Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Especially Fond

One of my favorite books is The Shack by William P. Young. I did a scrapbook page today inspired by the phrase that "Papa" uses so often: "I'm especially fond of that one." Sophie, Emma, Owen--I'm especially fond of you.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mom, can we go to the pool?

Yep, she said. Again. :) And here they are.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Tooth Fairy...

"Mom, did you throw away that paper towel on the counter?" The question from Emma barely registered, but apparently the tooth she'd lost while I was having a rare nap with Owen was IN that paper towel, and when I went back into cleaning-up Mom mode, I threw it away. Here was our solution.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Translation Unnecessary

The cutest thing happened the other day. Jeff and I were sitting in the bonus room when suddenly the sounds of "Hey Jude" came blaring out of Sophie's room--the "naaah, na na na-na-naa-naaaah" part. Next, we heard Owen's feet pounding down the hall, and he came bursting into the room and started "talking" to us so "clearly", gestures and all. His hands were out at his sides, his little palms were turned upward, shoulders hunched, and the expression on his face was priceless. If he had the words, he would have said, "I was in Sophie's room (I know I probably shouldn't have been) and I touched some button on that pink thing on her night stand, and some really loud music came on and it SCARED ME! Could you please come help me?" So Jeff followed him in there, they got the music turned off, and Jeff said he did the "talking" thing again when they went to shut the door to Sophie's room. This time it was clearly, "I left my car on the night stand and I want to get it." So they got the car, and then all was well. SUCH a cutie, this boy of ours.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hello Summer

I love to have a little more time in the summer for my favorite hobby-- scrapbooking. This is my first page of the summer.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day: Memories, Musings, Meaning

They handed me a small, red, paper poppy--three elderly gentlemen from the American Legion seated at a card table in the produce department at Kroger last night. One of them smiled at Emma and Owen, and said he had a granddaughter from China. I thanked him and walked on. I remembered the flood of emotions from singing “God Bless America” earlier in church, and how we had thanked the servicemen and women in our midst, and how I’d just been thinking of those red poppies that had been handed to me as a child when we’d walked the 2 blocks up to the Memorial Day parade in Alton, Illinois. It’s one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the beginning of the holiday back in 1868, but I didn’t know that then. I just knew that every year, it was something we wouldn’t miss. School was almost out, the rumble of the drums from the marching bands, cheers from the crowds, zooming of the little motorcycles the Shriners drove dangerously close to the crowds, the clop-clop of the horses’ hooves, and the revving of the engines of the all those cars from the Alton Antique Auto Club were so close to my house that there was no way they could pass by unnoticed. I remember standing there with my brother and my Aunt Alice one year as the veterans walked by. This was one of the less exciting parts for me as a child, of course—why so serious on such a fun day? And I remember Alice soberly commenting, “We can never do enough for them.” I will never forget those words, and I heard them coming from my own mouth as we walked through the produce section in Kroger last night and I tried to explain what Memorial Day is about to Emma and Owen.

The great thrill came for me as a child when I actually got to participate in that ancient parade. I remember decorating my bike in red, white, and blue, and riding in it one time. Then I had an official reason to march—I was a Brownie. I remember being advised by Alice not to wear a certain pair of brown and white oxfords with a chunky heel because they would be most uncomfortable, but did I listen? And then standing in Oakwood Cemetery, the end of the parade route, blessedly no longer marching, blisters blazing and knowing she was so right as I listened to Taps and the 21-gun salute. There were the years of marching with Mr. Wilcox and the East Jr. High School Band, and then the Alton High School Marching 100. Standing in the scorching heat some years in the parking lot at Alton High as we waited to get started, thanking the Lord I took up flute and not some heavier instrument. I remember playing “Yankee Doodle” over and over on the piccolo with my friends, and stuffing it up my sleeve to protect it when it began to drizzle.

I remember bringing Sophie to the parade in Alton several times, starting around the age of two—as soon as she was old enough to last through it. My dad would usually drive one of his old cars in the parade, and I wanted her to experience the same feelings I had when I was a child. I recall one time walking up Edwards Street and a car screeching to a halt, and my best childhood friend, Kitty, hopping out in tears to give me a hug. We had been in that parade together many times—as Brownies, fellow band members (I only played flute because she did!), and one time when she was the drum major. I found myself thinking about the parade this morning and wished I was there with my kids. Sophie would love to see the bands, being the trumpet player she is now, Emma would love all of it, and Owen would get a thrill out of all of the cars! Maybe next year.

When we came through customs both times bringing our youngest two Chinese-born children home, brand-spanking new American citizens upon the plane’s touchdown on U.S. soil, I felt sad that they didn’t get better welcomes. In Minneapolis when we brought home Emma, the best I can hope is that the grumpy document review guy was having a bad day, and in Chicago last summer, we met the most unhelpful people in our whole 27-hour trip home. Welcome to America, Owen. But kids, even with the struggles America faces today, you are still coming to the greatest country on earth, and this day is about remembering those who gave all to make, and keep it that way. Alice was so right…”We can never do enough for them.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One more week and I'm done!

I'm so happy that summer is almost here. I have one more week to go and I'll have one of my harder school years behind me. It's been hard for many reasons--new standards, not starting the year with my group because of being home with Owen after his surgery, adjusting to being a mom of three, struggling because I just wanted to BE with Owen...OK, that's enough right there.

I've missed blogging. I can't believe that the last post was on February 14th. I've become a "fast-food" sort of writer, preferring Facebook to my blog, and putting all my ideas down in short spurts. Yes, it's fun to interact, but I miss my blog friends, and I miss taking the time to think things through and express myself without having to worry about word count! It has been difficult to even sit at the computer with a little person wanting to push the buttons, so I will post a quick photo to FB on my iPhone, but I'm looking forward to not rushing around quite so much. Soon...but not yet. One more week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Message From Owen's Nannies

On June 1st, 2009, we met our son Owen Li Trubey in the city of Changsha, Hunan Province, China at the Adoption Center. Before we left, Jeff asked his sweet nannies who had made the trip from the orphanage in Chenzhou to say a little something to him on the video tape. Owen's Chinese name is Chen Li Wen; his nickname was in the customary way--"Wen-Wen". This is what they said:

First Nanny: "Wen-Wen, I hope you will be happy every day." She said something else in a local dialect...my friend who translated wasn't able to make it out. There are many, many dialects of the Chinese language.

Second Nanny: "Wen-Wen, I hope you will be happy in the States. Bye."

I feel such gratitude to these ladies who made the trip with our boy to the city of Changsha. To know this sweet baby is to love him. How their hearts must have been pulling away, having to get ready to hand him over to us, hoping we'd be a good family...more than likely they knew Owen since he had arrived at the orphanage, a jaundiced newborn baby, with a cleft lip and palate, unable to take a bottle unless they cuddled him just so to allow gravity to get the liquid down...I can barely stand to think about it. And they described him in his referral as an "obedient and dear baby". I remember thinking as I read that, "How could they know?" But they were right. What perfect words to describe this little boy I've come to love so fiercely.

Ladies, he IS happy every day. This is his nature. He is surrounded by people who recognize what a special little boy he is. Thank you for giving him such a wonderful start.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stealth-Car Boy Strikes Again...

Owen has this charming habit of surprising me by leaving his calling card behind...a little car tucked in a drawer, etc. I find them in my coat pockets, my purse--everywhere. I sighed just a few minutes ago as I opened the dishwasher to put in another dirty fork for what seemed like the millionth time this weekend, and there it was...his little red car in the silverware basket. He had been "helping" me earlier. Sweet baby boy. How happy he makes me, even when I'm bone-tired.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Days!!!

It was only about an inch of snow, but they made the most of it. And bitter cold made sure that what fell stuck around for 2 days, and iced over the winding back roads so that we got out of school for two days. Owen got his first ride on a sled and got up off of it just thrilled. The video clip here is actually the second time down. If you listen closely you can hear his little happy sounds, and he turns around to run right back up and do it again. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's only a matter of time...

Jeff texts me from upstairs (yes, upstairs): "See if Emma wants to come up and play with Owen." Emma is thrilled she can read this message! She texts him back, "Hi Daddy!" I realize it will only be a matter of time before she's rattling off texts like Sophie. Thank heaven we have unlimited texting on our plan! Sophie announced to us the number of texts she sent last month (she's checked...it's a status symbol, I think), informed us that I sent the next highest number (thanks, Lisa!!!) and that Jeff was last. All I can say is that I'm glad Sophie and I don't have the same kind of phone any more or I would be going crazy. As it is, Jeff and I are saying to each other, "Is that you or me?" Technology. How did we live without it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Owen, Elmo, and Andrea Bocelli

Jeff happened upon this video of a couple of our favorite guys on YouTube...and Owen was enthralled. Take a look: