Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer and "Autumn"

It was nearly a year-ago when "Autumn Chrysanthemum" and "Summer Fun" sat on the famous red couch at the White Swan Hotel. They were both from the Guiping orphanage and met their forever families on the same day. This weekend the girls and I drove out to Spokane for the Small World Adoption Agency's picnic. What a thrill it was to see how much Summer has grown and changed!

This is not the same girl we met in China! She's so full of personality and fun! She was a nut in the wading pool and repeatedly plopped down on her bottom to get a big splash! Abby loved meeting some of the people from our China trip. She thought Summer was hilarious!

The people who put together the Small World Luau did a fabulous job. There were wading pools for the little kids, a huge water slide for the big kids, a kiddie fishing pond, hula dancers, and lots of great food.
Julie and I wanted Maya and Summer to hold hands, but they'd have nothing to do with it.

I think the sweetest moment was when Maya handed Summer a piece of sidewalk chalk and Summer said "thank you" and Maya said "welcome". I realize that there's nothing amazing about that little interaction, but I couldn't help but think how thrilled and relieved we would have been a year ago if we'd had a crystal ball and could have foreseen this normal American toddler moment. What a blessing that they're both doing so well!

Maya and Summer made sure that Guiping was represented in the hoola hoop contest.
I can't believe Summer is now taller than Maya. That girl has grown! Both girls had a different hoola style. Maya kept her feet pretty still but shook her hoola hoop back and forth while Summer held her hoop steady but spun in circles. They both got ribbons--I think for their obvious cuteness and not necessarily for technique!

It was so great to see our China representatives--Lily and Rebecca. They brought their daughters Angela and Winnie, who are the same age as Madeline. It was funny when we were in China how shy Madeline felt with them as they confidently led her around, and now how the tables had turned and Madeline was on her "home turf" and the other girls were the shy ones.
Janelle, Lily, Kathy, and Rebecca

Getting there may be half the fun, but getting home was a bit dicey! We left the reunion at around 9:30 and I thought I'd drive for a couple of hours before stopping at a hotel for the night. Our first stop was the town of Moses Lake. There were about 6 hotels there and not a single available room.

I was getting a little worried, but saw a sign for lodging in the small town of George. I figured maybe because of the nice lake there were lots of summer travelers in Moses Lake, and George might be a good bet. Well, as I turned off for George I saw that the lodging was 6 miles down the road. I wanted to turn around, but coming the other way was a steady stream of traffic leaving the Dave Matthews Band concert that had just finished at the Gorge Amphitheather. So, that was probably a half hour side journey just to get back to the highway.

I didn't hold out much hope for Ellensburg, but thought maybe with the 8 hotels, there might be a room. No, it was not meant to be. Sweet Madeline kept sending encouraging words from the backseat, "Don't worry Mom. I'm sure the next one will have a room! Just don't fall asleep! I'm staying awake. I'm here for you, Mom!"

I was honestly thinking we'd have to spend the night in the car at a rest area, when at about 2:15 A.M. we pulled into the town of Cle Elum. There were only 3 hotels listed on the road sign and we'd already seen a "No Vacancy" sign lit up at two of them. But, down the road, much to our tired eyes' surprise, was a red glowing sign that said "YES"! We cheered as quietly as we could without waking up Abby and Maya.

As I pulled up to the hotel, the front desk person was waiting outside. He said in a thick accent, "We just had cancellation. The only thing we have is jacuzzi suite. It very expensive." I asked him how expensive. He gave me a price and then quickly said, "but I feel bad for you. I give you a discount." (I'm sure it also helped that his chance of renting the room at 2 AM was dwindling!)
So, happily we trudged up to the second floor jacuzzi suite. I was so dead tired. Abby and Madeline got into one of the queen-sized beds and instantly fell asleep. Maya and I got into the other bed next to the VERY prominent jacuzzi. Well, Maya, who'd slept so well in the car, decided it was time to WAKE UP! She was so hyper! She loudly announced (she can't pronounce the "L" sound) that "Abby is seeping! Sissy is seeping! I paying!!" She would then grab me by both cheeks, put her nose right up to mine and yell, "MOM! MOM! You seeping? I do jumping!"

I'd put her crazy little body back down with a stern order to GO TO SLEEP, when she'd then discover that the headboard made a funny sound if you banged it against the wall. Or, she'd loudly announce that "Mama have a ELBOW!" or "I count! 1, 2, 3, 4...." (while performing a seat drop on my back with each number). You get the idea! This went on until 4 AM.
Then housekeeping came at 7:30. I about killed the poor woman. Well, there was no going back to sleep, so the girls tried out the jacuzzi tub! Because after all, if you pay for the jacuzzi suite, you may as well enjoy it!

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