Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Summer Enumerated

Today is the first day of Autumn.

When it’s bright and sunny, cool and crisp and the leaves are turning, I think Oregon is an absolutely beautiful place to be in the fall.

It’s funny, I ran to the store today and the lady on the local Christian radio station said “Here are a few things to remember about God’s promises while you enjoy this first day of spring…” and she went on to read some scripture and there was lovely music in the background and it was all nice and syrupy; except that she flubbed up and said spring instead of fall! Ooops.

So, the girls will have been home for 12 weeks on Thursday.

Here are some of the things we have done this summer just since they got home, and almost every single one of these things was done with friends and/or family:

4th of July firework show
Church (every Sunday)
Wilson High School swimming pool (twice)
Swimming at Grammy and Grampy’s (twice)
Swimming at Sarah’s (twice)
Audubon society (twice)
Berry picking (twice)
Baked a cake
Zoo (twice)
Went to Gabby’s tea party
Went to Emily’s bowling party
Been through a car wash
Movie theater (Journey to the Center of the Earth)
State fair
Oaks park
Hagg Lake (twice)
Papa’s Pizza
Visited their brother (multiple times)
Went to the Oregon Coast
Been to the doctor (three times)
Had play dates at our house
Had play dates at friends house
Had friends over for dinner
Been to dinner at friends house
Went to Kids Club
Had Aunt and Uncle and Cousin Zoe over
Been to Target (um, lots)
Been to the Mall (twice)
Learned English
Walked to the park (many times)
Caught 3 fish while fishing with Grampy!!!

…and much much more… (well, I don't know if there is MUCH much more, but it felt like a cool way to end a list)

We’ve been busy! We’ve been social!
We’ve been connecting as a family and learning what it means to be an adoptive family.

I should post a picture to go with each thing because I really do have a picture to go with every single listed event. But I'm not going to.
Maybe my what-we-did-this-fall post will have pictures.

Did you have a fun filled summer?
Does a list have to be numbered to be considered an enumerated list?
Did you find yourself doing many of the same things we did this summer? Seems like more and more people stayed close to home to save on gas this year.

Happy Birthday, Amber! Happy Fall.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Halo is SO Shiny

Last night we had a social night at our Community Group (most of you probably speak churchese so you know that this is our church's way of saying Small Group or Bible Study).

We played Two Truths and a Lie to get to know each other a little better as we spend the next 36 weeks in community.

You know the game. We each write down two true things about ourselves and one lie. Then we read them aloud and everyone tries to guess the one false thing.

Here are my three:
1. I have never been outside the Pacific NW
2. I have run a marathon
3. I am a cancer survivor

Now, the only people who might have even the eentsiest bit of a hard time guessing the lie are the kids who played, and the people whom I met that night for the very first time. And there were indeed a small hand full of 1st timers.

However, I was sitting there with my Haitian child on my lap! And if anyone reads my blog or has one conversation with me is usually quick to find out that I did GO TO HAITI to get my children. 11 weeks ago.

I told everyone that the reason I couldn't think of a good lie is because I am just not USED to lying and it's so against my inner moral compass that I'm just no good at it. Sigh. It's rough being this holy.

Though, very appropriately, I was outdone by the pastor's wife who actually wrote down three full truths. She's apparently holier than me because she couldn't lie at all. Isn't that right, Colonel Sanders?

I really like that game as a Get-To-Know-You. I've been playing it since Jr. High and yet, I don't get bored of it.

Do you like it? Do you have an awesome lie that you always use and stumps people?
I was in the top 100 American Idol contestants. I should have used that!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Harried Experience (get it?)

Took the girls to a salon to get their hair done.
This is always a treat for them. Well, I say always; we've now done it twice since they've been home.

But hair is such an important part of their culture that they love having pretty hairstyles.
And I'm still learning how to even wash it and comb it and moisturize it that trying to figure out an "up-do" for them is challenging for me.

I can't even French Braid my white daughter's hair.
So I took her in, too. For fun.

Here's some perspective for you:
Amy was in the chair for 25 minutes. I paid $10.
Yolanta and Katie were each in the chair for 90 minutes. EACH. Back to back. Yes, I was at the salon for 3 hours. And I paid $100. And there was fire involved. Yes, FIRE. After Miss Andrea put a few extensions in the girls' hair to give the corn-rows a little length, she pulled out a lighter and burned the ends off.

How funky. I'm the mother of a couple of girls who use fire on their hair to get ready for the day. Me?
See, I'm being stretched every day. I'm not the same person I was 10 weeks ago.
But I'm seeing/feeling that God is doing something pretty darn amazing in my family.

Well, here are some pictures of the girls' hair.
Sorry that Yolanta and Katie's pictures really aren't that great and don't show off their hair very well.

Miss Andrea was supposed to do all three girls' hair that day. But at the end of three hours, she still had Amy to do. And her next client was already there waiting for color so she said she would have to start her next client and get back to Amy in about 25 minutes.

We had a 30th birthday party to go to that night and it was already way past we-should-be-home-right-now. Husband was calling me suggesting we get something to eat and would I help him pick out a few new shirts for work before we go to the party.

Poor Amy, she passed up an opportunity to go bowling with Grammy and Cousin at the thought of getting her hair all done up. But now we're out of time.

So now I've got three girls antsy to stretch their legs and be louder than I've been letting them be in a cramped salon. They're exercising their wings out in the parking lot while I'm paralyzed with decision making. While I'm on the phone with cute husband, Miss Andrea peeks her head out to ask me if I'd please pay by cash instead of check or visa.

I'll have to go to the bank
At 5:00 rush hour
on Pacific Hwy in Tigard (you locals will know how crazy that is)
on a Friday evening

Promises of a special hair day for Amy were made, I say yes and good bye to husband and yes to Miss Andrea and throw all the kids in the car and inch my way to the bank.

Why did I say yes to the cash? I dunno. We were in a small area for three hours and I felt like Miss Andrea and I kind of built up this sweet little rapport with each other and she was asking me for a favor. I could have said no, but I also felt like I should just do it. It was past check cashing hours and maybe she really needed the cash that night for a starving grandbaby or something heroic on her part. Who knows.

So by the time I got back from the bank, dropped off the cash, fought traffic to get home, met up with husband, grabbed something to eat; the kids were on their last bits of well behaved-ness and it was starting to make husband and me twitch just a little.

We never did make it to buy shirts or celebrate Jon turning old.

So that's why the pictures suck. I was in no mood to whip out my camera for better shots.
Took Amy today to get her done as promised.

But you know me. I love taking pictures of my girls so as the next few days go by I'll grab some good ones of Yolanta and Katie's hair out in the sun and let you have a closer look.

Or just come over. Bring coffee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blog Favor

Do you have a cute dad?
I do.
My friends agree.

Don't let the fact that he's short, is cute and has a yellow blog fool you. He's very much a boy.
Check out his latest post about loving cars.

He's new to blogging. Don't forget, he's a Grandpa...see? How cute is that that a Grandpa blogs!?

Anyway, he's self-conscious that no one reads his blog. Oh c'mon, when you first started blogging didn't you sit there for a half a day hitting refresh hoping to have everyone you know leave a comment?

I did.

Will you do me a favor? Go to his blog and leave him a comment. He's so proud of his latest post about his cars, and quite frankly, it really is impressive.

I'm also going to get him hooked up with a counter so he can see that even though there are no comments, there are still readers. Hopefully this will encourage him to keep web logging his adventures and memories.

My parents are the best grandparents in the world.

Thanks everyone!
Here are my parents at a theater where they took the grandkids to see a live production of Jungle Book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Hulk Home

Hulk the fish went to live in a beautiful pond where he can live out the rest of his enormous life.

Thanks for all the interest and suggestions!

Here is a picture of his new home.

I kind of want to live there, too, it's so gorgeous.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My colorful 4 year old

My little Katie is learning the difference between

Will you hold me, please?
Will you help me, please?

Both of which are almost always a resounding YES.

She's also learning her colors.
She knows the words to say a color but is having a hard time understanding that this yellow crayon is and always will be yellow.

She will guess a color, looking up in the corner of her eye to pull a color name out of her brain and announce: BLUE!
She get's all excited looks at me for confirmation that she's correct.

I will tell her in a fun loving way, "Noooooooooo it's yeeellllllooooowwww". She repeats my word saying yellow in the same way I say it (sing-songy)

Then I will put it on the ground in front of her, pick it right back up and say "What color is this?" and she will say "ummmm, Pink!"

I don't get upset and God has graced me with patience.
Though, I get confused sometimes. Is she color blind? Is she faking it?

But I know she's not color blind because I did a little test-game.
I put 2 blue blocks, 2 red blocks and 2 yellow blocks in a pile and mix them up (scattered on the floor in a small little area).

I will pick up a blue block and say "here is a BLUE block." She repeats me. Then I will say "Can you find the OTHER blue block?" and she instantly goes and gets it's mate. I can do this with all the colors. So I know she's not color blind.

So then I wonder, hm, is she faking it? Does she love the individual time with mom so much that she makes up wrong answers to keep me there engaged? For peets sake the girl goes to the bathroom with me, so not sure how she could be feeling like she needs more time with me.

Velcro baby.
Saran Wrap baby.
Always clinging.

But of course, I know I've got a 4 year old who's been through more in her little life than it seems anyone should ever have to go through in a lifetime. Death of a mother. Abandonment by her father. 2 years at an orphanage. Life in an impoverished country. Then, a move to America.

So I play a similar game a few days later with 1 red block, 1 blue block and 1 yellow block.
We go through all three colors together repeating and touching the blocks having a great time being together.
Then I will pick one up and say "What color is this?"
"uummm greeeen"

Okay. We don't even have a green block in this game. We haven't said the word green since Wednesday. I test her by looking a little annoyed thinking that maybe my annoyance isn't worth faking it. I say gently but in an annoying way "Katie. What color is this?" As if to say, C'mon, you know the right answer, what is it?

She looks a little puzzled and says, now in a whisper, "uummmm, green?"
Okay, silly girl. That's the same wrong answer. Whispering it doesn't make it more correct.

I lift my eyebrows, give her a look that says "try again".
And she says "Yellow."

"Sweet girl, it's Red."
She falls over backwards laughing and says "oooh, it's red." in a way that sounds like Oh, yeah, of course it's red!

While preparing for Adoption, I knew I'd be up against some hard things in life. What exactly those hard things would be was always an unknown. So it limited my preparation to read up on the exact and specific issues and how to handle them.

However, I assumed that there would be learning delays. So even though I don't know exactly where my children may be delayed, I am expecting them somewhere, somehow in their learning ability.

My research tells me that almost all children who grow up in an institutional environment experience at least some form of developmental delays but these delays can be rectified through special attention and/or therapy.

Right now I'm going to be giving my girls very.special.attention.
Oh so special.
Specially lovingly.
Specially patiently.
Specially prayerfully.

I'm not worried. I know Katie will learn her colors eventually.
Just like I did with Amy when she was little, I will narrate our day and identify the colors of everything we're touching or looking at as if it's normal conversation.

"Good morning, Katie. Here, come sit on the blue couch with mommy and we'll snuggle with this red blanket."

"Time for lunch, Katie. This red cup is yours, this blue one is Amy's and this yellow one is Yolanta's."

"Good night, Katie. Oooooh, I like your pink pajamas!"

After a while, after more games, after more healthy nutrition to help her brain function better, she'll get them.

I will help you, baby. I will hold you, baby.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The war is on, Dad.

I was 16 years old.
I had a boyfriend.

My dad left and I found myself alone for a couple of hours and my boyfriend called me over to hang out. Or did I call him? I can't remember. Doesn't matter. A-hem.

Seconds were precious and I didn't have time to bother with very many things other than:
Fix my hair and make sure I looked pretty.

As I was leaving, I remembered dad giving me vague instructions about something...Oh yes! The waterbed! Phew! Glad I remembered. Got back out of my car and didn't even need to go back in the house. I ran around to the backyard and turned off the hose. Then oh so quickly jumped back in my car and off to hang out with friends. One in particular.

I know how to turn off a hose the right, er, correct way, but when I had a BOY on my mind...well...everything else went out the window. But when I turned it off, it got real hoses do when they turn off!?

It's not my fault! I was young.

Okay, to see what prompted this cryptic post, visit my dad's side of the story here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The name of the fish is HULK

Here is an email from my dad.

I need a home for my fish. He is a Colossoma macropomum. He is now 13 inches long and about 7 inches tall. He needs to be in a pond. I have checked with the pet store and they said they do well in ponds. It is illegal to let it go in a stream or public pond. Anybody know of someone who has a pond, that maybe have Koi already in it?

Any of my local friends able to help out? Anyone have a pond? Or a pool they're not swimming in? You know how to contact me. Poor Hulky needs a new home where he can spread his wings. Gills. Fins? I dunno. I don't speak fish.