") But it went something like this and is forever etched in my memory........

A: Is that your brother over their with your Mom?

Lauren: Yes, that's Tyler.

A: Is he really your brother?

Lauren:(surprised) Yes.

A: (almost with suspicion ) How come his eyes look like that? And why is his hair so dark? He doesn't look like you.

Side Bar ~ its interesting to note here that this little boy had seen us several times before within the classroom, at various school functions and at church events without showing any outward interest towards us during previous encounters. And he's honestly a very sweet boy.

It's also notable that one of Lauren's close friends was also standing there and was becoming increasingly upset with" A "and looked extremely stricken to Lauren's outward calm.

Lauren: (after a long pause in which clearly she was deciding what to say, how to say it and perhaps marshaling her wits a bit too) Tyler brought his hair and eyes with him from Taiwan and that's the way God wanted him to look. On the inside we are the same. Our hearts say...... brother & sister. (smiling...satisfied)

A: (still looking doubtful) Ummm....

Lauren: (sporting that mischievous twinkle) Besides you don't look like your brother at all either. ( totally accurate observation!)

A: (eyes wide) Hey yeah! I think he brought those with him from ........(insert the suburb next to us where he was born) too!! :)

Lauren: That's cool.

Lauren's friend: (seemingly relieved) Come on guys, let's play.

Lauren/A: Yeah!

And off they went, having tackled a topic with raw honesty and grace that many adults still struggle mightily with; a set of perceptions regarding Race (and in many ways adoption also) as witnessed by three 6 year old children moment in time, but with ripples & implications nonetheless.

I remember standing there, frozen momentarily in that very sea of swirling ripples, with tears glistening and threatening to spill over. Watching with heightened intensity, thoughts no longer ambling, but sharp and focused, as one child innocently slept, nestled in the crook of my arm and oblivious to nuances of Race while another shrieked and splashed with her friends and WAS mindful of, or reminded by others that Race Matters.............even when it doesn't to a proud Big Sister.

Edit to Add: I hesitated to post this without a bit of disclaimer. Please know that prior to that encounter at the pool we had discussed issues of Race, ethnic identity , heritage and many related tangents candidly with Lauren. We also had worked steadily to arm her with an understanding that while folks might have the "right" ( or nerve!) to ask questions that might seem personal or inappropriate, she had the same right to measure her responses through deflection, humor, redirection, by answering directly if comfortable doing so or by simply ignoring a question. Empowering her to make those decisions for the moments we knew would come when one of us wasn't present for support. Empowering her so she would always have a voice or a choice.

Ultimately this was a true reflection of a little girl's earnest and beautiful heart at age 6.

November marks among other things, Adoption Awareness Month and I share this recollection in celebration of these 2 children who have blessed our lives beyond measure and well beyond our wildest dreams. Also in remembrance of those children who still await loving arms and Big Sisters (or Brothers!) to champion their innocence.

Finally, this will be part one of two Race Matters posts as I wish to share a more recent thread on this topic as seen through the lens of a now Second Grader but fear it would be too large to post as one!!! :) I think we have already established that I am a bit long winded. LOL

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Upon I.............

inundate you all with gratuitous photos of my 2 'pumpkins'. :)

Multiple Choice: :)

Why am I virtually the last blogger in the "sphere" to share Halloween photos?

A. Our weekend was just filled to the brim with tricks & treats and it took me a full day *and a half* to play catch up and return to my groove!

B. My folks came into town to help us celebrate Halloween and both kiddos had a full complement of Grandparent "paparazzi" for trick or treating ~ which also meant a few extra shopping trips for us girls and late night gab fests. :)

C. Because we attended Lauren's school Autumn Fest Friday night, her final soccer game of the Fall season Saturday morning ( and they won!) , chauffeured her to a friend's pool party Saturday afternoon and ate out with my folks Saturday night ~ oh, and shopped a bit on the way home! LOL

D. Ummm....cause I really couldn't wait any longer to peek at the blogs I adore and see all of their fabulous photos and hear about their spooktacular Halloween events! ( So that came first before a post of my own!)

E. All of the above.

Did you guess E????? ( I know you did!! ) Uh huh, it was a CRAZY BUSY SPOOKY FUNTASTIC and all around 'fantabulous' Halloween weekend. Honestly I feel as if the entire month of October has been a bit that way, with even the weather treating us to unseasonably gorgeous & mild days.

Trick or treating Sunday was FUN; we began trick or treating on our town square which is a family tradition. We loved having all the Grand P's with us and we always bump into so many friends and folks we know. And the variety of costumes on the square? Ah'mazing! We saw a Mr. Clean, those little scrubbing bubbles, a Rubik cube and a beautiful white Husky in a pink tutu! Where else could you see that?? LOL

Afterwards we all headed home for chili & pumpkin cookies and soon enough we had a few anxious friends eagerly waiting for Lauren to come out and trick or treat. So out we went and onward went the blur of action formerly known as Lauren and her buddies Abby and Jocelyn. :) And Tyler? Oh gracious, did he have F.U.N. No qualms for him as he pumped those little legs furiously to keep up with the girls and no fears about marching right up to each porch and saying "Twick or Treat". (yeah, he got the treat part right every. single. time. ) And for as long as I live I won't ever forget the look of complete incredulity and joy on his sweet face as folks actually handed him candy.......candy mind you!!!.......and often times by the handful!

We love our neighborhood and both kiddos made out like bandits. Honestly they both even received full sized candy bars!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Full size??? AND more than one! I just don't remember that when I was a kiddo. Wow.

Needless to say that Monday morning crept around sooner than expected and found our crew a bit groggy when those alarms began to chime. Thankfully we discovered that chocolate for breakfast wakes us right up! :) j/k We also had to say goodbye for a few weeks to Mimi & Papa and we miss them already.

Its been a great month and below are some of the pictures from our weekend and a few that I meant share before but somehow ran out of time!!

Please say hello to our very own Tiger ( or Tigra), 3 Eyed Monster and Devil Doggy.


Tyler met up with a few furry friends on the square.

Yes, there it is.....the pumpkin who survived a sampling and went on to become a cranky Jack O' Lantern. LOL
Have you seen him??? The rarely spotted, elusive Taiwan Fur Ball?? Sightings are rare but he was rumored to have been lurking near the woods by our house......He's considered armed and adorable.

"Have stick will travel"............"speak sofly but carry a big stick".....sorry, just couldn't help myself! :)
AND a change of days.................Pumpkin Patch Moments:

Our kids LOVED this cow train ~ and rode said train no less than 5 or 6 times!

Peek A BOO!

Okay, I hear the snickering....yes, I was going for that classic pumpkin patch shot and nope, my two just were not having any part of it!!! :)
AND last week Lauren participated in the All Saints Day Parade for her Religious Education class. Each child was asked to choose a Saint and dress in costume. Lauren carefully researched and proudly picked Blessed Kateri Tekakawitha, the only Native American Saint and the Patron Saint of Ecology and Environment. I was not surprised at all that Lauren would identify with Kateri and she was so proud to create this costume and research this amazing young woman.

And just because I love these faces LOTS & LOTS!

I love you too buddy!!!

Love this one too!!

Better than any candy bar or 2 little pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Love At First.........


This is the story of Cutie McCuterson who fell head over heals for a pumpkin.....

Selected just one, from a patch so grand......

Loved this one most,

Best in all the land......

But as Fairy Tales sometimes go.........

There came a fateful day,

When Cutie decided it was most meant for play......

And while he was at it, why not sample a bit?.....So,

Cutie became Toothy McTootherson and had his own way.......

Hmmm....nice footrest after a long morning of play.....wonder if a small bite would complement this lollipop? Only one way to find out!!!


Cow-a-bunga! Why didn't you tell me? ( well, okay, why didn't you tell me 3 x's instead of a mere 2?!?) "Mr. Pumpkin" leaves a bit of an aftertaste.....

Wha?? Wha??? I am only 2 years old ya know! Did you expect restraint?? Ha! I laugh in the face of that silly notion!! (silly grownups....) :)

Heh, heh, heh.....good thing I'm cute and can get away with these types of shenanigans.

Hey buddy? No hard feelings, right?? You know I love ya!
Come on......I think I hear a dragon approaching......just a couple of rolling stones...............
So concludes our tale of Cutie McCuterson and the brave pumpkin who survived a sampling from a curious prince and lived on to became a Jack O' Lantern.
Now a princess on the other hand???? Well she goes a different direction altogether. :)
Spreading cheer & creative flourishes wherever she goes.....

Beloved by her Royal Subjects.......

Ruling her kingdom with kindness, grace and style...............