Friday, July 26, 2013

The Opposite of Planning

I am usually a planner.  So is my husband.  Which is why it is so weird that we decided to take a very long trip on very short notice. 

If you remember, Mei Mei has been a Mickey fan since Day One.

And since Day One we have been talking about going to Disneyland.

We had planned to go this summer.  The Christmas Elf even brought Disney shirts. 

But then my dad got sick and the timing wasn't right.  And even tho the kids totally understood why we couldn't go, they were bummed.

And then last week we started to play "What If . . ."  And two days ago we decided to play "Let's Do It!"

Yes, 2 days ago!  This means in the last two days we have found a house-sitter, a dog sitter, hotels and half-price-tickets (great deal for military right now!).  We even bought a plane ticket for Lizzy to join us--as a college kid still living at home she lucks out--she couldn't get the time off work and wouldn't fit into the Pilot, so she gets to FLY!  I am SO BUMMED our bigger kids aren't coming, but it was too difficult to arrange on such short notice.  Next time!

Lizzy did a treasure hunt to tell the kids we were going.  They went all around the house looking for clues and ended with finding out we were going to the Happy Place!

I didn't get a picture of the hoopla, but let me tell you, it was BIG!!!

They weren't quite as excited when they realized we have to DRIVE to get there (long two days!), but the destination is quite exciting!

At 9 PM last night I started packing everyone.  I actually still have to go pack for myself. 

Buckle up!  Another crazy adventure!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Love Of A Foster Sister

We had such a lovely time visiting Lan Lan's foster sister, R, from China.

We enjoyed spending time with R's family--they are such great hosts!

And we have so much in common, including large families!  R's family has ten children and will soon bring home two more boys from China.  I loved talking for hours to R's mom about everything from adoption to organizing kids' bedrooms.  While we were there they gave a bridal shower for their niece and Lan Lan loved participating!

Lan Lan and R lived in the same foster home for over five years, and they have an indescribably close bond.

They are survivors who depended on each other for so much, including love and friendship.

Keeping our children in touch with the people they loved prior to adoption is a huge priority for us.  It gives our kids a link to their past and security in knowing that those they loved are doing well in life.

I simply can't describe the love that exists between these girls.  Precious!



Friday, July 19, 2013

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Leaving in just a few minutes for a very special adventure.

It includes Lan Lan,

her mommy, an airplane, and a very special friend from China.

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Man Meets Wild

Boy on Bike
Branch on Tree

You Want Boring?!!!

You didn't want to be at my house today.  You really didn't.

It started out fine.  Swimming lessons.  Cool.

Afterwards, a request for ice cream at McDonald's, because they currently have ice cream cones for 50 cents.  But once we got up to the order window the kids also clamored for something on the one dollar menu.  "Please!  It's only a dollar!  I'm so hungry!"  The problem is that those dollars add up really quickly when I have 40,000 children in the car.  So I was a tad annoyed at myself for giving in.

On to home, where I pick up the phone to call my sister.  About midway through the first minute one of my children (I will protect the not-so-innocent) comes into the family room with a horrified look on his face.  You know the look.  The one that says something bad just happened. 

"What?!"  I ask, afraid of the answer.  He is speechless.  But I notice hot pink paint running down his hand. 

"What happened!?"

No answer.  "I gotta go!" I shout into the phone.

Mr. Speechless continues to look at me with dread.  The other 40,000 children call me to the entryway stairs--the stairs that are covered with what every mother-of-many dreads--white carpet.  White carpet which is now hot pink in a large area.  Apparently Mr. Speechless decided to take out the inside thingee of a hot pink highlighter.  His brother (who is not speechless at all) informs me that he had just told Mr. Speechless this wasn't a good idea.  Twice. Just before Mr. Speechless dropped it on the carpet. 

I did tell you this carpet was white.  Yes? 

And then Mr. Speechless tried to clean it up.  Not a good idea.

I ranted.  A bit.  Amazingly, I was able to cut out all the marker.  Yes cut--carefully cutting off the top part of each strand of 40,000 pieces of carpet. 

My husband never has to know about this little incident.  Right?  Erased.  Accidents happen.

BUT (you just knew this story had more to it, yes?) literally an hour later I go up those very same stairs (which are white, in case you forgot) and they are wet.  Wet and yellow.  And they smell like ramen.  With a towel kind of thrown over it.  REALLY???

I will spare you the horrid details.  But someone (a different child) spilled ramen noodles on the stairs. 

The white stairs.  And ramen noodles are not allowed upstairs.  In fact, food is not even supposed to go upstairs. 

I ranted.  More than a bit.  I had someone cleaning the stairs forever and then I cleaned (white) stairs for the second time in an hour. 

They are still yellow.  And as a bonus, they smell like chicken flavored Top Ramen!  Yum!

I ranted more.

Finally, I decided we should go do something fun.  Get away from those yellow, chicken flavored stairs.  We would go to the happy hour at the local taco joint where Baha Blast Freezes are only one dollar! 

I tell the kids.  They love the Baha Blast idea.  But one immediately asks if they can also get some of those yummy cinnamon ball things too.  Let's just say I was irritated with the request (this means I bit someone's head off about being greedy).  And then I suggested we take the freezes to the sprinkler park for some fun.

Some kids thought this was a great idea (meaning one).  But the others thought that sounded boring.  Really?  BORING??!!!!  It's boring to go to a sprinkler park where there is also a huge playground and basketball court.  REALLY???

And here is where I lost it. 

Do you know what BORING is??  Boring is cleaning the garage all . day . long!  And sorting out doo-hickeys and soccer cleats and spider webs!  You want boring!  Boring is sorting socks and used school supplies and sorting crayons BY SIZE AND COLOR.  Boring is scrubbing soap scum off shower tile with a toothbrush!  YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!!!  And scrubbing white carpet from morning til night.  You want boring???  I will show you boring!  (deep breath) And while we are at it, I will show you what it is like to go days and weeks and months without a single taste of Baha Blast or Blast of Baha or any other concoction because you always want more!  More!  You all might just go the rest of your whole lives without another Baha anything!  (long deep breath).

(A real box of crayons in my house--apparently one child does not think sorting crayons is boring)

And then I stopped.  Apparently a little taken aback with my own rant. 

And Mr. Speechless looked at me with the sweetest little face and said,  "I think the sprinkler park sounds really fun!  We should go!"   Followed by 40,000 others who chime in that the sprinkler park sounds REALLY fun! 

And so we went.

And it was fun.
Mei Mei's picture of Mommy (left) and Daddy (right)

And I am guessing I won't hear another "boring" comment or request for "more" for at least a day.

But please tell me, how many days of summer left???

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Random Phone Fun

Every now and then I look back at the pictures on my phone.  It doesn't matter how hard life gets, the love, joy, and happiness always wins. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

For The Birds

Yesterday we received information about an upcoming yearly campout.  Oh the excitement!  The kids couldn't wait to see who was going and what activities were planned!

The campout includes about 80 adoptive families who return year after year for FUN!  Our kids look forward to this like a kid on a blended diet looks forward to blended French fries (oh the crazy things we are beginning to try!)!  It's the place almost all of our children have learned to ride a two-wheeler!

The campout reminds me that I never really explained our fellow travelers last summer on the great MONDO adventure.

Remember these two?

Well, in case you've never noticed, our family is a bit obsessed by the OSU Beavers.

Go Beavs!

Rumor has it that we STOLE the birds at a previous campout from friends who are . . . well, shall we say, from the other side?  Duck fans.  Boo!  Yes, we make friends even with people who are confused about which team to cheer for.

Photo used without permission.  Photo stolen with utter abandon from owner's facebook page. 

But now, really, do you think we are the type of people who would steal someone else's beloved pets??? From their campsite??  I don't think so!

The truth is that our two bird friends hopped into our car, just south of our home, at the beginning of our adventure. 

They followed us around and had a grand adventure!  The loved all the historic sites, beaches, and time with wonderful friends!  They discovered that Beaver fans have all the fun!

In fact, when we got home, they begged and begged to have us convert them into true Beaver fans. 

It was our honor.

They strutted around with newfound confidence and a new outlook on life.

And when we went to the campout last year, they took flight and became missionaries.

Last we heard, they were still out converting Ducks into Beavers.  I have a feeling we are going to be seeing our birds at this year's campout!  Stay tuned!