Friday, July 31, 2009

Ottawa Beach

After we enjoyed the Dutch Village in Holland we headed out to Ottawa Beach. Again, this one was nice too. While the beach at Saugatuck was a little more on the private side and not quite as much sand area, it was perfect for me. The Ottawa beach was more typical of the beaches we are used to in Florida and the kids, well Ryan, preferred that to the more secluded one. He'll be old one of these days too & will understand my preference to the isolated one. ha.

Ryan at work ... I swear we do feed the child, I realize the picture on the bottom doesn't really look like it. Believe it or not, but he eats as much as I do. He just runs his off!
Rebecca pretty much just stuck to playing in the sand, she LOVES playing in the sand, and eating ice cream, that she calls it "icee-cream". Bless her little bones, she has yet to perfect eating icee-cream from a cone. She made a big-O mess. Hopefully she has learned that it's not a good idea to eat from the bottom up. Oh, and when we ordered ice cream I asked her if she wanted strawberry ice cream and she was adamant that no, she wanted ice cream. For the life of me I could not convince her that it was strawberry ice cream. She was all kinds of upset when Emma's was pink and hers was not. Every time we had ice cream after that she told me she wanted Strawberry ice cream! Life's lessons sometimes come with some tears.

And then there's Emma playing in the sand and the water and running up to pose for me. She likes the camera while Ree-bex likes to turn the other way when I get it out.
Ryan and Emma joined in with some other kids playing nearby that were digging a big ol' hole. It kept them very busy for a very long time. Made me think that maybe I should invest in a back yard full of sand!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Queen O' Spunk

I was going through more of our Michigan pictures tonight and had made a couple of collages of beach pictures, but for some reason kept going back to look at this one. The lighting isn't just right and it's probably not technically a good photo but my goodness I can't help but smile when I look at it. Emma was in heaven all week at the beach, running around in her little swimsuits, skitting in and out of the water, playing in the sand, aggravating her siblings ... just being her stinky little normal self. But oh the joy I get from watching her, she's got to be the orneriest little dumpling that ever lived. But I love every little inch of her short little body. It's impossible to look at her and not smile, even when she is being a stinker. It's impossible to walk by her and not pat her or mess with her. It's even more impossible to not love her with every ounce of your being. It's just not.

It's funny too to watch people interact with her and for so long I assumed it was because of her being Chinese but now I plainly see that it has absolutely nothing to do with her ethnicity and everything to do with her spunky personality. You can pretty much bet that anytime we are somewhere such as church, ball games or school events that someone is hugging on her or in some way messing with her. Then again, it could have nothing to with her personality but everything to do with her big ol' dimple and smile.

She told me the other night that she "loved me before she was even born" and went on to tell me that she prayed and asked that her mom be Carolin and her dad be Brian. It brings tears to my eyes just typing this story. Not only is she ornery beyond measure, but she's so loving too. What a blessing that child is.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michigan Vacation - Day 2, Holland

We ventured up/over/down to Holland on our second day of vacation and enjoyed some time at the Dutch Village. We really enjoyed reading about Dutch history and even learned why their shoes were made of wood. Interesting, very interesting. We spent the afternoon at a different beach, nothing better than having your toes in the sand and the kiddos playing well with one another! I'll post some more beach pix later ... why is it I can't seem to find the time to blog any more?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michigan Vacation - Day 1, Saugatuck

Whew, we've been home since late Sunday but for some reason I just haven't been able to find the time to post.

We had a great, wonderful, wonderiferous time in Michigan! Our first day was spent in Saugatuck, a small little artsy town on the lower western side of Michigan. If only I had known more when I made our reservations, I would have been more than happy to stay there for the rest of the week.

You can read more about this fabulous little town here

The kiddos enjoyed some playground time when we first arrived.

The harbor was so pretty too, lots of sailboats and a chain ferry that takes you over to the other side of the harbor. After spending a few hours roaming around the downtown area and then eating dinner, we headed to the beach. Oh my, I wanted to just camp out and stay!

What was intended to be just a stroll down the beach, ended up with all the kiddos wet and sandy ... and very, very happy. I think they wanted to stay too!

Oh, and it's a good thing I threw in some sweatshirts for the girls. It was just a tad bit cool but not so cool that we couldn't enjoy ourselves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pool Party @ Opryland

While we were in Nashville we were invited over to the Opryland Hotel to swim with another Starfish Family who came to town to visit with Amanda also. Their daughter Amanda was one of the original 6 babies of the Starfish Home. We all got a big laugh because little Amanda is obviously named after Amanda who started the Starfish Home, however she seemed to think that the elder Amanda was named after her! haha. She said something along the lines of "you have my name" to which Amanda replied, "no, no - you have MY name". It was really cute!

We had the best time just letting the girls play and us getting to know each other. You know how you meet people sometimes who just make you feel so at ease and you feel like you have just known them forever? Well, that's how I felt about little Amanda's family. I also enjoyed being able to visit some more with Amanda. Which makes me think ... I hope I'm not being too confusing w/ all these Amanda's! Another Starfish family from IL that I have talked to & emailed back and forth stopped by also and we were finally able to meet in person. They adopted their daughter about a year ago and they had sent us pictures they took of Rebecca while they were there. Another sweet, sweet family.

The best part of the day though, watching Rebecca love with Amanda. She loved showing off her "swimming" abilities to Amanda and having all of us brag on how well she is doing. Then she took a break from swimming and went and laid on the chaise lounge with Amanda. There was just pure contentment written all over her little face.

These pictures pretty much say it all. She started out having Amanda wrap her up in a towel, then she sat on her lap, that progressed to her laying down by her, then on top of her and then moved down by her feet and just hung out.

The mini-Starfish reunion. The Starfish babies are of course Rebecca on the far left. Amanda in the middle with the orange floatie things, her sister Bethanie is to the left and behind her. Megan on the right in the pink swimsuit, her sister Carly is behind her. Emma was way too busy to be included in the photo op.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Loveless Cafe

You just can't visit Nashville & not go to the Loveless Cafe, it just wouldn't be allowed. Plus, it's just got to be the right place to take someone who is visting from China ... southern food, what could possibly be better? I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did Amanda!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What An Opportunity!

Amanda, Rebecca's foster mother from China, is in the US and her itineary included a a few days in Nashville. What a great opportunity for us since it's only about 3 hours away so we headed out Thursday afternoon to spend some time with her. I wasn't really sure how Rebecca would react, but since we do speak of her often and have been able to skype with her, I really thought it would be fine. Well, fine doesn't even do it justice - Rebecca was so happy to see her! We had the best time.

We had been invited to a small gathering that had been scheduled for Amanda to speak about her home and mission to help the medically needy orphans in Xi'An. It just so happens that several of the people who attended were also people who had sponsored Rebecca. Brian & I have talked about going down one weekend and attending the church there in Franklin that is such a big supporter of the Starfish Home but we just hadn't gotten around to it yet. I've written about this before, but it's so difficult for me to find the adequate words to share just how very much we appreciate the support shown to Rebecca and to the Starfish Home. To use a line from the Starfish Legend ... these supporters "made a difference to this one". Several people from their church traveled to Xi'An and volunteered there in the home (which is how I was able to get several pictures of Rebecca early on) and then others sent gifts to Rebecca. Her favorite little pair of pink crocs were sent by one of her supporters, another had sent her a build-a-bear. Lots of love was sent to our baby girl from one side of the world to the other! Simply amazing to me and so humbling.

The other little 'red thread' in all of this is that we were in Nashville when we first found out that Rebecca's file had been sent to the CCAA.

Here's a few pictures from the coffee/dessert thing we attended with Amanda.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July Tradition

Not sure why, but I take a picture of the kids every year on the 4th - well, the Sunday closest to the 4th anyway. Typically I take it outside but this year it was raining. Oh, and this year it's now 3 munchkins instead of 2!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fun Fourth

We celebrated the 4th with several friends last night and a fun time was had by all despite the drizzly weather. Yummy food and time to fellowship with one another is fun regardless of what's going on in the sky. Thanks Marla for having us!

On the left side of the fountain: Jake, Ryan, Emma & Rebecca.
On the right side: Ava, Adalyn, Lily, Ella, Dalton & Leslie's niece

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Here's to a Happy 4th of July to all! We'll be off in a few hours to spend the evening with friends and fellow adoptive families. The girls are napping, the deviled eggs are made as well as a pasta salad. I hear my buddy Leslie is making some kind of dessert with twinkies. Yum, can't wait to try that! Looking forward to an evening of fun & fellowship!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Warming Up With The Team

Rebecca just amazes me at how she pays attention to things, a lot more than I would think she would. I posted the other day about us playing ball in the back yard and her putting the gardening glove on. Well, the other night at Emma's t-ball game the team was warming up and she grabbed Emma's t-ball glove and headed out on the field for first base. I think baby girl is ready to play ball!