Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Tooth Bites the Dust

Guess who's coming to our house tonight? That's right! The Tooth Fairy! Even though May misplaced her tooth on the way to bed, I feel certain that The Fairy will show up -- tooth or no tooth!


Chinese New Year 2009

Xin nian kuai le!! Happy New Year! We have finished the year of the rat and started the year of the ox! WOOOO!! HOOOO!! May this year bring you health, wealth, joy, luck, peace and abundance! And, to me, too. :-)

This school year has really felt "off" as we skipped Chinese school for the first time since May was 2 (she is now 8). This Chinese New Year celebration also feels different, as we are not with our Chinese school friends in celebrating. BUT, we did have a family celebration! We banged on pots and pans to scare away the bad luck of last year. We swept the old year out the door, but refrained from sweeping on New Years so as not to whisk the good luck away! We ate yummy Chinese food (like we don't do this all the time! LOL!). We gave May, Irene and Jane their hong bao (red envelopes that had money and chocolate coins in them). The girls wore their Chinese dresses to school (it was COLD and so they added long sleeved shirts and long pants or thick tights underneath!

Aren't they lovely?? Beyond lovely. I am SO PROUD to get to be their Mama!! Wow. For a person who was once told that I had a less than 20% chance of having a baby -- I have THREE gorgeous daughters!!! AM I WEALTHY AND FORTUNATE, OR WHAT??

Happy New Year, everyone!


As I watched all the events of Inauguration Day on January 20th, I took many photos off the TV. LOL! Some of my favorite ones are of people in prayer. I heard four people pray that day.

I listened as Rick Warren (a FANTASTIC CHOICE!) prayed, " ... We celebrate a hingepoint of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. ... And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven. ... When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. ... I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray ... (he then lead the crowd saying the Lord's Prayer).

Civil rights leader Joseph E. Lowery’s benediction was wonderful! He was the PERFECT CHOICE. He spoke, " ... When justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. ... We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right. ... Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen. (And the crowd responded with, "AMEN!")

I do not know the names of the two men who prayed at the lunch later. The (priest?) with the gray hair and collar had a style of prayer that I do not personally prefer. He read his prayer and repeatedly look out on his audience. Looked at notes, looked at audience. It was as if his prayer were a sermon to the crowd gathered, and not his heart's feelings spoken to God. So, the style was UGH to me.

I am a huge believer in affirmative prayer. I love to hear people's heart-felt words of love, thanks, hope, belief, kindness and action to God.

Any prayer that evangelizes, judges, excludes, is filled with hate or fear or negative consequence turns me completely cold.

I have read and heard so many people speak of "praying for President Obama." My own prayer is that all these prayers be filled with love, hope, belief, kindness, thankfulness, and support.

America may have never needed solidarity more than we need it THIS day.

Let us pray.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When I first started thinking about who to vote for in November's election, at first I was a big supporter of Hilary Clinton. My personal and professional lives were so easy during her husband's presidency. I liked her, too. So, jumped in. I can remember the exact moment I changed my support to Barack Obama. I was listening to Barack speak via Podcast on my iPod as I cleaned the girls' playroom. After I was done, I said to Chris, "You know, I may switch to Obama." I was shocked.

And, I never looked back. I made the right choice.

I have to say that I think Hilary will be a good Secretary of State.

And, I really hope someone close to her will counsel her to stop making this face on TV. We have pause buttons and TiVo, digital cameras, and the strange compulsion to take photos off the TV set. Shots like this live forever! :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 20, 2009 Inauguration Day

Jerri - This post is for you, Girl. LOL! (Not because of the subject, but because taking photos off the TV amuses you!)

I took 316 (yes, you read that right) pictures off our TV on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 as our President Barack Obama was sworn in and all the festivities happened.

I sat with tears of JOY and AWE streaming down my cheeks, as I watched and my 3 daughters checked to be sure I was OK. I hugged them tight. I explained that not only did I think that a wonderful man had become our President, but we had elected our first black President! I explained, in tears, that people had died, marched, protested, and fought for this day! Some had lived to see it, and some had not. The day just felt HUGE to me.

My girls are young enough that this moment may become "normal" to them and their life experience as time goes on and our world evolves. But, I want to teach them how important it is in historical terms.


Out of those 316 TV photos I took, the following is probably my favorite. I will post other favorites in other posts (Jerri). :-)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK Day Clean-Up and Cookies

The girls and I spent about an hour and a half cleaning up the open space behind our house. It was SOOOOOOO WINDY today!! I was amazed at all the stuff we gathered as trash out there! The photo below shows us about halfway through.

May dropped her beloved purple heart-shaped sunglasses that she has had for years. I am hoping she and her daddy can head back out there tomorrow morning and find them. She lost them pretty close to our house, so maybe ...

My knees were beyond aching by the time we got back home. Bless whoever discovered ibuprofen! The fall I took in the kitchen later in the evening, as I was showing Chris how closely the girls "hike" near me did not help at all. LOL! (Karma?) I lay on the kitchen floor and LAUGHED HYSTERICALLY!! It was SUCH a slapstick fall. I love slapstick! I could actually feel my hair go UP as my body clumsily fell DOWN. LOL! I only have a few bruises (my ribcage fell against the white plastic bucket you see in the picture. WHY didn't it make it to the garage with the big bags of trash??), so I am thankful. And, they say a good laugh is very healthy for you! I certainly got that!! I could NOT get up for a long time because I was laughing so hard!!

When faced with difficult events, you can laugh or you can cry. I choose to laugh!

The girls and I talked a lot about other specific ways we can PLEDGE to continue to serve, support, and enhance the people, community and land that surrounds us each day. America's future depends on ALL of us pitching in and making a great effort. Yes, we can!

We had a lot of fun baking chocolate chip cookies, too. And, more fun eating them!

And, tomorrow (today) we will awaken to A New Day. KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day!

Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is one of the holidays that is the most meaningful to me on a personal level.

Without the efforts of Dr. King, and so many like him, our interracial, blended culture family would not be as readily accepted as it is. I am unspeakably and profoundly thankful.

I clearly remember the 1960's and 1970's of America. The race riots (we had them in my high school), the protests, the gaining of rights, Dr.King's murder (I was in 4th grade, and the events of 1968 shoved me toward my life-long left-leaning point of view), and inching toward a true blending.

And, tomorrow ... America's first black President will be inaugurated!

Think of it. The progress. It makes me cry with JOY!!

(I have to interject here that Barack Obama is SO much more than his race. But, it is one way he is "seen and defined." I recently read ... OK, I listened to the audio book ... his book "The Audacity of Hope" and I wish that EVERY person who has a HOPE for the future of America, regardless of race or political affiliation, would listen to/read that book. It is amazing! And, it helps to know Soon-President Obama so much better. Open your mind and consider it.)

Today, we will bake chocolate chip cookies - our symbolic (and yummy and fun!) way of celebrating the blending of races, cultures, religions/faiths, lifestyles and every other defining feature in America today! The growing Oneness. We will also participate in volunteer efforts in our community. We will create art and beauty.

Together, we can ALL continue to change America for the better.

To quote our Soon-President: "There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there is a United States of America."

And, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' "


I know there are many people who are hesitant about President Obama and what may be to come. To those people (of whom I am strongly not one) I hope the following quote will move straight into your heart, take root, and give you peace:

"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you feel hate (which is really fear) -- make an effort to replace it with love. The two cannot coexist.

Today, the eve of the inauguration, feels like the VERY BEST Christmas Eve the child in me could ever imagine. A wonderful gift is coming tomorrow.

Oh -- and, just one more:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-- Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Amen and AMEN!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bare tree in the living room

Isn't this where we started about a year ago?? I remember posting about having taken allll the Christmas decorations down and the ornaments off the big tree, and having a bare tree in the living room.

Deja vu.

Janie (5) and I skipped church today and we got all the ornaments off the tree. OK. I took 99% of them off. But, Janie kept me good company. She always does. That kid is an absolute pleasure to be with.

She says the cutest things. I put all the ornaments temporarily into a plastic bin and will sort them all into their boxes and bags and repack them into two plastic bins later - probably after everyone is asleep. My productive time! LOL! Janie looked into the box and said, "Look, Mommy! The angel is having a bath in all the ornaments!" LOL! You gotta love that.

EVERY year when I get to this stage, I ponder whether we will move before the next Christmas. If I ever knew for sure we would NOT move, I would just leave the jumbled ornaments together in the temporary "to be sorted and packed better" box, and save the time and trouble of making them all safe and secure.

It is interesting where my brain wanders. And wonders.

OK. Now I have to work up to folding the branches up and getting it ready for Chris to put into the big boxes. I am very careful (read: compulsive and controlling) about how the branches get folded and unfolded. So, it takes a long time.

Better get to it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cynthia brings me China memories

My on-line friend fellow China Mom, Cynthia, is in China right now adopting her 6 year old son (just 11 days older than our Irene is now)! I am LOVING reading her blog and following her journey. A couple of things brought back specific memories of our trips to China to adopt our three daughters.

First, there is a picture of Cynthia's younger daughter jumping on the hotel bed. That one brought to mind our trip to adopt Irene (then 4 years and 8 months of age). Irene's jumping, her fall, lots of blood-soaked hotel towels, Chris taking Irene to the hospital (in Nanchang, Jiangxi, PR China) for 3 stitches (the equivalent of 6 to 7 stitches in the USA) and her banging her head on a glass coffee table and breaking the stitches open again in Guangzhou and Chris taking her to the hospital there.

Here is Irene in her little net hat which kept the gauze bandages in place. (OK. That was what it was intended to do. It didn't work very well.)

Moral of the story? Try not to let your kids jump on the hotel beds in China. And, in our case -- pay more attention to your children than to the chops (name stamps) salesperson who is visiting your hotel suite.

The other memory that Cynthia brought to mind involved the fact that her new son tries to get away from their hotel room and "go home." He runs for the door. He attempts to climb out the window. He sleeps in his clothes and shoes -- ready to LEAVE at any moment. (This is all NORMAL, by the way.)

When we went to adopt Janie, she was 2 years and 3 months of age. She was sooooooo sad, and she cried the most quiet and sad tears. She was truly melancholy. Having met her foster grandma (PoPo) twice (she approached me secretively when we visited the orphanage on Janie's trip, and we got to meet her in a much more open and official way when we visited the orphanage again during Irene's trip) I now understand Janie's grief in leaving her.

ANYWAY -- Janie would go to the hotel door and reach up and cry and cry and cry. One time, she walked us to the coat closet and motioned for us to give her her new coat and snow pants (her NEW ones, not any of the 7 top layers or 5 bottom layers she was wearing when she arrived to us on Gotcha Day), along with her new tennies (not the really cute orange boots she arrived in) and her new mittens. We dutifully helped her put them on. Then she was able to willingly sleep through the night.

Yes - clothed in her outdoor gear.

To this day, the following photo is one that can pull my heart right into my throat. Love sometimes takes a while to grow between adopted kids and their new parents. But, Janie had me at "Hello" -- or at least by the time this photo was taken: