Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!! Back to Blogging!

Well, here I am again. Blogging. Haven't been blogging lately. Just haven't had the time or energy. But I am back. And hopefully, someone will read this because I am taking the time to actually pursue it again.
Bloggy Friends!!! Please notice that the sidebar with links to websites is getting smaller. For some odd reason, I cannot access your websites anymore. If your website does not appear here, please email me to let me know how to get back to your blogs...Stephanie, Epin, Kelly Dyer...etc etc. Email me!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I miss being with my family in Birmingham on the 4th. The OLS 4th of July festival. The BBQ. Daddy's chicken. Mama's potato salad. Mama's cole slaw. ( Ok, who has those recipes? I need them. Email me.) The cake walk. Seeing old friends. The fireworks seen from the house at the top of the driveway on Ridge Rd. Mama's homemade ice cream. Times sure have changed. Someone else lives in that house now, and it doesn't even remotely resemble the one I lived in so long ago. If I had the money, I would buy that house. Just because. I would renovate it, and it would look just like it did back when we lived in it. Ok, maybe there would be a few changes, but the front of the house would look the same. It would be our 4th of July house.

The kids are growing. No news there. It is funny to me that parents say to other people, "The kids are growing up." Isn't that what they are supposed to do? They grow. Everyday. All day long. So I won't bore you with too much of it.
Gracie starts kindergarten this fall. Cannot even believe it. She is so ready for it. I, on the other hand, wish I could have more time to get used to the idea. The whole thing gives me the hives just thinking about it. September will be here before we know it, and the thought of putting her on that bus the first day makes me cry. She will have all of her neighborhood friends to help her get through it, and I will have all of my neighborhood friends for the long cry afterwards at the bus stop. They are going to have to hold me back from following the bus to school and sitting all day in the parking lot. SO HARD! ALREADY! She went to the school's kindergarten screening, and the teacher who tested her said she is sooooooo ready, and that her writing already looks fabulous. I know she will do well. I don't know that I will do well. What happened to half day kindergarten? I would be FINE if it was just a half day. No problem. BUT she will be there all day!!! Monday through Friday. ALL DAY! Gracie has a beautiful voice and dances so well. She loves to make up songs and gives us concerts. She really is talented. We need to put her in voice and dance lessons. She is so funny. Loves knock knock jokes. Reading. Writing. Playing school. Playing dolls. And she is as active as any little boy on the block. Baseball lover. Can hit a ball really well! We went to two National's baseball games in DC recently. LOVED those. Hoola Hoops like crazy...two and three hoola hoops at one time. Bossy! Must be the age. Stubborn. Perfectionist. Loving. Always wants to be on our laps. So sweet and cuddly. Loves to tell stories. Plays I-Spy. Wants her "me" time away from Garrett. Puts signs on her door saying she wants to be alone. No one allowed. LOL. Loves her friends. Wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. So smart. I think she will be a doctor someday. Gracie has lost her two bottom front teeth (new ones have already grown back in), and another one is gone now too. Her two front teeth are loose, and the doc says she will lose those soon. She wants to go back to China NOW. Sadly, she is going through some things concerning her adoption. It is hard for her. You know, I think about how much we all take for granted knowing all of the answers to our puzzle about our family. I have even done a lot of genealogy work and know more than most people would about my own. Well, Gracie has many pieces to that puzzle that are missing. Can you take a moment and think about what that would be like? Not knowing. Wanting to know. Asking. Wanting answers. Not getting answers. And being thousands of miles away from anyone really able to answer anything. And she feels it (and she feels it more so than she understands it)! She is very much aware of it. So intuitive. So wise for her years. So perceptive. So sensitive. Separation is hard for her. She clings to me. She just doesn't comprehend that we cannot get into the car or on a plane now to go get those answers. I wish I had a million bucks. One of the first things I would do would be to take Gracie to China now so that she could see her orphanage and see her nannies and ask those questions. Sadly, we cannot do that right now. Pray for her. Pray for us so that we will know how to help her get her through it. She cries about it very often. She is happy 99.9% of the time though. It is hardest for her at night because she tells me that is when she thinks about it all...which to me, perfectly explains her sleep issues...fighting sleep, needing to be near us/sleep with us, waking up, fighting in her sleep. It is very complicated. And honestly, I knew she would have some of these issues as an adopted child, but I never dreamed that she would be grieving so hard at the age of five. Too much. Too soon. But we are dealing with it. And we are doing what we know is best for her. Just LOVE our girl! She is such a blessing to us. How could I love any little girl any more than I do Gracie? Cannot even fathom it. She is a constant bright light. What a beautiful light she shines!!!

Garrett starts preschool too. Three days a week. He needs it. That does not seem so difficult for me to deal with. He goes for three hours on those days. Then he will be home with me. And we have two years of preschool to look forward to. Developmentally, he really is more like a three year old right now. He's a babe! BUT Garrett is HUGE. He is as big as Gracie (one inch shorter, about 6 or 7 pounds heavier). When I took him with me to the school to register Gracie for kindergarten, the school nurse thought I was registering him. HA! She says there are first graders that are much smaller than he is. Imagine what he will look like in two years when he does start kindergarten! He is talking a lot. Singing a lot. And Garrett is just the cutest kid ever! I know. Every parent thinks so. But he's my boy!!! So loving. So affectionate. Gives the best hugs in the world just like his big sis. So funny. So active. Falls a lot. Lots of skinned knees and elbows. RUNS everywhere. Loud. Dumps things. Bothers Gracie. LOVES Gracie. Potty training. Still. Not there yet, but trying. Sleeping better. Cutest smile ever. BIG. Did I say BIG and HEAVY? Loves the Wiggles. He will be four on July 26th. But he is just a baby still! We are having a Wiggles party for him, and we will be going to the Wiggles "Wiggly Circus" concert in August to see them live in Richmond!!! We still hear from Garrett's foster parents in China. They love him and miss him. His foster brother writes us via email for his parents. I cannot get over the feelings/thoughts I have that this family might be somehow biologically related to Garrett. Just a gut feeling. I may be wrong. BUT...not so sure I am wrong. Their feelings are just so strong for Garrett. They truly, genuinely love him. But then again...Who wouldn't? He is the sweetest kid in the world. He and Gracie. Funny how God works, huh? We have the two most perfect children on the planet... IMHO, that is.

We recently had Gracie and Garrett's hearing tested. Garrett seems to have normal hearing which is what we expected. What we were not expecting was to hear that Gracie has a slight hearing loss. I almost passed on even having Gracie's hearing checked. They are retesting her in six months, but are pretty sure that she will test the same. They think the loss is due to an infection her birthmother might have had while pregnant with her. The plan for this is to make sure she sits up front at school, and to let her teachers know. The lady that tested her said that we will need to have her hearing checked yearly to make sure that the hearing loss doesn't get any worse. And it could. Pray that it doesn't.

We are enjoying the summer even though it has been extremely hot here. The kids love going to the pool, and we are finally seeing Gracie's fear of the water leave her. Garrett has absolutely no fear whatsoever. He is already putting his face in the water. This has made Gracie more willing to try the water because she is highly competitive. We are going to the library a lot, reading a lot, playing outside in the mornings and evenings, crafting, playing school (Gracie's favorite activity), putting on special performances with singing and dancing, watching The Wiggles...We LOVE the Wiggles!!! together, running through the sprinklers, eating LOTS of popsicles and freeze pops, playing games, and having lots of playdates with friends.

***** Below change: We will now have four Chinese exchange students between July 13th and August 7th! We will have two boys for session A and two girls for session B!!!! Even more excited now!
Our biggest news lately is that we are going to have two Chinese foreign exchange students coming to stay with us in July and August. The first one is a 16 year old boy from Chongqing, China. He supposedly speaks a fair amount of English. We are so excited about his arrival soon. He will be with us for two weeks. Immediately afterwards, we will be having a girl from China stay with is, but we do not know anything about her yet. She will also stay for two weeks. Both students will be going to an English Language camp during the weekdays for most of the day, but they will have evenings and weekends free. It is going to be quite a great cultural learning experience for all of us. I am hoping that Garrett and Gracie can learn to speak some conversational Chinese, and learn to write some Chinese as well. And I am hoping that one of the students will teach me how to cook some steamed meat dumplings. The boy is from an area in China where they eat very spicy foods in hot pots. Let's just hope he likes chicken nuggets and burgers and fries. LOL. Just kidding. I am no gourmet cook. Really. I will have rice and noodles on hand in case they cannot stomach what I prepare. This will be their first time in the United States too. And they are so lucky that they get ME to be the one who will be cooking for them. NOT. Three meals a day! SO SAD! I need Paula Dean. Right now. Can she come live with us too? I bet she could cook up some really good southern type Chinese food for all of us with a lot of butter. Mmmmmmmm. Another idea...I need Scotty Bourgeois (my nephew chef)! Where are you Scotty? Come visit us and bring Katie and Beth. Then, you can cook! You're good at it!!! You do this for a living! I need you. At least research some really easy Chinese recipes for me. Think Szechuan!!! Hot pot!

So be alert! I will be blogging about our experience with Hu HanBo. My kids go around saying, "Who? HanBo!" (Get it...Hu HanBo). That is his name. So be sure to start reading this blog each day starting on the 13th. Hopefully, we will all learn a lot from Hu HanBo.

Today for the 4th, we have eaten from "Red Hot and Blue" which is the closest thing we have here to good old southern BBQ. The feast so far has been on cowboy caviar and chips, ribs, brisket, potato salad, Connie's cold bean salad (yum), my cold corn pasta salad (yum), and banana pudding. I made brownies and a cake, and we have that for dessert later. Tonight, we will go to see the incredible fireworks display. Happy 4th of July, everyone! God Bless America! Miss all of you!




Grace McHugh said...

You are back!!! I was so hoping you would start posting again. I love hearing what your children are doing. My Emily still has not lost any teeth but I see Gracie has lost some teeth. Lily Dyer lost her first tooth two weeks ago. Our children are so precious. Thank you for this chatty post. I feel like I was sitting and talking with you. Hugs to your beautiful family.

Patricia/NYC said...

Yay!! Great to see you back blogging!! Missed you!

Loved the update on your cuties!! WILL survive Kindergarten!! lol!! I didn't think I would & here I sit, with Kiara a Kindergarten graduate already! lol! Yes, the first day was rough (on ME!!) but after a week we were all good! ;) SOunds like Gracie is completely ready for it too!

Hey, did you ever get my message on FB? I sent you my phone #, if you still need to talk, please call me!! :)

HUGS, my friend!!