Thursday, December 30, 2010

Emily is Behind the Darling in the Blue Dress


I'm hi-jacking my other friends' pictures of Miss Em. How tacky is that? Anyhoo...until I get on the faster computer (not this one), I'll just have to wait to post the newest pics. Emily (1/2 of face showing) is wearing her new white Chinese outfit that KK brought her all the way from The Motherland. Aren't the children all just sweetie pies?

In the bottom right corner...that's Cheng Cheng/a.k.a. Alex. We met him for the FIRST time in China when I was there on my journey to meet Emily. His mom, Pam, was on my flight out of the U.S., and go figure: she was from my hometown - less than a mile as the crow flies. We met again in Japan and then in Guangzhou with differing flights. So, we feel a bit of a special bond with him and his family just because of the circumstances under which we met. His mom and aunt hooked up with Christy, Emily, and me at the White Swan for dinner one night while we were all thousands of miles away from our homes.
Happenings like that sorta make you think the world is not so big after all.

Well, we ran into Mr. Alex, his mom, and his sister and brother at the grocery store yesterday morning. Pam and I just jabbered in the cold while the kids ran slap happy. They were too cute being excited about merely 'coming across' one another unexpectedly. We had such a good time chatting that we followed them to their house and let the fun continue for about another 45 minutes. Seize the opportunities when you can, right?


Sunday, December 26, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beZ5hF-qZDY

This video by Steven Curtis Chapman is still one of my favorites. Brings back memories of when I'd watch it 8 gazillion times a day....waiting, and waiting, and waiting for all my papers to make it safely around the United States and land precisely where they needed to be in China.

I so appreciate all that the Chapman family has done to bring awareness about the plight of children needing families -- here in the U.S. and everywhere around the world.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Emily and a Few of Her Buddies


Yes...all in matching shirts, leggings, the whole nine yards. Aren't they adorable?
Praying God's blessing on you and your family during this time of celebration -- the birth of our Savior.
"...good tidings of great joy for all people!"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

http://www.shpiruk.blogspot.com/

Go there again and vote...please.
Thanks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

See Rina's comment below - coinciding with the post below.
Only U.S. citizens can vote.
Thanks.

Rina Needs Our Help. Please Read Her Message Below.


Below is Rina's Message to Me, Nanny Carol, and Anne (mutual friend). I know she'd appreciate any "forwarding of information", voting, prayers. To the side you'll see a recent pic of Miss Myah.
Thanks, ya'll!
Side Note: We canNOT get the link below to "go thru". I've emailed Rina to change that link (for voting) IF, IF there's something that needs to be changed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Well Myah developed another tumor about 4 inches away from the last incision. It's much bigger and causing a great deal of pain. She is on 4 antibiotics to get the inflammation and infection to a minimum...they don't knowhow to proceed yet. Going to re-evaluate in 1 week once she is done with meds. Her belly is very large, and she hasn't eaten anything in 3 days. She manages to get liquids down so we are giving her Ensure.


If there is a silver lining in all of this...well it's this...about 1 month ago I was reading about this contest in a family magazine about funny potty/toilet stories. One came to mind and I gingerly jotted a paragraph quickly and submitted it. Out of 41,000 entries, I was one of the 6 finalists. It is done by voting. The prize is a trip to NYC and a $5,000 makeover. How ironic that we wanted to re-do our bathroom and put in a special toilet for Myah to help with her needs. I spoke to the marketing people and asked if I were to win -- can I stay longer than the 4 days that is given?? They said yes...Well it's a blessing because we wanted to see her surgeon but couldn' tafford to get to NYC...and this way we would all be able to go. They pay for 4 tickets. Hank and I can pay for 2.


So please call in the prayer warriors and have them vote for Myah. We NEED to win this trip to get to NYC. Wish we can say it would be for fun. I am leaving this in GOD's hands...HELP US..out of 41,000 entries we were 1 of the 6 finalists..PLEASE VOTE FOR US...Please forward to your friends and family...



Monday, November 29, 2010

"Can we say we're sisters?"

That's what the two little darlings asked us (the two mommies) as we walked to the park on Sunday afternoon?

Jane and I looked at each other and said, "Sure!"

Great bonding time for the dynamic duo in matching panda shirts!

Great Day at the Park - Fun and Friendship!

Em and Anna -
No string.
No bait.
Just silliness
and
high jumping, pecan picking, mud tracking, girl laughing, shirt matching, duck viewing, pup petting, "sister" sharing times on a delightful autumn afternoon.

Dress Up and Perform Time - Em and Anna


Thanks, Dr. Jane, for the pics!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010. It's Been a Thrill a Minute Around Here.

Well, maybe I should say a "laugh a minute". Of course, everyone thinks their o-w-n kids are funny. Maybe the rest of known world begs to differ. As Em was bathing the other night, she said she'd like to put a lotion mask on her face and place some slices of "cue-pumpers" on her eyes.
I laughed -- at the 'cucumber faux pas'...but didn't let her know she'd made a mistake. Nah. I'm savoring the last of the moments where she makes these types of mix-ups. They are fewer and far between these days.
She asked why. I was laughing.
I just told her it was because she was so darn cute.
That "Chinglish" comment about the veggie rates right up there with her not liking "rack-a-moni and cheese" but asking for "peck-er-roni pizza" at Subway.
Emily-isms. I write them all down in a little spiral notebook I actually have used as a journal. Even took it to China with me. I must list some of these cutie-patootie quips the near future.
She cracks me up.

As stated often...autumn is by far my absolutely favorite time of year.
It's truly a season of appreciation, a fleeting segment of life that signals the approaching end of a year.
If you don't intentionally seek out its splendor, you might possibly miss much of its grandeur.
Emily and I have spent a great deal of time talking about it, reading about Squanto & listening to stories about him on CD, learning about Pilgrims and the Wompanoag Indians, and why our family is so very thankful & blessed.

I remember reading IDEALS magazines when I was a child. I think I was captivated by the photographs and moving poetry.
I still am.
I've been reading the fall issues of IDEALS...little snippets of stories and poems to Emily -- gazing at the pictures, discussing the treasures of this season.
I read this to her the other day while sitting outside sipping my coffee -- she was in my lap:

Come Walk with Me
"Come walk with me along the way
where lanes are autunm-dressed.
Come drink in all the colors fair,
and let your heart be blessed.

Come walk with me this misty morn.
There's spendor to behold -
along the country lanes we'll see
God's miracles unfold.
(B. Anderson)

The teacher in me knows that children learn from what we model for them. Now is my time to instill these values.

Marlene came over yesterday. She's my blonde friend with somewhat brown roots. Donna and I say she starts making sense when it gets to be about the time to color her hair again. Anyhoo, as she, Emily, and I were walking about my yard looking at the fiery red and purple leaves on the lawn...making it look like a outdoor Persian rug, she philosophically made this statement:
"Leaves all over the ground and snow are the great equalizers."
What she was alluding to was - no matter what type of house/neighborhood you live in...these 2 gifts of nature tend to put everyone on the same playing field...with a lovely sight for the eyes.
I agree.
She'll have the Miss Clairol, Sunset Blonde box out within 1 week and return to the fun-loving, bargain finding, never afraid to ask, 'fall-over-her-own-feet' friend we all know and love.
I have to talk nicely about her. She keeps Emily supplied with cute clothes.

It's been a divine time lately. We've attended or participated in a:
-potluck dinner at a lovely little church w-a-a-a-a-a-y out in the country
-symphony performance
-handbell performance (by mentally challenged young adults)
-Cirque du Soleil performers putting on a childrens performance - my FIRST time to see these type performers. Oh my. Amazing!!
-small theater play with good buddy Donna as a cast member; two of the many hilarious lines were:
"He could lift a Buick off a squirrel and never break a sweat!"
and
"Well...who ripped the red off your candy cane?"
-Thanksgiving celebration dinners at school & church
-4th grade PTA performance of multicultural celebrations around the world
-Missions Banquet at church (a tradition for our family)
-Pumpkin Patch and cornfield visit
(TLC will likely feature Emily and me on an upcoming episode of Hoarders. My little 58.5 lb. harvester came out of the cornfield with an armload of dried corn cobs -- enough to feed a 3rd world country. Our family motto: If one's good, two's better.)
-Barnum and Bailey circus
-visiting with Uncle(s) Michael and Skipper
-hot dog roast/Smores making evening with friends/family
(Gospel Truth: The fire pit was a hubcap off an 18 wheeler. I lie not. It was in Southern Living; therefore, IF, IF it was featured in Southern Living...it was sanctioned as "not redneck"...but quite the trend! So there.)
-having a fun photo shoot with her China group friends
-attending Chinese Cultural School
-making origami picture frames with her enrichment class at school; these are being made/sold to raise money for children in a pediatric hospital
-of course, the delightful Thanksgiving celebration at Nanny Carol's house
AND
-deep breath...enjoying our favorite time of year.

We are blessed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No. The B'day Girl is Not Mine.

Emily's in the back/at the left moving her hair out of her face.
Too much fun being had around here. Love it!

Two Pilgrims and Miss Squanto

Emily is the "thankful one" in the middle. We've been taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather -- my FAVE time of year. I just love the colors, the sunlight, the crispness of it all.

Glad to have Em flanked by two of her friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


THE DAY Has Arrived, and It Is STILL Incomprehensible.

It's not a bad day.

I always like to start conversations, phone calls off with a "cut to the chase" comment like that -- especially as a teacher calling a parent. Don't want moms to think their child has broken a leg, etc. when I'm only calling to say thank you for the cupcakes.

My LID group (worldwide) is receiving their referrals from China - as I type.

What does this mean? It means that when my papers were officially stamped in at the CCAA in China, the wait for my daughter began.
Excuse me. The GRUELING wait for my daughter began.

5/19/06
It's a date forever branded in my heart.

Am I sad? No.
Am I keenly aware? Uhm...yes & no. VERY aware but not in hyperalert mode. Not so much because of the fact that my daughter has been home with me for 2 years.

I began my adoption process in September of 2005 and completed all paperwork, requirements, etc. sometime around March, 2006. I was SEVERELY held up by a fingerprinting faux pas that caused my papers NOT to arrive in China until May, '06. They could've easily been there in Jan./Feb., '06.

But you know? It's neither here nor there. Didn't matter. What mattered in the long run is that I actually RECEIVED an LID so that when the time came, I was ready to proceed with an adoption for my sweet Mei Xia Ying, a.k.a. Emily.
I could've never comprehended the journey that lay before me.

I always thought of The Wait in terms of "chasing a day". It was as tho I would go 1 step forward, 20.5 steps backward. The next month it was 1 step forward, 23 steps backward, then 32, 46, 58. This happened month after month after month after month ad nauseum. I was supposed to travel to China by about Christmas of 2006. UH, it's November 2010.
I've taken stats and advanced stats. I'm nowhere near accurate on what I'm typing, but you get the point.

Oh. The. Agony. Of. The. Wait.
It's eased over time because of the joy Emily has brought in my life, and since I was granted her referral in May-ish, 2008...the impact The Wait had on my heart and mind has eased.

But man. It's not forgotten.
I can so totally relate to those who've endured the process of an International Adoption and had to succumb to circumstances The Wait has thrust their way.

In reference to some of the heartaches in life, my mom has said something to the effect of, "The Lord didn't cause this to happen, but He's re-e-e-e-e-al economical. He'll use it to secure the best possible outcome...in spite of the hand that's been dealt by life."

He did. He showed me how to use the time to complete my National Boards, obtain 2 advanced degrees, and buy a house. I knew God had placed in my heart the desire and the strength to find my daughter.
A lot of The Wait time I felt like Moses on the backside of the desert -- wandering, searching, crying out.
Other times I held on to the promise from Hebrews, "He said it, and He meant it." (Message/Revised translation)

I thought of the story where Jesus got into a boat with His disciples and proclaimed, "We're going to the other side" - of the lake or sea.
He spoke the Word, yet life-threatening storms arose to stop that Word from coming to pass. Probably to try and kill Him and the other guys on board.
Jesus stayed calm, spoke to the storm, and showed it Who the Greater One was.
He got to the other side.
He said it, and He meant it.

I often felt like I was on that boat, in that storm, working to get to the other side....but I always, always felt secure because I knew in Whom I trusted!
Emily is the testimony, the proof of God's Word coming to pass in my life.

He said it, and He meant it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cotton Tails, Cotton Blossoms, Crosses, and...COPS!!!!

Or shall I say, "...cops with their flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror????"

I've never in my life had a speeding ticket. I won't be too "proud" because, like the scripture says, "Take heed lest ye fall!"
I'm not saying I haven't deserved one, but I'm a huge rule-follower. Potty trained at gunpoint!

As Cousin Amy so kindly agreed to take her bright and shiny new car on a road trip to help US help a rabbit in need, I loaded the car with books and games to keep Emily occupied & a change of clothing for my little missy in case she steps in mud or spills something on her clothes (Mom - You're prayers are answered. I finally have learned to do this!). I've got rabbit containers, towels, bags, purse. I'm a 'stuff' person. No question about it.

Amy gets in with a single car key, diet Mt. Dew, and her Visa.

Well. Alright.

Off we go with MapQuest in hand to the inner bowels of the deep south to find Eugene, a dwarf Netherland rabbit. He had a great home - living with real animal lovers, but they said they simply did not have the time and attention to devote to the little fella. I appreciate their honesty and willingness to find someone who might can play with him, hold him, and keep his cottontail waggin' happily. I KNOW it wasn't easy for them to give away their little buddy, but I assured them that with my classroom full of kiddos, he'd be well loved.

We only got lost on our little trip....I think...about 4 times. Maybe 3, but on one of the stints of "We're not supposed on be on this highway" I look up during my session of sharing the driving to see blue lights flashing me down.

As mentioned above, never had a ticket.
Phew.
Out comes Mr. Policeman (not a State Trooper) and says, "Ma'am. The speed limit back there (in "Hooterville" - which was about 2 blocks long) is 25 mph. You were goin' 25 mph but sped up to 40 mph when you passed me."

I thought to myself, "Hmmmm. Would that be because I was trying to IMPRESS you?"
What I wanted to say was, "Yup...and I had recently had the cruise control on 60 and was headed back up to THAT!!!!"
I say that tongue-n-cheek. I have the utmost respect for the law...partially why I've never had a ticket. We even adopted little Eugene from a state trooper (Allen) and his girlfriend. You know from here on we'll be praying for Allen's safety as he monitors the roads and keeps folks safe.

It was one of those little backroad highways where the speed limit goes from 60 to 55 to 50 back to 60 down to (obviously) 25, yadda, yadda.
What can I say? Guilty is guilty.
Give me an interstate ANYday (but they're not as interesting with sights to see).

Emily is sitting in the back seat announcing, "I should've stayed home with Nanny Carol. Oooooh. I should've stayed home."

I stayed calm and reassured her it'd all be fine - regardless.

I just gasped and emphasized repeatedly 500 times, "But officer....I've NEVER had a ticket in my life. You can run the background check. You'll see. Honest."
Going thru an international adoption, I was checked out thru local police, Secretary of State, DHS, social workers, Homeland Security - Dept. of Immigration, national fingerprinting networks, U.S. Consulate...all the way to Condoleeza Rice's office in D.C. (back in 2005-2006).
I knew I'd get an A+ on background check but possibly a C- for paying attention to speed limit changes.

He did.
He was nice/cordial.
He was bald with a big ole honkin' tatoo near his neckline.
He smiled.
I did not get a ticket.

Off we go to find Eugene, find photo ops for Amy (resident photographer in training), and get back home before too terribly late that night.
The drive was 5 hours one way. Ah. What we do for love.

So...Amy took some precious pics of Miss Em holding her new critter. Isn't he a doll baby?
We stopped for cotton fields and crosses. All part of a great day of laughter and fun!

Oh yeah...and Cousin Amy. She's not my cousin. She's Julie's cousin, but we just all call her that. She's been tapped ast he official photographer of our China Adoption Group. Why not? She's free and very willing to travel. LOL!

How Precious is This Baby?


The Little Nurture-er



I Wish I Wuz in the Land of Cotton

Road trips.
Learning -
1. cotton fields
2. rows
3. harvesting
4. seeds
5. cotton blossom
6. slavery connections
7. hard, sharply pointed cotton bolls (and how
they bloodied the hands of those who picked it en masse)
8. clothing made from cotton, Q-tips

Ah...What beauty at the end of the day!

All pics courtesy of Cousin Amy (..and yes. She hates the power lines in the way of the gorgeous sunset.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010





Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Em's First Day of 2nd Grade

This pic was taken way back in August. I tend to get around to things when I get around to things. It's a peaceful way to live.

She's got her little public school uniform on with PINK backpack. She's progressing nicely. At home during the summer and on most every day of the week we've been making our way through some components (not all!) of a few of these educational resources:
-Abeka Reading Books
-Explode the Code phonics workbooks
-Some little reading series & workbooks published by Amish folks (I adore these books. No people/faces ever shown -- just animals, barns, carriages.)
-English workbook published by same Amish buddies (Ain't nobody watchin' tv, listening to the radio, or actin' the fool. The children are the main characters, and they're taking care of little kittens, naming their new foal, and ALWAYS helping their mother do chores. Gosh...I love these people!!)

Two Saturday nights ago I decided I needed to fix the "almost hole" in the laundry room door. It was down low (as in where d-o-g-s scratched at the door and took all the paint off...and some of the wood, too). These weren't my dogs. They were Min-Pin rescues, and I was holding them until arrangements were made for me to transport them to another state. Have mercy. THEN...that person took them to another state, yadda, yadda, yadda. They ended up WAY up north near the Great Lakes. What we do for love, huh?

Back to the story...

Emily was playing in the living room with her doll house, dressing Barbies and small animal figurines, placing them about on tables & in chairs, forcing them to do homework, and threatening to call their parents or put them on "red". Perish the thought. I said to myself...Hmmmm. She's occupied. I'm good to go forward with my late night project.

Well, saints be praised. I actually HAD some sandpaper on hand to smooth out the rough sections of the "almost hole". Honestly, I would've used an emery board had the right stuff not turned up at the house.

Of course, paint had to come out of hiding and be slathered on the door.

Then, the spirit of excess came upon me.
"If a little's good....a lot's better."

I started painting the floor trim, chair molding, the wooden section around the door...AND one thing, as they say, led to another. Oh my. I could quickly see that this was w-a-a-a-y better than spending lots of time scrubbing. Geesh. Why pull out Clorox Clean-up and elbow grease when a quick swipe of the paint brush will get the job done.

I'm hooked.
In the past I said, "Paint is not my friend."
Now...I plan on buying a yearlong membership at the Glidden factory.

Emily was fast asleep on the couch with the cat, King Puddin' -- each oblivious to the home repairs taking place in the formerly dusty/filthy dirty dining room.

The Goofy Pic


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Emily Seeing Samm for the First Time Since China, 2008

This is the treasured photo of Miss Em seeing her "China Cousin", Samm -- meeting up with him at our adoption agency's summertime reunion.

Sherrie and I had agreed that we'd both travel to the event (away from our home states) IF the other one would be there.

DONE! Not even up for discussion. We were gonna be there in July, 2010 to visit with our precious friends once again.

See that "angel boy" (gooshy southern term) walking toward Emily with a big ole grin on his face? Priceless!

It was so meaningful to be with Sherrie and Dick once again. Sherrie and I were all caught up in the events of the reunion, but we sat together, ate together, exchanged gifts & laughter & love, videotaped, took pictures...but it just wasn't long enough. We spoke of how there are a lot of things our hearts could've communicated with each other - how our children's lives have changed, what obstacles and joys we've all faced, and what the future possibly holds.

I think we could talk for hours and hours of how our lives lined up similarly that day in China - Sept. 1, 2008 - the day we met our children. We're already talking about another time when we can, hopefully, get together without another 500 adoptive families in the same room and speak from our memories in China up until the present day.

I'm soooo looking forward to that time.

One unusual fact: Although the reunion happened in July and I'm typing this post on Septemember 9th (for no particular reason other than I've not had the time)...I find it notable that as I looked back in my 2008 DayTimer Calendar book, it was exactly 2 years to the day that Sherrie's family and mine had their official agency Farewell Dinner together in China.

Coincidence?
Probably.
But still...

Love the American Flag in the Background


In the Arms of Love


Too Much Fun


Smiles are Worth a Thousand Words


Looking at Photos of Their Time Together in China


More on Samm, Sherrie, and Dick...

It was China, 2008.
Hot. No...sweltering.
Emily had a major ear infection, was very upset, and needed to see a doctor.

No offense, but I'd heard a few horror stories about folks ending up unexpectedly in a Chinese hospital. Not to make a 'syllogistic error' and assume this is true of all Chinese hospitals, but I wasn't up for taking any chances.

Christy, travel buddy, and I flag down a cab and ask to be taken to Shamian Island - the spot where many adoptive families stay (but oooooooohhhhhh......not us.....). Of course all this was done via an interpreter - namely the 20ish year old doorman at our hotel.

Nevermind the traffic and folks' cultural nuances to not abide by rules, lines on the road, stop lights, speed limits (probably there weren't any), or the fact that another vehicle is currently inhabiting that very space they want to place their vehicle.
Nevermind the non-existent seatbelts.
Nevermind sitting in the backseat of the poorly ventilated, plexiglass covered, smoking allowed cab with a sick and frightened little girl.

Fast forward to 30 minutes later and getting out at the White Swan Hotel on the island.
Why there?
Because we knew there was a medical clinic in the building.
We weren't hotel guests, but I never said we were. Emily had to have medical attention.

I start bawling. What to do? Where to go? Who to ask?
I walk toward the elevators and there -- in the flesh -- Sherrie, Dick, and Little Samm.

Their family and I (with Christy) had gone together with another family the day we met our children for the first time. It was just our 3 little families together in the HUMONGOUS city of Guangzhou -- staying downtown in the business district (Think New York!).
Sherrie, a newly christened mom of 63 1/2 hours herself, has a degree in Social Work. She put aside her own agenda and began to speak to me very calmly and assured me it would all work out. She and hubbie helped us find the clinic (which was closed), locate the medical folks who manned the clinic, and got us in.

Sherrie and family were such a Godsend.
When they could've been ANYwhere in all of Guangzhou, there they were at the exact location where we'd gone and at the very same time.
Divine connection.

Because our little travel group consisted of only 3 families the first week (others came from various provinces to join us the second week - Elizabeth, Lilly, and other darlings), well....let's just say, all we had was each other. LOL!

Anyhoo, Sherrie and I call Samm and Emily "China Cousins". They've not seen each other since we said goodbye the night before we flew out of China. Typing that sentence makes my eyes water up even now. She sent us off with darling gifts and the promise we'd stay in touch.


We have, but it was glorious to see our children together again nearly two years later -- blossoming through love and challenges -- to play and squeal on U.S. soil for the first time.

Surely the earth shook a little bit in China when they danced and jumped at the reunion - knowing the footsteps of friends and family always find their way "back home".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One red balloon to honor birthmother, and the other to honor her homeland - China.

Released on Gotcha Day...

Yep. I Watched It...and Had Some Very Particular Feelings/Reactions

Mercy me. WHY did I watch "John and Kate Plus 8" for several seasons, fall in love with that family, and actually feel shocked/surprised when that marriage broke apart? I mean...it bothered me immensely for a while, and I'm someone who doesn't even value t.v. shows (except for Andy Griffith and PBS Kids).

Why? Because I did not see the 5 million, 600 thousand, forty two hours of their lives NOT recorded on camera.

I learned the hard way back about 8 years ago that when those 2 girls on Survivor Africa acted like they hated each other, darn if one doesn't vote for the other to win the $1,000,000.

HUH?!

Same with Wo Ai Ni Mommy. Very limited coverage on air of what actually transpired. I think it's great that it was recorded (I wish I had Emily's first 2 years with me on dvd....WITH a translator who could've actually told me what she was saying.), and I totally support Donna S. in her doing of it, but even SHE must be frustrated with what folks are saying, both positive and negative, because of what they didn't see right before, right after, or at all the other times in their lives.

When Donna said that her husband would stay home with the other children and her father would accompany her to China, out the blue...I have no clue where it came from, was a thought in my head that said, "You better get ready for a lonely trip!"

If she could have had the loving support of a husband/mate to help her with that traumatic adjustment in her life and in her newly adopted daughter's life...If it'd been me...I might've left the kiddos with the grands.

Adopting an older child is such a ripping away of life as they've know it -- be it good or bad. I happen to have my moment of meeting Emily recorded on a dvd (by a man who worked for my adoption agency). He filmed before, during, and after...and did so for 2 other families with us. I could not STOMACH watching the dvd until about 1 year after returning home with Emily. The first few months, it almost made me nauseated to think about watching it b/c of the raw, wild, grief-stricken, horrified emotions that little Mei Xia Ying displayed. It hurt me too much to think about it.

I did go back and watch the dvd last year. I did fine. BUT...I noticed how Emily rocked back and forth, looked around nervously, smiled forcefully (as did Faith in Wo Ai Ni Mommy), and had to have been on the most HYPER alert system of survival she'd known (since arriving at the orphanage). I couldn't tell if my daughter could speak. I couldn't tell if she could walk straight. I was 100% UNSURE of everything except this:

I knew she was the daughter that the Lord intended for me, and I was there to carry out the plan. Case closed. No confusion on my part.

I'm not saying her circumstances in life happened so I could be her mommy. I wouldn't wish that for anyone.
What was - was.
She was a little girl in a position of needing a family, and it was in my heart to provide one.

I grew up in a loving, secure home with my mother, but one day when she left my brothers and me at a daycare facility b/c it had snowed (and she had to go to work)...I was horrified. Afraid. I wanted my mom to come back and save us. How must an older child feel when they are leaving their country, language, and familiar surroundings?

I can only surmise it must be FEAR for many/most of them. Makes sense. So....I was NOT caught off guard by crying, grieving, and confusion on Emily's part. Heartbroken? Yes. Surprised? No.
Actually glad for it? Yes!!!!!!!! (easier said than done)
Why?
Because if she had loved, been loved, and attached to meaningful caregivers in her life, then she could do it again. (Adoption Homework 101)
It was a hard row to hoe, but it was the best road to travel.
Necessary for her mental and emotional well being.
Promising.

But you know what? Day after day after day after night of this in China, being stared at sympathetically and helpfully by folks in your travel group (who had younger babies....) -- it was emotionally draining.
Going out in public and being stared at BIG TIME by the citizens of China who were probably perplexed (and yes, questioned me) as to why an American would adopt an older child (with an eye condition that needed surgical repair) -- same song, second verse. It was emotionally draining.

I, unlike Donna in the documentary, did not attempt in any way to formally teach English to Emily at first. Well, there was the proverbial, "NO!"...as in "Don't open that safe and put those fresh, clean 100.00 bills in the garbage, and leave that mini-bar bottle of Jack Daniels RIGHT where it is!"
Because of the traumatic situation I found myself in, I did not deem it valuable to add the stress of learning a new language to Emily's current stress of, "OMG. My world has just been turned upside down."
I felt my goal, in China, was to introduce Mei Xia Ying to ME (Mommy) and just basically PLAY, have fun, set boundaries, and buy some meaningful souvenirs.

Did I lose my cool? Uhmmm- YES.
Somewhere around Day 8 I think I threw her toothbrush from the bathroom to her bed because she was being so dad gum defiant (again). She was, uh, shall I say, "taken back" by my gestures.
But you know what? When the episode was over, it was over. We were off for ice cream.
(Sounds like the beginning a mother daughter relationship being formed, huh?)

By the time we'd get out to shop, though, I was so slap worn out mentally...I'd walk zombie-like into a shop and say, "Here. I'll take these dresses in 2 sizes."
They'd say in Chinese, "What color?"
My reply, "I don't EVEN care. Just something on the color wheel."

Another thing where my experience was a bit different than as seen on the documentary: I did not hug and kiss on Emily in the beginning. Maybe some hugging, my hand on her back...but no kissing. Seems like she needed the space/freedom/choice to not have me in her 'emotional private' domain.
Not yet.
It wouldn't have meant anything to her. It would've creeped her out. She would not have wanted a stranger being that intimate with her.
I did, however, hold her hand and did NOT let it go IF I could control it.
I would reach over and touch her if we were playing dolls, games, etc.
I bathed her in the tub. Dried her off.
(FYI....I STILL do this as much as possible. She loves it.)

In China, Emily tried to go to others - very deliberately - as if to say to me, "You've caused me this grief so I'll show you. I'm gonna test you to the limits, sista!" She did. I did...

Oh the joy of the 747 Jumbo Jet plane trip outta China. Let's just say I had the empathetic eyes of all aboard. Sorry they paid so much money for our distractions.

I, I, I, I was the reason for the pain she felt at that time, the tears she cried, the sleep she lost; therefore, it was only understandable (and I DID understand) that she would attempt to return the emotional hurt. She would run to others in the group, hug them, and try to stay far away from me.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with everyone around us, explained the situation, and then Emily's sabatoge-ing actions became VERY limited, unachievable -- thanks to the help of those who totally understood!!!

Normal. Natural.
But still tough b/c some/many folks in the adoption community have not had these types of experiences. It's not their fault...they've just not had them. Can't always relate.
Folks NOT in the world of international adoption were curious, full of questions, baffled by some of my responses, confused by some of my reactions.

Enough already. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Don't know why I felt the need to compare my experience with what was seen on the PBS show. There were some similarities visible and some differences.
Donna is an adoptive mom like me....giving it her best shot, seeing what works for her child.
The documentary was good, but it was ONLY a snippet of their life together thus far.

In reality, PBS would've gotten me on film the time (during week 2 or 3 home) when Emily went out with Nanny Carol and had a major meltdown in the parking lot near Walmart. My mother had to call me to come get her. Emily was on the hot concrete, screaming, writhing around, kicking, hitting....and as I picked her up to put her in the car, I was shouting with a fake grin on my face to EVERYONE in our seriously concerned audience, "PLEASE. Do NOT call DHS. She's just come home from China. She's scared. It's alright. It'll be fine. I promise."

How'd I know?
Because I had the promise of her before I ever knew her.
In my heart.
A gift from God.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two Years This Week

Miss Emily and I celebrate Gotcha Day/Forever Family Day this week. Where did that two years go? As a noted bumper sticker says, "Jump in. Buckle up, and Hang on!" They were not kidding!

No lie. I'm pondering IF our anniversary is Sept. 1st or Sept. 2nd. I'd put my hand on a stack of Bibles that it's the 1st, but I've sent out soooo many birthday cards to folks/friends who have b'days this very week....that all of a sudden I'm havin' a brain freeze. I TRULY believe it's the first...but geesh. Just the little tad of self-doubt...I felt I HAD to confess.

Some folks call it "Mommy Brain". Not sure if I qualify but I jest not when I say I took out my calculator at the doctor's office this summer so I could generate my current age for his sign in records. Hello?

I tell folks that's just a sign of a brain too full. Not to fear. I'm good.

Amazing. Two years. I was playing around the other day when I said to a friend, "I am actually someone's mother? Go figure." I guess it's cuz I waited so late in life to get on the stick and finally fulfill the dream of adopting a little girl from China. It had long since been listed in my prayer journal -- adopting. Seems like one day the veil lifted, my heart responded, and the ball got rolling.

The wait was agonizing. I felt very isolated from other adoptive parents who filed paperwork and 6 months later they traveled. It wasn't THEIR fault...the feelings I felt. It just was what it was. I'm sure they faced other challenges (unlike me) long before they filed their paperwork: failed marriages, infertility, miscarriages -- things like that.

But boy oh boy, did the Lord bless me with just the perfect little girl:
Mei Xia Ying ("May Shy Ying")
Precious. Witty. Devoted. Responsible. Sweet.

When writing a sentence with her spelling words last year and learning about the "qu" relationship, she wrote this: I never quit trying.

I had her re-write it on an index card (after I blew my nose and wiped my eyes) and posted it in the dining room hutch right up there with 1/4 inch of dust and a quote from Churchill: "Never, never, never give up."

Emily has persevered. She has endured. She has overcome so much in her 9 short years on this earth.
The braveness and courage in her spirit and silly laughter overwhelms me.

Happy Two Years, Sweetie from the most fortunate mommy on the planet.
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Oh....and the song AT LAST...that plays on my blog (thank you Rina) - would you believe THE day I adopted Emily, the day I met her...THAT VERY SONG was playing in a 'not quite ventilated enough' elevator in Guangzhou, China. I heard it in my hotel earlier in the day that my life changed forever.
I just thought I'd share that, as Forrest Gump would say, "...for no particular reason".

Friday, August 27, 2010

Someone Posted on Rumor Queen Their Opinion about "Wo ai ni Mommy" - airing on PBS Tues. Night

http://www.pbs.org/pov/woainimommy/

I was very fortunate to attend the premiere of "Wo ai ni Mommy" at the Asian film festival in San Francisco today. I wanted to report back my opinions and maybe answer any questions those you of who might have the opportunity to view the film in the future may have. I approached the adoptive mother of the film, Donna and the director after the viewing and was able to catch a few conversations from other theater people (scouts?) who wanted the director Stephanie to contact them about showing her film. So it just may be coming to a theater near you even before the PBS showing.

Any who... The question RQ posted on her blog was about bringing children to this film. My personal opinion on this would be no. The film is very well done, very poignant, but very honest. The girl in the film was in a foster home for some years and a major portion of the film focuses on this topic and how Faith adjusts after the adoption. I feel her transition was very smooth and "normal" (if there is such a thing) but she does grieve and it is sad to watch. I do not think the movie will in any way scare or harm children... but I think each parent should view it first and decide if it is relevant to your child at this time. Faith, the subject of the film, was adopted at (I believe) 8 - so she can communicate her feelings very well. For those of you in RQ land who adopted NSN and were referred a child under 2 you will really enjoy watching the movie, but may not relate it to your child as they probably do not have specific memories of China and a China family.

That being said - you will get a stroll down memory lane as the bits in Guangzhou are all to familiar. They stayed at the White Swan and the director followed them through part of the medical exam and showed the island a bit here and there. We really had fun recognizing things in the China portion of the film.

The actual "gotcha day" footage is very raw and very real... and there was not a dry eye in the house. I think the film was extremely well done. It was equal parts honest, sad, funny, inspiring, and made you think. I adopted a 4 year old just 7 months ago and literally you could have just hung my face and DD face on Donna and Faith. We had the exact same conversations, struggles, and triumphs. Faith is a little spit fire and can totally speak for herself - there was no doubt about that. I know there was some concern as to invading Faith's privacy and how she might feel about this in the future. I obviously can not speak to that - but I can say I did not feel like she was exploited in any way. The director became a member of this family and you can sense the love and affection through the lens. Not only that but Faith would have spoken up for herself is she wanted it to stop, of that I am sure!

All in all I think it is a very accurate picture of "older child" adoption. The film neither over romanticized it nor made it seem impossible. I can appreciate the entire piece on a very personal level - so my take may obviously differ from others. But I for one would love to send out a huge thank you to Stephanie, Donna and most of all Faith for allowing me a brief peek into their experience. I think it will serve as a great tool for families considering adopting an older child as well as those of us who went through the same exact thing and can see similarities.

Great job!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

http://www.pbs.org/pov/woainimommy/

If, IF you're interested in older child adoptions from China, you've gotta put this PBS documentary on your calendar. Clicking the link will allow you to see a tiny preview of what the show is about.

http://www.pbs.org/pov/woainimommy/

Geesh. One of the opening shots shows places I immediately recognize as familiar to my trip of meeting my daughter.

I think I'm correct in saying that this mom and her family used my adoption agency. The mom, Donna, is a member of an Adopt Older Kids Yahoo group - of which I'm a member. All that means is we post questions, comments, experiences about our lives. I depended on these folks full force while I was actually in China.

Also, seems like this little girl's adoption and Emily's were in the same time range.

Anyhoo, just putting it "out there" if anyone is interested.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

French Braiding and Hand Holding: Em, Dona, Elsie

We were all getting ready to go into the pavilion to meet up with Samm - Emily's "China cousin" as we call him. He was adopted at the same time as Emily, and his parents - Sherrie and Dick - were travel mates and confidantes. More on that wonderful reunion in a future post.

Children's Museum Time


Emily Enjoying Mission Friends at Church with her Leader

This young, married missions teacher (...and yes I babysat her when she was a young "tween") gave this beautiful scarf to Emily -- because she was amongst the well behaved in class that evening. (I'm SURE there were many deserving kiddos...it was just Em's night!")Em "won" it. It's a token from Nepal, and it's special to us. This darling young woman has a heart for missions and has traveled abroad on humanitarian trips to help others. What a great influence and role model.

Stopping Along the Way at a Fish Hatchery

The "teacher" in me sees EVERY opportunity as a LEARNING opportunity to build background knowledge and vocabulary....via fun learning experiences (no matter how inconsequential some of them might actually seem to be). I've had folks "STOP" the car for all kinds of sights on the side of the road, interstate, or country path: Amish folks selling fruits and veggies, Queen Ann's Lace flowers, Monarch butterflies, signs with barbershop poles (We read the children's story Uncle Jed's Barbershop a few weeks back.), monuments, popular 1940's ice cream joints...the list goes on and on. So does the excitement of learning...and all while magical memories are being made.

Yup. That's a Real Panda...and Nope. It's Not China.


"Miss Dona-On-The-Train" Reading to Em


While we were out looking around America during June and July, we stopped by for a visit Dona's house. Her mom, Elsie was there, too. She was/is icing on the cake Oh my. Too much fun. Lots of singing, chatting, sightseeing, bonding. Great memories were made. I plan to tell more about this adventure in the near future. No time to type these days -- to give it justice. Living life to the fullest....discovering rose quartz crystals, eating at little diners out in the middle of the country on some town square, touching petrified wood, visiting libraries all over the place...and snuggling up for a cozy read right then and there. Nanny Carol came over the other night and we headed out to a drive in eatery...a modern version of old timey car hopping. This was another "first" for Emily -- as was her visit to a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop. We've been to a laundromat to see exactly what the place really is (and rode a 25cent ride on mildly jolting toy horse while there) and peeked into a tiny barber shop that was closed -- but had 2 rat terrier guard dogs snarling in the window. So many explorations. So much wonder. Such a delight.



Em at a Swim Party


Saturday, July 10, 2010

We're Out Discovering the World and Having a Blast.

Here's a quick check in to say...wow! Recently Emily and I attended our adoption agency's reunion picnic. We came the way of Lewis and Clark to meet up with Miss Dona on the Train, her mom & ladder climber extraordinaire - Elsie, & Nanny Carol. We've had a famous time.

We boarded up the dogs, cat sitted King Puddin, rented a car, and meandered about the country to meet up with a family we met and fell in love with in China -- Samm's family. Sweet, precious little Samm.

Emily and Samm were adopted at the exact same time. His mommy and daddy, Sherrie and Dick, were part of our travel group. We experienced the newness, the rawness, the uncertainties, the joys of international adoption together -- all alone in a country of a gazillion people -- leaning on each other. What memories. What bonding.

Today Emily and Samm were re-united. What a blessing to witness (and of course video tape/photograph). Dona and Elsie joined us/my mom as it all "went down". Pics will be coming soon. That means hopefully by Labor Day. Kidding.

It was absolutely DEElightful to meet bloggy friends who've used my same adoption agency -- folks I've emailed, followed their blogs, read/responded to through yahoo group emails......and there they were. In the flesh.

Emily was running about the facility with her name tag on, in another state, with 1,000 folks registered, and a dear adoptive mom sorta gasped (in surprise) and said, "Emily. Where's your mommy?"

NEVER met this person, but we've connected via the cell phone, emails...and the commonality of both adopting older girls. She recognized Emily right off the bat b/c of the pics on the blog. She came and stood before me with her name tag and simply cute self. I quickly connected the mental dots and gave her a big hug. Amazing. Surreal.

Will post more about current happenings and recent memories that were made. Gotta bathe a tired little long haired sweetie pie. Then again, Dona is drawing Em's bath water, doing lots of work...but I best go assume responsibility for my own child. Dona's painted with her & spoken of Claude Monet, read her books, taken her sightseeing, held a sing-a-long from the Sound of Music cd, fed her fabulous meals, shown her a cardinal's nest...and loved her dearly.

I am blessed with wonderful friends, family members, and acquaintances.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Does a 3-Day Staining & Scoring of Floors Job (professionally done) and the Creation of the World Have in Common?

The "Your floors will be professionally stained & scored to perfection...just as you like" job took 2 days longer than it took Almighty God to create the world.

And yes. I rested on the Sabbath, too.

Mercy. I'll skip over the entire drama of having to have the WHOLE house flooring RE-STAINED and cap it off with this statement, "It's ONLY a floor."

On one of the days I was exiled from my home while strangers worked on my floors, I took my car in to have the oil changed. As I sat in the waiting room I struck up a conversation with a mom who had brought her child from out of town so he could continue with dialysis. He's 18 y/o, an only child, and his family and medical team have NO idea what has caused his kidneys to shut down.

Who's got the NERVE to whine about floors not being done correctly the first time & taking 3 times longer than expected after hearing her story? Rina, yes. Some others...maybe. Me? NO way.

I did have to officially move out of my house to have the work done. EVERY stick of furniture and anything on the floor had to be moved. Dust and all. It was hauled off to my carport -- now new garage. I had an electric garage door installed before the floors were done so I'd have a place to store my junk. I mean, my treasures.

Speaking of having my oil changed...(Mother...you can stop reading at this point or you'll be clutchin' the pearls for sure!), I went to the gynecologist last week. As I dis-robed the nurse came in and said the doctor had to go out for a delivery.
My GENIUS reply was, "Of a baby??"
Nurse: "Yep. She's gotta go 'catch a baby'." Only in the south would someone use such technical jargon. Not.
As the cool a/c blew through the opening at the front of the 'not-my-size' hospital gown, I chuckled and said, "Uh. No. She's delivering pizza on the 2 floors below."
I'm smart that way.

As a matter of fact, I was nekkid all week with lots of doctors appointments. I saved each of them up for one week in June so I could get them over with in one fell swoop and not miss teaching school.
My mother does not like me to write that kinda crude stuff: nekkid, gynecologist, things like that. Sometimes I respect her wishes, but other times I do it anyway. She'll forgive me.

Emily had several appts. herself: hearing tests, big time ear doc/surgeon, and good old dentist. She's been a busy girl helping clean up Nanny Carol's yard - and getting 2 ticks off of herself, having Michael here for a good long visit, cooking hot dogs on a $6.00 grill, looking for lightning bugs, visiting an aviation museum, seeing her first lighthouse, swinging in a tire swing, & watching 3 versions of Little Women on VCR tapes (I ordered them...but really thought there were only 2 versions. Nope. Three.).

The Divine Miss Em has had a ballet recital, sang in a church musical, stepped in an ant bed while gazing at the Big Dipper, gone to various libraries to check out books and dvds (Betty Boop in black & white - my kinda girl, Caillou - she loves this little character from PBS cartoons), and is attending Vacation Bible School this week. She's asleep on a bed behind me now as I type. Bless her heart. My little wrangler was playing after VBS, fell, and skinned those knees. She's had blue jeans on each night at VBS, but tonight when she fell she had on walking shorts. Darn the luck.

Miah is attending the VBS, too. She was adopted from China at an older age - like Emily. Miah's mom, Betsy, is leading the musical for VBS. The kids love it...choreography, western theme, pretend fiddlin'. Betsy's all prim and proper....very sweet...EVERYbody loves Betsy. I poke fun of her to her face because of the way she and her posse of teenaged girls/young moms get up on the stage to lead the singing and choreography to songs about the Lord.
I jokingly call her a "Fly Girl for Jesus".

Enough of all this. I posted a few pics b/c we all know it's about the pictures. If this computer weren't slow as molasses, I'd a posted 10.
Ain't gonna happen. Not tonight.
Little Miss Annie Oakley with the bloodied knees and ponytail has to be awakened and placed into bed.
Life is good.


Friday, May 28, 2010

An Email I Rec'd May 18, 2008 - From a Mom Who'd Adopted from Emily's Orphanage

Vicki -
I think I *might* have photos of Mei Xia Ying(Emily).... at least I hope this is her!!!! There is a little girl who was in the small group of children with my Olivia who seems to fit the description, and I have just PRAYED she would find a family.... I hope it's her! The photos I have are about a year and a half old, but I know they are still treasures and a glimpse into your child's life. I am on my laptop right now and the photos are saved on my other PC, so I will have to transfer them over. I'll email you one and you can see if this might be her.... Oh I hope so!!!!!!!!

--Angela

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After joining the Meizhou, China Yahoo Group (for families adopting from that SWI - Social Welfare Institute), this precious mom, Angela, sent me an email. She'd read my posting to the group, introducing myself and telling about my soon-to-be daughter. After reading it and putting 2 plus 2 together, she began to think/realize that the little unidentified, older sweetheart who was hugging her little baby girl....could possibly be Emily, Mei Xia Ying.
Angela had already arrived home with her daughter, Olivia, but as you can tell from her message...her heart had been burdened for a little girl who showed Olivia love when she, as a mother, could not.
I know the feeling of appreciation for others who touched Emily's life before she landed safely in our family. I've got several concrete (photo, the item itself, knowledge of) "for instances" in my memory bank that are forever cherished:

-- A hug shared by China sisters at the orphanage
-- A candy cane and Santa hat given to Emily at a Christmas celebration (in a communist country)
-- A trip to eat ice cream at a local spot near the Meizhou SWI (b/c she'd NEVER have an opportunity to enjoy a treat like that!)
-- A visit in someone's home so Mei Xia Ying could "get away" and experience family life for a moment
-- A quilt given to her - made by the loving, older/elderly hands of Americans in a quilting group
-- A tender note secretly written by a caring, Chinese woman (on the back of a photograph in a photo book I sent to the orphanage) - stating that she was well loved and would be missed
-- A blue stuffed bunny rabbit that plays "Jesus Loves Me" (she had this with her when I met her)
-- An inquiry to the SWI director about Mei Xia Ying by parents who traveled to China and adopted a few weeks before me

Red Threads. Red Threads. Red Threads.
I am so thankful for the kind hearts and hands who reached out and loved my child when all I had was the hope of her finding her way into my life, our lives.

King David wrote in the Book of Psalms: "You knew me before...."
The Lord has known Emily all along.
Before...
And I'm so glad He used faithful, caring people to show His love.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No. You've Not Missed Out on 6 Months of Postings and Pictures

I just uploaded a haul of photos from the past few months.

Amy - my "the only vegetable I eat is cucumber" friend - decided I needed a card reader to be successful in getting images onto the computer and posted on the blog.

I had tried this before, but hey...I've only had the camera a year and a half. I EVENTUALLY get around to most things.

No lie. Before becoming a mom, I was pretty darn good at correspondence, thank you notes, and doing many things on time (thanks to the positive modeling of my mother).

With that being said....there's a BIG "however"...I've resorted to bank draft payments because I've let one or two bills sit right in front of my face and not get around to paying them on time.

Hmpf. $5.00 service charge.
THAT'S a dinner at Subway on Tuesday night. Not gonna lose cash that way.

I refuse to go into the perception mode that I'm bonafide goofy. I know about "Mommy Brain". If you're a friend of mine reading this you probably have it yourself.
Mom says I'm busy and pre-occupied with Emily...mediating for her when she doesn't understand something, clarifying to others what she is trying to communicate, and continuing to build on the foundation of having a daughter who knew absolutely no English when she arrived in the U.S. in the latter part of 2008.

I'm sure I'm on hyper-alert/awareness...but what parent ISN'T? I just often walk around and think, "Geesh. And I only have ONE child." What about Rina, Leigh, Janie, Betsy, Rebecca...what are their brains like with their tribes/clans of 4-ish kiddos?

Years back - to calm her brain - my mom would take us to the zoo and let us run hawg wild while she'd sit and read a book. You could do that kinda thing long ago.

Truly... she needs to be canonized as a saint.

What We Do to Learn, and Learn, and Learn, and Learn

Did I say learn?

I'm a huge believer that children need to "construct" their understanding of concepts -- about most anything. Seems like I've been on a geometric reasoning kick this past year.

Anyhoo, Emily and I took an empty grain bar box (exhibit A on the left - ha). I had her separate the seams where it was glued together and lay it out flat. Gee. Now she can see all the different sized faces/surfaces found on a rectangular prism.

It gets better. I promise.
THEN...I helped her re-fold the box opposite of the way it was intended. This gave her a cool, blank sided structure on which she could design.

Gotta get some creativity in there amongst the math.
SOOOO she designed an old fashioned t.v. with knobs, drew the screen with a picture on it, and inserted 2 plastic straws at the top for the antennae.

The soap box next to it (exhibit B on the right)...well she and I wrapped that (literally gift wrap style) with paper. She drew her own soap box cover. A further extension of a rectangular prism but done totally different than the first one.

Always looking for the fun ways to make learning interesting, constructive, hands on, & authentic, (not to mention c-h-e-a-p!)

Miss Mandy and Miss I've Got My Mama's Sunglasses On

Mandy is a sweetie pie.

I reckon the terms "homely" and "plain" don't exactly fit her description. She's amazing at remembering the names of EVERYone she meets. So helpful...just a real southern girl.

Thanks for the pics, Mandy.

Puddin a.k.a. O Feline Whom Emily Adores


Pool Time. See Those Audiologist Approved Earplugs Stickin' Out Her Ears?


Yup.
We're mightily protecting that remodeled inner ear/titanium installed bone substitute. We even have a card to carry should she set off the security alarms at an airport. Ain't gonna let water gather in that ear canal "NO MO". Two ear surgeries later, we are good to go. There is another hearing test scheduled in July.

Now maybe she'll hear me more clearly when I say, "Emily. Hang up your clothes."

Yea. Right.

Emily and Aunt Topsy