Monday, August 31, 2009

Emma and her 'All About Me' project

Emma had a homework assignment that consisted of us finding 4 or 5 items that described her personality and the things she enjoys. These were placed in a ziplock bag and went off to school this morning with her. Each child in her class will be sharing their 'All About Me' bags this week during their 'circle time'. Emma took the following:
* A monkey - to signify that she likes to climb and play on the monkey bars and that we call her our little monkey.
* A pony tail holder with a flip flop on it because Emma LOVES flip flops and has since pretty much the day we arrived home with her. I like to tease her that she came out of the womb wanting to wear flip flops.
* She also included a Chinese 'yuan' to show currency from her birth country.
* A picture of an ice cream cone and she told about being allergic to milk and eggs but that she has outgrown that and can now have yummy ice cream.
* She took one of her gymnastic outfits and told them how she likes gymnastics.

I inquired about her project this evening and she was very happy to tell me all about it. She said she started off with the monkey and that the class laughed so loud that she had to cover her ears, apparently she told them she IS a monkey. She also told me that the kids thought the Chinese money wasn't real money. But the highlight of her story was that all the kids wanted to touch her dimple and some even stuck their finger in it. They also wanted to touch her nose - again (this happened last week too). So, she got to go around the circle while everyone touched her dimple. They also wanted to ask her about her eyes since they are different too. She told them they are different because she 'was born from China'.

I'm still not sure how to process all of this. All the kids from church are so used to her and especially the ones her age because they have all been together since they were little. They just see her as their playmate and friend, not as a child that is different from them. At least that is how it seems to me. Same with preschool, I just do not remember her coming home and saying the kids wanted to touch her nose or anything like that. I suppose it's just normal curiosity and I am glad that she is not bothered by this. But in a way it breaks my heart too because when I look at her, I see my daughter, my joy and delight. I see her fun little personality and her 'let's go' attitude, I don't see her as being different ... I just see my delightful little baby girl with a smile that would melt an iceberg.

Feel free to comment ... i'm curious how other parents feel, do you think the whole 'all about me' turning into a discussion of her dimple an odd thing?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Travel Mates



As I was going back through pictures tonight, I realized that I had never mentioned a stop we made on the way back from Michigan. Not sure how I left this out! We were able to stop back through northern Indiana and spend some time with a family from our travel group that we met when we went to China to adopt Rebecca. We had the best time catching up and getting a chance to meet their adorable little boys (they had traveled w/out the boys). All the kids really hit it off and were having the best time together. The husbands gave us a hard time about Gina and I taking pictures of the girls, but not the boys. But she and I both know we took more than our share of pictures of the boys too!

It still amazes me, the friendships made and cherished through both of our adoptions. What a blessing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rebecca



Considering I seem to not have time to blog anymore, I'll just have to stick with pictures. Rebecca was tired of having her picture taken by this point, but for some reason i love both of these shots of her.

Life is just a tad bit on the hectic side. I know I've shared on FB, but realized I had not here ... but I'm back to work!!! And it's kicking my beee-hind, however this week is definitely better than last in that regard. Starting to get my groove back! I'll write more about this blessing later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due


I have a few more pictures to post, but wanted to make sure I give credit where credit is due on these! Robin, a photographer in Frankfort took these shots of the kiddos. I was given her contact information from my friend Cynthia after I inquired about some fabulous pictures she had of Miss Marlee that were of her sitting on a railroad track. They were just too cute for words!

Robin was very patient with the kids even though it was evening time and the girls were tired and Ryan was bossy. She was even patient with me as I was constantly combing hair, trying to straighten bows and keep Ryan from being bossy. I would say she earned her money that night! The hard part is going to be figuring out which ones to order.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Quiver Is Now Full

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Girls


Friday, August 21, 2009

Updated Capitol Map


I know I've been remiss in getting this updated ... but I have one minor technical problem along with a non-technical problem. A friend of mine updates this for me, because well, hmm - I don't know how he does it. He NEVER keeps the original of the map or the cute little pin so every time I need it updated I have to go search through thumb drives and find them. Add to that another little pesky problem. When I asked said friend to help me with this, well actually to do this for me, I requested a map with a push pin because that's what you would do if the map was hanging on the wall, right? Well he didn't understand why it had to be the pin and not some other little designation like a dot or a star but I wanted a pin. Which then made me endure this whole thing said friend used to tease me about, that it's all what Carolin wants. So ... long story, but now it's updated. And this time he even updated it without also harrassing me. That would be progress.

Speaking of progress, 11 down - 39 to go. How in the world are we going to get the rest of them visited is a great big question mark!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Here's Lookin' At Ya', Kid


Emma told me that a little boy on the bus kept staring at her, so she did this. She said it scared him! I bet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Starting School and Back To School



Our little dumpling Emma started kindergarten today. In so many ways I think she should still be the little fuzzy headed baby girl that she was back in 2005 and now here she is with the fuzz replaced by a head of long hair that she likes to toss around and act prissy with. She was really excited about starting school, catching up with her old friends and also being able to meet new friends. I just love her little outlook on life. We attended her open house the other night where she met her sweet teacher and took place in a scavenger hunt. All that to say, she had no qualms whatsoever about starting school. No crying at the door for miss spunky. Believe it or not, I even made it without crying too!

I had asked the kiddos what they wanted for breakfast for the first day of school and they both pretty much answered in unison that they wanted pancakes and bacon. Silly me, I thought they would probably ask for some kind of cereal that we wouldn't typically buy, or maybe even donuts but nope, pancakes was the request so pancakes it was. Yum.

Then there's Ryan who started middle school today. I was somehow able to convince him to let me drop him off too although he protested much. It took an argument of me wanting him to be with me to drop Emma off that sealed the deal. He's getting just way too cool to be seen with mom! I was able to luck out and get a picture of him this a.m. though since we were way early and no one was around to witness it such a seemingly uncool moment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One Tired Baby Girl


Poor little Ree-bex, this was taken a week or so ago. She had swimming lessons that week which meant she had gone several days without a nap. One afternoon after we had arrived back home, checked messages, thumbed through the mail, all that good stuff - I realized Rebecca wasn't milling around. I knew she had gotten out of the car and came in the house but realized I hadn't heard from her since. Now before you think I'm a terrible mother, it didn't take me long to realize she was missing. Thankfully it didn't take long to find her as she had indeed made it in the front door but fell asleep on the stairs!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sleeping Bear Dunes





My last post on Michigan, I'm ready to go back already. After we left the sand dunes we drove through a scenic area in the national park that took us through several points of interest. The coolest one was this view of Lake Michigan. And no, I didn't even attempt this climb!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sleeping Bear Dunes







Ok, I'm almost finished with Michigan posts, but it was too much fun to not share. We visited an area called Sleeping Bear Dunes that is somewhat close to Traverse City. The main attraction for the short people was climbing the dunes ... and boy did they. Not sure if the pictures captured it as well but it was a darn long way up those dunes. I think I read that it's something like 150 feet from the top of the first plateau down to the parking lot and then 300 feet from the second. We didn't even know there was a second plateau until we hit the first. My legs were killing me but yet Ryan and Emma were running up and down like it wasn't that big of a deal. Multiple trips up and down for them equaled a great place to run off some energy and really good naps on the way back to Traverse City. Wish we had dunes like ths in the 'Ville!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Perspective


One of the first things we noticed on Mackinac Island is that the horse carriages do not have those sling things that catch the horse excrement like they have on the horse carriages in your typical downtown setting. With horse carriages being one of the main modes of transportation on the island you can only imagine why someone would need to do the job shown here. The funny thing is that when Emma saw this she wanted to know why the guy scooping poop was smiling! I suppose it's all in perspective Miz Emma. I'm thinking it wouldn't be such a bad job riding around on a bike all day on a beautiful island with cool weather and cleaning up after horses!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Biking Around Mackinac Island

The main thing Ryan wanted to do on vacation was to rent bikes and ride around Mackinac Island and of course we couldn't disappoint him. There were so many people riding around and it just seemed like the perfect fun family thing to do. We had been told that it was an 8 mile ride around the island and that it was a relatively flat and easy ride so we stopped by the bike shop to outfit the crew. Ryan was first with a bike for himself, Brian and Emma next with a regular bike for him and then one of those tagalong bikes for Miz Divine. The tagalong looks like a normal bike but instead of a front tire, the front of the bike attaches to the parents' bike. Rebecca and I opted for a regular bike for me and then one of those enclosed attached things that she could ride in. It was nap time for her anyway and we knew she would be fast asleep in no time.

Oh, and a funny thing to add ... the guy at the bike shop told us that he has had customers who made it about 6 miles, decided the bike ride was too much and then turned around and came back. What??? Surely not!

Anyway, we took off on our bikes with everyone smiling and enjoying the day. Ryan was leading the way, Brian & Emma were following fairly close behind and then Rebecca and I were bringing up the rear. Bex was soon lulled to sleep and we were enjoying riding around the shoreline with many other like minded folks. Great day indeed. We were probably 30 to 45 minutes into the ride when I guess Emma became somewhat bored with just plain ol' bike riding so she started in with her Emma antics. First it was just holding her arms straight out, then it was holding her legs straight out and then sometimes the hands would go straight up. Just about every time she did something like this she would turn around and flash me her megawatt smile. She was enjoying life to its fullest. I was enjoying the show and even more so enjoying comments from other bike riders traveling in the opposite direction. Family after family would make some comment like "did you see that little girl", "she was soooo cute" or you would just hear people chuckling at her antics. It wasn't long at all until she was bored with those things too and she started standing up on her bike seat while holding the bike handles. It was absolutely hilarious and the reaction from people was even funnier. To add to all this, Brian was completely oblivious to the shenanigans going on right behind him.

All the fun and games came to an abrupt stop though when Emma put her bare foot on the moving bike tire .... I didn't see it happen but looked up when I heard the screech of bike tires and saw their bike go sideways. Brian thought she had put on the brakes but for one, she didn't have brakes and number two - the big ol' crocodile tears were a dead giveaway that something had gone awry. The remainder of the bike ride was spent in the enclosed cart thingy with Rebecca. Bless her little bones. We were able to talk her into getting back on her bike for just a few minutes when we got back to town but it was most definitely against her strong little will.




When we stopped for a short break, Emma hitched a ride with Ryan. This is how she used to ride on my bike when she was a baby.
Rebecca refreshed from her nap!



A rare shot of Emma crying, just not something she ususally does. But her little foot had a good size rubber burn on it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mackinac Island and The Grand Hotel







There's just no way I can give this part of our trip true justice. Mackinac Island and a stay at the Grand Hotel was the crown jewel of the week. When you step off the ferry you feel like you are stepping back in time as there are no motorized vehicles on the island. The modes of transportation are just old fashioned walking, horse drawn carriages or bikes. The clip clop of horses feet was everywhere. What a quaint and happy place to visit! We took the carriage from the dock up to the hotel and the girls thought that was just the best thing ever.

The Grand Hotel is just that, very Grand! It somewhat reminded me of one of mine and Brian's favorites spots, the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas but on a much larger scale. While poking around on the internet I found a special that I just couldn't pass up. The stay includes a 5 course dinner and then breakfast the next morning. The hotel opened in 1887 and at 660 feet, their front porch is the world's largest. There are over 300 rooms and each one is decorated differently. There are all kinds of fun things to do there at the hotel such as lawn games for the family as well as a huge outdoor heated pool.

During the dinner hour, and I think also around lunch time they have children's activities in a room called 'Rebecca's Room' that include a meal so that parents can enjoy the fancy dinner if they so choose. Emma decided that sounded like much more fun than dinner with us but Ryan felt he was too old, plus he wanted to see what the nice dinner was all about. The children have to be over 5 to participate but we were able to hire a babysitter at the hotel to take Rebecca which allowed her to enjoy some time with Emma and to be able to enjoy the children's activities too. Taking Ryan to dinner with us was well worth it! He was very impressed with the meal, as were we and he seemed to get a big kick out of learning what all the forks were for.

I'd love to share more but too much to do right now, I'll write some more later. There's a whole story involving a bike ride around the island that needs to have it's own post anyway. An 8 mile family bike ride with a family that feels like we're a traveling circus anyway. It's quite funny.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mackinaw City



We headed north to Mackinaw City after we left Lansing. I've mentioned before that we always try to find some kind of local cuisine when we are out and about we found something interesting next to our hotel "Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Co.". I've never ever heard of them but goodness they were good! They refer to them as a 'balanced meal in a crust'. The little tourist thing we picked up said that they originated as a meal for miners of Cornwal, England than later Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Wives would bake meat and vegetables in a crust and wrap it in many layers of linens or newspaper for their husband's lunch. Yummy!

After the delicious lunch we were ready to head over to Mackinac Island but were hit with a torrential downpour. I had thrown in a couple of sweatshirts for the girls as we were leaving Kentucky, I'm so glad I did because it had been chilly in Saugatuck but it was really chilly in the rain waiting for the ferry over to the island. I couldn't help but laugh though because Ryan and Emma were pretty bummed about the weather and reminded me how they were looking forward to riding bikes on the island and all that good stuff but Rebecca, she was just enjoying the rain! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!
Then this came into site ... we somehow missed it with some confusion on getting from the ticket office down to the dock ... and all kinds of rains. We made it down to the dock just as they blew their little fog horn thingy and backed away. Great. Thankfully another one was scheduled to come along.
And finally we were off for Mackinac Island!!! Everyone's sour mood had abated by then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lansing - State Capitol Visit





If you've been following along on the blog for a while you probably know the real reason we visited Michigan, so that Ryan could tour another state capitol. I told Brian that while we may not be able to get to all 50 of them at least it's helped us visit some places we probably would not have ever gone to before. I think this makes #12 for him.

This visit certainly didn't disappoint, we had a wonderful tour guide that seemed tickled that such a young guy has a goal of visiting all 50 and said that typically she only sees retired people with a similar goal. Does that mean Ryan has an old soul? ha.

Some interesting things about the capitol, the architect also designed the state capitol for Texas and Colorado. The floor on the ground level is made out of glass blocks and has lights under them, really interesting to look at. As you went higher in the building the floor looked concave. Just wish my shots of it could have shown how really neat it looked. Then there is the dome. Wow. I should have looked through the book before I started this post so I could quote some facts, but just didn't so please forgive me. You can read more about the dome here. Looking up from the rotunda is very beautiful, it's something like 160 feet up to the top of the eye of the dome and provides a glimpse into the vastness of the sky which is represented by a starry sky. Very beautiful. There were matching 'Michigan' chandleliers too that were designed for the building that feature elk and shields inspired by the states coat of arms. Even the hinges for the doors had the same design.