Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 Birthdays

Posting Mei Mei's birthday pictures reminded me that I did a terrible job this year celebrating birthdays on the blog.  In real life, there were good memories.  But I like to post them here so that when my kids grow up they can't accuse me of having so many kids that I just lumped them all together all the time and celebrated in one big let's-share-because-we're-a-big-family-with-so-many-kids-party.

Do you think they will mind sharing a big birthday party on the blog?

Actually, I did post for Vu and James.  Do you think that makes them my favorite children this year? Maybe. Note to my other children--keep trying and maybe you can become a favorite child too. Ha!

Let's start with these two.  They have always been two peas in a pod!

I don't even have a photo of Kim's birthday. That must make her feel extra loved.  But I do have an excuse--I think we were too busy with all of this!

Kim, you are precious beyond words.  I love your innocent and emotional heart, your laughter, spirit, and love.  It has been a true joy watching you become a wife and mother this year.

Paul -- how I love this boy/man.

Somehow you grew up when I looked away.  My sweet little boopity-bop!  I love your kindness, your easy-going nature and wry sense of humor.  You make me laugh and your smile makes the world a brighter place.  You are loved!

Paul had a family birthday followed by a golf game.  I think I may have mentioned a time or twenty that he adores golf.  And he has another love too.  A definite sweetie.

Lizzy.  Our first little girl and one that lights up our lives with her zest, creativity, curiosity, and compassion.

We celebrated Lizzy with lunch out.  Lizzy works as a nurse in the NICU, she loves kids, and has an awesome boyfriend. She's all grown up, but will always be my little girl.  Love you to the moon and back Lizzy!

And then there's my Willsy-Boy.

You might live far away but you're never far from my heart.  Your birth brought such sweetness into the world.  I love your unique combination of the right and left brain--innovation and intelligence, mixed with a loving heart and great sense of humor.  You are such a good daddy and we adore beautiful Cookie.  Can't wait to see you and those beautiful grandbabies soon!

And then there's these two.  They formed a close bond early on, then they drove each other nuts for a while, and now they're becoming close again.  In some ways their personalities are similar.

Patrick has always been my MORE boy.  More of everything!  I really need to post sometime on parenting "more" kids.  But let's stay with the birthday fun factor.

Patrick, I love your sense of humor, intelligence, leadership, and kind heart.  Your passion for music and sports shine.  It is so much fun to finally have a band geek in the family.  I'll always remember this year as the one where you realized you actually DO like kids--to the point you now want to become a pediatrician.

Patrick's birthday was a little lacking this year.  Check out the cake.

But he didn't seem to mind.  Especially when he opened his presents which included a new trumpet! He was so happy he actually cried!

Lan Lan.  You are one of the bravest people I know. I love your sense of humor, determination, and creativity.  You have such a loving heart.

We had planned to celebrate Lan Lan's birthday with a trip to the rose garden.  Instead, someone special arrived! These two now share a birthday!

One of Lan Lan's dreams came true when she went with friends to a local fashion show.  Afterwards, they went to James' restaurant for dessert.

I feel grateful beyond words to be able to parent all these beautiful humans.

Happy Birthday Everyone!

We could have missed this. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Speaking Of Gifts--Mei Mei

Speaking of gifts -- this girl!  She adds so much LIFE and joy to each and every day.  She loves to try anything and do everything.  Her outlook on life is always positive; her smile lights up our lives.  She adored her 12th birthday party where she received a phone and a trip to Disney on Ice with her besties.

I wish I could have seen the future five years ago when we had just met Mei Mei.  I sat in the Chinese hotel shocked.  Her delays were so much more significant than we thought possible. It felt overwhelming and terrifying.  But we knew she was ours and we started the uphill climb.

She has come so far.  And we have come farther.  She loves sports, babies, travel, adventure, and family.

She has learned to enjoy hugs and finally, FINALLY after all these years she is truly attaching to me. It was years of rejection and patience, reaching out, showing her safety, and never giving up.  It sometimes felt like one step forward and three back--but now it's the opposite.  She LOVES having a family!  She loves being loved!

We could have missed this!  

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Love Affair With Books

I believe we are never too old for picture books and I will forever read them to anyone who will listen. One of my most favorite places in the whole world is the public library.  Tonight we found this gem:

The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco.  This author has many books, and I also love Thank You, Mr. Falker which is the true story of how a teacher helped Patricia with her reading disabilities.  This is also a part of the Miss Chew book, but it focuses more on art and life.  Miss Chew has Chinese heritage and shared a proverb that spoke to my heart this Christmas season:

"Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow a mystery.  
Today . . . a gift--that is why it is called 'the present.' "  

Each day is a gift. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thirty-Five Years

It's still summer, right?  I mean, it IS still November, which is just after Octember.  Yes?

Summer held a remarkable anniversary.  We've survived 35 years together!  Whew!  (Oops!  Did I say survived?)  Getting married at 18 so many people said we would never make it.

I think at times we made it because we are both stubborn and just wanted to prove all the haters wrong--so we stuck through the hard times which meant we were still together to celebrate all the good times--and they far outnumbered the bad.

We started having kids a year later, and in some ways we were babies raising babies, but we grew up together.

Through it all, I'm thankful we've had each other.

For our 35th we went on a new adventure!  Our kids were entertained at Auntie Amber's Summer Camp and we were entertained by Carnival Cruise!  I've always though it would be fun, Hubby wasn't so sure, but we both had a BLAST!  It was like one big party on the ship, with food and entertainment galore, and stops in Cozumel and Progreso.  We met so many wonderful people and enjoyed the beaches, Mayan ruins, and just spending time together.

I highly recommend a cruise!  We want to take the whole family someday.

My best advice to newlyweds is to take the finger that is pointing at your spouse, and point it right back at yourself. Try though we might, there is only so much we can do to change someone else, but we can change ourselves.  Compromise, communicate, and do little things to show your love.

Here's to another 35 years!