Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Name

I think I've got it.  

It's masculine.

It's Biblical

It's short and easy to spell.

It has two syllables.

It means "Joined in Harmony", which couldn't be more perfect.

It was recommended by Miss Ashley and Julie and Mom2four,

women with impeccable taste.

Now I just have to convince the rest of the family.

And they're a tough crowd.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So Very Close..... having our papers finished and off to China.   

Every single thing is signed, stamped and delivered to our agency except our Citizenship and Immigration approval.  Lyle and I were fingerprinted yesterday at The Department of Homeland Security and are waiting on that all-important approval notice to come in the mail.   Once it does, I'll drive it straight to Olympia to the Secretary of State's Office to get their seal of approval and then I'll overnight it to a courier in San Francisco who will hand-carry it to the Chinese Consulate and then overnight it to our agency.  If all of the stars align, I was hoping to have our dossier winging its way to China by October 8th. 

At the very least, I MUST have our approval in hand by October 6th because I will be incommunicado from October 7th-14th.  It's a surprise that I cannot divulge lest my two littlest ones read the blog!  Wish Yun Xi were already with us.  I think it's a surprise that would make him smile!

And speaking of smiles, how cute is that little guy?  Our little guy with no American name.  Rose suggested Silas last night and Lyle shocked me with (in all seriousness) Titus and then I was reminded of an adorable baby Finn who we knew in Iowa City and Lucy told me her friends all voted for Gavin and Cholita thought Stanley would make a fantastic name and Bruder said he's obviously a Simon and ........ Too many voters.  Too many choices.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Our son!  

Yun Xi

AKA: The smile that lights up Yunnan

American Name:???
Lyle vetoed Grant.
I've axed Simon.
We need inspiration!

And Yun Xi needs a boy's bike!

Name Game Part IV

Seriously, I will move past this.  Right now though, I need help.   Our son in China will thank you someday.

* Zander was a fleeting thing.  I was over it in about 2 hours.

* I have a great uncle who was a WWII fighter pilot and died at the very end of the war.  I actually wrote his story years ago and was able to talk to many of the men from his company, which was an amazing experience.  So, I have an affinity for his name, Grant, but I'm not sure it flows with our last name.  Grant Beck.  What do you think?

* What about Joseph and just calling him Joe?  I do tend to like one syllable names even if our last name doesn't exactly like them.

* I think Noah might be too common right now.  Simon is definitely not too common, but there are so many associations with it--Simple Simon, Simon Says, Simon the Chipmunk, Simon the mean American Idol judge. I do love the name Peter, but my kids make gagging noises when they hear it.  Grant has a neat family connection, but I'm not sure how if flows with our last name.  Owen is a great name, but it might be too trendy.

* I want classic, but underused.  HELP!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Name Game Part III

If you name a boy Alexander, and call him Zander as a nickname, would you have to spell it Xander?  For some reason, the X would bug me.

Is Zander a weird name anyway?  Would you take a Zander seriously?  Haven't even thrown this one out to the family yet, so we'll see.....

Alexander means "defender of men", which I think is cool.

Simon means "one who hears".  This is Bruder's favorite, Lyle's least favorite.

Owen means "well born".  Cholita and Rose and Lucy frequently refer to their soon-to-be brother by this name, so for them, there's no debate.  He's Owen.  The extended family who've offered opinions were not too fond of this name (to say the least).  "Are you SERIOUS?" was the general feeling.

Peter is a name I've always liked.  It means rock or stone.  Lyle likes it, but the kids don't.  Who gave them a vote anyway?

Samuel is a name I love, but I think the nick-name Sam is inevitable.  I like Sam, but our short, sharp last name requires a first name with at least two syllables.  I also like several names that end in the "k" sound (Eric, Jack, etc.), but since our last name ends in k, I don't think it flows well.

What you really need is to see his picture....beyond the arm.  Our papers should be done and off to China very very soon, and the minute that happens, his happy, smiling face will grace our blog.   But what I'm really looking forward to his happy, smiling face gracing our dinner table.

"Owen, can you pass the peas?"  
"Chew with your mouth closed, Simon."
"Zander, it looks like you need a napkin."

What oh what will we call him?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Name Game Part II

Questions that need answers:

*Should the name Simon only be used for Chipmunks?

*Would a boy named Owen be pushed around?

*Can a person ever be called Samuel or would they forever be Sam?

*When you hear the name Noah, do you only think of an ark full of animals?

Help us please.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Name Game

Our little boy in China already has a name, Yun Xi.   If he wants, we'll call him that exclusively, but I realize that forever spelling your name and instructing people on pronunciation, might get tiresome.   Case in point, our little Cholita.  As it turns out, this year she has another little girl with her American name in her class  and to avoid confusion,  the teachers have taken to calling Cholita by her Chinese name.  The problem is, they never get it quite right and Cholita comes home grumpy saying, "They called me Chee today!" or "They called me Chew!"  Lyle jokingly told her to say her Chinese name slowly and then spell it for them, "It's Cho.  Q-I-U  Cho."  That should clear up any confusion!

So, as much as we plan to keep our little guy's name a part of who he is, we realize that an American name can come in handy.  Unfortunately, we struggle somewhat with names.  We struggle especially with boy names.   We haven't had to stretch our boy-naming muscles for 16 years, so we're pretty out of shape and definitely out of the loop regarding what's cool and what's not.   So, I'd love to hear your opinions.   What are some great boy names that are not too weird, not too blah?  And if I'm brave about it, I might list some of the names we've been considering.  We haven't gotten the best reception with them, which makes me think we're more clueless than I even realized.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Sound of Silence

My husband, on the spur of the moment, took all four of our children camping tonight.  Right now, I'm relishing in the hum of the refrigerator.  Today, I had:

* One child who most likely set a record for numbers of hours spent talking without appearing to ever take a breath.

* One who strongly implied that I'm a back seat driver.

* One who came home from school surly.

* And one who stole my book every single time I set it down.

So when Lyle told them to be ready to go on a campout in half an hour, I thought he was either insane or saintly.  Probably a little of both.

I sure like him though.  And now I'm off to read a book, a book that I stole back from my book-snatching child.  Ahh, it'll be a good night.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with what I've just written, but I've been picture-less for several posts now, and my blog is looking very blah.  
She's a pretty girl, isn't she?  Between you and me, she's a book thief.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thank you State Department Stamper!

You did it!  You stamped our paper!  And it's amazing, really, that it only took one month.  When I spoke with the secretary on the main switchboard at the State Department this morning, she informed that your office hours are 9-11 Monday through Thursday.   With that schedule, you probably were stamping your little heart out, going at it full tilt, and I went and implied that there was some laziness, some inefficiency in your department.  So sorry.

 But now let's let bygones be bygones.

Bye-bye State Department, NiHao Chinese Embassy!

A Depressing Update:  I just re-checked the FedEx site and because I was cheap and because I didn't anticipate a month-long hold-up, I paid for the bargain three-day delivery from the State Department to the Embassy.  Since the bargain rate doesn't cover Saturdays, my paper with the fancy State Department stamp isn't expected to arrive at the Chinese Embassy until Monday!  I Map Quested this route and the Embassy is 2.8 miles from the State Department!  FIVE DAYS TO GO LESS THAN THREE MILES!

Aye Yi Yi!  Adoption is not for the impatient.

Update on the Update: Fedex delivered my paper in only one day at the cheapo three-day price!  Thank you FedEx!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear State Department,

I know you're busy.   I really do.  What with diplomacy and foreign relations and all, I can see why it might be difficult to stamp a paper.    I visualize a desk there at the Truman Building that's simply covered with papers, all needing stamps.

I'm sure it's overwhelming for your person who is in charge of the all-powerful stamp and sometimes they might just want to take some time off.  Is that what's happened, State Department?  Have you all gone on holiday?  Your website says that you will authenticate documents in approximately 8 business days.  I realize this is an approximation, but I'm quite sure that one whole month is longer than 8 business days.

You've asked that no one phone or e-mail you, as that would surely add to your stress, but the fax number which you've so graciously given, which I've faxed, has yielded no results.  The People's Republic of China has given us a deadline of October 23rd to have all of our documents stamped, sealed, and delivered.  State Department,  please put your stamp on that paper.  Our Utah marriage certificate is legit.  I promise it is.

A boy in China waits while our paper gets dusty on someone's desk.

Stamp it already.

An Impatient Family

P.S. And just to foster a little healthy competition, I  thought I'd let you know that the Secretary of State Offices of Washington, California, Utah, and Oklahoma, the Chinese Consulates in both San Francisco and Houston, and yes, even The Department of Homeland Security have all beaten you soundly and left you in the dust.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Join the Postal Service! See the World!

Guiping sisters "Autumn Chrysanthemum" and "Summer Fun"
"Mom, I want to send a letter to Summer to tell her I'm five now too."
"That would be great.  I bet Summer would like to get a letter in the mail."
"There's only one problem. I don't think our mail man knows the way to Summer's house."
"Our mail man won't take the letter to Summer's house.  It will go to a sorting facility....."
"I just hope he brings water and lots of snacks because it's a long drive."
"As I was saying......"
"Oh no!"
"What will the mail man do when he sees our papers going to China?"

On a different track.....
"Cholita, would you like to be a mail man someday?"
"Mom, two things.  First, I don't where many things are.  Second, I'm a GIRL!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Birthday Diva

Oh, how we love Cholita.
Oh, how Cholita exhausts us.

I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of miss interferon.  I don't miss the actual shots of course,  I just miss the naps.  Cholita has so much energy.   She's constantly busy, both physically and mentally. Endlessly entertaining, but busy.  I'm convinced that she'll someday move mountains with her zesty determination, but on a smaller scale, she can also wear us to a frazzle.

Case in point: the birthday money.  Our children have generous grandparents who send them money on their birthdays.  In the past, our kids have never batted an eye when I put the grandparent money in their savings accounts.  After all, they were still getting birthday presents, right?  Well, Cholita took her money and carried it with her everywhere in a little purple wooden box.  There was no way I was putting that money into the bank without the use of physical force.  She told me she intended to buy a beautiful party dress with matching shoes and a hair accessory.  I reminded her that she wasn't really lacking in the dress department and that she was most certainly not lacking in the shoe department.  The hair accessory?  O.K., maybe she could buy that, but the rest should go in the bank so she could learn the value of saving.   She wouldn't hear of it.  Daily, probably hourly, she found ways to work her beautiful party dress and lovely shoes into any conversation:

"Cholita, do you want syrup on your pancakes?"
"Yes, and it's a good thing I'm not wearing my new party dress that I'll buy with my own money because I might drip syrup on it, right, mom?"  

"Let's go pick up Lucy from school."
"O.K., but here's an idea.  Wouldn't she be surprised if I came to her school wearing a beautiful party dress and shoes?  Her friends always say I'm cute and now they would really think I'm cute in a new dress."

I swear, she should be a telephone solicitor.  For the sake of my sanity, I carted her and her little purple box to the mall yesterday and gave her free reign.  After stops at Gymboree and Gap Kids, it was obvious that she was not interested in practical clothing; she was looking for glamour and bling.  She found it a J.C. Penny's.   She was, I'll admit, surprisingly savvy.  She asked about prices and did pick an item that was on sale.  She was giddy when she handed the saleslady one $50 bill and was given lots of bills in return.  "You are so nice," she said to the woman, who offered her stickers and came around the counter to give her a birthday hug.  As we got on the escalator, Cholita, holding her garment bag high, said, "Sometimes people take all of your money; sometimes they are nice and give you even more, you just never know."

Feeling even more wealthy than before we walked into J.C. Penny's, she led the way to Claire's Boutique where she picked a floral hair adornment.  At the checkout, the woman told her that she could buy a second hair bobble for half off.  Cholita's mouth hung open.  "That is so nice."  The woman very helpfully showed her several things located right there at the cash register.  Cholita picked the sparkliest and we were on our way to Payless.

This is where things got interesting.  In typical Cholita fashion, she was drawn like a magnet to the red shoes.  "Cholita, there's no red in your dress, and you already have three pairs of red shoes at home and I just don't think....."  Cholita cut me off when she saw the shoes of her dreams: shiny black tap shoes with satiny ribbons.   "This is what a want," she said with confidence.  "But you know that these are dancing shoes, not shoes to wear with your new party dress, right?"  She was already taking off her red sparkly shoes, the shoes that I'd initially told her were just for dress-up and were not to leave the house, but were obviously now being worn out in public.  "These will be perfect,"  she said as she tied the ribbons and danced a jig on the carpet.  'They'll be a lot noisier at home," she reassured me.  "Yes, I'm sure they will."

And then, mercifully, she saw another pair of shoes.  They matched her dress.  They were fancy.  They had the tiniest smudge of a heel.  She threw off the tap shoes and tried on "the grown up shoes", as she called them.  She showed two elderly women how the cream-colored shoes so perfectly matched the cream-colored swirls on her beautiful party dress and they agreed that she had made an excellent choice and would most certainly be a vision.

And she was.  She loves the shoes so much in fact that it was hard to catch her looking at the camera.

I have to admit, she picked well, even if the purchase was frivolous, even if she hasn't learned any lessons in frugality.

She did have the birthday of her dreams.  She loved all of her presents: a baseball bat  (because she's not just a girlie-girl), a princess dress-up set (O.K., she's heavy on the girlie girl), a hula hoop (a requested item), and a jump rope (something that I thought might take the edge off a bit).

I was glad that I'd had her specify when she told me she wanted the hula thing. 
 I thought she meant a grass skirt.

Even in the dark, I could see she was blushing when we sang to her.

Happy birthday to our sweet, tenacious, well-dressed five year old.  
We love you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School 2010

This is the first year I can recall my children starting school before Labor Day.  September 1st completely snuck up on me and my children headed back to school only marginally prepared.

Lucy was the first to leave the house.  That's not the norm, but mercifully Seminary didn't start until today, so, off she went with Papa on a cold, wet Wednesday morning.  She's without question the cutest 8th grader I know.  In her hands, she holds her lunch in an Albertson's bag, that's how unprepared I was for the first day of school.

My fourth grader came next.  I find her uniform extremely charming; she finds it boring beyond belief.  My Rose normally takes a bus but she begged and pleaded to be driven to school.  "You have no idea how horrible the bus is," she complained.  Poor child.  She's happiest sitting on a window seat, studying maps and thinking up witty dialogue.  It's good for her to leave the house and be forced to actually use some of that witty dialogue.  I like my Rose quite a lot.

And my child who's usually first out the door didn't start class yesterday until 10:30.  He's a junior now and worrying about things like student parking permits and college entrance exams.  He's matured so much and we're so very proud of him.  Today he was out the door at 6:20.


And this one?  Her school doesn't start until the 8th.  Not to be overly dramatic, but Cholita finds the wait torturous.    And as far as me being Cholita's only source of entertainment, well, I find that pretty darn torturous as well.  

BUT, today is a good day for Cholita.  A VERY good day because when she wakes up in a few minutes, she'll no longer be an adorable little four-year-old, but an adorable little FIVE year old.

Her polka dot pancakes await!