It took some fancy talking but I finally convinced Ryan to forgo the typical Halloween costume & try something homemade for a change. I ran across this costume in the Family Fun magazine and it amused for me for some reason or another so we talked him into it. Making it was family effort with Brian doing the cutting, me doing the painting and Ryan keeping Emma from pulling everything off the counter trying to watch us make it. The annual "Howlin' Halloween" carnival was held at his school this past weekend and all of his buddies thought it was too cool. Even better - he won the costume contest in the "Most Creative" category.
The annual AWANA Camp In was held at church on the 19th. AWANA is the Sunday night children's program that blends bible teaching, scripture memorization and lots of fun and games too. This is Emma's first year and she's in what they call the "Cubbies" club. She's been to the evening festivities for the camp in before, but this was her first year to actually get to spend the night.
I couldn't help but smile though because throughout the evening, every time I looked up, one kid or another was packing Emma around. She was hanging out with all the big kids just like she was one of them. They even included her in their game time. The picture below was a tug of war between the boys and the girls, and there's Emma right in with them. It was really cute & entertaining to say the least.
Brian & I have commented before how that during the homestudy process of our adoption we were asked if our community would accept someone of a different race and we assured our social worker that she would most definitely be accepted. It hits us at times that not only is she accepted, but she is loved by everyone in our church and how much everyone seemingly enjoys her. What a blessing she is, and what a blessing our church family is!
I woke up early to find Emma snuggled right up against Ryan - sweetest site I'd seen in a while!
We were a little slower to get out and about on this day because we were all pretty tired. We also lost some time because I somehow read the bus sign wrong & the bus that ran out to the Museum of Science & History only runs something like through Labor Day - others go that way too, just the one we waited an hour for - well - we would have been waiting until next May! Add to that, I asked a cab driver how much it would cost to take us out there, he tells me $5 - we all crawl in, kids, coats, stroller, camera bag and he says "oh, you said ..." - well, that would be $15 - $20. I couldn't help but feel like he didn't misundersand me to begin with and it being the whole principal of the thing, so out we climbed. We have no business navigating around a big city!
We finally made it, via the bus but I think we were all too tired to really enjoy it as much as we should. We ended up cutting out right after lunch and heading to China Town and then back up closer to our hotel and out to eat at the Big Bowl. The weather finally turned off a little cooler than what we had been experiencing - finally felt like fall.
Our big day 2 in Chicago started off with a trip to the sky deck at Sear's Tower. One word comes to mind when I think of that view - WOW! I also couldn't get over how quickly that elevator gets you up to the top! I know, I know - the things in life that amaze us. After a picnic lunch we headed over to the Navy Pier and spent some time riding the rides and also taking the munchkins to the children's museum. Emma was in button pushing heaven and I was enjoying buttons other than my own being pushed :-) If/when we ever get to return, I would really like to take them back there and let them spend all day. I think both of them could have easily spent 2 hours or more just in the water play area.
We rounded out the afternoon with an achitectural tour via boat where we heard all about the history of the buildings in that area and how the current of the river had been changed, etc. For dinner we had Chicago style pizza at Giordano's - YUM, YUM, YUM! Before heading back to the room we did some window shopping on Michigan Avenue and then bought some chocolate at the Hershey's store. Lots of fun, but tired - tired feet!
Our vacation this year was spent in Chicago over fall break. I'm just now getting a chance to write about it.
Day 1 in Chicago: Shedd Aquarium Adler Planetarium Buckingham Fountain Greek Town The Lego Store One VERY tired family!
The thing that comes to mind when I think back to our first day is all the walking we did! Brian jokingly told me I had them on a forced march. Figuring out the public transportation system was a little fuzzy for me the first day too but we quickly caught on. That's one thing I quickly discovered about Chicago - you better know where you want to go and it's best to just ask the same person ONCE. Had we traveled to Chicago back when we lived in the Dallas area I probably would not have thought the people were abrupt. Howver, after living in KY for 6 years we've grown accustomed to the slower pace of life. It was fun though, but we were very tired at the end of the day! We couldn't have asked for better weather for our trip and we couldn't have asked for better behavior for the kids either. They were quite the little troopers. Of course it helped with Emma that she was in the stroller!
About a year and a half ago Ryan decided that one of his goals is to visit all 50 State Capitols. Now, I'm not quite sure how we're going to get that done by the time he is 15, especially those on the west coast but slowly we are trying to get in a few. So far we have taken him to see the Capitols in Alabama (last summer), Indiana (back in January for his birthday), Kentucky (we've been there a couple of different times since moving here) and Oklahoma (in 2001 so he probably doesn't remember much about that one). We made a little side trip to Springfield, IL on our way to Chicago so that he could see the IL one. At this rate he's going to have to finish this goal after he graduates!
Anyway, we enjoyed touring the Capitol and Ryan asked the guide several questions. It is a beautiful building and has lots of intricate details such as paintings in the ceiling. I especially enjoyed the rotunda and looking up at the beautiful stained glass! But most of all, it really tickles me when he is so interested in things like that. We also toured Abraham Lincoln's home he lived in when he was elected president and we also had an opportunity to visit the Lincoln Museum which was QUITE impressive.
Not too long ago I was flipping through the channels and stopped at the Gaither Hour show and listened for a while to a lady named Lynda Randle. Not only did I like her songs, but really liked hearing her being interviewed. I later downloaded one of her cd's and Emma and I have been listening to it during our commute. The funny thing is, Emma asks almost daily to listen to it and she always wants to hear this one song. She loves to sing along with it and really belts out the tune - I tell you, there's nothing quite like a little 3 year old Chinese girl belting out a southern gospel song!
Here's the link, but I'll also attempt to post in the video
While we were in Chicago, Emma asked us to buy her a wallet like her brother has so we obliged and bought her a cute little pink "Hello Kitty" wallet. Of course she then wanted money so I placed some coins in the coin pouch but Emma wanted more, specifically she asked for "green money"! We added $2 to her wallet and she was as pleased as could be and just about everytime we were somewhere and were paying she would pull it out and tell us that she had money & that she would pay. It was really cute and oh so sweet!
On the way home she fussed about not wanting to go home and told us that she wanted to go back to Chicago. Finally Ryan got tired of hearing the same thing over and over so he told her that we were out of money & that we had to go home. She replied with "well, I have money. I have two monies". I asked her how long she thought the two monies would last us if we did go back to Chicago and she replied "2 DAYS!". Oh to be so innocent again!!!
We spent this past week in Chicago and boy am I worn out! Our typical vacation involves the beach and lots of laying around and not doing a whole lot. For some reason or another Brian had suggested we go try a city vacation complete with public transportation. We had a great time, saw several museums and went on a couple of tours - but I'm tired! It's going to take me a few days to get all of the pictures downloaded.
One of Ryan's goals is to visit all 50 State Capitols so we went to Springfield while we were in Illinois. So far he's been to: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky & Oklahoma. We're going to detour through Arkansas on the way to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving so that will give him 6.
Last Sunday we attended the local FCC chapter's Autumn Moon Festival. The Autumn Moon Festival in China is along the same lines as our Thanksgiving. It's a time for families to be together and a time of giving thanks. The FCC event this year was a lot of fun for the children and adults alike. It was held at Gallrein Farms in Shelby County and some of the activities included a trip to the pumkin patch, corn maze, face painting and playing in the hay.
The evening ended with a send off of balloons with wishes attached for the birth families in China as well as lantern parade at dusk. The sending off of the balloons was very touching and is something we do each year on Emma's birthday, in honor of her birth parents. It gives us all time to pause and give thanks to those who gave birth to our children and also a time of wondering if during this same time of year, do they stop and think about the children they gave birth to.
We took over 200 pictures that day, so I'm just going to post a few for now and will try go put together a slide in the next few weeks.