Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We had a theme going this Halloween. Ever since she saw Wicked, Madeline has been dying to be the witch. Thankfully we already had the Dorothy costume, and we also already have a munchkin.

Adam just wanted to hand out candy. Too bad. He would have made a great scarecrow.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Eve

Carving pumpkins!

Madeline and Adam insisted on carving their own pumpkins. Madeline really is quite scary with a knife, but thankfully she kept all digits.

Adam makes me almost as nervous.

Thankfully, Abby is happy to have Dad carve her pumpkin. She gave Lyle quite an elaborate drawing to work from--a pumpkin with 11 teeth!

I wish the pumpkins showed up better. You'll have to trust me. They were pretty cool.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Autumn

Laughing Linney
Active Abby

Cheesy Qiu
Goofy Guys

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Madeline's Haunted Party

Since Madeline's birthday is so close to Halloween, she wanted a spooky-themed sleepover party. I'm so thankful that Lyle was home the day of the party so that he could help me decorate. Lyle took on the task of decorating the front porch. He headed down to the garden and gathered the items for this pretty fall display.

Madeline, however, really wasn't going for "pretty". She wanted SPOOKY! So, we added the cobwebs and some bats and spiders.

The spooky guy on the front porch was acceptable to both Madeline and Mom. I just couldn't do gory. This guy looks like a friendly sort of spook!

Decorating the "haunted library" was very fun! We were generous with our use of cobwebs, with the chandelier getting a heavy coating.

I thought Lyle's painting was great for the haunted house look. He just needed eyes that moved back and forth!

When Lyle picked Madeline up from school he apologized that he'd forgotten it was her birthday party day and he hoped they'd be able to throw together some decorations before the party. She was SO thrilled to walk in and see the haunted library!

We used Madeline's witch costume broom and and hat on the mantle. We couldn't find candle holders for the halloween candles, so Lyle drilled a couple of holes in one of our pumpkins for a fun centerpiece.

For dinner, we had witches brew punch (with a floating ice hand), broomsticks (breadsticks with a fringed edge), witches hands (chicken fingers cut with 5 fingers) and for dessert texas sheet cake with frosting cobwebs and plastic spiders on top. Madeline and her friends had such a fun time! After dinner we played "Bear" and some other spooky games and they had a very fun sleepover--Madeline's first. We had fun putting it all together, but I'm glad the kids are only allowed a friends-over birthday party every other year. It's tiring!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sweet Sisters

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Look what Maya can do!

Surfer pose to help her stand up...

....and she's off to the races! She KNOWS she's doing something cool!

It's pretty funny to see her walking!

It was last Sunday, at 13 1/2 months of age, when Maya decided it was time to walk! She technically could do it before, but her heart just wasn't in it. Now, she's almost running and trying to climb! Watch out! Still, though, her favorite mode of transportation is being carried by Dad and at a distant second, Mom.

We had such a sweet moment with Maya at our last Family Home Evening. We did our traditional "This is the Night We've Waited For" dance (we won't go into detail so as not to completely embarrass our tweener kids), and Maya just looked SO excited and smiled so sweetly at everyone in the circle. It was just a little moment, but it was so special. We felt so strongly how much she needed and wanted a family.

And what a blessing that we get to be that family!

Sunday, October 8, 2006

October 8

Before the start of school, our neighbor across the street hosted a formal "tea party" for the little girls on Bay Ridge Dr. Abby looked forward to this like it was Christmas. She was SO excited!

I love this picture of our pretty girls headed to the party. It's been hard lately to see Madeline growing up so fast. I can't believe she's nearly in the double digits! I have to cherish these "little girl" moments with her.

Thankfully we have two other girls who still absolutely qualify as "little"! I am having so much fun during the day with Abby and Qiu Ju! I think since it's been several years since I've had such a tiny one at home, I'm really cherishing this time. Maya is just eating up (literally- she doubled her weight percentile since coming home!) her new life. She is such a joy.

We enjoyed a visit from aunts Cari and Jean and cousins Blake, Sophie, and Tacy. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of them all together, but I know Cari and Jean were taking pictures, so hopefully they'll post some. Tacy is just as sweet and smiley as she can be!

I did get a few pictures of Blake with Charlie. Cari and Tony, this boy needs a hound!

I hardly ever get any photos of Adam because he usually hides when he sees the camera coming. This, however, was his "self portrait". He started Junior High this year, and although it's been a big transition, and a bit rocky, he's really making strides. Sometimes I look at him, and just have to do a double-take because I can't believe he's getting so big!

He cracked us up the other day when he came home from school and said, "Well, I've met my goal. I've made 18 friends." We're not sure why he chose that particular number, but he sounds like he's reached his maximum. He may need to start a waiting list.

Abby isn't always in a camera mood either! Seriously, she can be so sweet, but boy can this girl do feisty! She continues to be an absolutely fabulous big sister and tells us numerous times a day how much she loves "Show Joo", as she says it.

Abby gave a talk in Primary today and she did such a great job. She READ the talk, which she was very proud of. Abby kind of holds out on us. Recently I dropped by her school and was shocked to see her writing sentences! She had told me she couldn't even write all of her letters. Hmmmm. This girl is a mystery!

Some friends from church held a little baby shower for me and Maya. She doesn't have many opportunities to wear her China outfits, so I thought this was as good a time as any. She is SOO close to walking! She's gone as many as 5 steps, but really doesn't want to do it. She pouts and plops down on her rear. She'd much prefer to crawl.

We went to our first "Families with Children from China" event last week. There was a big potluck at a local church and there were about 25 girls there along with lots of siblings and parents. Maya was the youngest, with most girls in the 4-5 year-old range. The oldest looked to be about 9. It was so heartwarming to see all of these little girls, all abandoned, looking so well-adjusted and happy with their new families. I would like to have some of these contacts for Maya as she grows older and maybe wants to talk with someone who can relate to her experiences.

We were thrilled today to hear that Maya's orphanage friend, Summer, came through her open-heart surgery like a true champ! These girls amaze us with their strength and resilience.

Bathtime brings out the craziness in this little girl! She does animal-like screams and makes funny faces. During times like these Adam likes to call her, "Thing from Guiping". We also call her Qiu Qiu, Qiuster, Qiuey, and all sorts of really horrible derivatives of Qiu. Really, we're trying to call her Maya, it's just been hard. Everyone else does, so I think she's accustomed to hearing both names. Whatever we call her, we sure think she's sweet! We're so looking forward to taking her to the temple in December! Let's hope she leaves her "Thing from Guiping" alter-ego at the door!