Friday, February 23, 2007

Fountain Hills

The kids had a 4-day weekend so we packed up the tent-trailer and headed out of town. We had read in a magazine about an art and crafts fair with a hot air balloon launch and camping nearby. It was a great time-a perfect combination of nature and civilization. We hiked about 8 miles and the kids hardly complained! Taylor is working on merit badges for scouts so he took care of most of the cooking and cleaning so I actually got to relax for a change. We also went into town for the arts fair. We picked up a few watercolors on silk by a Chinese artist. Can't wait to hang them up someplace!

Proof that there is indeed a fountain in Fountain Hills.
The prospect of having 5 kids is great when the first 4 are like these!
Taylor in his wash.
On the trail.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Photo Catchup

In the lobby at the Peking Acrobats show

With their 'Hung Bao' at the Chinese New Year celebration

Writing 'Meili'

The Graduate

Our American Girl at American Girl Place

Catching Up

Been a slacker. Resorting to the bullet list to catch up.

  • Went to see the Peking Acrobats on Jan. 30th. Insane what some people can do with their bodies-I'm happy when I can bend over to tie my shoes without blacking out! I swear to you there was a guy holding and twirling an umbrella while a girl was riding a unicycle on top of it. Just bizarre.
  • Left for CA the next day to join in my sister's college graduation festivities. It was great to see the whole family again.
  • While there, Matt and T did some snowboarding with my brother, I caught up with an old friend over pedicures and breakfast, and we decided to go to American Girl Pl*ce before A was too old to appreciate it. The place was over the top-cafe, theatre, nursery, salon, even hooks in the bathroom to hang your doll on while you take care of business. We picked up an Asian Bitty Baby for Meili and let A spend her report card money. It didn't stretch too far at that place but was a great time.
  • Came home from AG Place and checked the RQ site from my MIL's office. Found out that we passed review! I cried tears of relief and when I broke the news to Matt he said, "What does that mean?" Pretty typical...
  • We celebrated Chinese New Year at a library downtown with some activities sponsored by the local Chinese Cultural Center-great resource! There was a Lion Dance, story-telling in English and Chinese, face painting, all kinds of crafts, Chinese calligraphy, etc. We waited in line for a guy to do our names in calligraphy. He spoke about as much English as I do Chinese but there was a lady with him and she would pronounce your name phonetically in English so that he could represent each syllable (I guess) with a Chinese symbol. When I gave them Meili's name, his face lit up and he said, "OH!!! MEI. LI. Means beautiful!" I'm so glad that she will have a name that is recognizable to Chinese ears! It was bittersweet to be surrounded by beautiful little Chinese girls on the day that marked one year since sending our dossier to China. Most of them had Chinese parents but I did notice a father holding a Chinese baby that had obviously been adopted recently. She was pretty, but very serious. The mom came over and asked the dad, 'How is she doing?' at which the little girl's face lit up like a Christmas tree and she flung herself into her mother's arms. I lost it.
  • The next day the celebrating continued as we were invited to a neighbors house for dinner. They had 2 students with 'Up With People' staying with them and one was 23 year-old 'Spring' from Beijing, China. It was great to talk with her. She is a beautiful and intelligent young lady, about to begin coursework for a Master's in Economics/Southeast Asian Studies at Beijing University. I wasn't going to bring up the adoption topic for fear of it being awkward for her but she brought it up so I went with it. She is an only child because of the one child policy and says that the policy is not as strictly enforced nowadays. I expected her to tell me that it was because of the growing gender imbalance in her country but learned that there is concern in China about the huge population of older citizens with a lack of a younger population to support it and keep the country's development on track. I was also surprised to hear that the government is actually pushing for people who are well-educated to have 2 or 3 children in hopes that they will raise children who will be equally educated and help the country's economy continue to grow. I asked her what the 'word on the street' about international adoption was in her country and she said 'nothing.' It's just not discussed and what little she knew about it, she had learned since coming to the US. Very interesting.
  • I joined the 'chub club' (aka Weight Watchers) almost 2 weeks ago. I lost 6.2 pounds the first week and will weigh in tomorrow night to see how I did this week. I'm hoping that I can get 20 pounds off before we go to China-less of me to drag up the Great Wall and a great excuse for a new travel wardrobe!

I guess that's about it. Time to see if I can get Xander down for a nap before the older kids come home from school. Will post pics later.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

American Idol Geeks Go to Concert

If you didn't know it already, we are major American Idol geeks. We don't miss a show if we can help it and it definitely is a family affair. We eat and clean up dinner early, pop popcorn and take our various positions on the couch and floor in the family room. The kids watch and take notes, then take turns voting when it is over. About half way through the season, we have usually each come up with our favorites. Last season, Chris (aka Mom's boyfriend) was mine.

Last week, I heard that Daughtry was coming to town and mentioned it to Matt lamenting that it probably wasn't in the budget and would be quite a feat to find someone to watch the kids so late on a school night. He response was, "Buy the tickets. We'll make it work... Happy Valentine's Day."

The show last night was AMAZING! Man, he can sing and he looked like he was having a great time. I loved when he said, "Hey, you guys have the album!" He was surprised to hear people singing the words back to him and you could tell that he was very humbled by the experience.

The fact that he came to our town at all is very cool. Usually we would have to go to Phoenix or at least Tempe to see a concert-probably why we haven't been to a concert since we've moved here! He (they?) played at a little bar downtown-about 300 people there-cozy to say the least. Apparently I was the only person who read the rules online about not bringing cameras or recording devices. I wish that I had mine. We were only about 10 feet away-could have got some great shots. ;o(

I spent most of my teen years with boy band posters on my bedroom walls and a deep-seeded obsession with Michael Jackson (go ahead and laugh,but you know I'm not the only one.) Now that I'm almost 14 years into marriage and almost 5 children into motherhood, there is something very attractive about a faithful husband and devoted father that can rock a bald head. I was very happy to go home with mine...minus the bald head, that is! Buy the album-let's keep this guy in business!