Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Charlie!

It is so incredibly hard to believe that we met Charlie one-year ago tomorrow (Sept 21). If the rest of my life goes as quickly as the last year, I am going to be hitting 80 in no time. I admit the year wasn't quite as I had anticipated with my mom's illness and death. And, I think I wasn't all here for Charlie (or the rest of my family) for a while afterward. But, I feel the fog lifting and I feel more in control of my emotions. Oh, our lives are very chaotic and hectic, but our lives are very full and fulfilling.

We celebrated Charlie's adoption this weekend since Pete had to leave for a trip today. Here are a few thoughts about Charlie then and now.

Last year he called me "ayi" (auntie)...this year I am "mommy" (or more appropriately...mmmooommmyyyyy...hear the whine??)

Last year he didn't really know how to kiss or hug...this year he loves to do both.

Last year he didn't know how to go up and down stairs....this year he flies up and down them.

Last year he cried at the sight of our dog...this year he pets her, helps to feed her and even commands her to sit.

Last year he threw about 5 (maybe more) gigantic temper tantrums daily....this year we get a good one only every couple days (that's progress in my book).

Last year he had to line everything up in a row or he'd get freaked out....this year he throws his shoes in a big pile with the rest.

Last year he would hardly let anyone touch any of "his" things...this year he almost always shares (with some prompting).

Last year he knew only China....this year he has been to Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Minnesota, California, and Nevada.

Last year he seemed pretty clumsy...this year he can run, jump, ride a scooter, ride a bike with training wheels, kick a soccer ball, swing and lots more!

Last year he didn't speak a word of English....this year he never stops talking English.

Last year he didn't know God...this year he goes to church every week, says prayers before meals, and even went to Vacation Bible School last month.

Last year he didn't know a family's love...this year he likes to whisper in our ears "I love you."

Last year he didn't know what it was like to have a family...this year he has a mommy, daddy, brother, and two sisters that will be his FOREVER!

We love you Charlie and can't imagine our life without you!!

Charlie on his new bike

Celebrating Charlie's Adoption Day with Friends (and Chinese Food, of course)

Charlie's Cake (it says Happy in Chinese least we think it does)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Day of School

The kids are all back to school now. I have an 8th-grader, 5th-grader, 3rd-grader and a preschooler! Wow! This was the first year I really wasn't ready for them to go back. I really enjoyed our care-free, no schedule summer. We weren't home alot over summer as we spent about 5 weeks at the beach and took a 2-week vacation. In between there was Vacation Bible School and Lacrosse Camp (for CJ). So, I was enjoying being home and hanging out at our neighborhood pool.

But, the kids were actually excited to go back. Clara was super happy because she is in several classes with her two best friends. CJ just loves school in general so he was happy. Amelia loves to be with her friends at school. And, Charlie just joined in on the excitement and was ready for his 3 afternoons a week of preschool (de-boo-yo as he calls it).


The whole reason for the trip to CA was for our family to meet up at my brother's house and spread my mom's ashes in the ocean. That was what she always wanted. So, among all the fun we were having, we still had to face our last good-bye to mom. But, after going back and forth about where and how to do it, we decided to go to the local beach near my brother's house.

My mom always told my dad that after she died, she would come back as a seagull and watch over him (and poop on his head if he looked at another woman). Well, the evening we gathered to spread her ashes was quite memorable. We got into a circle and were holding hands. Dad read something he wrote and David walked out into the water to spread the ashes. Lots of tears were shed. As he was doing this a bird flew by and one of the kids said, "Oh look, there is Grandma." But, we said no that it was just a pelican. And then, Jackie looked back at the box up on the beach where mom's ashes were and there was a seagull pecking at it. We all screamed and ran up to it...turns out, the seagull opened the box and took out the little silver hanging pendant with mom's name on it. It flew into the air, circled around us with the pendant in its mouth, and flew off! NO KIDDING! It was the only seagull around, there was no food nearby, and it circled us! After all the tears we shed while we were gathered in our circle, there was almost a sigh of relief...and laughter! The kids all started running around saying "that was Grandma!" It was just a perfect ending (or beginning) for mom.

Friday, September 18, 2009

4 1/2 months since last post!!

When I started this blog, I thought it would be the perfect way to stay in touch with family and friends that we don't see very often. Well, the only way it will work is if I actually USE IT!! It's been since June 1st since I posted. Wow...the whole summer flew by and I didn't post anything. I won't go back and try to recreate all the things we did in the summer, except for one significant one.

In August, we took a two week trip to visit Pete's family in MN. We spent 6 days at the cabin in northern MN and had a blast! The kids absolutely love to hang out at the cabin, to fish, to waterski, jet ski, ride the motor scooters, and just to love the beautiful place that the cabin is. CJ got up on waterskis for the first time ever!! It took a little coaxing (ok, a lot...the promise of an X-Box 360 for his birthday), but once he got up, he loved it. Of course, with his little 68 pound body, he popped right up. Clara was very confident waterskiing this year and actually didn't even to be bribed to ski...she loved it. Amelia made our vacation very typical. She came down with a horrible case of swimmers ear and had to go to the ER because she woke up screaming in the middle of the night and her ear had nearly swollen shut! So, no underwater swimming for her. Charlie really seemed to like it. He liked taking boat and jet ski rides and exploring around the cabin. Of course, we all loved hanging out with Pete's family. Here are a few pictures of that leg of the trip.

The second part of the trip was to California. We spent 4 days in San Diego where I got to reunite with college friends. A big surprise was my very dear friend that lived overseas moved back to the U.S. and was visiting her mom in San Diego. So, we all got together and did lots of catching up! It was an awesome visit! We did Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, visited my Alama Mater (UCSD), and snorkled in La Jolla cove. What a blast! On the way to San Diego, we stopped by my old high school, the houses I lived in, the church where Pete and I got married and more! Here are some pics of that part of the trip.

The last part was the most memorable and was the whole reason for the trip. I will post that in a separate post as it deserves special attention!