Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In China

We're in China again. It's only been fourteen months since we were last here, and many of the sights and sounds are the same. Men on bicylcles, carrying impossibly large loads. Pedestrains crossing the street, never seeming to have the right of way but pouring across in the face of taxis turning right into the crowd. Friendly faces opening the door with a smile. All manner of unusal food being cooked on the street. Fish congee and dumplings alongside eggs and bacon on the breakfast buffet at the hotel. High end, designer wallets, purses and luggage being sold off the sidewalk for ridiculously low prices. High rise buildings everywhere, and occassionally a traditional, old style Chinese building with the characteristic roof line. This time, there are some new sights because we are here at the end of the Chinese New Year celebration. The city is decked out with red lanterns everywhere, and pigs, too, because it is the Year of the Pig.

The thing that is different about this trip to China is that we haven't come to meet our daughter. No, instead we are looking at housing and schools, grocery stores and a church. We're seeing everything a little bit differently this trip because perhaps in a few months we may be joining the throng here in mainland China for a while, living among them. What a gift, to live in the country of Gwen's birth. What flip of experience, to have her be the majority and us the minority.

We'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thinking Spring...

Gwen is modeling the new Wal-mart swimwear line... now available in stores near you!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Old Friends Together

Jumping beans!
Daddies and girls... big girls and little girls!
On Saturday Gwen was reunited with her oldest friend. Seems funny to say that for a child who is coming up on only her third birthday, but this friend is one who has known Gwen longer than anyone else in her life, including us!

Alia and her parents came to our house Saturday for visit... this is the first time we've been together since we adopted the girls 14 months ago. As you know if you are a regular reader, we've been able to spend time with two other families we were with in China, but only Alia is from the same orphanage and is the same age (only 2 weeks apart) as Gwen, meaning that they were in the same room together at the orphanage and would have been together all the time.

When we were in China, it was very clear that Gwen and Alia knew each other well. They seemed to communicate with each other and liked to be together. They were happy to see each other each morning when we'd meet in the hotel lobby.

Alia's mom told me that after we had all returned home and I would email them pictures of Gwen, Alia would point at the computer and say something in Chinese, probably Gwen's Chinese name. The name "Gwen" held no meaning for her, but she knew the face!

I wondered if Gwen would remember Alia. It's hard to know if she did, but the girls definitely connected. This age usually brings a fair amount of "I had it first" and "Mine, mine!" when kids play together... I have to say there was none of that on Saturday. They spent a long time taking turns pulling each other around in a little wagon we have, and at one point when Alia was pulling Gwen, Gwen turned around and said to me, "She a nice girl." I have never heard Gwen make a comment like that! It was just so neat to see the girls enjoying each other... I loved how willingly they posed for pictures together~ it just seemed that they were glad to be together. As my sister said when I described the day to her, it was like the girls' hearts knew each other!
Is this priceless, or what? They stayed in this close hug for a good couple of minutes, just so happy to be together! Our princesses!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bad Picture...

The Family Fun Foto Challenge this week is for a bad photo! This one had potential, and I thought it was going to be a really cute one of the girls snuggling Daddy, wearing the new matching jammies they had just gotten for Christmas. Madelyn and Scott look pretty good, but Gwen is a little intense... just not quite what I had in mind! Unfortunately, a second pose never happened as Gwen was at her limit for pictures that day. That's why I still have this one, I guess. Usually I delete bad pictures pretty soon after taking them... the beauty of digital photography!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Same Rock, Next Season

This rock is in a nearby park with a lake. We enjoy this park in every season... it has a bike trail around the entire lake, trails through the woods, and a huge hill! The top of the hill affords a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding area, and of course it is great fun to either run or sled down, depending on the weather! The kids and I have enjoyed breakfast next to the rock on a couple of special occasions, although not in the snow. :-)

Here is Gwen rather precariously perched on top of the rock early last spring.

And here she is confidently perched on the rock last Saturday, during Seth's sledding party!

Daddy Daughter Dance

Madelyn had been waiting a long time for the Daddy Daughter Dance, which took place this last Saturday. For her birthday last month we had picked out a special dress for her to wear for the dance, and she had been itching to wear it! On the day of this special event, she was wanting to start getting ready hours ahead. Finally we began our preparations... getting all ready is half the fun! She looked so lovely, and of course Gwen had to get in on it a little, too! She got to wear a fancy dress and I put a little baby's breath in her hair too, but when it was time to walk out the door, the night belonged to Madelyn and her Daddy!

Two favorite girls!
A special flower!
All dressed up and ready to go!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Day!

Gwen and I had fun playing in the snow today before her nap... it was clear and sunny and the snow in our tree lawn had been piled up very high by the plow... perfect for playing Queen of the Mountain!

We sledded on the little hill in the backyard. Gwen was thrilled to be doing it all by herself!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It was a sledding birthday...

Seth's 10th birthday party was this last Saturday. Yes, he turned ten nearly two months ago, but he really wanted to have a sledding party this year and we had to wait for the right weather! Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for sledding. After a frigid week, we had a sunny, nearly 20 degree day with no wind. The boys had a ball! They enjoyed the sledding so much that we stayed at the hill much longer than we intended and hadn't even had cake or presents yet when their parents arrived to pick them up!

Here Seth and Scott go for a double down the hill!

See the sledding hill in the background? The boys took a short break from sledding to check out the frozen lake where an ice fisherman (no, we don't live in the Arctic... it really is the midwest!) was drilling for a new fishing hole. Facinating!
Cheering for a great run down the hill!
I love this picture... Seth is literally flying right out of it! Can you tell how much fun he's having?! You've got to admit you're jealous, you Floridians... you know who you are! :-)

Back at home... for lunch and a treasure hunt, then Seth's choice of a fruity rice krispie treat cake! Here he is, ready to blow out the candles!
It really was a fun party... Seth declared it the best ever. I felt even in the midst of it that it might just be one of those experiences that the memories of it will live with him forever, reminding him of how very much he is loved. I pray that it is so!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Morning in the Mirror

"I see Gwen!" she says, with obvious joy in her voice.
I just love this!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Can anyone ever really enjoy two pacifiers at once? I came into the girls' room this morning to find Gwen attempting it. Seth, who happened to have gotten into the crib with her, had a telling grin on his face... obviously he had put her up to it!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


It might be cold outside (about -3 right now, without the wind chill), and the Bears may have lost the Super Bowl, but our hearts are warm because we spent the weekend with dear friends!

Only children could enjoy being outside in weather like we're having now... Madelyn and Emma Grace had bright red cheeks and lots of laughs in the snow on Saturday afternoon!
Taken after church and breakfast at IHOP today...So Very Good to have all of us together. It had been nearly two years... Now We Are Eleven!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Chipper Kangaroos

When Caleb (now a 7th grader) was Very Young, I dressed him and his baby brother alike occasionally. For some reason, he called this state of being dressed in matching outfits being "Chipper Kangaroos". It has always cracked me up... to my knowledge that name came completely out of his own imagination. Does anyone else have a name for this condition that they would like to share?!

Here are my "Chipper Kangaroo" girls!