Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

Before I jump into Halloween pictures, I should mention that Madeline turned 11 on the 25th!
We've found that she's become very difficult to shop for as she's definitely at that "tweener" age where she doesn't really fit into the "Toys R Us" category, but isn't really excited about teenage-type items either. I think we managed to find some things that she liked! Madeline is a wonderful young lady and we're blessed to have her in our family.

A couple of days before Halloween, Madeline had a piano recital at a local nursing home. All of the kids wore their costumes and the residents seemed to enjoy it. As usual, Maya wanted to come too, so she got more mileage out of her chicken costume! The residents thought she was pretty cute!

Madeline the pirate has spotted the chicken and is going in for the kill with her piano music. The chicken seems determined not to go down without a fight!

Our lovely piano-playing pirate at the nursing home.

On Halloween Abby was our beautiful princess.

The chicken, pirate, and princess planning out their trick-or-treat route.

Here is Madeline with her good friend Tsarina Anastasia Romanov. Let's hope Madeline doesn't get too attached. As a side note, along with Madeline's birthday came her annual check-up. She is in the 3rd percentile for weight and 10th for height. Normally, I don't think she looks so very tiny, but when she stands next to other girls who are the same age, as in this photo, I'm reminded that she's definitely on the low end of the growth charts!

As usual, Adam wanted to help his dad pass out candy. He did do some face decorating but I'm not sure what look he was going for! Actually, notice the laptop---his friend came over to see if Adam wanted to go trick-or-treating with him and Adam told him he had to do his homework. If that doesn't make a mom proud, I don't know what does!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our Little Jack-O-Lantern

Just in time for Halloween, Abby is now sporting the Jack-O-Lantern look! She lost her very first tooth yesterday after school. I'm pretty sure she reached this milestone at a younger age than her older brother and sister. She's not even 6 and a half, which I know is plenty old enough to lose teeth, but our other kids were much later.

Abby really worked hard the past week or so since she noticed it was wiggly. Her dad taught her the "floss technique" and she wound the floss around her tooth, I gave a little tug, and out it came! She was so very excited! She called Granny and said, "You have to guess at some news about something that happened in my mouth..." Abby got a surprised look on her face and said, "Wow! You guessed it!" Granny is so smart. She should have guessed tounge piercing.
The big kids had play practice tonight so we did a little lost tooth celebration and took the little girls to eat at Red Robin. While we were there, a family snagged a stuffed bat from the claw machine and since it terrified their toddler son, they offered it to Abby. Abby was VERY appreciative and felt like the whole night was indeed a great celebration!

In case you're wondering why I haven't posted many photos lately, this is the reason. Maya is in constant motion and this is the type of picture I usually get. She is so funny. She still sleeps an amazing amount (about a 3-4 hour nap in the morning from 9:30-1:00, and then a nap from 4:00-5:30, and then about 11 hours at night), but when she's awake, she's a GO-er! She's loves to jump and does these short, quick, turbo-jumps that are pretty entertaining. She runs and marches and dances and spins through her waking hours. She always wants her shoes on and frequently says, "I'm ready to go!", just in case an adventure is to be had.

We're amazed at her growing vocabulary especially considering the fact that she sleeps most of the time. We feel like we can completely communicate with her now and she just amazes us.
I have a rather sad, very sticky story to tell. Yesterday morning Maya was at the table finishing her breakfast and I had gone upstairs to check on Abby. As I was coming back downstairs I became concerned when I heard Maya say, "I did the juice MYSELF!" Oh dear. Yes indeed, she had done it HERSELF! She spilled a full container of grape juice (yes, it had to be grape juice!) all over the table and floor. Dishes and scriptures were floating on a purple lake. Unfortunately, at this sight I exclaimed, "Oh no, Maya! Look at this mess!" I'm sure I didn't sound pleased. Poor Maya got such a sad look on her face and with a pathetic pout said, "Mama, look. I did it myself." She hung her little head and held out her cup--with about an inch of grape juice at the bottom. Poor girl. I think she really was proud. It just had gone badly. Very, very badly. I had to mop the floor twice. We've since talked about it and she's agreed that she needs to be a little bigger before she takes on the juice pouring job. Lyle wants to make her some colored rice to practice her pouring technique! I'm sure it's not easy to be 2!

On another note, we have some adorable pictures of the girls which will soon be heading on their way to Grannys and Grandpas. Unfortunately, there will be no school picture of Adam this year. I did indeed write him a check and fill out an order form. Unfortunately, he's not sure what became of it. I guess we will not be doing the "watch me grow" framed picture with the slots for kindergarten through graduation. There will be a big blank hole for 8th grade! I may call the school Monday and find out if we can still order pictures. He's pretty sure a picture was taken! Madeline's picture looks so grown-up it almost makes me want to cry. She's not a little kid anymore, well on her way to young lady! Abby looks adorable in her first grade picture and Maya's J.C. Penny's pictures turned out just beautifully.

On the day she had her picture taken, we were walking through the mall and got lunch at a Chinese food counter. The Chinese man there excitedly asked if Maya was Chinese. When I told him she is, he said he needed to talk to me. He asked in whispered tones, "Do you know people who will adopt Chinese children?" I told him that I know many people who have adopted from China. Through broken English he told me that he has friends in China who are very poor and are no longer able to care for their 3 year-old daughter. He said that the girl is very smart and pretty and the parents want her to be adopted by a family in the United States. He asked if I knew someone who could help them.

I had certainly not prepared for this type of conversation as I left that morning for the mall. I felt so sorry for his friends. I tried to tell him that the problem wouldn't be finding a family willing to adopt the little girl. The problem is that there is no legal way in China for a family to place their child up for adoption. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's true. He asked me how Maya's birth parents had found us. I explained that she was abandoned and that we have no information on her birth parents. No one who's adopted from China knows their child's birth parents. They're all abandonded, usually with absolutely no information. The man seemed shocked at this. I felt like I should offer something, so I gave him the phone number and e-mail of our adoption agency and told him that they have a representative in China who may know of something that could help this family. What a terribly sad situation.

Maya was looking so adorable that day for her picture and was in such a happy mood. She was strutting through the mall like she KNEW she was adorable and we got lots of smiles and "what a sweet girl" types of comments. Before I talked to this man, the thought had crossed my mind that her birth parents were missing this. This encounter reminded me that in China, there is no other option. I like to think that her parents loved her and for whatever reason, they couldn't care for her. Leaving her at the gate of an orphanage that is known for supporting international adoption was as much of an adoption plan as they could make. I hope Maya is now living the life they envisioned for her.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Doesn't everyone love before and after makeover pictures? Well, here is an example of a makeover gone wrong! Maya's hair has actually been growing lately and I've been wanting to have a professional give her a trim and even it out a little. In the photo above, I'd actually curled her hair, so it really was quite a bit longer than it looks. I was picking up Maya's pictures from JC Penny's (and aren't they ADORABLE!?) and right next door to the photo shop is the salon. I had some time to kill before I needed to pick the big kids up from school, so I thought we'd see if they had time for a walk-in. The woman who cut Maya's hair was not a native English speaker, so maybe we just didn't fully communicate. I said TRIM! I really did! So, without further ado, to the left is the "before" shot, and if you dare, scroll down for the "after".

Voila! Instant boy! Once the cutting started, there was no going back. When I picked up Madeline from school, she looked at her sister and yelled, "Oh no! Maya cut her own hair?" No, this was the work of a professional. And to add insult to injury, we went to pay for the haircut (which took 5 minutes tops) and they charged us $20! Who knew JC Penny's was so hotty totty!

Another "before" shot, looking lovely....

.....and after.
I hope it grows out for Christmas card pictures!