Friday, September 26, 2008

A Good Day

According to the girls, yesterday was a really 'good' day. :-) The girls' faces were just beaming as they hopped into the car after school. Then their rush of words hit me.....
"Mom,Imadethestudentcouncilagainandsodidallofmyfriends! Oh,andIalsomadeFIRSTchairinflute! Mom,I'mSOexcitedbecause'I'madestudentcouncilTOOandsodidmyfriendKathryn!


Once everyone settled down and I was able to talk individually with each child, I could more clearly understand their news...
Emily made student council again this year. She was especially excited because several of her friends who applied also made council.
Emily tested in band again this week, and made first chair in flute.
Allyson was super thrilled because she also made the student council, along with her friend Kathryn. This is also good because this is one school activity that Emily and Allyson will do together.
Claire brought home all A's on her paperwork this week.

Yes, it was a really good day! ;-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Le Flute

Emily was chosen as one of five flue players for band this year. She wasn't even able to make a sound during the tryouts, but we believe she got the part due to her piano experience (knowing how to read music). First assignment from the band director this year: decorate their instrument cases to make sure they wouldn't get mixed up. Scrapbooking supplies to the rescue! :-)

Emily chose the scrapbooking papers, ribbons and font for her name (I smudged out the last name on the pics for privacy). Result: one happy flute player!

- - -

Practicing before a chair test...
Result of first test: 2nd chair!!! That's really good considering she and another girl (who took lessons during the summer) tied, so the band director used alphabetical order to determine first/second chair. Way to go Emily - we're so proud of you!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Allyson's Gotcha Day #9 !!!

We celebrated Allyson's 9th "Gotcha Day" (adoption day) over the weekend. Wow...9 years. I still remember seeing Allyson for the first time...sitting on the nanny's lap, holding a rice cake in each hand, her hair still in that little mohawk style like her referral photo. She was a happy baby and didn't cry at all when the nanny handed her to me. Now...9 years later, she is still a happy child, has a winning smile and a caring personality. We love you deeply Ally girl!!!

All five families from our Hubei China travel group met at the Fin and Feather Resort in OK for our reunion this year. Allyson has SO looked forward to this weekend and has constantly talked about wanting to see the other girls. We arrived around 8:45 in the evening, so it was already dark...but that didn't stop the sweet reunion. As soon as the other girls saw us park the car, they ran toward us yelling Allyson's name! :-) The same thing happened when the last family arrived a few minutes later.

The resort had a laid-back, country atmosphere with plenty of space for the kids to play so it was a good place for our reunion. As soon as breakfast was over, the kids begged to go swimming. The pool was a bit chilly, but the kids still had fun.

- - The gang's all here!

Since we were all new to this resort, one of the dads browsed a few pamphlets (for local entertainment) while the kids swam. The parents then decided to drive to Talequah, OK to visit the Cherokee Heritage Museum. Much to the kids delight, we stopped at McD's for lunch on the way. :-) At the museum, we took a walking tour and learned how the Cherokee tribe lived, saw examples of their mud houses, learned how to make an arrowhead...and Claire even tried blowing a "poison" dart. :-)
Then it was back to the resort for another round of swimming, and playing with a stray dog (that the girls quickly named "Buddy"...see update below). Our group had a yummy dinner at the resort's diner (Soda Steve's), and then it was cake and present time!
- -
The five girls decided to open all of their gifts together, so they counted 1..2..3 and made sure they were in sync with each other on every gift. :-)
Here are the girls with the pillows I made for them. I asked Allyson to choose the colors for the everyone got pink. ;-) The girls also received a jewelry box (with a traditional Chinese cork carving), a silver necklace (of their Chinese zodiac animal), a Chinese cat penny bank, some neat Chinese snacks and jellies (Ally LOVES those little jelly tubs!), and several other cute items (I can't remember them all, and Ally has already put everything away!).
The 5 Hubei girls
About the stray dog....he looked like a mix between a large dachshund, bull terrier, and something with big ears. :-) He was pretty cute. I joked that Laura's family would be taking him home with them. Before we left on Sunday, they checked to make sure he was a stray, and the dog *DID* indeed go home with them!! LOL

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Panning for Gems

Our Claire is a rock-lover. She has a prized rock collection...but most of her rocks are simply just plain, brown rocks. She also has a few white driveway rocks thrown in for good measure. :-)

As we drove to grandma's house on Monday, I decided to surprise Claire with a stop at War Eagle Cavern. I have been there on field trips with Emily and Allyson, and knew that they had a gem panning station, not to mention a hike into a big cave (but we skipped the cave tour this time). Claire was ecstatic about the possibility of finding gems!! So, we plopped down the hefty $8.50 for a big bag of dirt and let the girls get to work. After about 30 minutes of "panning" at the sluice box, the girls all came away with a small baggie of gems (crystals, amethyst, citrine, fool's gold and more).

-- - -- - --

Bag of dirt...$8.50
The girls' reaction and the memories...priceless

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Claire's 6th "Gotcha"

What a cute group of girls!!!!

We drove to Teague, TX over the Labor Day weekend. We met up with the four families who made up our '02 China travel group to celebrate the girls' 6th "Gotcha Day" (aka Forever Family/Adoption Day). Wow...6 the time has flown!! In some ways, it seems that it was just yesterday that Claire joined our family, yet in other ways, it's like she's always been here. The families in our group take turns hosting each year; this year our hosts were Cait's family. We always love seeing how all of the children and grown and changed.

The girls were asked to dress in traditional Qi Pao dresses for a tea party, which was held upon our arrival on Saturday. Claire wasn't sure how to hold the cup of hot tea, but quickly learned to stick out her pinkie finger. :-)
- - - -
getting the hang of how to hold the teacup...

The remainder of the day was spent just allowing the kids to play and get reacquainted, while the parents visited (and played paparazzi). :-) At one point, the kids all decided to grab some sugar cubes and feed the horses. Within minutes of going outside, Claire was complaining of pain on her feet. It was quickly determined that she had been bitten/stung by fire ants, so a little pampering was due in the kitchen sink.

Since there were no close Chinese restaurants, the host family treated us to a wonderful Texas BBQ dinner. Of course, we couldn't end the reunion without cake and presents! Many thanks to Cait's family for hosting our group this year!!

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