Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Day {6}

Six years ago today, in a dusty hot Civil Affairs office in Xi'an,
a beautiful squalling baby girl was handed to me.

Six years ago, my arms finally got to embrace
what my heart had been holding for months.
YEARS, if you really know my story.

Six years ago, this lovely, spunky, sensitive, little firecracker
changed me forever as only the gift of life can change.

I'm so grateful for the gift she is to our home. To our family, immediate and extended. I love the way her little mind works, always thinking, always processing. She's intuitive and inquisitive. She's loving and expansive. She's a treasure and it's such an honor to parent her.

It's a beautiful day for our family to look back and remember. It's even more exciting to hug her tight and revel in the forever that stretches ahead of us. We are blessed. Beyond measure, we are blessed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Uh Uh"

As Mei Mei gets increasingly more verbal, you know, with actual discernible words and phrases, we are regularly amused by the things that come out of her mouth. One of my favorite things lately has been her non-word communication. By that, I mean her little "Hmmmm?" when she hasn't heard us clearly the first time. Or the "Uh HUH!" when she whole-heartedly agrees with a suggestion. Or the humming she does to her babies when she's talking to them and putting them down for their naps.

Well, yesterday, she pulled a new one out of her bag o' tricks.

She spent most of the morning happily playing between The Boss's phone, the iPad, her baby dolls, and the table coloring or "typing" like Mommy. Around 11:30, I noticed that she looked pretty tired so I put lunch on a fast track. I treated her to "chippies" on her plate (potato chips) but reminded her that she had to sit in one of her two booster seats for her meal while I worked on the school calendar. Neither of those options suited her AT! ALL! so she put herself in the corner and boo hoo'd for about 5 minutes. I repeated her choices to her and proceeded on with my work, just quietly and gently reminding her after about 10 more minutes that she had chippies on her plate and she was free to eat them when she made a choice about the two seats. The pull of the salty, crunchy, yumminess finally won; she climbed into her booster seat with a big, aggravated sigh to let me know she was totally put out with me.

I watched over her plate, reminding her to eat the hot dog and the chippies equally. When the chippies were finished FAR sooner than the hot dog, or the carrots for that matter, I told her that there would be no more chippies until some bites of the dog or carrots were finished. She quickly shook her head and said, "Uh Uh" in strong disagreement with my instructions. I calmly repeated my directive and walked over to the sink. She kept repeating "Uh Uh" through her copious tears and shaking her head in between trying to lick the salt off her fingers and her plate.

When it finally appeared that she just could not shake her despair, that exhaustion had taken over all sense of logic, I calmly cleaned her up and changed her diaper. All the while, she was frantically shaking her head and telling me "Uh Uh" over and over. I was trying hard not to laugh at how CLEARLY and ridiculously her tired little self was behaving. That would only serve to escalate her needlessly.

I carried her up the stairs and rocked her quietly in the chair, praying for her and NOT singing. See, when I started to sing (as per our normal pre-nap snuggle routine), she started with the "Uh Uh" again. I was fine with that, so I rocked silently.

But every few seconds, with lids drooping heavier by the second, she'd get out a sleepy little "Uh Uh." Each one more slowly drawn out than the last. Until there was barely a whisper of one last "Uh." 

That is, until I laid her down in her bed. Upon which she burst out one final "Uh Uh" more vehement than them all.

I am so proud of myself. I held the laughter in till I made it to the hallway and shut her door.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School!!

There's been a LOT of firsts for this Gang this summer. And today marks what we hope is the last of the firsts for a little while. It will be nice to settle in to a familiar routine for all of us, but particularly for Li'l Empress and Mei Mei who seem to be having the hardest time (not surprisingly) with all the new stuff going on in our lives.

Last night, Shaggy and Miss A showed up to wish the Gang well on their respective first days. And to meet the newest member of our Gang. Yes, we have a new Gang member. We are welcoming a Chinese exchange student into our home. She came by last night with her parents to meet us and drop off some of her belongings. She moves in today with the rest of her stuff. She's a junior at the local Christian high school and we are all excited about what this relationship will hold for our families. Please pray with us for her transition. It's her first time in an American school, living with an American family, and a big one at that. We want this to be a great positive experience for us all! I'll share more about her as we get her settled, after I ask her permission to do so.

Without further ado, here's all the Gang that headed out the door. ALL three of them by 8 a.m. I might add. Sheesh, that feels really stinkin' early, for all of us!

Today is LadyBug's first day of HIGH SCHOOL!
Yes, my baby girl is a 10th grader.
She was very nervous about the HUGE building
she has to navigate but super excited to see all her
BFF's again. I'm so glad she has so many friends
who will muddle through it with her.

Baby BlueEyes starts middle school today.
I am positive he's going to shock his friends
with how much he's grown over the last three months.
He wasn't nervous at all that I could tell.
I love his confidence!

He was, however, very sad about saying good-bye to these two munchkins.
He kept telling them how much he'd miss them today.
I got a little choked up. He's such a great big brother!

Li'l Empress has been worrying and nervous for three days
about going to school without her big brother.
She did great all morning long, even saying good-bye to him
without tears. Until the bus pulled up.
There's no picture of her waving as she climbed up
because I was peeling her off of me and strongly
encouraging her that she would be safe
with the new driver on the new bus without her brother there.

By the time I met her over at the school for their Welcome Back
festival, she was working on her smile and feeling more settled.
This part of the "first day" is familiar to her now so she was able
to enjoy the hugs from friends that she hadn't seen all summer long.

Her teacher is new to us as a family but has been at their school
for a very long time. And every report I've heard has been a positive one.
We are excited to have her on our "team" for Li'l Empress's journey this year!

And thank you, Jesus, for this precious friend.
This is her little BFF from church and though they aren't
in the same class this year, she's absolutely still a gift from God
for our Li'l Empress. SUCH an encourager - seriously, it chokes me up
how sweet and compassionate she is.
When they were heading into the building in their separate lines,
"Little Miss I" gave Li'l Empress a "thumbs up" and
shouted, "Good luck today!"
How cute is that?

So now The Boss and I are hanging out with Mei Mei and trying to decide what to tackle first. No surprise, after our long holiday weekend with friends, I've got lots of daily tasks on which I should catch up. And tons of pool towels to wash and fold. Hopefully that will keep my mind busy so I don't think about how ridiculously short this summer felt. And how crazy quiet it is in this house right now.

Share your first day links in the comments. With my slower paced day (cuz gosh, when's the last time I only had one kid to take care of?!) I'll come by and say hi!