Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is it time to go back to school yet?

Lin is not looking forward to school starting up again on Monday. Unfortunately, that's the way the cookie crumbles! And I know that we all need to get back into our routine. Dave, Lin and Ruby have all been home this week (I didn't have any vacation time left -- boo!) and although I know they've been having fun, I also know that each of them needs to get back into their own little corners of the world.

I've noticed a slight change in the relationship between Lin and Ruby the last couple weeks or so. They seem to be getting closer to each other, acting just a little bit more like sisters rather than two girls, 10 years apart in age, who live in the same house. Maybe it's because of Christmas?

The other night we were out for dinner and as we walked back to the car Ruby wanted to hold Lin's hand. So Lin told Dave and I to hold hands. Lin and Ruby walked behind us, holding hands, and every few steps they would stop walking and Lin would crouch down just a bit to be closer to Ruby's level. When Dave and I would turn around to look they would giggle together. In this way, they kept getting further and further behind us, and they kept laughing harder and harder. By the time we got to the car Ruby was pretty much out of control with screaming laughter. Then on the way home the girls took turns making funny noises with their mouths (okay, okay, they were making fart sounds -- there, I said it!). It got pretty crazy!

We also took them to an indoor inflatable bounce-house place the other day. Although Dave and I also climbed and played, it was mostly Lin and Ruby running and playing together. Lin would help Ruby climb up onto the structures and then they would come flying down the slides, and after disembarking, Ruby would grab Lin's hand and drag her off to the next one.

Of course, they've also been arguing a bit more, too. Ruby acts-out toward Lin when she wants attention from her big sister. Usually Lin ignores it, or Dave and I step in and tell Ruby to stop. But I've been purposely NOT getting involved lately, just to let the girls start dealing with these little conflicts on their own. Although I certainly do not enjoy hearing them argue, in a way I know it's good because they are forming their relationship, without Dave or I trying to guide them.

So, that's what's going on with us as this Christmas vacation comes to a close. We went ice skating last night. Lin said she had gone ice skating a little bit in China but she had a pretty tough time with it yesterday. I mostly stood still on my skates, trying to help out both girls. We gave it up after awhile as I don't think anyone was really having any fun. We're going to try skiing next!

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's All Downhill...

Lin's first time sledding was a blast, but watch the landing!

Ruby and Mama, going just a tad off-course.

The big race! An incredible finish to an incredible Christmas!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Extravaganza!!

Pre-Christmas cookie-baking...  The dreaded Butter Cookie (aka Cookie Press cookie). A Christmas tradition -- they're a pain in the #$* to make, but delicious to eat!

Getting ready to head out the door on Christmas Eve, for the first of several family Christmas parties!

Lin and Ruby (with their Grandma/Nai Nai) opening the first of many presents!

Christmas Eve evening at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Ruby, making sure Santa's reindeer are well-fed!

Christmas morning with brand-new Pillow*Pets!

Playing a mean game of Old Maid with the cousins...

Is there anything better than playing with Christmas *Barbies (while wearing new Christmas jammies)?

**Please note: I apologize for the lack of clothing on Lin's *Barbie.**

It's been a crazy 48 hours, but all of our Christmas parties are now done and we're ready to just hang out at home and enjoy our new toys! Lin did absolutely great on her very first Christmas -- she's exhausted but just so happy. I wasn't sure about the *Barbies, whether she would play with them or not, but I wanted her to at least have the opportunity. Just now as I'm typing this, she sang out "I love my *Barbie girl!"

Lin just asked when we were going to go outside and play... Stay tuned for pictures of Lin on her brand-new sled, going sledding for the first time in her life!


Without getting too weepy, I have to say that the joy I have experienced these last two days, seeing Christmas through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl who never had a Christmas before, just overwhelms me. I can't sufficiently put it into words, so all I'll say is... We're happy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Throwing in the Towel

It goes against everything I think I know about parenting (which is very little) but I think I've got to throw in the towel and declare that Ruby is done taking naps. The child just doesn't fall asleep in the afternoons anymore.

And she's only 3! In my head, children should take an afternoon nap until at least age 5. I remember taking a
nap in the afternoon when I was in kindergarten, so that's what I thought all kids needed. But the fact of the matter is, Ruby just doesn't fall asleep. No matter how hard I try to get her to settle down and get sleepy, she pops right back up to play.

My new plan of action is to get her to play quietly in her room for awhile each afternoon. If I tell her she does NOT have to sleep, but that she still needs to have some quiet time, maybe that will work.

(Alright, let's be honest here... It's ME who still wants an afternoon nap every day!! I can't bear the thought of having to give up MY nap!! Waaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Addressing a Comment - an Educational Post

I have debated whether or not to address the comment left to me on the "Daddy's Girl" post, and I've decided that I should. If one person had the courage to leave me a comment, then there are a lot of people who are thinking it but didn't want to say it.

This is one of those blog posts not intended so much for family and friends, but more for the people reading this because they are preparing for their own adoption...

First of all, thank you so much to the person who left the comment. It was very kindly worded and basically just wondered if the close bond between Lin and her dad is appropriate for a newly adopted teenage daughter. I totally understand the concern and it is something that is on my mind quite a bit.

Hmmm.. how do I proceed here with honesty and sensitivity, while also maintaining my privacy and not revealing anything that I may someday regret?

Starting when we were still in China, there were certainly times in the beginning when I felt that Lin had more of an infatuation, a crush, on her dad. She even told our guide that she and her friends talked about how good-looking her dad was when she got the pictures we sent her. But Dave and I took immediate action, to show her that Mom and Dad are the family team, not Lin and Dad. Dave and I held hands more. We were more openly affectionate with each other. We sat next to each other in a restaurant, with Lin sitting opposite us. Just minor adjustments to our normal routine.

Most importantly, we addressed the issue before it was an issue.

And now there are a number of ways Lin shows me that she knows that Dave and I are a team. She has asked me how Dave proposed to me. We've looked through our wedding album. On Halloween, I even put on my wedding dress! Lin always insists that Dave and I kiss each other good-night and she gets very giggle and cute when Dave and I are going out on a "date." (Well, the two times Dave and I have gone out on a "date" in the last six months!)

And let me clarify what I mean when I say that Dave and Lin get into tickle-fights. A better way to say it would have been, they beat the snot out of each other -- in a playful way. Lin is very athletic, very strong. She LOVES to be physical and to show her strength. So she and Dave arm-wrestle. She jumps on his back when he's not expecting it. He comes up behind her and grabs her and throws her over his shoulder. She plays keep-away with his glasses and runs screaming through the house while he tries to catch her.

Yes, maybe a 13-year-old girl who'd been in a family since birth would no longer behave this way with her dad. But for a girl who didn't have this kind of romper-room family when she was 5, 6, 7 years old, I think Lin is perfectly normal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

So Cool

'Tis the season for Christmas cards! Every year we tape up the cards we get around the doorway leading from our kitchen into our backyard. This year I noticed something really cool, something I'm so proud of, and I hope someday my daughters notice the same thing...

I noticed the number of Christmas cards we have with pictures of Chinese children in their Forever Families. What an amazing extended family we are a part of! Families from all over the country that we now call our friends, linked forever through these amazing and brave children.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Daddy's Girl

Lin has been a big-time daddy's girl from just about the moment the two met each other. They are inseperable! They cook together. They watch kung-fu movies together. They play games together. They are just together all the time. It can be... intense.

About one-third of the time, I'm fine with it. They have a truly wonderful father-daughter relationship that is a joy to see.

About one-third of the time, I start to wonder what I'm doing wrong, that Lin doesn't want to hang out with me as much as she wants to be with Dave. But then I remind myself that she's got a Dad for the first time in her life and she is just in her glory. She spent too many years without a Dad and she's just making up for lost time.

And about one-third of the time I want to stand up and scream "Give it a rest!! We all get it! You love each other! It's getting on my nerves!!"

Yesterday was one of those days.

I had felt a cold coming on all day Saturday and by yesterday morning, I was down for the count. So I know this didn't help matters. But as I was laying on the couch, feeling rotten, while Dave and Lin had a screaming-loud tickle-fight, I decided I'd had enough. I took my book and went back to bed.

A few minutes later, who comes in the room? Lin. She brought her iP*d. She lay down next to me and just played games, quietly.

I guess maybe I am doing something right.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

6 Months Ago...

Six months ago today, I sat in a conference room of the Shanghai Children's Welfare Institute, waiting for my life to change forever. When I look at this picture, I swear, I can actually hear my heart pounding. I was scared out of my mind...

And then... there she was... (Listen, can you hear it? I hear two hearts pounding when I look at this picture.)

And when I look at this picture, taken almost 6 months later, I hear two hearts bursting with love...

It's been an amazing 6 months!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture Post...

 Happy Thanksgiving!
 Making a gingerbread house at our post-Thanksgiving getaway
 Lin playing air hockey with her cousin David
 Goofy pictures with the cousins in front of the hotel Christmas tree
Lin and her cousin Megan are one week apart in age. Love that teenager attitude!
Family picture at the hotel
 Working on the Christmas tree

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December

I woke up this morning and was greeted by a light dusting of snow on the ground... the season is here at last! Here in Michigan we usually see at least some flurries by early November, but this year we've had nuthin' so far. I wish I could be home this morning when the girls wake up and see it, but alas, I'm at work. Lin is very excited for snow. A few weeks ago she asked me what day the snow would come -- she wanted to know specifically what day it would start snowing. When I couldn't give her an exact date, she asked what day the snow started last year. The girl needs details! She also told us that once we had snow on the ground she would only come inside for meals; she would spend the rest of her time playing outdoors. Well, we'll see how she feels by about the end of January or so.

We had a nice Thanksgiving. Lots of food, lots of family, a couple of people Lin hadn't met before. She took it all in stride, helping cook the fried rice and stir-fried noodles that we added to our Thanksgiving feast this year. Then on Friday we headed out of town to spend the weekend with my side of the family. It was exhausting but very fun, too. Now we gear up for Christmas!

On Sunday afternoon we put up the Christmas tree and decorated the house. It was really fun to watch Lin. She helped string the lights and really got into putting the ornaments on the tree. She would put up a few ornaments, then step back and look and say "Beautiful!" She just glowed. I felt bad about the number of ornaments we have for Ruby -- picture ornaments, "First Christmas" ornaments, etc. If Lin were a baby it wouldn't be a big deal  because she wouldn't know the difference. But at 13 years old, I wonder how it makes Lin feel when she sees so much evidence of her 3-year-old sister's place in our family, and so little for her. All we can do is get some new ornaments this year and make some new traditions that include Lin.

I had a really nice afternoon with Lin yesterday. We came home from school and had about 45 minutes to kill before heading to our tennis lesson. Instead of turning on the TV, we just talked. It was a conversation that could never have happened if I had planned it. We were just folding laundry together and I don't even know how the conversation started, but we talked about life and death, how old were my grandparents when they died, how long do I want to live, things like that. I guess when I write it down it sounds depressing, but it wasn't at all. It was so nice just to talk with her.

Then we started talking about God and Heaven, and how we'll see each other there when we die. And I got the chance to talk to her about God and how God is always listening to us and how she can talk to God about anything. I told her that I talk to God every day. She was saying that God is the one who decides when people die, then she joked and pretended to pray "God, I don't want to die. God, I don't want to die." I laughed and said, well you can talk to God about more than just that! And I told her that God is why we go to church (we didn't talk about Jesus, but hopefully that conversation will come up here in the next few weeks).

So it was just really nice. A nice conversation while folding towels and socks and underwear, just the two of us at home. And then last night she fell asleep on the couch curled up next to me with her head on my shoulder. That's a feeling I'll put in my emotional bank, to pull out and remember when I need to.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Goose is Getting Fat

Well, Christmas is coming ... I thought I would take this opportunity to update you all on where we are with Lin, and where I thought we'd be by this time.

November 17th marked 5 months since Lin became an American citizen. In those first weeks home I set my sites on Christmas, as the time when we would have met certain milestones. For example, I thought by Christmas maybe Lin would have a friend her own age. I thought by Christmas she would be fairly fluent in English, at least in her ability to understand every day conversation. I thought by Christmas our new routine as a family of 4 would be running smoothly.

I was kinda right...

First of all, Lin's English. It's great. Truly great. I definitely feel like she understands most of what I'm saying, and she communicates with us almost exclusively in English. Now, with that said, I would describe our communication as being very much like having a young toddler in the house. Lin speaks in words and phrases. She will say a full sentence occasionally, but it is extremely rare that she says anything really grammatically correct. I understand her when she talks because I'm used to the words she uses and the pattern of her speech, and that goes for Lin as well -- she understand us, but may not know what someone else is saying. When we are around other people I still feel it necessary to be Lin's translator. I guess, without knowing what to expect ahead-of-time, I'd say the communication was never as difficult as I'd feared. It is often inconvenient, but never a total roadblock that we can't get around.

I was wrong in hoping that Lin would have a friend by now. She just can't communicate with other kids yet. I know a lot of that has to do with her age. If she were a couple years younger and in elementary school, she would play with other kids at recess. As a 13-year-old in middle school, there is never an opportunity for playtime. She routinely sees a couple girls (Sophie and Anna -- I've mentioned them before) but that's because I'm making the effort, not because Lin is expressing any real interest in interacting with them. But we're at a point now where Lin at least will talk about them on occasion. For example, last week Anna was not at our tennis lesson because of an orthodontist appointment, so yesterday when I said "maybe Anna will be at tennis tomorrow," Lin said "Anna no teeth tomorrow?" It's such a little thing, but I was so happy that Lin remembered, first of all, who Anna is (it's sometimes a struggle for Lin to remember American names and faces), and secondly, why she had not been at tennis last week. This is a step forward.

As far as our routine as a family... I guess I've decided that maybe family life is never supposed to feel routine. Maybe family life is just meant to be chaotic. Right now we're struggling quite a bit with Ruby and her 3-year-old temper tantrums. She is just so often mad about something, and it usually involves Lin (why does Lin get to go outside? Why does Lin get to watch TV? Why is Lin on the couch?). And I feel so bad for Lin when Ruby starts up, because I just think, what must Lin be thinking right now as her kid sister is screaming her head off in the other room? I get it, it must be so hard for Ruby right now. To not only have a new sibling to deal with, but a new sibling that's older than her on top of it. The girl is just really out-of-sorts and I'm trying very hard to figure out how to deal with it. One thing I think might help is if Lin put some effort into playing with Ruby. It is still the case that the girls merely co-exist, but never really interact in a positive way. I'm wondering what would happen if Lin just got down on the floor and acted silly with Ruby. Maybe I'll suggest it today...

So that's where we are... I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! We're adding fried rice and stir-fried noodles to our Thanksgiving dinner this year -- I can't wait!

Oodles of Noodles

Noodles 3 Ways... This is what a typical breakfast in our household looks like... noodles, noodles, noodles.

Sometimes it seems a little strange to make a bowl of black bean garlic noodles at 6:30 in the morning, but when it brings a smile this big, what can you do? Answer... get that pot of water boiling!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary! Dave and I have been married for 12 years... Now would someone like to explain to me how we ended up with a 13-year-old daughter?!?

For a few brief moments yesterday morning, Dave and I were the only ones awake. He asked me if I ever thought, 12 years ago, that I would someday be the mother of two Chinese girls. And that got me thinking...

12 years ago, Dave and I weren't actually planning on having children at all. We daydreamed about living on the beach in South Florida, travelling -- just being the two of us. Probably not a-typical for a newlywed couple. But of course, after a few years our priorities changed. We were happy in our jobs, happy in our town and we decided to buy a house, temporarily shelving the dream of the beach-side condo (there's always retirement!).

And with the house came the decision that maybe it was time to start thinking about children. We were adament that we would never "try" to have a baby. We just wanted to let nature take its course. So when a couple more years had passed and it was still just the two of us, our family doctor told us to go see a fertility specialist. We agreed and set the appointment, neither of us telling the other that we did not want to go.

I wish I could remember now how we stumbled into the conversation... I just remember the relief I felt when we finally admitted to each other that neither of us actually wanted to go to a fertility specialist. That's not the way we wanted to bring a child into our home, through appointments and treatments and stress.

I called the doctor's office to cancel the appointment. The receptionist was very nice, but surprised. I don't think many people cancel their appointment with a fertility doctor! But I happily told her, we're going to look into adoption...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grab the Tissues...

We have not pushed religion on Lin. We go to church on Sunday mornings. I know she understands why we go, she knows that we are Christian. But to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what is the best way to bring religion into her life, besides bringing her into church and hoping she picks something up through osmosis!

So I was utterly shocked with what she said last night. I was not in the room when the conversation started, so I'm not sure how Lin and Dave got on the topic of her birth parents. But when I walked in, she was saying that she sometimes is a little sad when she thinks about her birthparents (or "1-Mama" and "1-Baba" as we call them). But she said that she doesn't really think about them that much because she doesn't know what they look like.

And then she said that someday she will be old and she will die.. and she will wake up in Heaven... and she will recognize them there...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a winner!

Sorry to our competitors, but did you really think you had a chance against the culinary skills of Team China?! Ha ha... only kidding, kinda. Last weekend, our church had an international taste-off to help raise funds for youth projects. So naturally, we teamed up with another family with beautiful Chinese kids to represent China in the "friendly" competition... And we won the appetizer division!! Let's hear it for the champs! 

The day started early as Dave, Lin and my great friend Pam stuffed, folded and fried 150 pork dumplings.. the ultimate comfort food! Next up, Dave prepared one of his most requested dishes, Crispy Prawns with Honey Garlic Sauce.

As the gang frantically slaved away in the kitchen, our friend Alan got out the lanterns and banners and decorated our table.

Ruby and her best friend in the entire world, M, put on their qi paos to help sway votes with their cuteness. The only problem with that was the fact that the girls spent more time running around playing and sampling food from the competition than hanging out at our cooking station. Oh well, at least they were still advertising our booth.

Serving up our award-winning shrimp and dumplings! I lost count of the number of repeat visitors (chowhounds) we had at our table.

You know they're good when the chefs can't stop eating them! It was also great to see Lin walking around the fellowship hall by herself and sampling the food. She'd even bring plates of food back to our table for us to enjoy. Recipes available upon request...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Pictures

Playing in the leaves...

 Carving pumpkins...

 Ready for trick-or-treating...

Looking scary with Zombie-Dad... 

Halloween and Other Good Times

We had a great Halloween weekend! Both Saturday and Sunday were just beautiful; temperatures in the 50s and sun sun sun! We got everyone outside Saturday afternoon to rake leaves and do some fall lawn clean-up. I love cleaning up the yard in the fall, getting everything cut down and "put to bed" for winter. And then I love it when all the new flowers bloom in the spring. Now, if someone could just tell me the secret to keeping motivated to do all the maintenance work from mid-June to mid-September!

Anyway, back to our weekend. After raking leaves we headed inside to carve our pumpkins! Lin jumped right in without hesitation, drawing the face on her pumpkin and then carving it out. If you remember an earlier post, Lin is very confused as to why we're not eating the pumpkins, and she was still asking about it on Saturday. We told her, some people do, of course, but we're not planning on it (I've never cared for roasted pumpkin seeds...).

And then we headed out Sunday night for trick-or-treating! Ruby was a bat-ballerina and Lin was... well, the vampire teeth didn't work out, so Lin was just Lin-with-weird-makeup. She had a lot of fun with the makeup, especially seeing me and Dave getting all dolled-up as well (she made us promise that if she wore a costume, we would too). Dave was a zombie and I was... well, my vampire teeth didn't work out either, so I was just Lisa-with-weird-makeup.

We had a good time but overall, trick-or-treating was not quite the glorious experience I wanted it to be, unfortunately. After all the build-up and excitement from the last several weeks, Ruby decided to clam-up and be shy, pretty much refusing to let go of our hands or legs the whole time and barely able to whisper "trick or treat". Typical 3-year-old! And after about 3 houses, Lin decided that trick-or-treating was stupid and didn't want to do it anymore. Typical 13-year-old!

I was disappointed with her sudden switch in attitude and I told her, "This is Halloween! This is what Halloween is all about! It's a really big deal in America!" And finally she said to me (I'll paraphrase) "What if you were 13 years old and sent to live in China? And everyone was telling you that you had to do something but you didn't understand why, but everyone's telling you that it's a big deal in China and everyone in China is doing it. But you didn't understand it. How would you feel?"


So I lightened-up on her, and then she lightened-up, and we all had a truly great time. I'll do a picture-post later today...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First Report Card

We went to parent/teacher conferences last night and got Lin's first report card.

drumroll please...

All A's and one B!!!!

Didn't I tell you she was smart?

Yup, all her teachers say Lin is doing just great in school. She works very hard, is attentive in class, and is overall a model student. (Of course, we knew all this already...) I'm actually more impressed with the one B on her report card than all the A's. The B is in science, where she's not getting extra ESL help every day. So that B, she really is earning on her own!

The one thing we've got to try and figure out is, she's occasionally getting to her classes late. It's not a huge problem, nor is it a daily occurance, but it's happening enough that it's been mentioned to us. Now, when we ask her about it directly, she says she's not late. When I ask her if she's forgetting things in her locker, she says no. So I'm afraid that she's just not understanding the concept of punctuality. We'll keep working on that one.

And speaking of school, I surely cannot neglect to mention Ruby! She's going on her first-ever school field trip today! They're going to a pumpkin patch and Ruby was funny last night while we were talking about it. The kids are going to the same place we go every year to get our pumpkins, a local landmark pumpkin farm owned by a man named Gene. We were just there two weeks ago. (See the "Happy Fall!" post below for pics...) So last night Ruby kept saying "Are we going to our pumpkin patch? Are we going to see our Gene?" Very sweet...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tennis Lessons and Tough Conversations

Lin had her first tennis lesson Tuesday. She is taking lessons with two girls she met over the summer. Anna and Sophie are sisters -- Anna is 14 and in 8th grade, Sophie is 12 and in 6th grade. Unfortunately they do not go to the same middle school, so they are taking tennis together every week so that they keep in touch. Anna and Sophie are both such sweet girls and want very much to be Lin's friends. Of course, I was coerced into participating in the lessons as well, which Lin found to be quite amusing! I've always wanted to learn how to play tennis, so I'm looking forward to Lin and I learning together. Lin was really good, so much so that the coach didn't believe she had never played before. She's quite the athlete!

We've had some more light shed on what's going on at school with this other Chinese girl in Lin's class. Now she's gone so far as to tell other girls not to be friends with Lin, telling the other students that Lin is stupid. Apparently a group of girls invited Lin to eat lunch with them (yay!) and this other girl got mad (boo). Ah, middle school girls... Lin insists that she's fine, it doesn't bother her that this girl is being mean. When we talked about the "stupid" comment, Lin said it was okay because she knows she's smart. You sure are, my smart beautiful daughter!

Dave had an interesting conversation with Lin the other night, about money. It started with Lin asking about adoption, and whether Chinese families ever come to America to adopt American children. Then she started asking about the money involved in adoption. Dave quickly got the impression that Lin was essentially asking how much she "cost." Of course, Dave assured her that we did not pay for her. Yes, we bought plane tickets, yes we paid for our hotel stay. And yes, we gave the orphanage money. But Dave told her the money to the orphanage was for all the care they had given Lin for the last 10 years, and for all the children still there. Then Lin started talking about things we have bought for her since we've been home, like her iP*d and the tennis lessons. She began apologizing, saying that we've spent so much money on her but then sometimes she does something that makes us mad. Poor girl has so much on her mind!

Well, I called our social worker yesterday, just to talk about both the school situation and the money conversation, and how we should be handling them. She pointed out two things that caught her attention -- Lin's comment about how she knows she's smart and so it doesn't matter to her if kids are mean, and Lin worrying about us spending too much money on her. She said that these are exceptionally mature thoughts for Lin to have, and that it indicates that Lin had to be very self-sufficient, self-reliant, in the orphanage. She served as her own parent, telling everyone else "Don't worry about me, I'm doing just fine on my own."

And how many times have I said "She's doing great! She's so happy and well-adjusted! It's amazing!" And not to say that she's not any of these things, because she certainly is a very happy, wonderful girl! But maybe, just maybe, she is hurting and worrying. Maybe she's putting on a brave face -- "everything's fine, don't worry about me" -- to protect herself. How do we teach her that she doesn't need to take care of herself anymore?

Lots to think about...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Fall!

Lin has been busy experiencing her first Midwestern Autumn! To say this is my favorite time of year would be the understatement of the century. I practically foam at the mouth when the weather turns cooler and everything starts to turn orange. I think Lin thought we were pretty crazy when we took her to the local pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins but she got through it with a smile on her face. She kept asking if we were going to eat them and when I told her no, they're for decorating our house, she looked at me like I'd lost my mind!
The girls were not terribly cooperative when I asked them to smile for me, the little smarty-pants! This picture and the following one are the best I could get.

We also took Lin to the greatest Haunted House in the Midwest, owned and operated by our great friends, Stu and Lori. We took Lin through the house in the afternoon, with the lights on, so that she would understand what it was all about. She agreed that she would go through, but only if I went along, too. (Even though Stu and Lori are two of the greatest people in the universe, I have sworn year after year that I will never go through their haunted house again, only to be dragged through yet again the next time. This year it was Lin's turn to insist that I go along...)

Stu and Lori gave Lin an award for having travelled the farthest to go through The Haunting! (And no, Lori does not actually look like that all the time... only during October!)

Lin with Creepy Devil Dude (he really is that tall!)
And one more sweet picture of Lin and Ruby. Lin is very patient with Ruby and even agrees to let Ruby share her iP*d, on occasion. As time goes on, Lin is really developing into a wonderful big sister, or, as they say in China, hao jie jie!

Lin HATES this picture, but I think it's too cute! If she sees that I've posted it, I'm dead meat!
I hope you're all having a wonderful Fall!