Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Trick or Tree"

I LOVE fall. I love all the smells and the coolness. And I love that it usually means a slightly slower pace of life. Well, life didn't slow down this year, but I still love it.

We carved pumpkins last week and Miyah loved pulling the guts out of the pumpkins and eating the roasted pumpkin seeds. Megan carved a pumpkin while I carved Matt's since he had a big presentation at school to prepare for.

On Halloween, Miyah and I met some friends over at our adoption agency, Children's Hope (CHI,)to do some "Trick or Treeing" as Miyah was calling it at first. Miyah was a so excited to wear the ladybug costume that had been in her closet for well over a year. She LOVES that costume and wears it about once a week at home. She was so proud that she could wear it all day...and in public. Here are a few pictures from CHI....
Elizabeth, the clown and Miyah, the ladybug

(Well, I have more photos, but Blogger is having problems tonight. I'll post some more later)

We usually go to our church for a Fall Festival on Halloween, but the weather was iffy with rain on and off throughout the day. We decided to stay home this year, so this was Miyah's first year trick or treating. We missed being at the festival, but Miyah had a ball! She can be shy with strangers so I wondered if she'd say "Trick or Treat". But once she saw the reward, she was all over being shy. I think candy is like the currency of childhood. It is the ultimate motivator.

Miyah really got into skeletons and bones during this Halloween season. Kinda morbid, I know. It all started when we were shopping at the party store for her birthday party. Party City had the most gruesome decorations all over the store. I probably should have left...I was certain Miyah would have nightmares for weeks, but she took it all in stride for the most part (should I be concerned?). I told her it was all pretend and so she just repeatedly reassured herself that it was all pretend. But she was really fascinated when she discovered that she has bones just like the skeletons hanging around the store. She kept feeling the bones in her hands and announcing that she had bones too! Well, this just began a fascination with the human body. I pulled a few elementary science books from the shelves and we started reading...she is fascinated by the heart and blood, and the whole thing. I hate to perpetuate the stereotype, but the girl is Chinese and loves science! Hey, there are worse things.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cinderella Birthday(s)!

******************************I'M THREE!!************************

After talking about it for at least six months, the day for Miyah's Cinderella birthday party finally had come last weekend. We must have heard something about her party a dozen times a day. She was so excited!

Miyah's friend, Hannah, who is two days older had her party that same day so it was a double-header birthday party day. Coincidentally they both wanted a Cinderella birthday. That's a lot of purple and pink for one day! The girls had so much fun, though! Here are some photos from Hannah's party:

And from Miyah's party....

Create Your Own!
The girls had fun decorating purses and tiaras, played "find Cinderella's slipper", got surprises from the pinata, and had cake and ice cream. Miyah is still talking about it all.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Chicago, Chicago!

Singing the title sets the mood for the post...Chicago, Chicago...that's about all I know of the song so unfortunately I can't bore you with lyrics. A few weekends ago my best friend in the whole world, Michelle, and her girls met Megan and I in Chicago for what is (hopefully) becoming an annual tradition. Only Michelle and I have plans for a few minor changes for next year....like, no children and more shopping, theater, and spaing (is that a word?..meaning we're hoping to spend time at a spa). The girls, God love them, just don't fully appreciate the scope of opportunity that Chicago affords those who love to shop and dine on something other than McDonald's and go to the theater. NOT that this year's trip was a disappointment. It's just that Hannah Montana (aka Miley Cyrus) is not the type of "theater" I would choose. After we heard "Can we go back to the hotel now?" for the tenth time Michelle and I, being the intuitive mothers that we are, realized that the best part of Chicago for the girls isn't really Chicago at all, it's just being together. They really do love just hanging out together more than anything else and I think that's great. But they can do that at home! So, next year we've planned to ship them off to Michelle's house for the weekend while Michelle and I bond in our own way.

We did have a lot of fun, though. I already mentioned the Miley Cyrus concert. Megan has detailed that experience a little in her own blog http://wwwchinagirl.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to "Chicago Trip". I think a little bit of her excitement is expressed in her post. Picture, I don't know, a thousand or two 5-12 year old girls in their up-dos, lip gloss, and Cheetah outfits (the Cheetah Girls were the headliners which we didn't stay for) all screaming at the top of their high pitched little voices...it was like a Libby Lu nightmare in there (Megan is going to kill me if she reads this). Please don't think I'm judging these girls. I was once their age and unfortunately remember collecting Michael Jackson paraphernalia; like the gum with his picture on the wrapper that sat on my dresser...oh, and standing inside Radio Shack watching "The Making of Thriller" (okay, how sad, I don't even think we had VCRs back then and so I'm assuming this was our only opportunity to watch MJ...thank God for the Pine Tree Mall!). I wasn't as bad as two of my sisters, though...they would cry when they saw him on tv..I. think they even wrote a letter saying they were dying and asking him to meet them as their last wish...that is quite sick actually....I'm sure they've asked for forgiveness for that by now. Anyway, the concert was certainly the highlight of the weekend for the girls.

They also loved the quadcycle deally that you rent at Navy Pier. We always have a blast on that thing. We felt so experienced this year after learning from our near-mishaps last year. We even rode further down the Lakeshore path and just enjoyed the beautiful view. Oh, and here's something really cool...I saw Lisa Ling walking on the path towards us. I stared at her for so long trying to figure out if it was her, and it definitely was! She just looks shorter in person and wasn't wearing makeup. You know Lisa (we're probably on first name basis now), she does those National Geographic Explorer shows and is one of my favorite journalists. She was on "The View" for quite a while as well. I SO wish I had stopped and told her how much I loved her report on China's Lost Girls. I saw her on Oprah again this week (or last?) talking about her report on North Korea so I'm guessing she was in Chicago for the Oprah Show...or maybe she lives there. And her report on N. Korea looks SO interesting. I wish we had more than 10 channels of cable so I could see it. If you get National Geographic Channel you'll have to tivo it (for me?); I think it's on Wed at 8 PM http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/explorer/

Anyway, we also took a water taxi from Navy Pier to the Sears Tower, but just as the boat neared the Sears Tower it began to sprinkle. And as we stepped off the boat it began to POUR! And I mean pouring rain and wind - horizontally, vertically and everything in between! We were soaked, inverted umbrella and all (that's why my hair is so bad in the picture below-sorry, that's so vain). We managed to flag down a taxi to bring us back to the hotel for a change of clothes. Then we headed over to Gino's East for the most amazing pizza. The girls thought it was cool that they could write on the walls without getting in trouble.

Amidst moans and groans from the girls, the rest of the trip was filled with SHOPPING!!

Oh, and since we are "Apprentice" fans at our home I took a picture of Trump's new building in Chicago, but I can't get it uploaded on Blogger for some reason. Is anyone else having problems with photos today? I've had to try for each photo a few times. I may try again later. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Megan's 12th Birthday Party!!!

Megan had a small sleepover birthday party last weekend. I think she had a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures.

Painting Pottery

The girls did a lovely job decorating the cake.

Always brush after eating candy!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Great Friends, Great Fun!

Miyah's playgroup got together to paint last week, but not just fingerpaint...foot, hand, arm, and everything in between paint. The girls started out not quite knowing what to do. Little Emma seemed to warm up to the idea quickly, but the other girls were tentative at first. They had a lot of fun, but seemed very serious much of the time (well, except for Miss Isabella who is always the life of the party). On the way home Miyah kept repeating, "I had fun painting with my friends!". It's so fun to watch the girls grow up together. I'm so grateful we have such wonderful friends whose families "look" like ours.

Little Elizabeth is going to be traveling back to China with her family to get her little sister, Clare, the same time we go to get Mei Lin. I know having friends along will help the trip seem less "far from home".

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Always and Forever

As you may know, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival began this past weekend. Have you ever tried a traditional Mooncake? Eww! No matter how gross we think they are, for some reason we feel we need to uphold this tradition for Miyah's sake. I think of them as a Christmas fruitcake (which I don't uphold as a tradition in my house). Do children in China say, "Ewww!" when they eat mooncakes? I wonder. Bean paste in a pastry or lotus seeds....not my idea of a dessert. Anyway, I believe the moon was the fullest on Sunday night. I hope you all were able to enjoy it.

I've heard adoptive parents say that they take this opportunity to bring their Chinese daughter to gaze at the moon and discuss the possibility of their birthparents looking at the same moon and thinking of them. I don't know if we will ever make that tradition our own, we've had only very preliminary discussions of birthparents. In fact, last week was our first real introduction. It was one of those "right" moments. We were quietly relaxing outside on a beautiful day, just blowing bubbles when I said something to Miyah that I've said often to each of my kids, "Of all the mommies and all the little girls in the whole world, I'm so glad God brought us together!". She just turned her sweet face toward me and with a smile said, "Always and forever". I've used the phrase "always and forever" with her in reference to family or my love, etc.(hence this blog address "familyalwaysandforever"). So, I went on to tell her that babies can grow in a mommy's tummy and in a mommy's heart and that she grew in another lady's tummy while she grew in my heart. Since then she's actually mentioned that she grew in another ladies tummy as she's processing this new bit of strange information. And so it stuck and there's a little peg on which to hang future information.

It amazes me how we get these perfect little moments with our children. I've been praying for the right moments (and the right way) to share Miyah's information with her. I know this isn't the kind of information you push, but it isn't the kind you hold back either.

Well, this wouldn't be a post if I didn't add a photo or two. My parents came to watch Matt's game and visit last weekend so I'll post some pictures with them.

Miyah at the FCC Autumn Moon Festival party.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The New Blog

We've entered the world of the blogosphere! We were using our "What's New" page on our website like a blog and using up a lot of space with photos, so I decide to migrate over to the world of blogs for the regular updates and photos. We'll still update some things on the website on occasion, too.

Well, I don't know where to begin because I've forgotten where I've left off. So...I'll just begin somewhere tonight and add as I remember things from the last month or two.

I'll start with...what else...the kids...the new school year to be exact. Things seem to be going well with both Matthew and Megan's school. Matt says school is harder this year and seems to have even more homework than last year, but is doing well. He is taking some more difficult classes including Latin and an advanced composition class. Megan is enjoying her new homeschool tutorial. Tutorial means she meets with a teacher in a classroom setting once a week and is then given a week's worth of work to complete at home. She's still considered homeschooled, but is taking most of her main classes there so it only leaves me teaching History and some vocabulary and spelling at home.

Matt has been playing football for his school and his team is doing great this year. They are undefeated and tend to blow away the opponent by about 50 points. Last week they played the two time national champions of eight man football (for the past two years) and blew them away as well.

Megan is taking dance seven hours a week. She has ballet two weekdays and Modern and ballet on Saturday. She loves dance, but getting up to dance on a Saturday morning may just kill her. She is continuing with piano, but I have to remind her to practice or she "forgets"....hmmm....we may be reevaluating piano soon. She says she's still interested and I do love hearing her play so I hate to have her give it up.

Miyah is so excited that she'll be three soon. We hear about her party every single day.
On the left is a photo from Chinese School. She wasn't very excited about Chinese school this day. I couldn't get her to do much but hang on me with a frown on her face. She's Miss Personality at home, but becomes shy around strangers lately. She loves the two year old class at church and her class at Bible study so maybe it's just when I'm with her (Chinese class is for parents and children).

I could write more but I need to get some excercise tonight before it gets too late. Goodnight!

Random Photos "testing"