Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Can You Believe It's My Birthday?

Yep. The day after Christmas. What a lovely - uh hum - time for a birthday, huh?

How would YOU like to wake up in the morning the day after you just ate enough food to feed the defensive players of the New York Giants? AND their opponents. (Who's shoving that food down my throat against my will? Certainly I don't need to take responsibility here. Do I? That's what I thought.)

At least my house is/was clean since company came over. But another year older, fluffier -- and most of my friends are out of town.


In all actuality, I have the distinct blessing of having some family members around for my big day b/c they're in town for Christmas. Then they're obligated to slip a few bucks in some type of card...even if it's a recycled Christmas one. Time to rack up, huh?

Emily has been punch drunk playing with her 2 uncles - Skipper and Michael. Oh my. Let's just say she adores them with every ounce of her being. They're all developmentally at about the same level so it's a good fit. LOL!

Skipper's in the other room teaching her to say, "Go Tigers!" and recite HIS alphabet, "L.S.U. Naw. Don't say A.B.C....say L.S.U. That's all you need to know."

She crawls up on Michael's belly as he whimsically entices her by saying, "You wanna play with my whiskers???" He totes her up the street to the park to swing and slide.

She's screaming gleefully from the other room as I type, and someone sounds like Captain Jack Sparrow -- the infamous pirate. There's also a Belly Button Monster that goes after Emily's mid-section. She gets chased into a bedroom and locks the door behind her. Lots of slamming, squealing, and silliness going on here. Nanny Carol is serving as the referee.

Ten Gummy Bears later Skipper tells Emily, 'You sure are sucking those things down.' Well WHO is feeding them to her? He says, "No more." Then she asks for a green one.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Emily at a Birthday Party - click below


Pic of Emily and Zenia - click below


Merry Christmas - a Song by the Band Third Day (when one of the band members was waiting for his little daughter in China)

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Cryin' for mama's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
Where the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang a stocking by the fire
And dream about the day I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family's here and yet you're somewhere else alone
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white
And make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

Christmas is the time we celebrate the Holy Child
And celebrate His perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give His life and prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with Him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep I'll hold you in my arms
And tell you from my heart
I wish you a Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Only Vacuum for Full Moons and Holidays.

I'm getting ready for a little Christmas Eve gathering at my house tonight -- 1 brother, Skipper, is coming in from Florida for sure. Not positive yet about the other one, Michael. Got the ole vacuum cleaner out again to tidy up. When I was almost finished Emily asked if 'older children' could vacuum. I said, "Oh yes. And younger children, too. Children l-o-v-e to vacuum." I was sorta kidding. Thought I'd leave it at that. She's a good little helper, but I could easily foresee her backing into things with a crash, bam, boom.

Since company's coming, I bought good toilet paper. And plenty of it. Don't wanna seem cheap.

With the holidays here there's been a musical mixture of Mannheim Steamroller, Point of Grace, and Sesame Street playing in the air. Last year the song, "All is Well" by Point of Grace, served as my theme song for the season. The adoption "wait" was heavy on my heart, and this song seemed to soothe my soul. If you can find it and listen to it, it's a keeper.

I have a nativity set displayed on a desk in my bedroom. It was given to me from a friend girl, Debbie, who takes mission trips to Burkina Fasso -- in Africa. It's a beautiful, carved, dark wood set with Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, and 4 ani-mules. No kings. Anyway, I noticed that about every other day, the positions of the animals were moved about into strategic arrangements. (I'll give you 3 guesses WHO does this, and your first 2 don't count.) One day it'll be 2 beasts sitting up close to the simple, carved manger, but then on another day...all 4 will be lined up -- peeking together at the newborn king. Emily delights in creating orignal casting lineups for the day. It's pretty cute. I guess she wants each critter -- lamb, oxen, whatever -- to have equal opportunity viewing sessions. She says - about Jesus being in a stable - "Jesus born. He no house?" I've spotted her holding the crudely carved little Christ child -- cupped in her hands, rocking Him back and forth.

We're baking Him (capital "H" so I reckon I don't need an antecedent to that pronoun, huh?) a birthday cake today. She wanted to put a number 6 candle on it.
I said, "Oh. Jesus isn't going to be six years old."
Em -- w/my interpretation of what actually came out of her mouth: "How old is He going to be?"
Me: "Ugh..Way older than 6."
So she settled for colored sprinkles and green squirt icing to decorate the chocolate cake w/cream cheese icing. Gotta go measure, stir, and bake. Emily will be in her prime for that activity.

Time for coffee w/Nanny Carol. Home-brewed Starbucks Christmas -- blend compliments of Ayi Cookie. Somebody slap me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sugar-n-Spice & Everything Nice

A teacher friend of mine hosted a Come and Bake Some Cookies Party the other night. It was somewhat of a fundraiser -- in her church's kitchen -- for a former student whose home burned to the ground about a week ago. Talk about having a good time. I debated going. Why? Because the fog was as thick as pea soup, the church is WAY far away from where we live, and it was a school night. Never mind that I was tired (whaaaa, whaaaa) from teaching all day and doing homework with Miss Em.
But this was one of those kinds of moments that I'm so glad I didn't miss. Tamara (teacher) had her relatives there (all a bunch of hoots!), some college-aged students, and the cook who prepares meals at that church on Wednesday nights (and her daughter). We were a montage of Caucasians, African Americans, and Asians -- younger and older.
Emily had a fabulous time punching out these sugar cookies and decorating them. They taste mighty nice, too. She painted a Christmas picture, ran and played like a wild thang, and was bossed around by everyone there as if she were their own child. "Outta the kitchen. The ovens are hot." Love it. We call it "community booty". Adults present have the permission to scat and shew kiddos...all while kissin' them upside their heads and huggin' them really big. That's what we do around these parts with friends like the ones I was with that night. What a great experience for our Christmas season. Thanks, Tamara. You are a jewel.

3 Amigas & Mr. You Know Who

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dynamic Duo - Nanny Carol and Emily on an Outing

Emily and Her Treasured Friend: Ayi Cookie

I Ate My Way Through Wal-Mart Last Night...and Had a Cart with 4 Wheels Actually Going the Same Direction! Miracle.

Nanny Carol so graciously kept Miss Emily while I headed out for a small Christmas shopping adventure, and I snacked from a bag of Dove chocolate candy the entire time.

Em has a particular head nod & eye gaze as she reassuringly states, "Me like presents, Mommy!" It's a comment & look of, "I don't know who invented this gesture, but it is divine." I'm hoping to teach her just that: It IS divine. "For God so loved the world, He gave..."

Gifts are always sacrificial. Someone relinquishes for another to gain, and I want her to know what a wonderful gift she is to all of us who know and love her.

Around our house, the list is short and the appreciation is big. The conversation on the way to school was about how delightful it is for children to smile really big and say "sank you" when someone gives them a gift. She also added, "Hug." Whenever she hugs Nanny Carol, Marlene, Donna, WHOMever...she then steps back and motions with her index fingers, "You. Hug." -- for the two of us/adults to do likewise. It's one of those 'do unto others' kinda moments. I AM a hugging person. So happy she is following suite.

Went to the musical at mom's church last Sunday. Beautiful. Touching. Emily was not so impressed. She wiggled and squirmed mightily all while repeatedly moaning that the lights in the church were off during the performance . (as IF I didn't know that...) The theme of the presentation was "Home for the Holidays". I'd tear up one moment thinking about how Emily herself was finally 'home'...while the next minute I was whispering in her ear, "IF YOU DON'T SETTLE DOWN..." You know the old routine. Mom sits next to you in church with a big smile on her face as she pinches the fool out of your leg -- saying to you without her lips moving, "Get quiet NOW or I'm gonna...."

I call it Satanic ventriloquism.

Sure hate that I didn't manage to come up with a cutesy Christmas card of Miss Em and the critters. I announced via email that her pic w/Santa was on my blog, and invited folks to link on over and peek. Tacky. I know. We never did photo Christmas cards at our house. Seems like when we DID have family pictures made, we always looked like a bunch of illegal aliens hauled in for questioning. I've had enough dealings with U.S. Immigration Services to last 2 lifetimes. Wouldn't want to open up any new & suspicious files with them.

Here's to a final countdown to Christmas. A day that changed the direction of humanity for all ages to come. How very thankful I am to be the recipient of a little almond-eyed sweetheart. When I see the Lord face to face, I'll be sure to smile really big, say "sank you", and give Him a big hug.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Souper Saturday and Santa at a Theater Fund Raisesr

Lookee Here. Miss Em got her pic taken with Mr. Santa Clause. Ayi Marlene and Ayi Donna were helpers/contributors for a fundraiser at their theater. Gotta support our good buddies. They keep Emily in panties and great art for her walls.
We'd been out late the night before at a Cookie Swap. (Yes. My car battery was dead at 10:00 p.m. when I went to leave. I was somewhere out in the country: Hooterville, USA -- but thanks to Leigh with her gorgeous home and sweet/sensitive husband...I DID make it home. We had fun at her house. She's a bang up party giver!!)
Someone we all know and love woke up at 5:20 a.m. on Friday to help me bake Chocolate Crinkle Cookies for the swap. Kitchen looked like a Crystal Meth lab with all the powdered sugar strewn about -- when Emily was finished rolling the dough balls in it (like I know what crystal meth looks like...puleeeezzzzz. I am too tacky in my word choice. I know.).
Emily and I have had the discussion that "children don't get out of bed in the mornings when there is a 5 at the beginning on the clock. That is TOO early for children. Only mamas get up that early." Well, so far this conversation has been an effort in futility. My Betty Crocker helper was upright at the same time this morning. For Christmas, she wants an alarm clock that lights up. By golly, she's gettin' one!! And I'm setting that alarm each night for 6:10 a.m. so she can KNOW when she should get up for school. I told a teacher friend, "I just w-a-n-t some time in the mornings. You know?" She looked at me and said, "Forget it. You've had ALL the time you'll ever get. Welcome to your new life!"
Saturday morning we headed to Cultural School. Always fun to be around the same folks again as the night before. Of course, we all joined up once more in the afternoon for a b'day party. Seeing all the little Asian faces around a table, decorating cupcakes, having fun....priceless. We/the adoptive moms -- are all talking about starting a cult: moving out to some property, having a garden, sharing job chores, raising our Asian daughters and sons, arranging their marriages. If they put a Planning Committee together soon, I'll let cha know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Picture and Blurb from Love Without Boundaries - A Group That Helps Chinese Children

The following excerpt and photo above is from Love Without Boundaries. They've chosen their #1 Picture of the Year. And yes, a picture IS worth a thousand words...

"Our number one photo of the year comes from Pingliang, Gansu, just north of where the Sichuan earthquake was located. The May earthquake damaged the children's building, and all 80 children were relocated to either the one remaining safe room or to tents set up on the property. Through our special assistance program, LWB provided warm clothing and diapers, which helped them during this time. We are so thankful for the loving caregivers who kept the children warm and safe despite the difficult circumstances. Our heart goes out to all of the children affected by the earthquake, and we give thanks to each of our supporters who have allowed us to touch the lives of these children and thousands more over the years."

Emily's First Day at School in Her Uniform

Oh my. This one nearly has me weeping. Ayi KK, also known as Karen -- dear, dear buddy, co-teacher, mother extraordinaire -- made Emily some uniforms to wear to school. Little did I know that clothing along this line is "seasonal" and starting school in December is NOT in season. Yeah. There are uniform stores, but Karen...being the wonderful friend she is...handmade and personalized Em's uniforms. She even put ladybug buttons where needed.

Here's the clincher: The dress Emily has on in this photo was made from leftover fabric that Karen's mother used to make Karen's dress when little Karen was in the 3rd grade. Now, I'm not for giving out people's ages but Karen has a b'day next week, and she was born in the 1950's decade. Do the math. That fabric is vintage, and the love and kindness stitched into this uniform is beyond touching.

I have cried often with & to "Karo" (as I call her") because she has been in this classroom with me through the up's and down's of the entire adoption process. She's lived every small referral batch, updated homestudy, paper lost in the postal system, deadline, trip to immigration office to 'fix' communication problems, dime spent -- you name it. She's been there right beside me encouraging me on.

What is the line at the end of It's a Wonderful Life? (Clarence the Angel): "Remember George, No man is a failure who has friends."

With the folks/friends/family Emily has in her life, she's a winner waiting to happen.

Sleeping Beauty - In Her OWN Bed Now. As She Says, "I no scary." ("I'm not scared.")

"Frosty the 10 Inch Snowman, Was a Jolly Happy Soul..."

"with 2 raisin eyes

and a carrot nose

ain't he cute here

in his pose?"
Yep. We got out of school early yesterday here in the no-snow Bible belt because got it. Snow. Well, really it was sleet that called off the regular educational routine around here. All the way home from school Emily talked about a snowman. Actually, I believe she was calling the icy wonder -- sprinkled on the ground -- "snowman". So, as usual...all the way home in the car I explained the difference between snow and snowman, used the terms in simple, correct sentences, emphasized color and temperature....PHEW! THIS is why I'm worn slap out at the end of a day. LOL. Of course, this is what parents do with younger children. Teach. Emily is just going through those stages right now and doing well - I might add. Conversations in the car are considered learning experiences. I keep it easy. Repeat tons. Throw in a number, color, or size word along the way (' one tall green tree'), and badda bing, badda boom. There you have it.
Emily's been in school less than 2 weeks and already experienced the FUN of having it called off. Yee ha.