Thursday, May 31, 2007

Abby's Spring Festival

Abby had her last Spring Festival at the Farm Montessori School. Madeline and Abby each went here for 3 years (2 years of preschool and 1 year of kindergarten).

This year's theme was Luau and the kids did lots of cute Hawaiian songs and of course the Hula!

Abby will dearly miss so many of her friends. Some will still be at the Farm, the rest are all going off to different elementary schools.

I wish I could keep Abby in this fabulous environment through high school--although I guess the chairs would start to feel a little tight!

The wonderful Miss Marie. She's been teaching at the Farm for many many years. She just can't retire until our youngest girl gets through with kindergarten!

Abby and great friend, Isabelle.

Maya practicing for the future out on the playground.

Abby getting teary-eyed as she poses by the Farm sign. I have to admit, I got a little choked up when Madeline left the Farm and it happened again with Abby.

What a great start my girls have had at The Farm.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007

I know this isn't the greatest photo, but I love it. I was looking out the kitchen window and saw Adam walking with Maya, holding her hand and talking to her. She was taking big steps, trying so hard to keep up with him. It was such a sweet moment, that I ran for the camera.

Adam, Madeline, and Abby add so much to her life, and of course, vice versa. Maya is always so excited everyday when Adam's school bus pulls up, or when she first spots Madeline or Abby after school. When she saw Madeline coming down the trail the other day she excitedly squealed, "My sissy!"

Abby teaches Maya many things--some things I'm not so thrilled about, but mostly it's a positive. Abby told me today, "Mom, Maya used to not jump in her crib very well at all, but I've taught her and now look at how high she gets!" She's also taught her to spin very fast, say "ow" when she's getting her hair combed, scream "Dad!" and run for the door when Lyle comes home, and other important things.

I can't say enough about what a blessing these older kids are to their little sister.

Today is Abby's last official day and tomorrow she has her Spring Festival. I can hardly believe she'll be in 1st grade in the fall! Maya and I will both miss her very much. Abby is a fiesty girl, but has a heart of gold. I really think it will be hard to keep Maya entertained, because that's what Abby does all morning!

We're not sure what school she'll be at next year, but I know she'll do well. She turns 6 on June 11th, something she's been waiting for since June 12th of last year. Seriously, nobody enjoys their birthdays quite as much as Abby! She's planning her first "friends party" and hopefully it will live up to her very high expectations!

Yes, it was with copious amounts of gel that we accomplished Maya's very first ponytail. She felt pretty stylish! It's supposed to get up to 90 degrees here today, so we thought the up-do was appropriate.

Oh, and a quick product endorsement--the bib Maya is wearing is the best thing that has happened to the Beck family in quite a while! It's by Baby Bjorn and the kangaroo pouch is awesome! When Maya is done with her meal, she keeps herself entertained by eating out of her pouch!

Maya, in her ponytail and very cute pink sunglasses, was being particularly charming today at the grocery story. She kept waving at shoppers, saying "hi", and "gasses". Thankfully because she was simultaneously pointing at her eyewear, people were not scared off by her "gasses" and came over to talk to her. One woman (and I've heard this a couple of times before), said, "Do you mind me asking...What is she?" Now, of course I know she meant nationality, which I told her, but I can't help but feel that's not the best way to ask!

Later, when we were in the checkout line, another woman was chatting with Maya and said to me, "Do you mind me asking......How did you get so lucky to be this little girl's Mommy?" I almost got choked up, it was such a sweet way to ask about Maya's story. It's definitely not always what you ask, but how you ask it!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Maya's First Hike

Lyle had a day off from work, so while the big kids were at school, we took the little girls up to the Olympic Mountains for a hike. The day was clear and beautiful and the weather was perfect!

Abby has only been on two hikes, and both times she's seen bears. She's pretty sure that's the norm. These bears were quite close to the road and we did get out of the car for a better look, but having the car right there helped us to feel safe.

Abby checking out the viewpoint at the lodge. She had a great attitude, but we were to soon learn that the hike was more than we'd bargained for!

Maya thought riding in the backpack was great. She thoroughly enjoyed her personal bag of trail mix, but made Lyle a little nervous when she kept saying, "put it in a pocket!" Lyle wondered what pocket she was talking about, and later discovered that a few nuts and M&M's had found their way down the back of his shirt!

Abby listening to the peaceful sounds of nature. I should point out that at this point, the sounds were peaceful--later on, that all changed! Hint: Remember the bears?

At the start, the trail was completely clear, but as we got higher, we trudged through lots of snow.

At this point, we were still doing well!

Here's where things began to fall apart! We needed to pass through a large, steep slope covered with snow. In this photo, normally sure-footed Lyle slipped down the embankment and saved himself and poor Qiu from a serious fall by grabbing hold of a tree branch.

He got a little dirty! I wish I took some pictures of the treacherous hike from here on out, but I was more concerned with survival! The deep snow chilled Abby's atittude considerably and after crossing a couple of snow fields, we realized we'd never make it. So, we turned back and slipped and slid back through the snow.

Maya zonked out in the backpack and we picked up the pace as we repeatedly heard the grunts of a bear somewhere behind us. We never saw it and didn't spend much time looking. We were all happy to get back to the car!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One Year Ago Today

On May 23, 2006, we woke up to a phone call from the Small World Adoption Agency. Kathy asked if we'd checked our e-mails from last night. Nope, we hadn't. "Well," she said, "I sent you the file for a beautiful 8 month old...." The kids weren't up yet, so we quietly went downstairs and opened the e-mail and read all her information.

At the bottom were her photos. I wanted to kind of sneak up on them and give myself a moment before I saw her, but I scrolled too fast and there she was!

There were 3 adorable pictures, but it was this one that just took my breath away. She felt familiar and so much like a Beck. Lyle kept chanting, "All babies are cute....All babies are cute..."

I wouldn't say our minds were totally made up in that moment because we knew we wanted to discuss her file with an international adoption pediatrician, but we certainly knew we really WANTED to adopt her!

Wow, that was me?!

I'll admit, that e-mail from one year ago is still in our "in-box". It makes me happy having it there!