Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Card

We did another home photo shoot this year, hoping for the perfect shot for our Christmas cards. I didn't like any of the shots from the first try, so we scrapped those photos and started over one Sunday after church. We ended up using this photo of the girls just playing around with their antler headbands. Of course, the girls dressed the dog up for the photo too! :-)

And then, this is another set of photos I really liked. DH didn't want to use these because it's a repeat of our 2004 photos....but I think we'll be doing these again in the future anyway!

Cookin' Up Christmas

The girls sang in the children's choir at church again this fall. The theme for the Christmas program was "Cookin' Up Christmas". The characters of the program were modeled after the big name stars of the Food Network. We had Bobby Grey, Emma Lasagna, Martha Steward, Allie Brown, Paula Queen, and even Betty Rocker. :-) The part of Paula Queen (aka Paula Deen) was played by an adult who used a strong southern drawl to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Emily played the part of Martha with an attitude. :-) Ally and Claire didn't have a speaking part, although they did have a song duet, and I must say they sounded really good! (imho)
All of the kids decorated aprons to wear during the performance, and finished off the outfit with a chef hat. Everyone remembered their parts and did a great job of singing. Way to go kiddos!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gotcha Gifts

As I mentioned in the previous post, Emily's 10th anniversary of her adoption day was in November. Due to scheduling conflicts and the Thanksgiving holiday, our group planned our celebration weekend for November 30th through December 2nd.

On the afternoon of the 30th, I packed everything for the trip and picked dh up from work. He said he wasn't feeling well, so he stayed home for a bit while I went to check the girls out of school early. By the time we came back home, dh was really sick...and ended up being admitted to the hospital later that evening.

Emily was absolutely heartbroken at the thought of missing her gotcha day party. She was sad that her daddy was sick, but there was some major sobbing going on when she heard we couldn't go on the trip. I remembered that a friend was driving to Little Rock the following day for a Hannah Montana I made a few phone calls and asked for a few favors. Emily was able to get to Little Rock, and her China travel group picked her up there. She was THRILLED to be with her friends for the remainder of the weekend!!

Emily's China travel group always exchanges gifts for "gotcha day". This year, I made pillows for each of the girls. The pillows have their names and a Chinese girl embroidered on them (clothing colors selected to match their bedrooms...hopefully!). The pillows are finished off with matching beaded trim and back fabric. Don't know what I was thinking when I decided to put on beaded trim...nearly lost my mind sewing that stuff on!! LOL We weren't there for photos, but the other parents sent this photo of the girls with their pillows.

Gotcha Day - 10 years!!

It all happened 10 years ago....the day we first became parents! Little Lu Ran-Ran was placed in our arms on November 21, 1997. Our WONDERFUL travel group got together to celebrate our 10 year adoption anniversary (aka gotcha day) - more to come on that later, but for now, my mind is reminiscing a little.....

I still remember walking into that conference room in Hefei, China...feeling excited, scared, anxious, nervous. I was SO nervous that at first I didn't even see the nannies holding the children!! I felt like I had blinders on. I only saw an "official looking" woman and the conference table. I was the first one into the room...I walked to the table and pulled out a chair....only to be told NO! by the woman. She then told me to go around to the other side. THAT'S when I saw the babies!! There on the couch were 4 nannies, holding 4 beautiful and precious little girls. When Randy and I turned to look at the babies, one of the nannies pointed to the child she was holding and said, "Ran-Ran" and then pointed back at us, smiling and saying, "Mama & Baba". I melted. There she was...only a few feet away, OUR daughter! The little girl we had waited so long to hold. We had to wait a little longer before we were able to hold her though, as the officials wanted the adoption paperwork completed first.

The next few minutes are a blur...with the 4 families completing paperwork, answering questions about our incomes, why we want to adopt, will we promise to love these children as our own, etc. The final step was to put our thumbs into red ink and "stamp" the papers.

THEN we were allowed to hold our children! Emily was dressed in a little onsie, a pair of split pants, and a little quilted jacket. Before she handed Emily to me, the nanny removed the split pants for the orphanage to keep. I cried a little when I first held Emily, but she just looked at Randy and I with wide eyes. Her little hands grasped the little caterpillar toy we brought with us. Randy and I were totally and completely in love with this child! I remember Randy saying over and over how beautiful she was. This was OUR DAUGHTER!!

Once we came out of our own fog, we were able to observe the other families in the room. Trish (a single mom) was singing to her tiny little one, the Gary's were smiling and taking photos of their daughter, and the Wood's were consoling their grieving daughter. Three of the girls were very close in age (14 months), however, the Wood's daughter was 2-1/2.

Fast forward 10 years. Our group of 4 first-time parents became "families" together. We also became close friends. We have gotten together every year for the past 10 years to celebrate our adoption day. We also get together every year for China camp. We have also tucked in a few extra events throughout the years such as a trip to Silver Dollar City, and many scrapbooking retreats for the moms. On top of all this, 3 families in the group returned to China earlier this year for a birth land tour! We don't live really close, but not really far apart either. The longest drive between us is 6 hours. We believe that our bond as parents has helped to bond our children together as well. The four little girls adopted that day in Hefei are now such close friends. They mail letters and cards, and send emails to one another. They make gifts for one another. They LOVE getting together for their gotcha day weekends and China camp...when they see each other, it's like they've never been apart. The girls are even scheming to go to college and live together when they're older!! :-)
We are SO thankful for this wonderful group of people. They are such blessings!!

Little Nurses

Ally and Claire LOVED the nursing accessories they were given when their dad was in the hospital. I think everyone in the family was subjected to a few pretend shots.


Since I got behind on blogging, I'm backtracking a little.
Claire made this cute little turkey at school prior to Thanksgiving. She wanted to make sure I put a picture on the blog! :-)


Finally back with time to update our blog a little!! What a CRAZY few weeks we've had!!

On November 30th, dh became ill with severe stomach pains and vomiting. As the symptoms became worse, he finally relented and allowed me to take him to the ER. After a short (ha!) 4 hour wait in the ER, dh was admitted to the hospital. Xrays and blood tests were done...and 2 days later, dh was feeling better, so he was released from the hospital. Diagnosis was a bacterial infection in his stomach.

Only four days later on a Thursday evening, the pain and vomiting had returned...this time much worse, so at 9 p.m. we headed for the ER again. They graciously assisted us with another 4 hour wait (have to give them credit because 3 hours and 55 minutes WERE in the treatment room after all). :-)
DH was again admitted to the hospital for another round of xrays, MRI's, blood work, etc. Diagnosis was "pancreatitis". The main treatment for this is to hook up an IV and withhold food/drink for at least 5 that's what they did. DH wasn't allowed even a drink of water. They also put a tube into his stomach to drain all that yucky bile (pretty gross stuff I must say!). On the final full day of his hospital stay, dh was given a liquid lunch (he thought the Jell-O was heavenly! LOL), and then 'solids' for dinner. I think they call the meal a 'solid' because it really doesn't qualify as tasty's simply a solid piece of meat that has all of the "taste" removed. :-) Since dh was able to keep the foods down, he was then released the following day (& much rejoicing was heard around here!).

During dh's hospital stay, I spent many hours there with him (it's a sad, boring place to be alone!). The remainder of the time I spent getting the girls to/from school, getting homework and school projects done, and then taking the girls to visit their dad. One of the nurses took quite a liking to the girls, and outfitted them with masks, gloves, empty syringes, etc.
Allyson and Claire thought their accessories were SO much fun...and they tried their hand at doctoring dad (of course, I HAD to take a picture of that!). :-)

BTW, for anyone wondering.....80% of people who have pancreatitis are alcoholics, 10% have a small gallstone causing irritation, and 10% don't really know why. DH falls into the final 10%. He had his gallbladder removed in March, but they "think" maybe a micro stone was causing the problem -- and it either passed or was removed via the tube. We just hope dh never has this problem again....he was one very sick puppy!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


on posting to the blog yet again! A quick recap: we had Thanksgiving with our families, shopped a little on black Friday, and put up the Christmas tree.
We have SO much to be thankful for. Will try to post more details soon!

YouTube Video

Thought this was a pretty powerful video.....

Monday, November 19, 2007


It is apparent now that I've trained Emily very well when it comes to taking photos and scrapbooking.

Last week, Emily's class went on an overnight trip to the Natural Science Center. The kids were allowed to bring a camera along if they wanted to...well, of course Emily took hers. Before she left, I reminded her to just have a good time, and take as many pictures as she wanted...of anything and everything around her.

When I uploaded the pictures for developing, I had quite a surprise! There on the screen before me was...poop!! lol Not sure what kind of animal left it on the trail, but there it was...a big pile of poop! Emily said the leader did try digging through the poop to figure out what animal it was from, but they just weren't sure. Oh yes, and we have a picture of the leader digging through the poop too!! :-)

Emily is going to make a small paper bag scrapbook with her photos, and take it to school to show the science teacher. I hope the teacher is as proud of the poop picture as I am. LOL

I was going to add the picture to my blog, but decided against it at the last minute. Hope I don't disappoint anyone!! LOL

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Emily finished her FIRST quilt several weeks ago!! She sewed 100% of the quilt top by herself -- the first thing she has ever sewn. I gave her instructions on how to operate the machine, but once she learned the basics, she took off. I'm not a quilter, so I didn't help at all with this project (just drove her to the quilt store every now and then). Emily was SO excited to take her quilt top to the store to have it quilted. She chose a bright green fabric for the backing, and then chose a daisy pattern for the quilting (& green thread of course). One of the sweetest things about the quilt is that is was quilted by her grandpa (my dad). Yep, he's the official quilter at the store. Both Emily and grandpa did an awesome job on the quilt!!
Emily will be working on another quilt soon. She already picked out the fabric!

Painted Horse

One of the local florist shops has this horse statue outside that they paint throughout the year. I've seen the horse painted as a soccer player, decked out for the holidays, covered in flowers, wearing a pink breast cancer name it, and the horse has probably been painted that way. I just realized this past weekend that we've been ignoring this little piece of our town. Claire has ALWAYS remarked about how the horse was painted though - since she was old enough to talk, she would notice this horse when we drove by. Last month, the horse was painted in pretty pink/green/white stripes and really stood out. I thought then that I should stop and take a picture, but as usual, never really took the time to do just, when I noticed the painting had changed again, I decided to document the ever-changing scene. This is what the horse looks like now....pretty hearts on a black background. I just wish I had taken pictures of all the previous paintings. I wonder what's next.....

Friday, November 9, 2007

FFFF #55 Candy

The photo challenge this week is candy. Candy is something we have a lot of right now, so I sat Ally and Claire down for pics with their stash. Believe it or not, this is 3 gallons of candy! (Thank goodness we didn't get candy from ALL of the people at work and church!!) Emily has already sorted through hers and disposed of everything that wasn't a pack of skittles (she still ended up with a gallon bag full)....she just wasn't home when I snapped the pics.

I don't know if it's because the girls haven't felt well this past week, but they're really not eating much of their Halloween candy (yay!). :-) I have helped them as much as I could by eating all of the Mary Janes they had though!! LOL

More candy photos can be seen here

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Doctor, Doctor

Being *sick* of ourselves, Dh and I went to the doctor this morning. :-D
We both got prescriptions that will (hopefully) put us on the mend. The girls seem to be a little better this afternoon, so I'm hoping they won't need to see the doctor again. We had to wait about 30 minutes for our meds, so we did a little shopping. When I got home and took everything out of the bag, it cracked me up (doesn't take much for me does it?). This is what we bought...ah, starting to feel better already!! LOL

Sick and Tired

I'm sick and tired of being....well, sick and tired! :-O It started last Monday when Claire started feeling yucky. She had a sore throat, but no fever so she had to go to school on Tuesday (besides, that was their 50's day program, and we didn't want her to miss that). She went to school on Wednesday also, but I picked her up early for trunk or treat. She soon had a fever though and really didn't enjoy the evening. Then, she missed 2 days of school and I took her to the doctor for meds. (She still isn't feeling great though and her cough remains.)
On Saturday, *I* start feeling yucky and have a sore throat. (Of course! I was the one taking care of Claire and closest to all her germs!) Next thing I know, Randy says he has a sore throat...then Emily. Thought we were doing ok since we still had ONE holdout in the family who wasn't sick...until this morning. Allyson woke up with a sore throat and fever as of yet though. :-( We're headed to the doctor again this morning, hoping to get meds for "something"! I can tell that (for me) what started out as a sore throat has already turned into a sinus infection. As much as I hate going to the doctor, I know I need to get it treated (the last time I let it go more than a few days, I ended up with severe bronchitis). Jeez, we REALLY need a doctor in the family!!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Why is it that smoke detectors always tell you their batteries are low in the middle of the night? OK, so we should have changed them out back in the spring, but we just got busy and forgot (like a lot of people I think).
I just don't understand why that annoying little "chirping" sound couldn't go off in the middle of the day when I'm wide awake. When I could go buy a battery and get it installed before bedtime. Instead, it happens around 2 a.m. when we're in a deep sleep. We both hear the chirp, and Randy immediately says "OH NO" with a groan. Soooo, we get up and walk around downstairs waiting for another beep so we can figure out which detector it is. It beeps again, but nope it wasn't the detector in the hallway. We wait for another beep...and follow it to one in the living room....of course, if just happens to be one that's up really high. Randy grabs his house shoes and trudges out to the detached garage for a ladder and brings it into the house (running into walls with the ladder because it's so big, not to mention the fact that he's half asleep and he still has vision problems. Not truly wanting to, I do the right thing and offer to climb up to grab the offensive detector. Randy thinks he can do it though, so up he goes...still half asleep and on wobbly legs. He had to climb to the very top of the ladder (really glad *I* didn't have to climb up now), and turns the beeping plastic thing. It's a little hard to budge, so being the ever so impatient person he is, dh practically rips the thing off the wall. Once he finally got the wires disconnected, he took the beeping carcass and plunked it out into the garage and went back to bed.
Guess I'm going shopping for lots of batteries today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Little Girl and An Old Bridge

Every week when I take the girls to piano lessons, I see this wonderful, old bridge. I keep telling the girls that we need to do a photo shoot on the bridge, but we always forget to go back there. Yesterday, I just happened to have the camera in the van, so I grabbed Allyson and we took a few photos while we waited for Emily to finish practice. These are a few of my favorite shots. A real photographer could get some great photos here. I wish I could have taken more photos, but as luck would have it, my camera card was full....hey, is my last name "Murphy"?

More on Halloween

On Halloween, I checked Ally and Claire out of school a little early so we could get them dressed in their costumes - then we rushed over to pick up Emily from middle school. Emily quickly put her costume on in the car as we drove over to daddy's office for trick-or-treating. Yes, we trick-or-treat from offices, instead of houses. This is a big thing at the office...there were kids everywhere! The girls took only one piece of candy from each area, but they still ended up with a big Wal-Mart bag full of candy (see, no need to go to houses now!).
We left the office and went to church for trunk-or-treat. Each year, we try to come up with a different theme to decorate our van. We won first place last year with a Chinese theme. This year, we did a Noah's Ark theme...complete with dh dressing up as Noah (ok, I think he looked a little like an aging Billy Ray Cyrus! ick..LOL). I painted a display board backdrop, and dh designed a rainbow using swim noodles. We added in a few pairs of animals and some Christmas lights to finish it off. We didn't win first place this year, but we still won a free night at the Marriott and dinner at Dixie Cafe. OK, we'll settle for that I guess. lol

Being the ever-so-rushed and frazzled mom that I am, I completely forgot to get a good picture of the girls in their I quickly snapped this one of the girls on our way out of dad's office. Emily really didn't want to dress up (she thinks she's too OLD!), but we told her she couldn't walk around and ask for she went as a female Sherlock Holmes. Allyson was thrilled to be a dead bride, and Claire was a cute pink poodle. We found the little poodle mask and then I glued pom poms to a sweatsuit...I still need to get a pic of the little poodle booty with the tail! lol Claire won the costume contest at church, but that was about the only thing she enjoyed during the evening. She ended up having a fever and sat in the van...poor baby. :-(

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

50's Day

To celebrate the 50th day of school, the first graders performed for the school during lunch time. All of the kids looked adorable in their 50's attire! Here is Claire in her pink poodle skirt. Since most of the girls' skirts were like Claire's, I mentioned that pink must be a popular color with all the little girls. She quickly corrected me by saying, "No, it's just what they wore in the OLD days". OK then.
After singing for the parents and kindergarten, the first graders then had lunch. Claire was eating pretty quickly...when asked why she was in a hurry, she said "Mrs. Ginger (the music teacher) said we needed to eat like we have never seen food before!" because they were to sing later for the other grades. Just following orders I guess!! LOL

Halloween Parties

Last Friday was the date for the annual Halloween parties and parade at the elementary school. Claire dressed as a pink poodle, and Allyson decided on being a "dead" bride (but without the scary makeup). I visited Claire's class briefly before the parade of goblins..and long enough to drop off the "mummy hot dog" treats for the party. Then it was up to Allyson's classroom where I got to see Allyson being wrapped up like a mummy. She had a blast wrapping her friend up after she had shaken all the toilet paper from herself. :-)
Middle school isn't as much fun though....Emily's class didn't have a party (bummer!)
More Halloween photos to follow (after Halloween of course!!). :-)

Pumpkin Carving

We made a trip to the pumpkin patch (aka Wal-Mart lol), and the girls picked out their pumpkins. We then took them to Grandma's house for carving fun. I think this may be the first time Claire has carved a pumpkin (shame on us!). :-) Claire had to have a little help with the knife from mom, but Emily and Allyson carefully carved away at their creations. These spooky faces are a great welcome at night!

Good Grades!!

Good grades for the first quarter are flying high around here!! :-)
The middle school awards were held recently, and Emily got a certificate for earning all A's. We got a little extra surprise thrown in when her name was called out a second time....she was given an "Effort Award" from her team teachers as well (for going above and beyond in the classroom).

Although there were no award ceremonies for them, both Allyson and Claire were on the A/B honor roll this quarter. I must say that both Randy and I worked HARD to get those A's and B's for these two!! LOL This is the first time I've really thought hard about home-schooling...I mean, as much as we've studied and practiced, we practically have our own home school anyway! We've stopped tv and video games for the past month or so, and that has helped a lot. Family reading projects have also helped. The work continues on though.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's all about the Teeth

Claire lost her 3rd tooth over the weekend! Well, "lost" may not be the correct term....more like "manhandled". LOL When we visited grandma's house, Claire suddenly became determined to get the loose tooth she pushed and pulled and twisted. After about 15 minutes, she came and presented the tooth to me. Grandma was so impressed that she secretly gave me $5 to supplement the tooth fairy's money. :-)

On Monday, Allyson received her pretty PINK retainer! Thankfully, she only has to wear it at night (so far). We had a bit of a scare last night though...Allyson couldn't find the retainer and we thought the dog had eaten it!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Corn Maze

After visiting a few craft fairs on Saturday, we went to the corn maze in SW Missouri. The girls all had a good time on the farm-style slides, hay ride, corn maze, corn cannon and rope swings. We all went through the maze together, and amazingly made it out without any help!lol
This was a great kick-off of the fall I guess I need to get some pumpkins bought! :-O

Craft Fairs

We went to a few of the local craft fairs this weekend. Didn't buy much, but we had a good time just getting out and looking at all of the stuff. Randy and the girls just HAD to buy the kettle corn though...I guess that's a requirement. :-)
When we came out of one tent, we saw an ATM van. I hadn't seen one of these before, but I guess if there is an area with a lot of people, and there are things to spend money on, there's a need for an ATM machine. When Claire saw the van, she asked, "What are they selling" :-D Don't I wish! As my grandpa Roberts used to say...give me a nickels worth of five dollar bills!
While walking through the vendor tents, we noticed a guy dressed as a pirate (he said he was a renaissance man). He had a pet bird on his shoulder...and offered the bird to Emily. She was a little surprised when the bird jumped onto her hand.
Gotta run now...more pics of our weekend to come later.

It Has Finally Happened....

I've become my mother!!! AGH!!! The horror!! LOL

I never thought I was much like my mom at all (in appearance or personality). I've noticed lately though that I am JUST like her now in some ways. No, I'm still not skinny like mom - probably never will be, but I've started acting like her sometimes. :-O
You see, mom is what I would fondly call a "miser" know, safe with her money. I've always been perturbed by some of the little things she does === like, her way of buying the cheapest little canvas shoes she can find...and literally wearing them until they fall apart. She also doesn't like to spend money on clothes...she's perfectly fine with the cheapest shirt she can buy. I guess I should say I USED to be perturbed by all of I just know that's how mom is. She definitely has the means to buy better things, but if it isn't important to her, she doesn't worry about spending much on it. A good way to measure this is to see her garden or her dogs...she spends huge amounts on plants and accessories for her yard, and the dogs...well, they ARE her babies now! lol

Back to my original point...I'm becoming a "little" miserly like mom in that I now LOVE going to thrift stores! I've never been a buyer of "used" anything...but that's all changing now. I am having an absolute blast - I guess it's the "thrill of the hunt"!! LOL

I've been promising to redecorate Ally and Claire's room, but we're on a tight budget right now. I wanted to put a bench at the end of one bed, but all of the benches I found were too expensive, so I hit the thrift store. I ended up getting a 70's coffee table - am going to paint and distress it, put a pad on it, and wah-lah a bench! I also found a cute pair of round frames at the thrift store too that just happened to match the theme of their comforters!

Here's a pic of my latest thrift store finds: a plain shelf and a folding table....both for under $20. Both of these items are going in my scrap room. My scrap room is pretty much all a mish-mash of furniture, but I love the room anyway! The shelf will fit perfectly under another shelf (bought from a thrift store also), and the table will be great to pull out when the girls want to scrapbook with me.

Hmmmm, wonder what kinds of goodies I can find this week? I still haven't conquered my fear of garage sales, but I'm loving the thrift stores. I'm hoping to hit a few auctions soon too! Maybe I can get mom to go shopping with me soon...I know she loves a bargain!! :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007


We went to dh's company picnic a couple of weeks ago. They had the usual things like dunk tank, karaoke, face painting, and food (bbq brisket and chicken). They did donation jars for the management (as a fundraiser), and Randy just happened to have a big amount put into his jar, so he had to sing karaoke (not a big deal, since he's a singer anyway). Randy ended up singing IOU by Lee Greenwood and he sounded really good.
The girls' favorite part about the picnic was all of the fun kid entertainment. They all tried out the bull riding (Claire has a knack for this! lol). Emily and Allyson both did the rock climbing. Other items of interest was the inflatable slide and a couple of "jump houses".

Bye Bye Expander!!

Allyson said goodbye to her palette expander this morning! She was SOOOO excited about having this removed. She has been planning her first "treat"....a big bowl of popcorn which she'll have tonight! LOL
The process didn't go perfectly smooth though. As excited as she was, Allyson was also worried about throwing up. (She has a HORRIBLE gag reflex, and vomited on her first visit to the orthodontist a year ago.)
The doctor explained that the "cracking" sounds were the glue breaking off...not the teeth. Allyson was fine until the expander was out...she immediately jumped up and ran to the sink.
Once back in the chair, the assistant continued to work at removing the remaining glue...this involved a few more quick trips to the sink to rinse. While Ally was gone, I explained about her gag the assistant decided to put off doing the mouth mold until the last thing. Allyson cooperated while they took new x-rays and photos (of her now non-existing under bite). Allyson became very sad at the thought of what was to come next though.
Finally it was time....time for the mouth mold. I knew they had to do it, and I knew how Ally would react (we've really been talking positive about this all week hoping to make a difference). The assistant was great. She explained to Ally that it would feel like a cold glob, but that it would set up fast..and that Ally needed to breathe through her nose. As soon as the mold was put into her mouth, Allyson became stiff in the chair. I saw a tear run down her cheek and she pulled her legs up. In an effort to get Ally thinking about something else, the assistant quickly told her she needed her to raise her left leg into the air. Then the right leg, and back to the left. It worked!!! HALLELUJAH it worked!! They got the mold they needed for the retainer, and Ally didn't vomit this time! Since she was already late for school, I then treated Ally to breakfast of her choice...and McD's it was! Ally was excited about taking her expander and head gear for "show and tell" at school today! LOL
We go back on Monday for the retainer...fingers crossed that all goes well!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

scrapbookers habitat

Thought this was pretty funny...documenting a scrapbooker like a wild animal! LOL Not sure I should let Randy look at this...he already says I have a "store" in my scraproom.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Floral Beauty

We visited my mom's house (WAY out in the country!) this past weekend. I took the camera along, planning on going on a photowalk. We got busy with other things and then it was time to go. I suddenly remembered that I wanted to take a few pics of mom's flowers, so I snapped these quickly while dh and the kids waited in the truck.
Mom has a huge green thumb, and I'm hoping to put these pics in an album for her as a Christmas gift (along with pics of her hummingbirds I took earlier this year).

About Emily

When I started the post yesterday about Emily's birthday, I got a phone call and had to rush out...leaving my post unfinished.

Emily was adopted from China when she was an infant....a fact that she has known about since she was around 2 years old. We've always been open and honest about adoption with our children. We talk about the circumstances that led us to adopt, as well as the circumstances that led to the girls being available for adoption (some of the details we will probably never know of course, but we talk about that too). We talk about our differences, as well as our similarities as human beings. We've had a LOT more conversation lately due to the fact that we took Emily on a heritage tour this summer. Even Allyson and Claire have asked more questions and pondered the "what if's" of their lives.

Hmmmm. Well, after I started this post, my mind has gotten sidetracked (that's been happening a lot to me lately! LOL) I'm not sure where I was headed. For all of the "unknowns" in our lives, I am certain of these things: God knew we would adopt these beautiful girls. He knew their names (both Chinese and American) before we did. He knew they would each have their own distinct personality. He knew we would feel the need to return to their birthplace to try and "fill in the blanks" as much as possible.

Oh yeah, sorta figured out where I was headed! lol
On her birthday, Emily talked about being left on a street by her birth parents 11 years ago. We were so glad we could talk about WHERE she was left, and then HOW she was named by the orphanage staff....the "Rising Sun"....a beautiful name for a beautiful young lady!

I guess we need to start a fundraising campaign because it's so important that we return to China with Allyson and Claire as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Our "baby" girl turned 11 years old this past weekend. HOW did that happen? It was JUST yesterday that she was placed in my arms!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

China Heritage Tour

We recently received the flyer announcing Dillon International's 2008 China Heritage Tour. (Permission received from Dillon prior to posting this on my blog.) :-)

If anyone is on the fence about if/when to take their children back to their birth country, I highly recommend going...and doing so before the children are teenagers. Emily was 10 when we took her to China in June of this year (you can read about some of our trip in the June archives).
Emily was at a really good age to understand what was going on, without all of the "emotions" that usually come during the teen years. Our return visit to the orphanage and finding site is something we will always treasure. We really enjoyed being able to experience our return trip with other adoptive families as well.

We can't say enough good things about our tour experience. The Dillon staff member (Rebecca) who accompanied us on the trip was so wonderful and even lent a shoulder when we (the adults!) needed our cry time. OK, I'll admit it, it was the parents who were emotional when we visited the orphnaage and finding site...but the kids handled it very well! :-) Emily announced again yesterday that she is looking forward to going to China again soon.

If interested in learning more about the China Tour, you can visit the Dillon site here.
Note: I'm not being paid to advertise for this agency....I'm just a happy customer who has been blessed by adoption. :-)

Monday, September 24, 2007


Emily and I went photowalking yesterday (both of us armed with a camera) and took lots of photos. We just focused on things that caught our eye and tried to get some different shots. At first we thought our neighborhood was a bit on the boring side and there was nothing to photograph (empty lots, etc), but we got a new perspective when we started looking at all of the "little" things in life. So much beauty lies around us each day....we have so much to be thankful for! And yes, we did photograph some trash in the empty lots - it even takes a pretty picture! Looks like we'll be walking with trash sacks this week!

Here's a slideshow of the photos I took during our walk:

And here are the photos Emily took. I thought she did an amazing job...she may just become our new family photographer!! Not bad for a 10-year-old eh? (Ok, so she'll be 11 next week....yikes!) :-)

By the way, I first read about photowalking here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

IKEA Photo Project

Thought this was a really neat photo project.....
Even if you decide not to participate by uploading photos, the daily photo assignments will give some great ideas for taking unique and fun photos!
The project is for this week only (Sept. 17th to 23rd)....we're in the middle of the week already, so I need to hurry and catch up!! They also have a great section on photo tips from the pros.

I'd love to know if any of my friends do this...please drop me a line and let me know! :-)

Bake Sale

Our school had its first fundraiser last week, and I was asked to make something for a bake sale. I didn't have a lot of time, so I made things that were easy.....lemon bites, funny face sugar cookies, and s'mores on a stick. (I ended up adding "hair" to the face cookies after I snapped this pic.)
I was able to get all of these done in 2 hours. Everything was packaged in pretty colorful baggies and labeled with a computer-generated tag. I didn't stay for the sale, but the lady in charge said these items sold out very fast.
Getting hungry now....I think there are some graham crackers and chocolate left...and maybe some marshmallows too. yummmmm

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bad, Bad Blogger

It seems that we've had so much going on lately that I haven't had the time or energy to blog....or maybe I just haven't felt like writing anything interesting. :-[
I'm not even sure I can remember what we've been doing for the past few weeks, but I'll list what I can think of (since this is my way of recording the events of our life). :-)
Let's see....the girls started piano lessons. I know that Randy is so happy to see the girls playing on the piano that once belonged to his grandma. I think Grandma Ruth would be happy to know they're continuing on her tradition of making music.

We hosted Claire's China travel group over the labor day weekend...for our annual "gotcha day" (aka adoption day). It's wonderful to see the Nanping girls - how they change and the bond between them grows each year. This was our 5th year to celebrate - of course with a Chinese meal, cake and presents!! I can't post photos of the events because I need to respect the privacy of the other children and their parents....but trust me, there are some really cute photos of some really cute kiddos!

Miss Emily was selected to participate in the middle school choir. She was very happy that her audition went well. Way to go Em!

Emily also applied and was accepted as a member of the student council....looks like she's going to be a busy kid this year!

OK, that's it for today. I'm tired and "The Biggest Loser" is coming, how I wish I could be on that show! I can't imagine seeing myself in those skimpy spandex clothes and stepping on the scale in front of everyone though...ewwww! :-O

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Teeth

It has happened again...the tooth fairy had to make yet another visit to our house this week! :-) On Sunday afternoon, Claire was rough-housing with her big sis when all of a sudden I hear this: "Allyson! You knocked my tooth out!!"

Claire was SO excited and came running to show me her second baby tooth. She wasn't mad at big sister at all, but was really thankful instead. lol And did I mention how she also isn't bothered at all by the blood in her mouth? Funny kid!

It didn't take long for the two girls to sit down together and write a letter to the tooth fairy. The following is the note that accompanied the (now in a ziploc bag) little tooth:

Dear TF:
This is my 2nd tooth.
I want $10 - ten dollars - please!
Love, Claire

She didn't get quite that much, but it was still much more than the quarter we used to get. I need to have a talk with that "TF".....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back To School

Our summer is officially over as school started yesterday. I sometimes feel bad because the girls didn't have a "normal" summer due to Randy's vision problems (meaning I was his chauffer for work...still am), and then fil's declining health. The girls were troopers through it all though....but they were definitely ready to get back to school!
As part of our annual tradition, we spent time together as a family shopping for new school supplies. The girls had fun looking for each item on their list. Then, we had to label and organize everything...for a picture of course!
Let the madness begin!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Baby Teeth

Claire has been hoping for a loose tooth for the longest time! She can't stand that her sister has braces and she doesn't. It seems that every time we visit the dentist or orthodontist, she says she has a loose tooth (but she really doesn't).

Well, about a week ago, she complained of a tooth hurting when she bit into an ice cream cone. Dad checked, and sure enough there was a loose tooth! When we looked closer, we could see the new permanent tooth had already started coming in behind the baby tooth. Claire was SOOOO very excited and expected the baby tooth to fall out the next day...that didn't happen, but she wiggled it off and on the next few days. Last night to my surprise, Ally came down the hall screaming, "Claire pulled her tooth!"....followed quickly by Claire - carrying that precious tooth in a bathroom cup. :-) She carefully placed her tooth in a ziploc baggie and put it under her pillow. The tooth fairy was so proud of her for pulling the tooth on her own that "he" left her a whopping $7 !!! I guess the tooth fairy must live in an area with high inflation! lol

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wild Things

The girls and I went with the church group on a "Terrific Tuesday" outing....this particular week's event was the Wild Wilderness Safari. It was so much fun listening to the LOUD screams from the girls as the animals approached our car during our drive through the place. Even though you are asked NOT to feed the animals, it is apparent that some people do, as the animals walk right up to the window and stare at you. I think the loudest screams the girls let out were when we drove by the caged baboons...and then the baboons proceeded to present their brightly colored bottoms to us! Lots of "eeeeewwwwwwss!!!!" were heard then! lol
After the drive through, we parked and had a picnic lunch with the group. Then, we were off to the petting zoo. The girls took turns petting sweet baby leopards - the babies were just tuckered out though and slept silently as the girls touched them. The baby goats were a different story though! They were ALL about getting petted, and more importantly, trying to eat pretty much anything they could get their mouths on! lol
We had a tender moment with a mommy kangaroo and her little joey. The baby was in the mommy's pouch and would stick it's head out and stretch while we petted it.
~~~A fun day near the end of our summer vacation.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...