Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Tonight while we were waiting for Ling at tumbling Minli says "Mom, we're doing Spanish during class AND in after care so we're learning a lot. But I'm the only one that can speak it because I'm from China!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

For Emily

I was jumping on the trampoline with the girls the other day when I collapsed in exhaustion. I told them "I have to stop, I need to rest, I hurt." When I turned around they were sitting like this saying "Ommmmmmmm -- try this mom, it will relax you!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh to be 5!

Okay I have spent the last hour trying to figure out how to get the text under specific photos and can't seem to do it. So . . . all photos at top and explanation at bottom!

Saturday Miss Minli turned 5. She's been counting down the days for weeks. Friday night after she went to bed Ling and I built a quaint little princess tent in her room as a surprise. I had been planning it for several days. It turned out pretty cute. When we opened the door for her Saturday morning she turned to me and said "I love you!" She loved it for a little bit but it was quickly trumped by the guitar that Ling bought for her.

After we dropped Ling off for her Halloween card making class at the art gallery we went home to ice the birthday cupcakes. They turned out really cute but next time I make them I must remember to ice them once we get there. It was pretty comical with us trying to get them to the party upright in the car. Don't tell the party-goers but they tipped over more than once!

On the way to the party we had an interesting conversation in the car. Ling was telling me how she didn't like boys and how gross they were. I told her that she would probably change her mind some day. She asked me when that would be. I said probably when you're 14 or 15 or so. She said I don't think so. Minli chimed in and said "Oh I can't wait that long, I need one right now!" Look out boys!

After the birthday Ling got to go to a cooking class with other Chinese girls in the city. They made moon cakes, Chinese coleslaw and lettuce wraps. They didn't let the moms stay for the class but I did get to try some of their food when I picked her up and it was yummy.

Then we were off to pick out our gifts (Ling's birthday gift too) from Honey. And now we have these two new additions to the family -- Cookie & Caramel. They are really sweet. The dogs have yet to see them. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

On Sunday we had family birthdays. Minli got this darling puppet from Mema and Jetta but she was scared to death of it so Amy Jo got the play time with the puppet at the party. I'm hoping she learns to love it because it's so cute.

Normally the kids get an elaborately decorated birthday cake from Jetta but Minli's wish this year for her birthday was chicken enchiladas and pound cake with butter sauce. So Honey made this darling bee pound cake.

That night we celebrated at my sister's house. Then we were tired!!!

I snapped this photo of Ling swinging and I just love it. Such a sweet smile.

Way to Go Girl!

Last Friday I got to surprise Ling at their weekly assembly where they presented her with the "Student of the Month" award. She was very nonchalant about it all. But I was oh-so-proud of her. Way to go Ling! 

Monday, September 29, 2008


Tonight I convinced the girls to give me a massage at bedtime. Ling is quite the master at it. So after they scratched my back and gave me an excellent massage Minli announced that she was going to put some lotion on my back. Minli is a child that mosquitos LOVE to bite. Poor child is pretty much eaten up all the time with mosquito bites. Well I bought this anti-itch lotion that we use on her bites. So that's what she got for my back. But she calls it the "itch-tie" lotion.

Sibling Rivalry

The definition of sibling rivalry is antagonism between brothers and/or sisters that results in physical fighting, verbal hostility, teasing or bullying. Psychologists believe that sibling rivalry comes from competition for parental attention, love, and approval.

We've got sibling rivalry all over the place at our house. The kids have it -- even the dogs have it! I've been seriously considering trying to get in shape and lose a significant amount of weight. But I'm afraid that there truly will not be enough of me to go around. Good excuse, huh?!

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the rivalry. And I'm not ready to accept everyone's "that's just normal kids stuff" response. I truly believe that the ability lies within each of us to live together, love, share, compromise and have healthy, happy relationships. At whatever age we find ourselves and in every situation. That is my goal for our family.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Four years ago today in a government building in Hubei China, Miss Minli joined our family. She had a binky tied around her neck with a string (that never came off -- even when she slept) and a bag of spicy potato chips. She didn't cry a bit and has been a delight ever since. She is witty, warm, smart and charming. She loves people and people love her. Earlier this week we were talking about this day approaching. In some circles people call it "Family Day." In others they refer to it as "Gotcha Day." Well I guess she almost got it. Today when I picked her up she announced "since this is my Geisha Girl Day, can I do anything I want?" Oh my, what a girl! Happy Family, Gotcha, Geisha Girl Day, Minli. We love you and can't imagine life without you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Family and Fishing

Sunday afternoon we went out to Dad's because Uncle Bobby and Aunt Thelma were here visiting. It was a lovely day and we spent it outside on the deck fishing (look at those giant catfish!), eating shrimp and visiting. The girls got a kick out of riding the dirt bike, catching fish and following Amber wherever she went. We had to stay out of the house completely because Minli decided she was scared of all the deer head hanging in the house -- affectionately known as the hunting lodge. I think I'm scared of them too!


Saturday amidst all our other activities I had the opportunity to meet three friends from elementary school for lunch. One I see often, the others I haven't seen in years. It's one of those odd occasions when after you catch up on each other's families there isn't much else to talk about. I guess if you had more time you could get involved but it seems futile in a couple of hours to span all those years of lost time. It sure was fun though to do a little reminiscing about those fun days so long ago. We lived in a fairly small town where everyone knew everyone -- and knew everyone's business. It's fascinating to me to realize how intertwined in their lives I was back then and then we all went our separate ways. But somehow life had a way of making our paths cross again. It's a bit of the same feeling I get when I think about the fact that there are people in this world that I will never, in my entire life, meet. They will live their life and I will live mine -- completely separate. There is something about that which really bothers me. So many interesting people that I won't ever have the chance to know. Sad, isn't it?

What do they have to look forward to?

Saturday Minli was invited to two birthday parties. The first one was at a place called Sweet & Sassy. This is basically a fancy spa for little girls. The moment we walked in the door she was swept away to change clothes, have her hair & makeup done, nails polished and glitter applied all over her. This is actually right up her alley but it was a bit disconcerting for me. The next item on the agenda was a fashion show on the runway along with a little bit of karoake. After that was cake and gifts. While all this was going on a giant hot pink limousine (with flowers painted on it) pulled up outside to deliver the next partygoers for their party. Our party didn't include the limo package -- remember we're talking 4-year-olds! When we left all I could think was "what happened to cake and ice cream and pin the tail on the donkey?" It was perfectly fine for us. I couldn't help but think about what they have to look forward to. And feeling really sorry about the fact that in about 2 weeks I have to host a birthday party for Minli and am not sure what we can do to live up to that standard. That afternoon we went to our friend Samantha's birthday party. It was much more low key. It did, however, have a horse to ride and a Kung Fu Master there to teach the kids Kung Fu. When we left, Minli announced that she wanted a tea party and that she wanted a Tea Master to come and teach us how to have a tea party! That's my girl. Not sure there is such a thing as a Tea Master, but the tea party we can handle.

Disney on Ice and the Great State Fair

Last Friday night the girls and I went to High School Musical on Ice at the State Fair. We arrived about 90 minutes early so that they could experience a little bit of the Fair. I have such great memories of the Fair, the food, the people watching, the games. So first up they wanted to ride the ferris wheel. We went and bought $20 worth of ride tickets. That got us 30 tickets. Well the ferris wheel cost 5 tickets each. Now that's $10 for one ride people! That should have been my first clue to how the evening was going to go for me. So we spent the rest of our tickets on two more rides and that was it. Before we went into the show Minli wanted something to eat. So for $6 we got a corndog and french fries. After we got our tickets Ling wanted to buy a program. It was $20!! We don't own a program. Next up was refreshments inside the arena. For a mear $12 you can have your own High School Musical snow cone OR for the same $12 you can have a bag of cotton candy. Yes, you read that right. All this doesn't include the price of the tickets which were about $25 each. It was, however, a great show and the girls loved it. And I must say that I don't ever remember the fair being so clean. And I actually saw a lot of people that looked just like me!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Big girl, birthdays and improvising

Ling turned 9 yesterday. Wow! I can't believe that. She can't either. She keeps saying "I don't feel 9." We had this giant swimming party planned for Friday night. Everyone was really excited about the last swim of the season. And lo and behold it came a HUGE storm just as we were leaving for the pool. So with 12 9-year-olds we started scrambling on how we were going to fill the next 3 hours without the house falling down around us or me losing my mind! Our plan B was to all pile in the car (2 cars, 14 people -- don't tell the children's mothers) and drive around the corner to the bowling alley. Then someone piped up and said "what about socks?" So we're driving around in the pouring rain looking for a place to buy socks. Finally we just went to the bowling alley and paid $2.25 each for a pair of socks. And magically everyone had a great time -- everyone except the bowling alley owner! We got back in time for cake and gifts. You can tell by the smile on her face in all the photos, Ling had fun! But I couldn't have made it without Jetta. She was my lifesaver. Thanks Jetta!

Then last night we celebrated again with family. Jetta made one of her infamous cakes. This one was so cute! Girl in the bathtub, complete with rubber ducky, washcloth, soap and hot and cold water. She does an amazing job with cakes and always puts so much love and attention to detail in every one. They are truly special gifts. Ling is surrounded by people who love and care for her. She has blossomed into a beautiful girl that is extremely creative, very sensitive, fiercely competitive and talented in so many ways. She is an amazing person and I can't wait to see what the next 9 years holds for her!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What happened in 1935?

Fibber McGee and Molly debuted
Babe Ruth hit his 714th home run -- a record that stood for 39 years
Social Security was created
Parker Brothers released the game Monopoly
J.W.T. was born -- Happy 73rd Birthday Dad!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This weekend has been filled with friends. One event in particular was the wedding of my friend Kim's son. It's interesting how this week has been filled with thoughts of her. Earlier in the week I was sitting in the dentist's chair and a song came on the radio that took me back to a time when she and I were as close as two friends can ever be. Kim and I have been friends since the 4th grade. We lived down the street from each other then and we were inseparable. Since then we've lived far away sometimes and close together at other times. But we've always had the kind of friendship that no matter how long it has been since we've seen each other, it always feels like it was just yesterday. There were times in my life when I didn't deserve her friendship but it was always there. It has been a constant in my life for many years. One of my hopes and prayers for my girls is that they would have a "Kim" in their life. Someone who is their friend always -- no matter what. If they do, they will be truly blessed.

Dragon Boats and Birthday Parties

We've had a full weekend (and it's not finished yet) of birthday parties, dragon boat rides, more birthday parties, weddings and still more birthday parties. The dragon boats were an activity with our local FCC (Families with Children from China) group. It was fun to meet some new people, see some old friends and step out of our comfort zone a little. Our group needs a LOT of practice in the art of rowing but it was great fun maneuvering those big boats down the river. It was really hot and hard work but I think the girls got a kick out of it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trip to KC

A couple of weeks ago the girls and I spent the weekend in KC with Emily and Sergio. It was a wonderful weekend of relaxing, watching the Olympics, eating great food, riding the bus, site seeing and just all around fun. We miss them being close and it was nice to have some time all to ourselves. When I look at these pictures I smile remembering the laughter. And I cry remembering how comfortable the girls were with them. Watching Ling reach out and take Sergio's hand did this mother's heart good. It couldn't have been more perfect! Thanks E&S.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Minli has had quite the way with words lately. The other day we were in the car and Ling and I were talking about the fact that my sister was quite the gymnast when she was a young girl. Ling asked me if there was anything I did when I was young that my sister didn't do. I told her that I had taken piano lessons and that Amber hadn't. Then she said "that is so cool because I take piano AND gymnastics so I can be good at both things." With a moments hesitation Minli says "what am I, chopped wiver (liver)?"

The next day on the way to school I asked Minli if it would be okay if I just drove up and dropped her off to walk up to the door. Her response was "I'm really not comfortable with that." Remember she's 4!!

Tonight she brought me a book of "God's Promises" and said "here mom this is a book about toast (lactose) intolerance."

She's a trip, that girl is!