Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Sweet Family

Friday, July 29, 2011

Banana Boat Time

This so far has been Emma & Ryan's favorite beach activity!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Greetings From Gulf Shores Alabama!

They may not always go along with my plan ... but I sho' love my kiddos!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Plan Vs Actual, Part II

I was in such a hurry the other day that I left out several points of interest.

  • When I mentioned the sticky notes, what I left out is the fact that I had loaded up my iphone with some of Brian's favorite music and even drove so he could zone out, enjoy the trip & listen to some ol' tunes.  So he totally missed the brouhaha over the sticky notes. 
  • I mentioned stopping not too far out of town, which really messed up my gas-fillup plan.  So by the time we do finally REALLY need to stop, Rebecca is snoozing away.  One thing we've learned from experience that a Rebecca that awakens on her own is a little angel from heaven.  A Rebecca that we've woken up is a little ... well, let's just say there's pouting, fussing and leg kicking.  It's not pretty.  Brian has a term for her in that mood "snarl-puss".  So about the time the red light is about to come on little sweet Rebecca wakes up - so it's time to get gas.  But my "plan" involves only stopping at certain kinds of places for gas and those certain kinds of places HAVE to be on the same side of the highway we're traveling down.  A little OCD, maybe.  But by this point we couldn't be choosy and we were left with two options.  One was a run down truck stop that was right beside the "Pine Wood Spa" which was a "spa" in a metal barn.  Can't say that I've ever seen a spa on the side of the hwy in a building like that!  No, we didn't stop.  Which left our only other choice as a tad bit less sleazy of a gas station.  I take the girls to the bathroom and it has vending machines ... Emma reads them and as she's reading "red hot love potion" and the like she asks "Mama, what's that?".  Better ask yo' papa.
Thankfully the beach is making up for that road trip!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Plan Vs Actual

When it comes to traveling, I have a precise way I like to do things.  From packing the suitcases to packing the van ... to what is w/in arms reach of the van - and what's not ... I've got my way.  And it's the best way.  Haha. 

But what's the saying, something about the best made plans?  The funny thing is - as much as I have a plan - I have 4 others who don't always go along with it.

Here's some examples. 
  • The plan - the van is full when we leave so that we can get several hours down the road before we have to stop.  Actual - Just about an hour of town we have to stop because someone I know and love had several cups of coffee before we left.
  • The plan - I pack a cute little carrier with healthy snacks.  The main reason is financial - so that we do not end up buying things at every stop.  Actual - First stop, Brian buys coffee and the kids declare it's not fair so we end up with beef jerky and chips.  Those chips go well with a just vaccummed van.
  • The plan - a dollar store bag of goodies so that when the little ones get restless I can pull something out of my bag of tricks and that will buy another hour or so of peace.  Actual - silly me bought one package of sticky notes thinking of how much fun they would have with them.  Did I mention the one package was $1?  After them arguing over who got what for 10 minutes I was kicking myself for not buying another set.  Heck, as aggravated as I was I was wishing I had bought every pack of stickies they had. 
I think the picture is clear so I'll stop there :-)  So very thankful when I get the hotel in my sight!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Helping Hand's Annual Family Picnic

Our adoption agency hosts an annual family picnic which we've unfortunately missed the past year or so.  Thankfully though, we were able to go this year and had the best time!  There were only a few families from our first travel group but since then we have made friends with some other families - so in a way it was almost like a family reunion.  The girls had a blast playing with their friends from China ... and me, well - I got a little misty eyed thinking of the girls from our first travel group and how Emma has "known" them even before she became our daughter.  It just further instilled in me how important it is that or Lianjiang daughters have a life long bond.
Susan was our travel guide with Rebecca's adoption.  In fact, the area we traveled to was her hometown!  While we were there we were blessed to enjoy some homemade dumplings that her mom sent to us at the hotel.  Best I've ever had!

Emma and Kate - We sat close to her parents on the trip to China and then became good friends too.

Emma, Sheridan & Mattie Grace - our little "Lianjiang Sisters"

Emma & Rebecca with Jenna - the daughter of a local family we met while waiting on Rebecca's adoption.  Neat thing with this friendship is that they are in the process of adopting again and their new daughter is from the same orphanage Emma was in. How cool is that?!!!

And just for fun - this picture was taken at the very first AHH Family Picnic we attended which was just about a month  after we had gotten home with Emma.  She was blowing kisses already!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Red Orchard Park

A photog friend of mine recently purchased a new macro lens and brought it in for me to try out ... I'm always on the ready to take pictures so we headed off to Red Orchard Park for some photo fun!

Girlfriends like to practice their "cheers"

And cheer formation - if that's what you call it :-)

And pose for ol' Mom

And Play In Old Barns

And play with various things from the trees 

Then roll various things down the slide - WHEEE!

Then before you know it, it's time for that last slide down the slide ....

Have I ever mentioned how pretty Kentucky is?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hanging Out

Emma is such a little monkey ... It seems as though she can climb just about anything and does it with the utmost of ease. It's really amazing to watch her because there looks to be very little effort on her part.

Case in point. Brian was busy helping Rebecca with the slider thing at the park while Emma just shimmies up the pole - a regular metal kind of pole. No foot holds. No indentations. No nothing other than a straight up pole.

Check out how she's just hanging on as though it's normal for people to hang on to the side of a pole any ol' day.

This just cracks me up on soooo many levels ...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Today

Haven't done this little exercise in a while ... but found out after my little whinefest on comments that some people do enjoy this.

Outside my window: It's dark and muggy and hot ... and it rained a little. Of course it rained, I washed the van.

I Am Thinking: About V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. Getting close! We're heading to Gulf Shores, Alabama this summer. It's been a few years since we've been to the gulf and we're all looking forward to it. Last year we went to the Atlantic side and the water was just way too rough for the girls. I'm thinking the gulf will be just what they need.

I Am Thankful For: Summertime and all the fun we've had so far this summer. The kids have enjoyed their break and we've enjoyed a whole lot of sunshine.

From The Kitchen: What's that?

I Am Wearing: Blue shorts, white t-shirt. I'm such a rebel.

On the 'Go Organize' Front: We finally worked on the toy room/play room! It's not decorated really but Brian cleaned it out and painted it a few months ago and I finally got around to sorting out toys and taking some old things to Goodwill and throwing out a whole lot of mismatch things ... still more to do but it is looking better.

I Am Going: To bed soon, it's been a busy weekend.

I Am Reading: "The Good Women of China - Hidden Voices" ... wow. Can't hardly put it down.

I Am Hoping: That the humidity lets up a tad - dang it's been hot here.

I Am Praying For: Several things. Well, many things. A dear friend whose husband is undergoing chemo. What a blessing their family is though, definately a lesson in faith, grace and humor from them. Also praying for some friends of ours whose daughter from China is having heart problems and it looks like she may have to undergo surgery much sooner than they thought she would. Lots of things on my prayer list these days.

I Am Hearing: "American's Got Talent" on the televsion and can overhear whatever it is Brian is listening to on his laptop even though he has on headphones. Now if that was Ryan I'd be telling him to turn it down!

Around The House: Somewhat cleaned up but several projects lined up that need my time and attention. Laundry clean and put away. School supplies purchased and in totes just waiting on school to start. A box of pictures that needs to be mailed to my stepson. and Shoes ... shoes are everywhere. What is it with my kids that they can't put their shoes away?

One Of My Favorite Things: Watching the kids play on the playground. We went to a picnic today w/ other families with children from China and the girls just played and played. What a joyous site!

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: Ryan starts cross country running tomorrow. Rebecca has t-ball practice. Gymnastics for Emma on Tuesday. T-Ball game for Rebecca on Thursday ... just go - go - go.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Between Ryan, Emma and now Rebecca it seems like we've been through many seasons of t-ball and yet it still cracks me up to see the shenanigans of the little ones.  From the 2.3 second attention span of some of the kids to the crouched down playing in the dirt - those are images I'll carry around in my mind for a life time.  During warm up the other night Rebecca was throwing the ball back and forth with a little guy, he would throw (or roll) the ball to her she'd get it and before she could ever roll it back he would be off in never ever land and not even see the ball roll by.  Funny times. 

But just like some other 'lasts' we're experiencing this year - sadly this will be our last season of t-ball so I'm relishing every little moment.

The bad thing though, those blue shirts don't make nearly as cute of pictures as the orange ones from last year!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Splash Park Time

We have a new splash park in town called "Creekside Playground and Splashpark" which is actually a small part of a new park system that is going in. One thing we've found since moving to the 'Ville is that the park system is beautiful, well planned & maintained. I may be completely butchering this but I'm fairly certain the existing parks here were designed by the same man who designed Central Park in NYC - something Olmstead?  I know, I probably should know more about that.  Our favorite is Cherokee Park which is down in the historic part of town in an area that has beautiful - BEAUTIFUL old houses.  The kids are always begging us to take them there.

But back to the new park system, they have purchased land over the past few years with a master plan of connecting 4 major parks.

Pop over to HERE to read more about it - really cool in my opinion!