Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reminder and Tagging

Tagging has currently taken over my days. Do you take digital photos? Do you tag them? If not, you should be! It is going to be so worth it 18 years and 150,000 photos from now. When I started, I had over 18,000 photos (taken in only four years!). I'm now down to 13,641 and I'm trying to continue to weed through them while I tag.

It is so cool to click "Dylan" (or whoever) and every picture with Dylan in it will be brought up. It IS a pain to have to tag a family photo with six different names though! I get so excited whenever a group of photos has only one kid in them -- select them all, tag with the name and it is stored! I started out including if a friend, cousin or some other noteworthy person was in the picture. Now you only get tagged if you are one of the six or a grandparent (or good, I mean of the Good family since she was nice enough to give me all the pics she had with my kids in them.)
So, Fall television is starting and I'm actually productive while I watch it!

As I was sorting through all these photos, I came up with this one.

A cuddle from Lyvi that was so noteworthy I took a picture of it myself. Last week I mentioned how it was a lot of work getting Lyvia to relax with us. I did forget that it was SO frustrating that when a little wall came down I just had to take a photo to document it. I remember standing there forever trying to soak in the "love" and today I realize that if I hadn't taken a picture, I would have completely forgotten the incident!
I think I better document some more cuddles this week!

Demise of a Dream

Well, we have finally heard that in the company reorg Jason's Singapore boss IS being summoned back to the Mother Ship. I think my moving overseas dream has just about shriveled up now.

Jason was offered some great job today, which is good for him. The company gets a change, the boss gets a change, Jason gets a change, but I'm stuck doing the same old, same old. Not that I want to have too much of a pity party for myself since my life is pretty sweet, but I was REALLY looking forward to jazzing it up. Starting in high school, every couple of years I would live overseas in some capacity. It went from a week in a Japanese exchange home up to a year when we lived in Africa (in between was various amounts of time in Central America, Germany and Austria). Africa was 10 years ago and I am SO itching to travel and live overseas again!

Sigh... I better start dreaming. I wonder if my mother-in-law would move in for a month so I could go do one of those Spanish immersion programs in Guatemala? Hummmmm....better get to researching that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Dylan's perseverance is a force that can break you down like you wouldn't believe. One day back in the Spring, Dylan decided that he wanted to hold a baby pig. This kid talked and ranted about this day after day. I even called one of the petting farms you hire to see if we could come out and just pay for a visit so he could hold a @#$%^ pig!

Gi (their grandmother) came to my rescue because of her country connections -- one of her employees happens to raise pigs and low and behold one of them was pregnant! It felt like the beast had the same gestation of an elephant as Dylan continued to fixate on holding a little pig for months, but FINALLY the babies were born! We didn't get there until they were about 18 days old, which didn't seem like a big deal until we saw them. Whoops, the little buggers grow quicker than I thought!

Because of Lindsay's gutsy go-get 'em attitude, she was the only one of us who actually picked up a pig successfully. The combination of dirt (even though the owners were kind enough to wash them before we arrived), squealing, strength and pig squaler kept me from being successful.

Dylan really didn't have the strength to hang on to the wiggly slab of bacon-to-be, but he contemplated the situation time and time again. He seemed to have a good time following them around and petting them.

They also had other animals including a goat that followed Lyvi around and thought her hair was just the right height for nibbling and a bunny that pleaded for us to take her home. We would have brought "Cinnamon" home, but I wasn't sure just how perturbed Jason would be that I decided to foster a rabbit when we might be moving. Actually, we could be staying put and he would probably still blow a gasket.

We saw a kitten on our way to the barn and Dylan kept mentioning he really wanted to go back to the kitten. Once we did, he was in love.

On the trip back to Gi's house, I hoped that Dylan's need for pig holding could finally be put to rest. Unfortunately all we heard and continue to hear is, "Mommy, I want to hold a kitten!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Lyvi Day!

One year ago we were given the wonderful Miss Xinshi! We were over-the-moon in love, but Lyvia cried so hard once she was handed over to us at the civil affairs office in Nanchang. It was many days before I felt like she relaxed at all and weeks to months before she would cuddle on her own. I remember with a sad smile how she would wake in the morning and look back and forth between us before bursting out into tears once she realized she wasn't "home". Fortunately she started giving us these crazy, funny open mouth "kisses" while we were still in China. I have no idea what she meant by them (maybe they were good-bye kisses!), but it endeared her to us all the more.

Look at this little pumpkin! She was so worth the work! Now we are the center of her world and we feel so blessed to have our spunky little beauty.
To celebrate Lyvi joining our family, we got some of her favorite foods for dinner, noodles, edamame and watermelon! Why I can't get clothes on this child for birthdays and gotcha days is beyond me.

As we got ready for dinner, Lindsay said, "It should be Happy Family Day because Lyvi makes us so happy!"

We love you, Lyvia Ann Xinshi!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Coming!

This time last year we were living large in Hong Kong and on our way into the great unknown. When I was waiting for a pregnancy to end, I was tired of playing hostess and really wanted my body back, but I was also ready to get my hands on a sweet little baby. Turns out they are pretty much blobs, but it is amazing how tickled you can get while watching a baby sleep.

It was so fabulously different waiting for Lyvia after we got our referral -- nothing good about the never ending wait for referral. I swear I wake up in night sweats on occasion thinking I'm still in the midst of those dreary days.

This time we were getting a little girl who already had likes and dislikes and unfortunately we were going to be strangers to her. Who knew what that little girl had in store for us! I was thrilled with the challenge, but the closer we got to her, the more serious I became. Suddenly the closet full of baby girl clothes and things I might normally be excited about didn't mean so much. Creating a space for our child where she could begin to her new journey as easily as possible became very important.

We were filled with lots of hope and knew all the motions, but the emotions were so much more complicated. Different children handle this huge life transition in a spectrum of ways and we had to brace ourselves for so many game plans. What if she doesn't like us? Or worse likes only ONE of us! Where do we bottle all this excitement if something starts to feel off kilter while trying to connect with her. What condition will she be in and how do you make these convoluted bottles the babies here seem to like (large hole, hot, unknown Chinese brand, added rice cereal.)

Our minds skipped from scenario to scenario and we talked about how we were going to pave the way for a relationship with her. Again we talked about how we would handle utter rejection (not well, it was decided, but the "chosen one" was to be oh so sympathetic.) We also needed to not feel too serious and allow ourselves some rejoicing so when we shared this experience with her later in life she would know she came to us with our hearts wide open and welcoming.

Slowly we just kept moving towards the day they placed her in our arms and our care. Pretty Hong Kong temple (baby coming soon), fascinating Hong Kong history (baby coming soon), shopping in Stanley Market (baby coming soon), world famous Peninsula Hotel high tea (baby coming soon.) Anytime we were awake, the air was charged -- she was never far from our minds.

I also wondered how we should paint a picture that includes her losses with our gains. She had already lost a family and now we were taking her culture, language and country. Even though she was still a mystery to me and we hadn't even met, I thought about the life that stretched before her and wondered how the symphony would be played. It is humbling to realize you are moving some one's mountains. Change was coming for Shi-Shi -- big change.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Texas Hot Tub

When we first got the property, there was a fabulous little creek running through it. It wasn't good for more than a splash, but we knew (meaning Jason and my dad) we could dam it up to make slightly larger pools, etc.

Then the road and crossing was built and we added the rocks.

Then came the Summer of Rain and now we have our own Texas hot tub! (Except the water is actually pretty cold)

The force of the water is pretty amazing out there now. It will be fun to see how many months (or longer?) this water flow lasts. The crossing never got finished (@#$! builder) so now we need to wait for the water level to fall before more of the concrete can be poured. It certainly is fun during the summer and sounds great while relaxing on the back porches!

First Fish

I think this is the first time that Lyvia has actually shown an "interest" in fishing. It all started with her refusing to let me put her down. Once up where the action is, she was tickled pink to see how the reel works and it is just the sort of thing her little fingers like to mess with. I hadn't had any luck in the creek myself so we chucked the line out and she went to town trying to turn the handle. Considering the size of the fish, I thought it was her jerky motions causing the bobber to jump around, but there was actually this little fish (some called it bait) on the end of the line.

After that slimy thing showed upon the end of the line, she wasn't about to turn the handle again. I did catch a catfish with one working arm (Lyvi was still hanging on my other side.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Miss that Fun Spirit

What a vision. Sick as a dog, she got those goofy braids in Cancun and here she was a few weeks later with two sweet grandsons in Colorado. I'm so glad we took the time to go to Cancun even though my she was so tired and sick from the cancer. I must have really wanted to go because I took a five year old, three year old and 4 month old, my mom with cancer and her twin sister who is in a wheelchair -- whew! I'll remember that trip forever though.

I thought I would miss her less two years later, but I think I just keep missing her more. Nevertheless, I'm so happy for all the fun times and travels we had together. Every day I have a lot to live up to as I raise my four munchkins.