Monday, August 18, 2008

Here she is!

Here's what a 23-week-old fetus looks like. A face only a mother could love!! Of course, I think she is just beautiful! The boys laughed and thought she looked like a monster. What great big brothers she has! William is still very confused about how they took a picture of her through my tummy! My official due date is December 15th, but I'm hoping that she shows up at least a few days early. I need all the recovery time I can get before Christmas!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eleven Years

Today Billy and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary. It's really hard to believe it's been that long, but after watching our wedding video last night (the kids got a real kick out of that), I realize how much we have changed (umm, aged). Billy gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and they are fragrant enough to overpower the musty kid smell! ha We went out to dinner tonight while the children enjoyed themselves at the home of some of our wonderful church family. They were in heaven as they got to swim, eat pizza & ice cream, and play outside to their heart's content. Thank you, Danny & Marion!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More First Day Smiles

I wasn't planning on starting Vivian in preschool quite yet, but the idea of having a couple of "free" mornings for doctors' visits, grocery shopping, and other necessary errands BY MYSELF for just a few months was just too appealing. She will be going on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and the boys will be going those mornings plus Friday morning, so I will still have a morning with just Vivian. They were all very excited about the first day. Vivian was so proud of her backpack and lunchbox. You could tell she thought she was a big kid the way she prissed around with them. I walked the kids in and took Vivian to her class first. She was now not that excited about it. She cried and cried when I got ready to leave. I kept telling her that Mommy will be back and left her in the arms of Ms. Melanie to take the boys to their classrooms. The boys are in different classes for the first time ever! I think this will be good for them. William tends to dominate Henry sometimes, so Henry definitely needs some William-free time, if nothing else! :) The boys settled in to their classes very quickly, and I walked back by Vivian's classroom and peeked in. She was sitting at the table coloring away.
They seemed to have a great day, because they were all talking non-stop about the day's events when I picked them up. Vivian must not have eaten any of the lunch I had sent with her, because she devoured everything in sight when I offered a snack. I'm talking huge portions of graham crackers, raisins, pretzels, 2 slices of cheese, turkey, you name it!
Rebecca's teacher gave a good report for the day as well. It's really cool how Rebecca is starting to tell me little things about her day. She attended a kindergarten camp before school started and she couldn't relay many of the events of her day to me. I guess I relied on the boys to tell me everything when she was in preschool with them. Anyway, I can see improvements in her language just in the last few weeks!* She even told Billy some small details about the orphanage last night after he got finished reading Shaoey and Dot to her. I think the structured environment of school is really going to be great for her. Goodness knows, home can be chaotic!! I love all you people that homeschool, but I just don't see how you keep it all together!! (Not to mention that my kids won't perform for me!)

(*This isn't just an English language thing. She most likely could not do this is Chinese, as there wasn't anything special to remember from day to day, much less anyone who she could share things with. She was very delayed in Chinese (Cantonese), so basically she has had to start over in learning English. She had no language to think in, no language to build on. It's just not the same as a child learning a second language. I just needed to point out what a BIG deal this is!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

First Day of School

The joy expressed in this little girl's face says it all. I'm not sure if she knows what today and its milestone really means, but it was obvious that she was excited about wearing a new dress, and carrying a pink and yellow backpack, and going off to experience something new. I did O.K. today, but after Tuesday night's orientation, it really hit me of just how much Rebecca has missed out on in her life, and how much I have missed. I wasn't there when she was an infant crying in that crib alone, trying desperately to get everything she could out of a propped bottle. I wasn't there to hold her and cradle her. Nobody talked and cooed to her or sang songs. She spent likely 20+ hours a day in a crib with no mattress or blanket. Nobody cared if she was cold, wet, or hungry. Her cries might as well have fallen on deaf ears. As she grew, there was never anything to look forward to. Every day was probably pretty much the same. I could go on and on, but the reality is I will never REALLY know what it was like for her and all that she has gone though. We had already made the decision not to send her to school for a year after we adopted her. She needed that time to be with us, for bonding and attachment, and to learn what a family is. I guess I thought I would be able to make up what she had lost for the six and a half years she spent in that orphanage in less than a year. I feel I am really mourning for the first time all the lost years...for her especially, but for me too. I also feel like I have let her down in some way...not for the lost years, but maybe over the past year I could have done more to foster her development.
At kindergarten orientation, I gazed around the auditorium at all the parents and their children, and I suddenly felt alone. My expectations of what kindergarten will be for Rebecca are entirely different than likely every single parent that was there. My sadness for Rebecca's life beginnings turn to anger and then back again. While I will never know the whys, I can only rely on the faith that brought us all together. God has a plan for Rebecca, and for some reason, He chose me for her mother with all my shortcomings. I am resolved to lean on Him for whatever comes our way this school year. Rebecca's resilence has always surprised and amazed me, and I am sure she will handle these new challenges with the same spirit.

Enough of my ramblings...Happy first day of kindergarten, Rebecca!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last Day--Epcot and HOME!

We had a Princess breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at the Norway Pavillion. We met Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Mulan, and Jasmine. I think the only princess that Rebecca didn't have her picture made with while at Disney was Ariel. I think the boys might have liked the pretty girls just a little too!

In front of the Chinese pavillion in World Showcase. William was very interested in all the countries. He kept asking, "Where in the world are we now, Mommy?" I hope his idea of world travel hasn't been too skewed by Disney magic.

This says it all! The end of the vacation! We're now waiting for that final bus to take us back to the hotel so we can be off to the airport!

Day Four--Magic Kingdom

I think this was in the gift shop after the Pirates ride!

William defeats Zurg!

Think Rebecca is a bit tired??

We had dinner at the Crystal Palace with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. Vivian had a blast! She even kissed Pooh on the nose.

The gang with Eeyore. This is about the time that some of the kids decided to tie up into a fight! Eeyore just put his hands over his eyes and shook his head. We have it all on video.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day Three--Animal Kingdom and Epcot

The Animal Kingdom was my favorite park. The safari ride was awesome; you are so close to the animals! The park's design is also really unique and authentic.
First, we ate breakfast with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy at the Tusker House.

Playing drums in Africa.

Cooling off by getting wet!

After watching "The Festival of the Lion King," we enjoyed the afternoon parade.


Day Two--Hollywood Studios & the pool

We had breakfast at Hollywood & Vine with the characters of "Little Einsteins and "JoJo's Circus."

William couldn't wait to meet the Power Rangers, and then he was too shy to have his picture made with the Red Ranger.

Henry was thrilled to see Lightning McQueen and Mater!

This boy loves trucks of all kinds!

After a couple of shows and rides, we headed back to the hotel for a nap and a dip. Here are the kiddos in the kiddie pool.