Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hard conversations....

Elise came out of her room last night around 10pm very sad. She crawled up in my lap and said, "I miss my China mommy." We talked, she cried and my heart broke for my little girl.

I know she's always going to carry this hole in her heart and have to deal with the emotions that accompany knowing her birth parents gave her up. The fact that she knows nothing about her birth family and little about the realities of what life might have been like in China just add to the hurt.

This is not the first time we've had this conversation. She'll go in phases. But clearly this has been on her mind lately. She said she has a hard time not crying in school because she thinks about her China mommy all day.

We pray for her China mommy and I assure Elise that her China mommy did love her because she left her in a safe place (we don't even know this for sure). We talk about other friends of hers that don't live with the mommy who gave birth to them. We talk about how some mommies can't take care of their babies.

I know my joy at parenting this child comes at the expense of heartache for others. I celebrate her in my life but she grieves the loss of her first family.

So, for those of you who have walked this path, what words of wisdom do you have? What comforting words do you share with your child? How do you try to ease that heartache they carry?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

River shots

A few more pictures from our camping trip. Just shots of the river.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Camping Recap!

I don't really fancy myself much of a camper. Perry has talked about camping for years. But, for 20 years, I've managed to dodge that camping bullet. Until now. Some friends convinced me to go camping.

Here's our home away from home. We drove to the campsite in pouring rain, had a brief window of clear skies to set up the tent, only to have it pour again. I wasn't convinced this whole camping thing was going to be much fun!

Fortunately, the rain stopped after that first night and we were able to do some really fun things! The campground was right on the Black River in Missouri. The river was very shallow, with a few deep spots with rope swings. The kids had a blast playing in the river.

We went camping with 2 other families from our neighborhood. The boys are all the same age and the girls are a year apart. It was so nice having friends along! (I did steal this picture from my friend's FB page because it turned out way better than mine - Carson looked like he was smelling his armpit in my picture.)

This beautiful spot is Elephant Rock park. HUGE boulders. Amazing to see in person and fun to climb around. (We intended to go to a swimming spot first, then change to hike in this park...but the swimming spot was full so we hiked in our swimsuits - like true rednecks!)

Elise and Carson at the top of one boulder.
Do you spot the tiny girl in the HUGE rocks?!?

The girls!

Striking a pose - 'cuz everyone should go hiking in swim gear!

Either Carson has really grown, or this is a dwarf tree.
Carson! :)
And - because I have no problem poking fun at myself - I'm including this picture (again "borrowed" from my friend's FB). Hiking off trail in your swimsuit with knee surgery scheduled for the following week and having broken an ankle within the last 6 months probably wasn't the smartest idea. Well, that and being a clumsy person with no balance leaves one a little scared of what might break or tear next. I honestly think I tore skin off my bum sliding down a few of these boulders when everyone else just jumped. Of course, shorts might have also been a good idea.

We then headed over to the swimming hole - Johnson Shut In's. Can you see Perry and the kids in there?!?

Look closely!

Our friends relaxing in a calm, less crowded spot. This was the site of a devasting dam break several years back and there were very prominent evacuation signs. That really freaked Carson out. Plus it was super crowded and slightly dangerous. So, he and I sat out and enjoyed the beautiful view.

The last day, we embarked on a 9 mile canoe ride.

Elise all ready to go.

Carson - all ready to go!

Proof that I was in a canoe!

Elise taking in the sights.

One of the other families. I laughed so hard this weekend!

Playing in the river during a break.

We found a great spot to hang out for a bit. Shallow enough to play around but with a current that the kids could ride.

What a great way to spend the day!

We kept finding fun little spots for breaks. This one involved a great rope swing.

But all good things must come to an end and off we rowed down the river. We had a GREAT weekend and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at camping again. But, I really need to work on a better list of things to pack next time so I'm more prepared!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cucumbers anyone?!?

I received a call from Perry while I was heading out to the grocery store. He told me that if I had cucumbers on my shopping list, I probably didn't need to buy any.

This is what I found on my counter when I returned. YUMMO! Not sure when they got this big and yummy (maybe it's been too long since I checked on the garden!). Carson's idea for the cucumbers - sell them on the internet. Sigh.

Truth be told, the cucumbers are taking over this bed. I planted twice as many as I usually do since we love cucumbers so much. I tried them in the boxes Perry made last year for the tomatoes, but they've gone EVERYWHERE.

And there are a lot of junior cucumbers just waiting to ripen!

And since I'm actually posting an entry and playing with my new camera still, here's a picture of the asparagus bed we put in this year. Not too exciting this year. We can do a small harvest next year, then a full harvest the following year. CAN NOT wait for that year. (We REALLY love asparagus.)

Any Perry put in a new bed this year which houses the tomatoes and peppers. Lots of flowers and teeny-tiny tomatoes but nothing harvested yet. Nothing better than a simple tomato and cucumber salad.
If you have any cucumber recipes, please share!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trying out a new camera

Is it possible that our summer is already halfway over?!? Wow, the summer is flying by. No big vacations this year but lots of camps, projects around the house, friend time, family time and fun. For some insane reason, I've agreed to a camping trip. Tent camping. On a river.

To make this worth my while, I decided it was time to try a waterproof, durable camera that I could bring on this trip (without worrying about my nice camera). It helps take the sting out of the thought of sleeping in a tent...outdoors...

So, we tried out the new camera in the pool tonight. You can literally dunk it underwater to take pictures! How cool is that?!? I will admit to being a nervous Nelly that first (and 200th) dunk into the water. But, it really does work.
GREAT camera to have near water - no fear that water will ruin it. (Except I did learn to dry off the lens or you get funky water spots on subsequent pictures.)
Here's my little kid who seems to be all arms and legs these days. When I took Carson in for his school physical, I learned that he's gained 27 pounds in the past year and a half (with 7 inches). Looking at this picture, I have no idea where he's packin' those pounds. He eats NON-STOP these days.
Elise, not to be outdone by her brother, but in a cranky mood for pictures, wanted me to take a picture of her floating...can you see her under those googles?

This is our hill-billy water slide. An old slide from an old playground (from our old house even) bolted to the steps with a hose positioned at the top. We're full of class around here, I tell ya!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hillbilly Haven

One never knows what to expect in our yard. I give credit to Carson and his best buddy for finding ways to entertain themselves in creative ways that don't (always) involve sitting in front of the TV or Xbox. So, I wasn't too surprised when Carson called home to ask if he could bring home a slip n slide.

Except this wasn't your typical slip n slide. His buddy's family is replacing their pool liner and the boys thought up a great new use for the old liner. And, conveniently, his buddy's famly doesn't have any hills and the boys felt the slip n slide would work better if set up on a slight hill.

And it's not just one piece of pool liner, it's multiple sections pieced together.

The kids had a blast and it was a new way to cool down in the summer heat. One can only guess what will show up next in our yard....

...there is a video posted on FB....I'm just too tired to repost it here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Golf Camp

Summer is here and camps are in full swing. You could spend a small fortune enrolling your kids in summer camps and go crazy making sure each kid is in the right location at the right time. Then, if your kids don't like the camps, you have to deal with cranky kids. As a parent, I find summer camp selection and season stressful!!!

We'd heard about a golf camp this year for Carson. He has several friends who've done this camp for years. He was agreeable to trying it, so we signed him up. He's never played golf in his life - outside of mini-golf. In fact, his golf set was picked up at a garage sale for kicks. We really didn't know what to expect. Perry used to enjoy golfing but hasn't golfed much since we left Chicago (and his golfing buddies).

Turns out the golf course is hidden away and located less than 10 minutes from us. Who knew!?! There are several country club courses in our town but this is a lovely public course, which means less of a financial outlay for a beginner. Very nice! :)

Carson loved it! He learned quite a bit and enjoyed spending time on the golf course with friends. He even asked if he could continue on with a 6 week league to learn more. Given we usually have to pry this kid out of the house to try new things, I'd say this was one successful summer camp!