Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray for LOA!

One step closer to Kunming! After waiting a whopping 67 days, we finally received our LOA (Letter of Acceptance). I brought it to Lyle's office so he could sign his name lickity split and then I sent it overnight mail to its next destination--Texas of all places.

This is finally starting to seem real. We'll apply for visas in the next couple of weeks and as soon as China says GO, we'll buy plane tickets. We're still looking to travel in March. Lyle has drawn out plans for the bed with built-in drawers that he's going to build for Yun Xi and I've hung some pictures of our little guy on the wall. I feel like I'm in nesting mode--cleaning organizing, Goodwilling (that's a word right?) and just trying to envision our house with one more person. A little boy person! It's been a long time since I've had one of those and I'm woefully unprepared.

But ready or not, he'll be coming soon!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Musical Christmas

"Feliz Navidad" from Cholita to you and yours.
Believe it or not, a ukulele was top on her wish list.

She was very pleased.

Bruder received an instrument of a slightly higher quality--a Taylor acoustic guitar, 
in addition to the Beatles t-shirt from Lucy.

And although Rose was primarily gifted with "kits", her true love, 
she will be picking up her rented cello next week and begin lessons in the new year.
I envision a cello/ukulele duet in the future.
If you doubt the legitimacy of such a pairing, check this out:

The handmade gift this year came from Lucy in the form of a piggy bank for Cholita.
What a fantastic Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 24th

It wouldn't be Christmas Eve without our traditional big Subway sandwich.   

Which is always followed by the reading of Luke 2.  Rose was our beautiful Mary this year.

Good tidings were proclaimed by Cholita, our lovely angel.

All came to worship the babe in Bethlehem.

From there, things move in a very different direction.  The Christmas Eve jammie pyramid.
Olaf looks concerned.

He knows how these things always end.....

.......with a child or two falling on top of him.

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve, but someone was missing.
We hope he likes jammie pyramids.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wish he knew we were waiting

It's strange to feel so connected to a person half-way around the world and realize that they don't have any idea you exist.   This week we put together a book for Yun Xi that we'll send to China.

 We included pictures of Mom and Dad, brother and sisters, of course, the dogs.

Olaf can be a bit shocking if you're not prepared.

He'll see his future home,

and learn a little bit about us.

But unfortunately, he probably won't see any of this until just a few hours before we meet him.  At the most, he might hear about us the day before.  Every orphanage has the prerogative to choose what information they share with the children and when they share it.  Yun Xi's orphanage is not the norm and I wish their policies were different.  I'd like to think that he was looking forward to meeting us as much as we are looking forward to meeting him.  Instead, he has no idea that a family half-way around the world says a prayer for him every single night and that they can't wait to bring him home.

I'll still send the book to China.   It will be worth the shipping costs if he even gets just one look at us on paper before we walk through the door in person.  It will be a traumatic day, there's no getting around that,  but we'll do everything we can to start off on the right foot.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas card photo you WON'T be getting

For Bruder, Christmas card picture-taking is akin to the rack, water torture, the pit of despair....

And if they're not pouting, they're laughing.

Or attempting to put someone else into position.

Or complaining about someone's static cling hair.

Or looking who-knows-where.

Or one teenager might be giving his sister a punch while the other gives her sister the heimlich.

Or I don't even know what was going on here.

But I do know that whatever it was, it's preferable to the response I get when I say I want 
"loving family".
Believe it or not, there was one this year that made the cut.

P.S. Lyle made this swing for me several years ago and I love it.  We painted it three different times trying to find the right color.  White....too blah, blue......too zingy.......sage green, just right.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, how she loves a project

The students in Madeline's science class were asked to make creative representations of cell biology.  I told Madeline that she could do anything that didn't require sewing on my part.  She asked only for pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks and then retreated to her room.  Last night she came downstairs with this:

A cell zoo

 The zoo keeper is obviously the golgi body, or the "mail room" of the cell, shipping materials off to different parts of the cell.

These might look like monkeys, but they're really mitochondrion, producing 90% of the cell's energy.

 The carnivores, like the wolves and the lions and the alligators are the lysosomes, breaking down materials like food into smaller pieces.

 There's a complete accompanying report that explains that the fencing is the cell wall, the lizards and snakes are the chloroplasts, the manager's office is the nucleus, the food storage barn is the vacuole, etc. etc.

 I'm quite sure my 8th grade self would have made a poster.  

The littles were completely enchanted.

And the big smile?  Sister has promised them the zoo when it comes back from school.

An early Christmas.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Si Guy

We've decided on a name and miraculously, every single person in the family is thrilled with it.  I'd begun to think that was impossible.   For the longest time, I campaigned on the virtues of the name Levi.  I made converts of Cholita and Lyle and Lucy.  Bruder and Rose weren't sold on it, but Bruder said he'd be fine with whatever we chose and Rose.......well, let's just say she doesn't suffer in silence.   She did, however, come to us one night and tearily say that she surrendered.   She's nothing if not dramatic.

Still, there'd been so much angst over the name that I couldn't say it with the same happiness I had when I first mentioned it to the family.  The poor, wonderful name Levi had been beaten to death.  So, from the back of the pack surged a name that we'd been considering from the very beginning.

* It's Biblical.
* It's somewhat quirky.
* It means "one who hears", which we quite love.
* There was a man in the Bible by this name who carried the cross of Jesus, a story that we'll be sure to mention when we teach our little guy the gospel.
* It has a nickname that Lyle finds incredibly cute.
* And the final kicker..... when the name is written in Mandarin, it has the same first character as our little boy's name, Xi.  In China it's pronounced Xi Mon.  I took it as a sign.   And goodness knows we needed one.

The moment Cholita heard the news, she grabbed a marker and put into writing the sentiment shared by the whole family: we love our little Simon.  

And anyone who mentions chipmunks, well, they'll have to face the wrath of Olaf.

He's more vicious than he looks.