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!