We signed Emma up for gymnastics around the first of the year and she LOVES it. We really enjoy watching her bounce around the gym like a little ball of energy. She had missed several weeks and when we went in Thursday she went running for her teacher and gave her a great big hug! Oh the joys of being able to run and jump and play and bounce and roll ... too bad us parents can't join in on the fun!
We're coming up on the one year anniversary of our log in date for our next adoption. Several of the key things we need for the adoption are starting to expire. Recently we went through the process of having our homestudy updated. Next in line was expiring fingerprints then later this fall we will need to reapply with the USCIS (immigration) for a visa to bring our child back into the US. The hard part for me right now is not so much in having to re-do all of this, but more concerned that we may have to do this once again before we ever receive our referral. Officials from the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs have been in the US recently and are supposedly telling people the wait may possibly go to 2 or 3 years. Currently the wait is right around 19 months, so 2 to 3 years sounds feasible. In the meantime, there's not much more we can do other than wait ... and re-do the required paperwork.
Today we went to the federal building here in Louisville to be re-fingerprinted. This sounds implausible, but for some reason my fingerprints are very difficult to capture. We had all sorts of slow ups & mishaps with my fingerprints during the process of adopting Emma. However, it did seem to go a little smoother this time. the technician didn't seem to be too concerned about the big red warnings that kept popping up on the screen after scanning my fingers. On a sidenote to my fingerprint issue ... my laptop has fingerprint scan capability that can be used in place of a password, it's never been able to identify mine :-)
Ryan enjoying the pool. All the boys had lined up to get thrown into the pool by the coach. At one point I was behind him while he was throwing them in & was so tempted to push him in. But I didn't have a swimsuit on and didn't feel like getting thrown in myself!
The coach's wife was kind enough to take Emma and Isabel for a little dip.
I've been meaning to post about baseball season, but just now getting an opportunity. Ryan moved up from coach pitch to regular baseball last fall so this is his second season in the minor league. The boys ranged in age from 9 - 11 which basically put him and a couple of his buddies as the youngest ones on the team.
Their playoff games were double elimination and they started last weekend. They won their first playoff game 8 -3 then lost their second game this past Saturday 12 - 18 (against the toughest team in the league). This put them going back Saturday evening for another game, which sadly they lost by 1 point against a team they had beat earlier in the season. It was a pretty emotional evening for the guys, but all in all they had a fairly good season and Ryan improved over the season.
The coach and his wife had the boys out for a pizza & swim party last night so it was fun watching the kids all cutting up together.
We attended the AHH annual picnic on Saturday. This year it was in Wilmore, KY ... out in the middle of nowhere! The drive down was beautiful though as it meandered through some really nice horse farm areas and miles and miles of old stone fences. One of these days I need to get out and take some pictures of just Kentucky scenery, especially the beautiful fences and even the old tobacco barns are neat looking.
Back to the picnic ... there were only 3 families from our travel group this year but it was really nice seeing them. The Jenkins were there, we first met them on the plane to China. They sat right behind us and Jim was really kind to trade game boy games back and forth with Ryan. Wonderfully nice and fun people! Heather & her daughter Jillian were there too, driving all the way from Chicago. As always, it was nice seeing them. We were blessed to be able to spend some time with them on Friday night as well. Her daughter Jillian has a million dollar smile, a sparkle in her eyes and a personality that just lights up the area around her.
Heather & Jillian drove back to Shelbyville that evening to catch part of Ryan's baseball game ... more about the game later. Emma had been a little chilly with her friends earlier in the day but had warmed up tremendously by the time we got to the game. She & Jillian did the ball park kid thing by playing on the bleachers and eating pop-"cone" (as Emma calls it). Anyway, it was a nice weekend being able to catch up with other adoptive families.
We've also become friends with another waiting family and they were at the picnic as well. They have two sons, Adam and Alex that absolutely adore Emma - well, she ranks pretty high on their parents list too. I had taken Emma aside at one point and inquired as to why she didn't seem to be having fun and she replied in a rather pouty way that she wanted "Alex". Scott (their dad) took Emma to play on the bouncy things and the boys played with her as well and she finally started coming out of her shell. Adam bought her some cotton candy, her first time to have it and she LOVED it!
Hopefully more families will be able to make it next year.
The adoption agency we used when we adoptd Emma has a reunion every year in the Lexington area. This year we were able to meet up a day early with a couple of other families that we traveled with. Heather and Jillian had traveled from the Chicago area and then our other friend & travel mate Teresa who lives here in the Louisville area too, came with her two daughters Catie & Ellie. It's absolutely amazing to see how much the girls have grown in the last few years!
The girls are all from the same orphanage in Lianjiang in the Guangdong province, although they were in different rooms from what we were told. My hope and desire is for Emma to have lifelong friendships with the other girls in our travel group as they all shared approximately their first year of life together.
Well, it's the time of year again for the local county fairs to begin. Somehow we've made it a yearly tradition since moving here. It's a great place to run into friends, people watch and let the kids have fun. Plus, there's always the tractor pulls if that's something that interests you. For some reason or another, it really tickles me to see tractor pulls less than 100 yards away from a Saddlebred Horse Show. Not sure there's as much upscale in the horse world as Saddlebreds ...
Anyway, Emma wasn't too sure about the rides last year but this year had a great time! Ryan is such a wonderful big brother and he was so kind to ride with her. We were all tickled because she kept saying she wanted to "go ride the horse race" which really meant the Merry Go Round.
One of the great things we love about Kentucky, that we didn't have in Texas are trees. Lots of trees. Great big tall trees. When we found our neighborhood we fell absolutely in love with the wooded lot. That love wanes a little come fall, but for the most part we're still in love with all those trees.
Another thing we discovered is that we have a hawk living in a tree right by our house. Every year she (he?) spends the summer training a baby and we have really enjoyed watching the process. She will fly part way out in the yard and then call for the little one and then fly further, it's really something to watch. She also pitches a pretty big fit if we are out in the yard during the summer time. It's like she's telling us to go away!
Not sure what is going on with her this year though, something just doesn't seem right. Brian called me a couple of weeks ago and said the hawk was at the bottom of the tree and not moving when he would get relatively close while he was mowing. We tried calling a couple of different places but could not find anyone to come and get her. When he went to check on her later in the day, she was gone.
Anyway, I was able to get a picture of her the other night. We're not sure if this is the same one that was hurt, but she didn't seem to fly away as swiftly as she used to fly. Plus, we're not seeing a little one this year either.
Our little dumpling Emma has issues getting into things that she shouldn’t. It’s hard for her to by-pass anything with buttons and she’s never met a bottle she doesn’t want to open. Lotions, sunscreen bottles and such are especially appealing to her. Over the weekend she had gotten into a bottle of sunscreen and had spilled some on the carpet. I found her with paper towel in hand attempting to clean up her mess. Once again I talked to her about leaving those things alone and asked for the umpteenth time if she understood what I was telling her. I finished cleaning up the mess and then went about my business folding laundry. A few minutes later, here comes Emma with the sunscreen bottle in hand and pointing up to where we keep cleaning supplies saying “put it wave-ah up dare so I can’t get it”, translating “Put it WAY UP there so I can’t get it”. Now why didn’t I think of that?
As of yesterday Ryan is back home from camp!!! He had a wonderful and fun time, but I am so glad for the little guy to be back at home. He's one worn out little guy though, he fell sound asleep before dinner last night and then went to bed fairly early. He's still yawning today! They must have kept them quite busy.
The Children's Center at YUM hosted "Doughnuts with Dad" this a.m. I suppose all the stars and planets were aligned correctly this a.m. as Brian was coming up for a meeting anyway. Emma absolutely lit up when her daddy/papa walked in. Although, she had already started without him as evidenced by chocolate on the ol' face!
I ran across this story today, thought it was pretty interesting. We didn't really run across some of these egregious behaviors, but had read about them before we traveled. However, I think what really strikes me about this story is more the concerted effort by the government to modify the behavior of the people. Not too long ago I had read a story about mandatory classes for cab drivers.
This is Ryan's first year to be able to go to church camp. I still can't believe he's old enough to be able to go off for a whole week without me, but nonetheless the kids packed up and left yesterday. He is so excited about being able to go! The logical side of me knows full well he will have a wonderful time with his friends and having some freedom from us, but the emotional side of me misses my baby boy.
It's hard to believe he's 9, well almost 9 1/2 now - half way to 18. Sigh, where does all the time go?! It seems like only yesterday that we were in the hospital in Ft Worth and holding him up close. Brian likes to call me a sentimental mama goose, and maybe I am but I just can't help it. Recently I shared with my nephew, who happens to be a brand new daddy, how drastically your life changes after you have children. I told him about us sitting in the hospital room and holding Ryan and how I started to cry. Not tears of sadness, but tears of being absolutely overwhelmed with the love that I felt. You always think you know love, after all - you love your spouse, your parents, your siblings - but none of that comes close to the love you have for your children. Even though I had been baptized well before I had Ryan and thought I understood the love of our Heavenly Father, that one day in the hospital stands out because that day I realized that if God loves us just a smidgen of how I love Ryan then what an awesome & overwhelming love that must be.
Another busy weekend ... we attended the FCC Waiting Family Picnic on Saturday. This makes our 3rd one and we were really surprised by the low turnout. I can't help but wonder if it's because of the extended wait times and maybe families are too disheartened to go?
We were happy to finally meet another local couple Mark and Lisa who have a login date in late November 2005. We have become friends with their cousin and her husband who are logged in close to the same time we are (Scott & Kristie). They have two adorable little boys who are quite smitten with Miz M.
Ryan had a couple of good hits last night! He's been in baseball camp all week and it seems like this year in particular it's really paying off. Last night was basically his last regularly scheduled ballgame for the season. They do have a game next week, but he will be at church camp. Playoffs will probably start around the 18th. It seems like this seaon has just flown by!
Who needs a step stool to wash your hands when we all know it's easier to just climb up & balance on the cabinet handles? The first time I caught her like this, she didn't have any shoes on and had her toes wrapped around a knob on each side but of course a camera is never right there when you need one. She really cracks us up with her ability to balance on seemingly anything.
Excitement abounds at the Hunter household. Miss Emma is the proud owner of her very first bicycle! She's now one step closer to keeping up with her big brother. She had a couple of small mishaps on her first few days of riding it but for the most part seems to do just fine.