Monday, February 28, 2011


The other day I had a conversation with Anna.  It was one of those where the red light went off and I knew I needed to stop everyting and be completly present.  Right in our living room after I had just finished listening to Anna practice her viola.  I told Anna that it was bath time and not time to go start something to play.  And she said,

"Mommy, I feel like I need to stop doing something."  I stopped in my tracks knowing that this conversation was important.  To validate her feelings and let her express herself.  In that one moment I knew that I wanted to be open to hear all that she had to say and I knew that I wanted to respond the 'right way'.  So I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer for guidance, and said,

"What do you mean Anna?"  And she came over and we snuggled on the same chair.

"I feel like I'm too busy and I need to stop one of my things."

"Okay, you can stop anything you feel like.  What do you think you need to quit?" 

And then the most surprising things came out of her.  "I just CAN'T quit viola!" 

It's not that Anna doesn't like viola, but that comment surprised me. Maybe it was because she said it with such enthusiasm.  She certainly meant what she said. 

And surprisingly enough viola is the one activity that takes the most amount of time.  (private weekly lesson, group weekly lesson, practice daily, and listening to her CD on top of it all)  And it's hard, just plain hard work to learn a string instrument.  So I was pleasently surprised that she said that.  Happy not just that she didn't want to quit her instrument but because she finally showed a love for learning it, ownership of her skills, and wanting to learn more. 

"So, what do you think you'd like to stop doing?"  I asked her trying to not lead the conversation too much.

And she began to think through all of the things that keep her too busy.  "Well, I can't quit church school.  That's not an option."

"You're right, honey, you can't quit church school."

"Mabye I should stop doing art class"  (long pause)  "But that's on Saturday so I don't mind it.  And besides I don't want to miss anything." 

"I think I'll quit ballet." 

(Pause here as my heart drops)  But I try my best to smile and I said,  "If you want to stop doing ballet after this year then you can."

And in a flash of a moment I knew I'd never see her on pointe.  And oh to have those pink leotards gone.... be still my heart.  But I knew and LOVED her honesty. I loved the fact that she trusted me enough to tell me that she was doing too much.  And I was oh so proud of her in that conversation.

I held her tight and said, "Anna, I'm so proud of you for telling me what you're feeling.  I'll help you figure all of this out.  We need to finish our commitments this year and then you can make your decisions for next year over the summer.  But I'm so glad you told me."

And then in the car the next day she said, "welllll, maybe I can just do ballet til I get to go on pointe"  I smiled knowing that she is one little girl who loves life to the fullest. 

It's not that I want my girls to "do everyting."  I just want them to find "their thing".  I felt so good knowing that Anna is beginning to sift through all of the things she's been exposed to and find "her thing." 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movin on to the kitchen

We've had a white kitchen since we moved here in 2001.  White counters, white cabinets, white walls.  I always loved the "blank slate" for all of the seasonal decorating I love to do.  (this is December)

But recently I'm needing a change.  I think it's the long winter and really just needing spring.  But Scott is willing to paint to help me through the end of February and March.  So we're (oops, there I go again, Scott is) painting it a light grayish blue.  The inspiration was from these mugs I love.

After so many years of white and white, I'm a bit nervous about blue... but excited too! 

It took lots of trials to find the right blue.  The first few we tried looked a bit purplish on the walls; Abigail sure would have loved it1 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When Scott has a day off...

otherwise titled... I'm in Heaven

It's been a while since we've (oh, I mean Scott) has repainted the hallway.  It's a big job and it makes me so happy.  The smell of clean, fresh, paint in my house makes me giddy.  Really, it does.  Not a new color but just a much needed touch up... ahh! 

Do kids always have to touch the walls on their way up the stairs every time?  These are the befores and I can see their little handprints going all the way up the stairs.  I love their hands,  just the paint has started looking greyish. 

Got this paint color from my friend Liz.  (thanks Liz, do you remember this color?)  I stil love it! 

By the way, when did paint go up in price so much?  $110 for two gallons?  Really? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Recently we've....

Gone bowling... with our dear friends.  It was so much fun to experience something new with the girls.  Abigail was determined to carry the ball herself, so cute! 

Taken Anna to see a beautiful Chinese show. 

Gone to a Chinese Culture Camp day event.  Here's Anna placing her name on the map of China where her orphanage was.  Tears in our eyes watching her do this...

Met one of her favorite authors who writes beautiful children's books.  Anna was so nervous to meet her and the pictures showed just how scared she was.  I was so thrilled to meet Gracie Lin.  She spoke to the group of children and you couldn't hear a pin drop, she was just do delightful to listen to.  And she taught a mini drawing class to the older ones.  How wonderful to see Anna look up to a Chinese respected author who was young, pretty, warm and talented.  Just wish I could have gotten a better shot!  She wrote in Anna's favorite book, The Red Thread, "To Anna: follow your thread, always.  Love, Gracie Lin."  Tears again. 

Abigail had us all laughing as she ate her cookie with chopsticks... she thinks she's part Chinese. 

celebrated Valentines Day.  And just so I don't forget, Anna made her Valentine box at Grandma and Grandpa's house. (because of the squirrel in our house).  Uncle Tommy made the origami rose.

and last but not least added to the fairy land with a Ferris Wheel on Valentines Day

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A few things I don't want to forget

How excited she was go to her first Valentines Day preschool party. 

How little she looked carrying that big basket of valentines

How she should have had a hat and mittens on as we walked in... bitter cold! 

What Love Really Means

I love this song.  Thank you so much Kim for putting it on your blog. 

Of course it reminds me of my Anna.  Now seven and full of love to give, and filled to the brim with love from her family.  But I'll never forget there was once a time when she didn't know what love was.  A time as a little baby and then even over a year old when she had no idea what it was to be rocked or held, or fed, or sung to, or loved for who she was.  I will never forget. 

Anna,  I will love you for you.  Not for waht you've been through or what you will be.  I will love you for you.   

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chinese New Year Photo Shoot

Anna and I had fun doing this "photo shoot".  It was the week of Chinese New Year and I wanted to get a picture of her in a traditional Chinese outfit.  Anna loved the ones with her hair down.  I thought she looked too old.  I'm quite fond of the the two buns. 

They were out the moment we were done... darn!  She looks so cute that way!

Silly Anna... so her!

That's more like it!

my favorite

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

from my giggly little Valentienes. 

I've always loved Valentines Day!  Such sweetness in the middle of winter.  Something to look forward to with all of the snow in January.  This year since Abigail is in preschool she got to make valentines too!  I searched online and found a cute idea.  So on one of the many snow days I took pictures of the girls holding out their hands.  Once I chose the picture, Scott added the words and some hearts.  I ordered the pictures and the girls taped a piece of candy into the picture of their hand.  They turned out darling.  Here's the final picture (without the candy and the construction paper background).  Anna used a silver sharpie marker and wrote out the envelopes.  I asked her if she wanted me to do fancy letters and she said, "I can do it mommy."  I was amazed at her curly letters.  Beautiful. 

Gone for Good

So, it wasn't a mouse.  That's good.  But it was a squirrel!!!  In our playroom!!!  It was horrible and I'm just so glad it's gone!  Oh how we love our finished basement.  Playroom for the girls, my desk, calendar, and everything I need to be organized, extra refrig and pantry, cedar closet, exercise area,  huge extra closet for toys that Anna has always called "feels like new" because I rotate toys so they always feel like new. And we were locked out.

So no computer for 5 days put me behind a bit.  I could have used Scott's laptop but I kept thinking, I'll be down there tonight for sure.  And then another day went by. 

So after the squirrel was gone operation clean up as Scott called it began.  This playroom has never been so clean.  I love it even more.  So now I attempt to catch up with photos and all of your blogs.  It feels so good to be back! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chinese New Year

This year we had a little celebration on Chinese New Year.  After the girls had taken a bath and were in their nightgowns the opened a few small things.  When we were in China almost 7 years ago we bought a ton of "little somethings" knowing their would be special occasions such as these.  Anna was thrilled to bring her traditional Chinese Red Envelopes to school for all of her friends and even more excited about our party at home.  

Wish I had a cute little post with great pictures of what was really going on in our house right now... you'd all love it!  Scott is loading mouse traps with peanut butter... he'd never let me get a picture of all of this.  Yikes, tomorrow HAS to be a better day!

Monday, February 7, 2011


There were some fun times!  Abigail loved the attention.  She loved riding the Little Mermaid car.  She loved the special jamies and the big girl bed that sat up.  She loved the nurses and the blue band. 

She loved her two special bracelets.

She didn't love the decision I made to not give her the versid (sleepy medicine).  So this time instead of not caring about the IV going in as she was half awake, this time she knew exactly what was going on.  It was such a hard decision for me to make.  But after watching her try to wake up after the procedure too many times; pulling out tubes, thrashing, and crying for hours I thought I'd give it a try.  So this is Abigail mad.  "I'm never, ever, ever coming here again!" 

She really was a trooper.  She sat still and just cried a little while they tried each arm. 

And after...  she did wake up much better this time.  Here she is in daddy's arms. 

I was so proud of her that day.  Unfortunately we didn't get the results from the biopsy that we were hoping for.  Her eosinophils are still there.  So we're not sure what the next step will be. 

I was also so very proud of Anna this past weekend.  I do love seven so very much.  The morning after the endoscopy Abigail woke up so sick with a fever and yucky stuff to clean up after all day.  Anna was my special helper.  Getting me everything I needed.  Distracting Abigail and loving on her.  I love that they are sisters. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Views from my Kitchen Sink

I have to say happy one year blogaversary (is that a word yet?) to Pam.  I love her blog to pieces. It's one of those real life ones.  When I read it I really feel like I get to know her down to earth personality.  I love her home and it's home -e- ness!  It seems to ooze with yummy smells in the kitchen to warm family gatherings in the dining room.  Pam has inspired me to try some new recipes, try out new traditions, reattach my self to some old ones that I'd let go, and just remember to soak up every minute with my little one at home.  Thanks Pam! 

So here's my view from my kitchen sink. The window looks over my back yard.  I can see the Middle School that Scott once taught at years ago when I was first a stay at home mom.  I can also see the girls playscape.  (the one they love in the late fall and winter but would never go on in the summer for fear of spiders), and snow, more snow than I've ever seen out this window.  Oh, and the white picket fence with the arbor.  So pretty.  I really do love my kitchen.  Sure there are tons of things I'd change.  I've got a running list in my head but kitchen changes are oh so expensive! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Big Day

We're going here tomorrow.... and when I told her about it tonight she was so excited!

"Special Jammies", the blue band, pretty bracelets, what day could be better? 

She seriously loves it!  I can hardly wait!