Thursday, August 30, 2007

Providence Children's Museum

While in Rhode Island visiting my mom, we took the girls to the Providence Children's Museum where they had an awesome time!

Funny how Rachel was completely unfamiliar with this old-fashioned public pay phone, complete with rotary dial!

Can we build it? Yes we can! And we'll look real cute doing it, too!

Hannah loved dressing up in the "olden times" clothes.

Women at work!

They loved this giant mouth in the exhibit about teeth!

This giant lady is actually a huge, comfy chair!

Abbie built some great stuff with the wooden blocks. Note to self: dig out our box of wooden blocks for quiet time.

Monday, August 20, 2007


My cousin David and his wife Kathleen live in Vermont with their four awesome children. We made it a point to get up to visit them for a few days while we were in New England for some great family fun!

Christopher, 7; Mi'Shell (Misha), 5; Nicholas (Nico), 1; Naomi (Omi), 2


We celebrated Misha's 5th birthday while we were there.

Omi sure did enjoy that birthday cake!

Christopher taught Hannah all about video games (what are cousins for?).

Auntie Kaye played Disney Princess Uno with the children (gotta get that game!).

That weekend was Barre Days, and we attended the parade on Saturday afternoon.

When you've got five little girls in the house, you've gotta play dress-up - complete with dancing to the High School Musical soundtrack!

My aunt is a professional artist, and she gave a little impromptu lesson to Hannah, who has been showing a real talent for, and interest in, art.

This was the first time we got to meet Baby Nico. If you know my cousin David, you'll agree that Nico looks just like his daddy!

Hannah and Christopher are wonderful friends! Christopher thinks Hannah is so cool because she likes "boy stuff" (dinosaurs, action heroes, Star Wars) just as much as "girl stuff" (dress-up, Barbies). I think she's the only one he'll let play with some of his Star Wars stuff because she "gets it"!

They had a great time doing "horsey rides"!

Abbie got so worn out on our first full day there that she fell asleep standing up, leaning against the couch!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mayo Girl

This is what you get when you let your three-year-old put her own mayonnaise on her sandwich...
(HT to Mary at Owlhaven who posted a similar photo of her two-year-old buttering her own bread!)


We found a wonderful VBS for the girls to attend this summer (this is the same VBS that finally convinced Abbie that using the potty consistently was a good thing!). New Life Church in Yorkville did a fantastic job! We knew nothing about the church or their VBS program, only that they were using this year's curriculum by Group Publishing (we've enjoyed Group's programs in the past, so I knew the content would be good, but what the church's VBS team did with it remained to be seen). There were so many wonderful, enthusiastic, caring adults and teens on that team, and our girls had a super time at Avalanche Ranch! Rachel was really apprehensive about going on that first morning, and nearly cried when I left. Fast forward three hours, and she was crying when I got back to pick her up because she didn't want to leave! "I'm having so much fun!"

On Friday night, they held a party at the church and the different age groups got to perform the songs from the program. Hannah is a natural on stage - she loves an audience! Rachel just looked like she was having fun. And Abbie... well, we've got another ham on our hands. She was probably one of the youngest children in the preschool class - definitely the tiniest. To see her doing all the "moves" with the bigger kids, singing along knowing all the words, well, it was a real treat!

The best part of the week for me, though, was listening to them talk about what they learned in the car on the way home. Hearing all three of my girls talk about how awesome our God is just filled my heart with such joy! They all love God so much and it's inspiring to me!

And for one full week, I had three hours each morning to myself to get stuff done! The biggest task was to take three school supply lists and get as much of that stuff bought as I could. I got everything on those lists - one huge chore done before we left on vacation! I spent over $100 at WalMart, and that was before I bought Hannah and Rachel's gym shoes! I remember when buying school supplies meant getting a cool Trapper Keeper to hold all your stuff and a lunch box with your latest favorite cartoon character on it. We won't even talk about school clothes...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An Anniversary

Well, one year ago today our dossier was logged in at the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) in Beijing. At that time, it was taking about 12 months from Log In Date (LID) to receipt of a referral. At this point, the projection is more like three years (yes, you read that right). The wait has been difficult at times for me. We've been so busy with the girls that the past year has flown by. On the other hand, there's always the feeling that there's someone missing from our family. And things in China just feel so... I don't know... volatile. So there's another reason I just can't wait to get our Sarah home. I figure that by the time we do get her home, I'll be about 46, and I'll be over 50 by the time she starts school - YIKES! But I just keep reminding myself that God's timing is perfect, and Sarah will be home with us at just the right time both for us and for her. And in the mean time, I continue to enjoy daily life with our three beautiful children who are home with us now...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm Back (More or Less...)

I know, I know, I've been gone a long time! Lots to share, particularly once I download a ton of photos! Let's see, there's VBS, Chinese Camp, and a two-week trip to Rhode Island and Vermont to visit my mom and my cousin's family. I should be able to post photos by the end of this week!

In the mean time, I came up with three very helpful "tricks" while on the road (or, rather, flying the friendly skies) with the girls (Al stayed home to work and paint the kitchen). Here they are...

1. I've heard of packing your children's individual outfits in ziplock bags so that each day, you can just grab a bag and hand it to your child and she can be completely dressed without having to dig through various shorts, tops, underwear and socks. A good idea, except my girls' tops outnumber their shorts by about 2 to 1. Instead, I got those huge, 3-gallon bags with the fancy zippers. I put all of each girl's shorts in one bag, all her tops in another, and labeled them with her name. I still had to go through two bags per girl each morning, but it was a lot easier than having to rummage through the stacks in the suitcase, which never stay separated. It especially helped with things like denim shorts, which all look alike! As I did laundry, I just put the clean clothes back into their appropriate bags. Unpacking was a breeze, too. The dirty clothes just went into the suitcase loose, and were immediately taken out and put into the laundry pile. Then I took each bag of clean clothes and emptied it into the appropriate drawer.

2. United Airlines wants each of your checked bags (or in our case, car seats) to have one of their little paper luggage tags attached. But to stand in the baggage check line with three little girls and way too much luggage and about 100 people in line behind you makes it tricky to fill out those little tags with your name and address. I took a bunch of return address labels and stuck them in the outer pocket of my backpack. I just stuck a label onto each tag and slipped it on each bag or seat. Quick and easy!

3. My mom and I wanted to take the girls to the wonderful children's museum in Providence. But I just hate trying to keep track of my three in a crowd of kids. So we didn't go until 3:30 in the afternoon. There were only a few families left, and the girls could enjoy all the exhibits and hands-on stuff without waiting a long time. The museum closed at 6:00, so that gave us a good 2 1/2 hours to enjoy everything, and gave us a definite end to our visit ("We have to go now, the museum is about to close."). I actually got this idea from my friend Sara, who goes to the local pool after 3:00 when the crowds start to disperse (and the sun isn't so hot).

More soon...