Friday, December 25, 2009


Thursday, December 24, 2009

In Any Language...

All is well. All is well.
Angels and men rejoice.
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light.
Sing Alleluia.

All is well. All is well.
Let there be peace on earth.
Christ is come go and tell
That He is in the manger.
Sing Alleluia.

All is well.
all is well.
Lift up your voices and sing.
Born is now
Emmanuel.
Born is our Lord
and Savior.
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia
All is well.
(by Point of Grace)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Baking/Swapping Times


We Went to Our 2nd Annual Cookie Bake/Swap at a Church.

Emily and Jenna decorating b'day cakes for Jesus.

I was gonna get that done this year come heck or high water. First things First!

We'll decorate them up really nice on Christmas Eve.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

I Took This Record Player (circa 1960's) and REAL Christmas ALBUMS From Who Knows When...

No lie. I took this darling little contraption to the Cookie Bake/Swap.

I thought it'd add ambiance to have a rickety old record player with scratchy sounding Christmas music playing merrily in the background...while we baked up a storm in the kitchen. Emily & I wore vintage aprons, used my great grandmothers dish towel, measured vanilla flavoring with copper toned measuring spoons from the Eisenhower era, and scooped flour with measuring cups shaped like ducks. I had to improvise. I was missin' the 3/4 cupper. Good thing I was doubling the recipe & could do my math on the spot.

"Let's see: 3/4 C. + 3/4 C. = One and a 1/2 C. Phew I have the 1 C. and the 1/2 C. This'll work." LOL.

I l-o-v-e vintage kitchen ware & other JUNK, and most of what I have is mine...passed down in the family. Of course the saner members of my family have thought at one time or the other I should've thrown it all out in the garbage years and years ago. Now, I think they're glad I have it out on display in my home. These sorta things make great dust catchers.

Back to the record player.

Talk about a blast from the past. It was sooooo fun to chat about the old records, see the pictures on the labels (Disneyland logo...a design totally out of print/production), and to listen to the old timey recordings. I think the adults liked it as much as the kids did.

It was deja vu.

See the coins taped to the needle arm? From CHINA!!!! Someone gave me this vintage record player right after I returned from China. I don't think I had an American nickel in my possession --- so I grabbed my leftover coins from PRC (People's Republic of...well...you can figure out the rest, huh?). There's a squished up version of it above. (Click on it IF you give a rip what it really looks like.)

That top coin has a square cut out in the middle. I Googled Chinese coins and there it was. Go figure. For younger folks who don't know, the coins are there to weigh down & help hold the needle down tightly/securely so it'll go thru the grooves and ring out the music thru the very skimpy speakers.

And for anyone thinking we're into iPods and MP3 players...I guess this will confirm: NEGATIVE.

I even have a black and white tv (okay...AND a color tv in the living room. I'm not that big of a hick.)

All by choice.

Gotta go. Emily's being indoctrinated, uhm...introduced to one of my fave Christmas traditions: watching It's A Wonderful Life.

No. Not in color. How ridiculous would t-h-a-t be?!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Awww. Emily and a Santa Who (IMHO) Looks Like He's Three Sheets in the Wind!

Oh. In this age of abbreviations, IMHO means: In My Humble Opinion.
Mercy. Don't wanna sound like a "know it all", do we?
This was taken at the Christmas Park time with the girlfriends below.
See Emily's sweet little smile? Well, according to the dentist we saw yesterday...she gets to go see a specialist who can fix that Class 3 underbite she possesses? ASAP.
Somehow I'm thinkin' the number 3 is not as good as a number 1 or 2. -- uh...monetarily speaking.
As in, I bet it's cheaper to have a Class 1 or 2 underbite.
The ophthalmic plastic surgeon who repaired her eyelids alluded to her needing to have that chin/mouth bite fixed at some point. Personally, I was figuring it would be down the years from now.
Looks like they wanna work on it now while her bones/teeth are pliable. Then again, she might still need some "down the road" work.
In ALL honesty, kidding aside, how BLESSED are we that these are small issues that can be resolved fairly effortlessly/painfully? My philosophy on life is: IF money can fix it, it might not be that big of a problem after all.
SO....no biggie. We're all smiles here.

Such a LOVELY Night at the Park With Some of Our Girls

Jenna, Anna, Emily, and Xenia

We called this the ANNUAL trek to the Christmas Park. Three of the girls (in the photo) made it last year. This year we had four little angels hook up for a time of fun, mud, Santa pics, and train rides.

It was colder-n-a-cooter brown but well worth it. The lights just seem so calming (although the girls are running and squealing). This tends to put the season in perspective.

Hope you and yours are having a delightful Christmas season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Emily and Uncle Skipper at Church Christmas Musical


If I Watch ONE MORE Bobby Flay "Throwdown"...

How badly do I need to know if ole Bobby Boy can whip the unofficial, untrained, not chef- schooled common folks of America at their own expert dishes? I'm becoming a cult follower of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives & Unwrapped, too. I need to get a life.

Have you seen Throwdown on The Food Network? Seems it comes on right about the time Emily has gone night-night and I have a few captured moments (think: collapse on the couch) to myself. Or as Carol (Taylor's mom) says: "all. by. myself". I can relate. You can see what they've been up to in Miami at her blog: http://mischiefandmermaids.blogspot.com/
They used my same adoption agency: Children's Hope International.

Anyhoo, once Emily has been tucked into bed, I head for the remote and highly cushioned couch & seem to toggle endlessly between Food Network and something unusual on The Learning Channel: How the Duggars build homes for other folks, Toddlers and Tiaras, or brides trying on dresses that actually don't fit them. Every now and then I click over to FOX News.

I honestly need to do something more constructive like....hmmm...maybe take a bath and go to bed my own self? Gee. What a thought!

It's gonna be a Barbie Christmas at our house this year. The Little Miss is getting some Barbie furniture (for the house she does NOT even have...maybe b'day in 2010), a Barbie hair fixin' set, a ballerina Barbie (b/c Em takes ballet), and a GEN-YOU-INE Barbie cash register w/scanner and microphone. (Reminds me of a Petsmart all call of: "We need a clean up on aisle 9.")

There's a children's Bible, ballet bag, and a Leapster game tucked in, too. Some of the gifts will be from Santa Claus/Father Christmas. Emily knows "he" is in cahoots w/mamas...she gets excited knowing that "Mamas canNOT talk about this." Other presents will be from family members & me.

That ought to do. She got a book from the librarian at our school, and other friends will be giving her gifts, too.

Can you tell we're still at the very innocent levels of living? I'm going to attempt to keep it this way as loooooooooong as possible. Dolls. Coloring books. Puzzles.

We plan to make Jesus a birthday cake this weekend. I was a hypocrite last year and posted that we were "off to do this" but never got around to it. I laughingly tell people that the book of Revelation says there's a place in hell for liars and whoremongers. Since I'm batting "guilty" for 50% of that criteria...I'm confessing my faults. This year I've repented and have an honest gameplan for carrying out the b'day cake baking. I really & truly want to do it EVERY year. Keep the focus of Christmas on WHO not WHAT.

Emily said, "We can have a b'day party and pretend Jesus is there. We can talk to Him and play with Him...."
I replied, "I'm sure He would like that very, very much. How sweet of you."

Awwwwww.

We're having fun with Christmas parties, cookie swaps, and get togethers. Emily is in her 1st Grade play this evening. Seems she'll be playing the part of Prancer. Tomorrow she wears pajamas to school for Polar Expess day.

If I keep eating party foods at the rate I've been going, I'll need to find a comfortable spot under the steering wheel to place my stomach.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where Do I Begin...

Sigh.

There's a verse in the Bible that says "if two walk together, they can stay warm when it's cold -- and a three-fold cord is not easily broken". Our international connection with little girls and families affiliated with the Meizhou orphanage in The People's Republic of China is not only a cord, it's a tight, thick bond entwined in love and compassion that has served...and still serves...as a life rope.

On reunion day with Myah (and later Haley -- someday with Bree & Olivia), the knot was tied firmly at the end - safely securing Emily, a.k.a. Mei Xia Ying -- and continuing their relationship that began long ago and far away.

When it was time for Emily, Nanny Carol, and me to leave the hotel and drive to meet Myah, her China sister, it was a flood of emotions for me. It was a time of excitement for Emily and a miracle moment for Nanny Carol.

We pulled up in the parking lot and were advised to go into the lobby of Give the Kids the World/Make-a-Wish compound. Myah and her family were waiting for us. I had the video camera taping as I followed Emily inside for her reunion. She went right up to Myah.

The girls hugged.

It was Kodak moment.

Rina and I were crying like babies and noting to each other, "We'll get to you later. Let's click & tape this for the ages to come."

I lost it big time when Rina hugged Emily and thanked her for "taking care of Myah" while at the orphanage. So much for Cover Girl makeup that day.

Sooo...there it happened. There the red thread went full circle with these 2 China sisters and our families.

Later in the week when we all met up with Haley (ANOTHER little girl in photos with our girls...all taken at the orphanage a half a world away) -- it was just overwhelming. (See Rina's blog for more details and pictures: http://www.shpiruk.blogspot.com/) You almost canNOT believe it unless you see photos.

Amazing.
Unforgettable.
Miraculous.
God Sent.

So whether it was a delicate red thread - twisting and turning - that led us to this point in our lives, or a thick rope destined to bind us all together...here we are. In the present. United.

More pics to come & more details of our time together.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Dr. Seuss

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Guess Where We're Goin' Tomorrow, and It Ain't to the Grocery Store...

DISNEYWORLD!

Emily's China Sister, Myah, was granted a Make-A-Wish. She's going to Disney, and part of her wish was requesting Emily meet her there.

How could we refuse?

When Rina and Hank first met Myah in Guangzhou, they asked the orphanage director about Emily (a.ka. Mei Xia Ying). The director had come 5 hours on a train from Meizhou, China to bring Myah to meet her forever family. Because we had photos of the girls together (along with Bree), Rina was great to probe for information about our girls who would be leaving the next week and then the next. This was done as a favor to me and because they cared.

The orphanage director told Rina that Emily was so upset that Myah was leaving that she cried and cried and could not even tell Myah goodbye. I cannot fathom that level of heartbreak for a small child.

Fast forward to now: Nanny Carol, Emily, and I are flying to Orlando tomorrow (Friday). We'll be there through Tuesday, Dec. 8th. The girls who parted ways more than a year ago under uncertain conditions are now being reunited at the magical wonderland of Disney.

It should be one for the record books.

Here's Rina post from her blog explaining the trip:

"Well I dont know where to begin..Myah's doctors nominated her for the Make a Wish Foundation. She was selected for our region. We thought long and hard and wanted to pay the wish forward to another family that might need it more than our family....but we were not able to do that. Even though we live here in Florida and we have Disney at our finger tips we decided to wish for our trip to be there. I mean this was Myah's wish NOT ours....So when we put our wish in we requested told them that Myah's wish was to meet her China sister Emily at the castle at Disney. At first we were denied due to the fact that they didn't know how the girls would psychologically handle the reunion. They haven't seen each over in a year. But I pressed and they finally agreed to have Emily be part of Myah's wish. We leave on Dec 5th- 13th. We will be staying at Give the Kids The World Village http://www.gktw.org/ . Our entire family will be staying there, all expenses paid. They are even sending a rental car to get us there with a gift card for expenses.This is a wonderful blessing but I wish it was under different circumstances...I can't wait to see Myah and Emily hug each other and experience this gift together...sisters forever!"

Rina's blog address is on the sidebar of my blog. Check it out. I'm sure the techie wiz will have photos to post. WE will not be staying at the same spot b/c that is reserved for the Make-A-Wish families. Also, we'll only be there a few days. We're going because we want to do everything possible to keep these girls' relationship a lifelong one.

So worth it.
So, so worth it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Time to Be Thankful!






Those are NOT shorts Emily has on. They're her blue jeans she
pulled all the way up her legs.

Good gosh. I couldn't do that with a pair of jeans to save my soul.
I affectionately have labeled MY thighs "Virginia Hams". They do
have a common look. Geesh.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Guess Who Went to the Beach...and Stayed for Free with Brother?

We are soooo cheap.

Not really...but we did have a place to hang our hats. Good buddies Anna and Jenna took a little coastal bend excursion, and we joined them.

LIKE I really had the time to do this?

Nope. But we made the time. It's so valuable for the girls to all be together amidst innocence and fun.

We were in Baton Rouge the weekend before, and company was coming/did come to town for Thanksgiving. It doesn't matter. Let's do it ALL!!!!!!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Go, Go, Git It, Git It.

This is what Uncle Skipper teaches Emily to say about the LSU Tigers. She made him a little decoration to tape to his shirt (See it above the "L"?).

We're headed to see Uncle Skipper and Uncle Michael...for a short weekend. I'm sure there'll be ridiculous-ness galore.

Are those camouflage shorts he has on? He's in the military. Maybe they're technical attire and not recreational.

Emily and Cheng Cheng

Talk about wild occurrences in the world of International Adoption...

Last year I was standing in line at the airport to leave for China. Who was about 30 people behind me in line? Another adoptive mom, Pam, headed to China to meet her little boy, Alex - a.k.a. Cheng Cheng.

I'd never met Pam, but we'd emailed a few times in hopes that we might be able to hook up along the Silk Road Way. It was a random chance that someone mentioned to me about another mom headed to China at about the same time I was going. Who would've EVER figured out we'd be on the same flight?

I tell ya. Amazing things happen once you get entwined in this world of IA (Int'l Adoption).

I'm not sure exactly HOW I knew this was Pam in the ticket line. Seems like my mom was chatting w/her and getting info. Or it might've been that multi-thousand dollar bulge of money tied securely around her waist that was the give-a-way. Kidding.

Anyhoo, we actually didn't get to chat at length until we reached Japan. We met up after lunch waiting for our next flight when it dawned on me that we might not have the same flight out. Sure enough. We did NOT. Somehow one or more of us scrambled to where we had to be to find out. Pam and her sister/travel companion, Christy, were leaving soon. My travel buddy/Christy and I had to wait for another flight.

Enough of that.

We (Emily, Christy, and I) met up with Pam and her new son, Cheng Cheng, and the other Christy at the White Swan hotel one evening. We found a nice restaurant and ate together...on Shamian Island in Guangzhou. This little fella is a darling, and the photo above is the two of them at his sister's b'day party.

Imagine that. I dined with local folks on the other side of the world before I ever had the chance to hook up with them right here in our same hometown.

I'm tellin' ya. Wild and wonderful things happen in this world of IA!!

Checking Out the "Old/Used" Bird Nests from Our Porch Light: Eggs Never Hatched


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do Ya'll Have an "Ice Cream Man" Where You Live?

Well...we don't either, BUT one day this past summer Emily and I went out into the country to visit Mrs. Janet in her new, big ole honkin' home she built. One of the delights of the day was to have The Ice Cream Man (Mister ______ -- I can't remember his name right now...) come down the winding road.

You could hear that tape recorded music on the bullhorn for 1/2 a mile.

Well, Emily had no idea what it was, but Janet and I were jumpin' up and down like Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. She KNEW it had to be somethin' good. We were fired up!

When you're from the south, an experience with The Ice Cream Man ranks right up there with college football tailgating and baptizing on Sunday. "You just gotta" do it to understand the impact.

I was baptized in the baptismal tank at church with my big brother, Skipper. It was a sweet time -- considering we fought like cats and dogs every now and then. There were moments later in our lives when I thought, "That preacher didn't hold him under the water long enough!" Pffffttt!

I digress.

So here comes The Ice Cream Man, slowly, watching out for small children and crazed women waving dollar bills in the air. You know, if we'd acted like that on a street corner in New York City, we'd likely been hauled in for questionable motives...the least of which being ethical in nature.

Janet and I quickly gave Emily the history of how The Ice Cream Man travels into neighborhoods to bring frozen goodies to all. The music was getting louder, the red truck was getting closer, and it was thrilling. She greeted her new friend, took 18 minutes to decide which ice cream treat she wanted, and then posed for pictures. Of course. A must!

As you can see from the photo she chomped on Tweety Bird. He sorta looked like a skull to me, but he was meltin', she was eatin'...so it didn't last long.

The great time has now been etched in her heart. Been there. Done that. Check off another "first" from Emily's lifetime to-do list. It's amazing how EVERYthing is new, exciting, and thrilling when a child experiences it for the first time. Even if you don't get an opportunity until you're older.

As Em asked me a few months back, " 'W-h-o' Humpty Dumpty?"

Where's that Mother Goose book?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nanny Carol holding Emily's Hand in the Backseat of the Car: Em Fell Asleep.


Cute Little Sayings These Days by None Other Than Miss Em

Peckeroni Pizza = Combo of the words Pepperoni and Macaroni (attempting to use multi-syllable words...way to go!). She really and truly means pepperoni.

Racroon = From book: The Kissing Hand...a Raccoon

Band Aid = Rubber Band to place around a pile of something to keep it all together...books or something else...I can't remember

Evee-where-wee = Everywhere

When she was telling me about a little boy cutting up in her classroom and getting into trouble, I asked, "Why do you think he acts this way?"
Her response, "Maybe his mommy not teach him good behavior."
She noticed that I noticed she used the word 'behavior'.

After her field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, she was telling me how the truck driver (? possibly the person driving the wagons out into the field) took the pumpkins to the bus so they wouldn't have "to fool with them".
That's sure fire the way I speak. I chuckled.
She commented on how I noticed that she used that terminology.

Spare me from the short e sound in our language. YOU try to help a little Chinese girl distinguish between want & went, well & will.
As for sight words.....OH.MY.GOSH.
H-A-V-E is have (short a sound) but G-A-V-E is gave (long a sound). Spare me, pleeeez.

Thank you Mr. Whoever You Are that wrote Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and founder of FUNNIX computer program. Where would we be without you? I'll send you a Valentine. Hope your wife won't mind. (...and yes. These programs ARE phonics based!)

We read about 3 books a day. Right now we're listening to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the 3rd time. She saw the movie on tv and loves it...so when listening to it, she already has the visual in her mind of who the characters are, etc. This has been a phenomenal learnning experience for her. She has me stop the tape about every 30 seconds and asks me a specific question. GREAT strategy for language development, characterization, vocab...you name it.

You are correct. I said TAPE. I'm the owner of the only car in America that has a tape player and no CD player. Behind the times? Yep. Do I care? Nope.
White trash?
Hmpf!
Perish the thought!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two Jade Pieces - One for Emily & One for Me

Thanks, Mom. They're beautiful. What treasures!!

The ONE Wall Designated for Display (and bookshelf underneath).

This I've learned: If you let kids...they'll take over the house.

We have pictures, photos, projects, etc. scattered about the house, but this is the major spot to post and acknowledge creativity, hard work, and activities. Here and in the 2 Rubbermaid tubs, one Sterlite container, 6 baskets, 3 bookshelves, and 2 closets...oops. Top of a 3rd closet. Geesh. I cannot throw away ANY of Emily's work/drawings. I need a support group.

I've got 2 current science experiments on the kitchen counter.
One is a glass measuring cup w/vinegar and chicken bones -- to show what happens to bones if "you don't drink YOUR MILK!" Yep. I'm slick. I know it. (The bones become bendable/breakable.)

Another one is two small glass jars w/food coloring. Sitting in the coloring are white carnations. Well, they WERE white. Now they're red and yellow. This allows Emily to see how plants absorb water through an inside system of a plant.

Emily Getting Ready to Send Off Gotcha Day Balloons...

Ah.

You try to be sentimental and all serious.

Yeah. Right.

Way back in September on Gotcha Day, we released 2 red balloons: one for Emily & one for her birthmother (as best she understands that concept right now...).

Where did the balloons go? In the tree, of course.

We just laughed and made it a very light moment. After I got the broom and untangled them from the branches, off they went.

Fun in a Campground Cabin.


Ballet Bunny from Cookie


Thank You, Bree, for the Gotcha Day Gift!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Emily and Ivy


To Ragena: How Do I Thank Someone for Being One of My Dearest Friends in the World...and Yet I've Never Met You?

Life is full of mysteries. Some things just possibly cannot be revealed here on earth in this life.

Ragena is one of those mysteries.

She has loved my family for several years now -- prayed for us, and been an undergirding force of strength...literally moving heaven and earth to help "make things happen" in the world of international adoption.

I didn't even know she existed.

Ragena has a heart for China and for the children in orphanages who need families. Truthfully, she simply has a heart for people, and life's circumstances have allowed her to learn more about the beautiful almond eyed faces whom she'll likely never see.

She's not been there, to China, in person when...precious 'heart babies', skin color seemingly blue b/c of very little oxygen flowing in their veins...when they have breathed their last breath. No. BUT she's supported and prayed for the organizations who are on the ground in China working feverishly to show compassion and be the arms who DO who hold these babies & children in the hour of their greatest need.

Ragena's an ordinary person with an extraordinary heart to care for the helpless & the hurting. She commits herself to intercede/intervene for this beautiful people group, the Chinese, & especially for "the least of these" who are in desperate need for others to think of them & consider their plight.

She knew there were little children needing families and eventually heard through other sources that I wanted to adopt from China. She lives a gazillion states away from me -- never met my family or me, but just sorta became our own personal missionary, took us in as the recipients of her love and concern, and now we're forever friends/family.

Although Ragena didn't know what my future daughter's name would be (and neither did I), as she prayed for us & Chinese children in orphanages...Ragena nicknamed/tagged her "Willow". I believe her inspiration was a scripture in Psalms about a person being "like a tree planted by the water...its roots never fail and it flourishes always". After the adoption when she revealed to me this sweet nickname she used in prayer (when referring to the daughter I now embraced), I was delighted. Such a gentle name - denoting a strength that runs deep.

Back in the spring of this year, she sent the most wonderful box to Miss Emily. She sent her an American Girl doll...the Asian one, named Ivy. Too precious. When the box arrived and Em opened it up, ooooooo-ed and aaaaahhhhhhh-ed, I had to explain that the doll, accompanying clothes, shoes, book...were all from someone who loved her: Aunt Ragena. I told her how Ragena loves the people of China, the children who need/needed mommies, and how Ragena did NOT just stumble into our lives -- but that it all was miraculously ordained.

She got it.
As best she could for her level of understanding far away people and far away places.

Yep. It's a mystery. The Lord placed this special person on earth to consider our lives in the most meaningful of ways when we didn't even know what needed to be considered ourselves!? She paved the way spiritually for red threads to connect, for lives to be touched, and for relationships to be formed.

A while back Emily and I were riding down the street in a local neighborhood. (This is NO lie.) Em gave a little gasp to get my attention to tell me about a tree in one of the yards. She said, "We got that tree in China. I know it (translated: I remember it.)." It was a Willow tree. I told her, "Ah. Yes. Your Aunt Ragena loves Willow trees. Let's get out and take a picture of you standing by it. We'll have to send it to her so she can see it, too."

We took the pic.

DO they have Willow trees in China where Emily lived? I have no idea, but she has commented on this particular type of tree (Weeping Willow) on 2 separate occasions that I specifically remember. I happened to have my camera with me on the second go round.

Hopefully I'll get the photo in Ragena's Christmas card (...preferably this year as opposed to next). Ha.

Ragena retired from the teaching profession this past year. I understand from other sources that she was the epitome of what a teacher should be and VERY well loved by all who came under her influence. Here's a Smilebox compilation of her life in photos that was presented at her retirement party.

http://smilebox.com/playBlog/4f5459774d4441314e673d3d0d0a&blogview=true

We love ya, Ragena.
Vicki, Emily/your "Willow", and Family

P.S. I lied. I wrote that you likely will never see the faces of the ones for whom you've prayed. I plan for Emily to meet you one day. We'll be there. Promise.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sweet Angels at Autumn Moon Celebration

Although I planned to buy a few outfits while in
China, I'm shocked that I really had the presence of mind to do so. Seems like the trip became all about adjustment/survival/transition while there with my new grieving daughter --- that some of the "feel good things on my to-do list" sorta went out the window.
Emily and I had to stay at the hotel one day when ALL the others went to the Pearl Market. Phooey. Emily needed to spend time with me, one-on-one, alone to have attachment opportunities. I missed some of the sight seeing chances b/c of this....but after all...it was NOT supposed to be planned as a vacation. (Wishing in advance it would be. Glad I'd done my homework on adoption, attachment, grieving children, yadda, yadda.) It was critical that Emily's emotional/physical/familial needs get met. So...darn the luck and my once in a lifetime shopping chances. Em and I stayed behind at the hotel. I have no clue what we actually did that day. Probably surfed the Chinglish tv channels looking for a familiar face that liked me. Ha.

I DID buy this little red dress and another one....blue. Larger sized for later years. I bought some shoes, too. I don't think Emily's really worn them yet. Honestly, I'd forgotten I even HAD them. I found them in the basket where I dumped all my China goodies -- a week or so after jet lag departed and I was unpacking my suitcase. That basket became the "officially from China trip" items.

It was a rainy day when we celebrated the Moon Festival with our local China Adoptive Group. Em asked if she could wear the shoes. I sorta hemmed and hawed at first response as if to say, "....rain puddles". Whatever. I told her she could. Why not. No need to preserve them flawlessly. Get them wet. Wear them out. Make memories in them. Enjoy. I'd rather have them filled with her feet experiencing precious times instead of saved for a museum. Ha. Like a museum would w-a-n-t them.

She chose her black dress slippers instead. Sam Walton specials won out over Guangzhou Goodies. Hmpf!

As for the Pearl Market. I handed Christy a wad of money and said, "Just get some that she/Emily can wear." I didn't specify amount, quality....OR even to get me a necklace. Aw man

Monday, October 12, 2009

Went to Ayi KK's House to Celebrate Jeffu and Kristen's Birthday...

Happy B'day to the Dynamic Duo: Father and Daughter.

Kristen - We are all sooo proud of your accomplishments. Emily adores
you. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend
and influence in her life.

Little Miss "Pull-a-Prank" is Getting Ready to Make Jeffu Her Latest Victim.


Deed is Done: Jeffu's Face Covered w/Southern Living Magazine


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Two Peas in a Pod at Gotcha Day Celebration. Need I Say More?

Kristen and Emily acting goofy!

Emily and Kourtney (a.ka. Cinderella)

This is from our Gotcha Day celebration last month, too.
See Emily's hand around Kourtney's neck? Mom
commented on how darling this photo is of the two of them.
When we arrived home from China last year and after being w/Emily 24 hours a day, 7 days a week....after weeks of jet lag, adjustments, some meltdowns, and just generally making my way through this new change in my life/her life....I called Kourtney to come over and babysit. She came with her "bag of fun": games, toys, you name it.
As I explained to Emily that I was leaving the house for a little while, Oh.No.Way.
She wasn't gonna have any part of staying with ANYone.
Why? Because she loved me so dearly? Of course not. She still didn't even know me that terribly well. It was because of her security. Her safety. No more changing of her life on top of the HUGE change she was undergoing simultaneously -- not even for a few hours. She could not handle it.
Emily screamed, grabbed me by the leg, and in her best Chinese speaking way begged, begged, begged me not to leave. As best I can remember, she was likely just saying, "No, mommy. No, mommy. No." Well, case closed. I wasn't leaving. She obviously wasn't ready.
I felt sorry for Kourtney b/c I didn't want her take it personally.
I felt sorry for Emily b/c I realized how challenging her life experiences were at the time.
Is this the same for all internationally adopted children? I don't know -- but it is more OFTEN than not for those who've been adopted at an older age. They are well aware of what is going on around them and can voice their emotions.
Oh brother. I was so very, very disappointed that it did not work out that Saturday evening. I was desperate for some time "away" even if it meant being gone only for a few hours. I'm sure I started crying after Kourtney left just b/c of the missed opportunity.
Well -- time, experience, and love have a way of working life out, don't they?
By the looks of the photos above, Emily treasures time with Kourtney & Kristen. And I ain't cryin' no mo!! I'm blessed to have them as dear family friends.

Yep. These Worked Just Fine for Celebrating Autumn Moon Festival!

I couldn't find Moon Pies in the "normal" grocery stores. Had to actually go to a convenient store and snatch up a few. At 79 cents an individual cake, I didn't buy lots. Ha.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

Other Stories that Inspire...

http://www.myadoptionwebsite.com/adam/story.htm

The statement, "He is a very good boy." weighed heavily on this family's heart as they sought God's will about another international adoption.

His mom writes, "We also knew this was a family commitment. Once we were sure all our kids were for it and we were “All in for Adam” there was no turning back. He is not just a good boy. He is our good boy!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Moon Festival - October 3, 2009: Traditional Chinese Holiday

Wikipedia Says:
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, or in Chinese, Zhongqiu Jie (traditional Chinese: 中秋節), is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese people, Koreans, and Vietnamese people (even though they celebrate it differently), dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "Mid-Autumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty.
I've actually had -- well, tasted shall I say -- Chinese Mooncakes. Um. (hem hawing around taking place) I don't particularly care for them, but seems like I'm not solo on that opinion. Even THE Rumor Queen (China Adopt Talk website) doesn't care for them either.
Gosh. The darling little cakes are lovely to behold. They're thick and somewhat similar in texture to an American fruitcake. I bought one in Guangzhou, China at a Starbucks on Shamian Island. Emily wanted one then, and I felt if it was "comfort food" to her, so be it. Enjoy.
I tasted it with my coffee. It was an enjoyable, had-to-be-there moment. Good...but not my fave.
All that said, some folks American-ize the holiday and eat Moon Pies. Seems like the whole Moon Festival concept is reinforced, and a fun tasting time is had by all. I plan to do a little more research about the Chinese traditional holiday, buy the Moon Pies, and explain to Miss Em
W-H-Y we get to enjoy a little snacky-poo.