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9 posts from October 2009

October 30, 2009

Found Puppies!

On the way to pick the the girls from school today, I spotted a precious little puppy in the road.  I stopped the van and approached him to find out why he was outside his home unsupervised.   Then his sweet little sister wandered over and I was treated to one of the cutest sights ever -- puppies dancing at my feet with lolling tongues and wagging tails.  All of a sudden, I understood what Donny Osmond meant back in the 70's when he sang about puppy love.

I wasn't sure if they'd let me pick them up but they were cool with it so I tossed them in the back of my van and stopped long enough at my house to deposit them into my big beautiful fenced backyard then hurried to school (almost late!) to pick up Gwen and Maddy.  I told them about the puppies and they were quivering with excitement about meeting them.  But I explained several times that they're not ours and we can't keep them and we have to find their family (etc and so on...).  

God makes puppies that look like this for just one reason:  To ensure the survival of the species!

20091030-lost puppies reduced

Puppies are a tremendous amount of work and with all the barking and digging and pooping and chewing, who would want them if they weren't this stinking adorable???  Oh, and would you be at all surprised to learn that the kids ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM!?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

When the girls went into their room for nap, I started searching on line and found the Animal Shelter (where we'd take them if we were that kind of family and we're not - yet). They had a "found pet" form that I downloaded and completed and faxed back to them.  Hopefully the family who lost these cuties will contact that place and find out that we have their babies.

While I was doing that, I noticed a certain SUV driven by a middle-aged guy and a younger blond woman that drove by my house more than once.   They drove up the street, made a U-turn and drove past my house again.  When they did this the 2nd time, I ran outside and waved my arms in the air and caught them on their return loop (their 4th pass) but the guy just waved to me as if I was merely saying hello and kept driving.


I gave the "whatever" shrug and threw my hand in the air and he stopped his car at the end of the street but never backed up to me.   Then he drove away. 

He was obviously looking for something.  An address?  I don't think so.  Maybe his dogs?  Could be! My home office faces the street and I'm always aware of who comes and goes and I can say that this was certainly an anomaly.  I won't be at all surprised if we locate the owners and it turns out to be them and we have a big laugh about this.  But I can't help but think that they're idiots for not backing up and finding out why I was flagging them down as they drove past my house for the 4th time today. 

Five minutes later, he drove by for his third loop (6 passes by my house!).  I ran back outside and waited by the curb just in case he did it again - but he didn't.  Or maybe he did?  I don't know since I have a life and can't monitor my street constantly.  Plus my kids were in the house alone and it's not like I could just stand at the curb forever.

I called my husband and warned him that our usual Friday "Date Night" was probably going to be spent posting "Found" posters of these pups!  Since he's the most wonderful husband and father in the history of the world, he just chuckled and said "okay!". 

Now to figure out what to do with these babies!  I can't bring them in the house (cat would FREAK and I don't even know if their house trained) so maybe I'll take some blankets into the garage and keep them in there.  The temps have dropped into the 40's at night and the little peanuts shouldn't be out there in that!   Oh what have I gotten us into!

Here's a picture of Gwen lovin' on the two puppies.  They played in the yard for a few hours then came into the playroom and played some more until they were frazzled and frightened and shaking and ready for bed (the puppies - not the kids). 

Puppies 030

I'd been busy in the garage fixing a cozy safe place for them and when I put them in it, they were SOOO relieved!  Two totally pooped pups!   Aren't they sweet?

Puppies 078

October 29, 2009

Any Wii enthusiasts out there?

We're gonna ask Santa to bring us a Wii this year but we anticipate that he'll have lots of questions.  These things are not cheap and there's a mind boggling amount of games and accessories.  I spent about an hour at toysrus yesterday and finally gave up because there's just too much to try to figure out and there's NO WAY I'm informed enough to just start throwing things into my cart.   So I'll start by taking my questions to the experts.  Um....that would be you guys.  :)

  • Do these things ever go on sale?
  • Is there one type of system or is there a "plus" or a "2"?  If so, what's newer (best?) and do all the games work with any system?
  • How many controllers do we really need? 
  • What about chargers and other accessories?
  • Do you need something special to use this on a big flat High Def TV?
  • What games will my 5 year old girls really like? 
  • Anyone have a Wii Fit (and use it?)

I might have more questions later!  Thanks for any advice you can give us!

October 23, 2009

A screaming indictment of my family's apathy, ignorance or selfish insensitivity because we chose to strip each of our children of her identity prior to renaming her

Isn't it funny how some topics are almost impossible to discuss because any attempt to justify your own position causes everyone else to feel theirs is being attacked? 
A Blogger friend posted recently about her decision to keep her children's Chinese name.   As I read her reasons, I felt myself getting really defensive.  As if each reason she cited was a screaming indictment of my family's apathy, ignorance or selfish insensitivity because we chose to strip each of our children of her identity prior to renaming her.  Ouch!  
Well, she didn't actually say any of that directly but she did share her opinion (as adoptive parents are often known to do!) and hers was especially strong.  Okay, fine!  It was reasonable too (even though I don't personally subscribe to it):  She kept her kids Chinese names because she felt the names belonged to them and she wanted to respect their pre-adoption life and hoped doing so would help her kids grow up to be better adjusted and more happy.  Period. And I translated her words into this:  She thinks I've deliberately robbed my children of something that is essential to their happiness and now we might as well just rename our college fund "therapy fund" or "future bail fund".  
Of course, she didn't come right out and say any of that stuff!   Even so, my fingers were quivering over the keyboard as I prepared to type up a long and thoughtful "rebuttal"!  Then I decided that my time and emotional energy was probably better spent on my own blog.  So here I am!  Wanna hear my thoughts about keeping the Chinese name?  No?  Too bad.  Here they are - in bullet form: 
  • We don't believe, according to research we did about our kids SWI's, that the names were personally assigned. 
  • We've been led to believe that mainstream Chinese people - including foster parents - have a prejudice against orphanage assigned names.  
  • While we have no sense of loyalty to the orphanage name, we'd enthusiastically accept (and retain) a name given to our child by the birth family.
  • If our child was older, we'd let her have a say about her name.
  • If our kids want to change their name later, we'll support it.
  • We'll do other things to help our kids feel connected to their culture by ensuring that they understand and speak Mandarin before they head out into the world as adults (with Chinese faces).  We think we owe them this even though we're pretty sure they'll fight us over it while they grow up.  In much the same way kids have fought their parents over piano lessons. 
  • Oh, and speaking of that, we plan to make them learn piano too.
The bottom line is: We don't think the name is sacred but we do believe that our child is. She had everything God gave her when we brought her into our family and it is those things that we hold most dear.
We think her Chinese name is a minor part of who she is.  Just like the ill-fitted orphanage assigned "Gotcha uniform" that she wore when we met her.  It's all just a remnant of her orphanage life and although we're grateful for the life-sustaining care she got there, it was still a miserable, motherless, orphanage existence and we are happy to think about it in an historical sense. But, even though we don't pay tribute to our children's orphanages by retaining their assigned names, we'll always show our appreciation by financially supporting foster care and Half The Sky programs at both orphanages.   (let me know if you want more info about that!)
Okay, the next super fun, controversial, alienate-all-your-blogger-friends topic is the Pro/Con of infant unanesthetized circumcision and the merits of being a SAHM!  Woo Hoo!  Who wants to go first!

October 20, 2009

Back seat wisdom

Gwen is full of stories lately and seems to have an opinion about everything so during a long drive to Alpine Lake, we sought her council about something we were discussing in the front seat.  Her reply:  "I'm sorry.  I can't answer you because I'm busy picking my nose."

On the way home, we were talking about what we wanted to be when we grow up.  Maddy, as we all know, wants to be a Doctor but Gwen is undecided.  "Maybe a knight or a cowboy or... a tiger", she said.  Then she roared.  We explained that those sounded like costumes instead of occupations but we couldn't get her to consider something else.  She finally punctuated her decision to stick with her original choices by saying "You can change your mind or you can change your dreams." 

We thought for sure that she'd heard that phrase in a sappy children's DVD because she has a special knack for reciting lines from movies at surprisingly fitting moments but I Googled that statement and it's a Gwen original!  What an insightful little girl we have!

Here are some photos from Alpine lake.  It was beautiful!  As always, you can click the photo to see a larger view.

Alpine lake

All of the photos in the collage above were taken with our new camera, a sweet little point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot S90.   Rather than bore you with stock photos of this spiffy little camera, I thought I would share some I took today.  Here's our little camera model, Maddy:

Canon powershot s90

This is our favorite point-and-shoot ever.  And we've had LOTS of them (all Canon PowerShot).  This one is small and compact and has a built in flash.  It's fast and smart and the final photo result often rivals the quality of most of the photos we get from our insanely expensive Canon 5D SLR.  Of course, we'll never replace that amazing camera because, well,  it's ..... amazing, but it's nice to have an alternative we can slip into our pocket for everyday outings.

We got another new toy this weekend too --- Lightroom 2!   I can hardly contain my enthusiasm while typing this because this program is the best digital thing to happen to me in 4 years!    I'm not really interested in doing all the artsy-fartsy stuff.  Mostly, I just want to have an easy way to compensate for my poor photography skills.   I can't count the times I've taken photos of something just to have the whole shoot ruined because of crappy camera settings.  Now I can fix those photos and I'm so excited because some of those moments didn't offer us a do-over!  Specifically, our first Easter with our two daughters where all of the photos were horribly overexposed.  UGH!!!   Now I can fix them!  I'll share the before and after shots later.  

October 16, 2009

Pesky Parasites and Pretty Posters

Yeah, a little bit of everything this week!

Thanks for all of the fantastic advice about our "little problem".  I'm so glad I dared to share such an icky and embarrassing experience because I got such an amazing outpouring of support and advice. 

Just knowing that families I admire and respect have also dealt with this was so reassuring!   Nobody was judgmental or condescending and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that because, frankly, I was feeling somewhat vulnerable.   

A friend even emailed me a link to the Chapman blog where they battled this eight-legged beastie earlier this summer. I love the Chapman family so much.  They've taught me more about faith and hope and healing than anyone I've ever known in real life and even though I can't get through a single one of Mary Beth's blog posts (or hear SCC sing the Cinderella song) without tears dripping off of my chin, I rarely miss a post.  But I missed *that* one. 

We caught this really early so it wasn't as much of a big deal.   My Dutch sister, Sjoukje, suggested that we slather on the conditioner and comb our hair daily and we've been doing that with very reassuring results.  I think we've beat this, folks!  Phew! 

Pesky parasite drama aside, this week was really memorable for another reason:  Maddy was Student of the Week at school!  Here's a little scrapbook page I put together for our family album:

Top cat maddy

She was really excited last Friday and proudly carried her blank poster home in both hands (I had to fasten her seat belt for her because she didn't want to let go of that poster).  We worked on it all weekend long and I had to reassure her each night that she didn't need to sleep with it -- that it would still be here in the morning. 

She helped me scour our computer for photos and thought long and hard about her answers to the various questions.  Some were easy but others were quite hard and she had to give them some thought. 

Maddy has been around many Doctors and she's such a good little patient.  For months (years?) she's said she wants to be a Doctor when she grows up so this was the easiest question for her to answer.   I love the photo she drew of herself as a Doctor!    Someday, I think this might be hanging in her office, next to her matted and framed medical degree from Stanford.  She's so smart and tenacious so this goal is totally within her grasp.  I'm just hoping that she specializes in geriatrics!

Maddy, Sweetie, we're so proud of you!   

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