Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Ask "Why"? I ask "Why Not?"

I can't say I have always thought this way. I remember times watching other mothers let their children do things that I thought were ridiculous.
 Why would you let your kids play in the dog water bowl? Why would you let your kid climb that high on the monkey bars, why would you... (fill in the blank with anything that doesn't fit the conventional norm). 
Fast forward to now... and well... those ridiculous things somehow seem very, very sane. A dog's water bowl cleans off a lot of dirt! Monkey bars build strength in their arms... Stamps all over your body... well that is just plain fun! (and it washes off beautifully, except the red :O I'll keep that in mind next time!)

 One night last week I knew things were too quiet upstairs. I heard Pierson going into my art area but never heard him come out. I went to investigate! There he was. I found him with my stamps... And the rest looks something like this!

yes, that is Nutela on her nose!
 muscle man! Watch out girls!

Really? Why not?

The Silly Side of the Snow

Last post was a bit more serious. This one is just for fun!
 Ice Pizza Anyone?
 Andy and Maylin go for a speedy ride.  The day before the snow was light and fluffy when you kicked it dispersed like powdered sugar. However over night the snow turned to ice! Now that makes for a speedy sled ride!
 If it wasn't fast enough Adam WD-40ed the bottom of Chaucer's dog kennel for a make-shift sled. LOL that was awesome!
 Katie and I decided we would join in the fun and go for a ride. It was fun...
 while it lasted! Katie tried to slow us down by putting her foot down... that didn't go so well! : )
Adam giving Andy an unnecessary push! He ended up looking like a pretzel at the bottom of the hill!

 Kate and Maylin taking a little break on the ice!
 Oh to be the first down the slide!
 Snow plow Maylin!!!
 After the snow was off the slide, Pierson went a little faster than he anticipated and landed on his hiney!
 Maylin asking for a snowball in the face!
 Eating snow out of an upside down natural ice bowl!
Family picture at the "Curly Tree"
Pierson always likes a boys picture.
Of course the girls can't be left out!
All of the animals were feeling a little frisky! Even a poor little field mouse tried to cuddle up against Maylin's feet!

Showing a bit of sibling love in the "big bottom meadow".
What good is a little sister if she doesn't shake snow on your head?

Anyone want a ride? I am heading ...? Acutally he wasn't getting very far! But he sure tried!

Happy snow days!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Through Our Eyes

I've been reflecting a lot recently about the journey of our children. It has been 10 months today since we picked Pierson and Maylin up at the Chung Yi Institute in Taipei and in an instant they became part of our family forever. I can still vividly see them standing in the office of the social worker as we walked into the building. They were straight ahead. Both dressed in black anime t-shirts and jean's shorts. Ah Fong (Maylin) was wearing hot pink tennis shoes that said "Pretty Cure" (certain that is a Chinglish typo for Pretty Cute). Yong Sheng (Pierson) was wearing bright teal-blue shoes with a giant Anime character on the velcro buckle. They were both standing with nervous grins with a jittery stance that looked like they didn't know whether to run towards us or away from us. 
I can still hear Adam saying "There they are!" just as Jane (our wonderful Chung Yi social worker) said "not yet, come here first." and she quickly turned us into a room to the right with large glass windows. We had to do the formalities first.  We videoed the discussion and the legal paperwork. We learned more details of their past and some of the horrors of what they had been through. I remember realizing at that moment, as nice as the afternoon at the park the day before had been with the kids, they could very well be terrified to come with us today. My heart was breaking for them yet I knew that in time their fears would be broken down. 
As quickly as the paperwork was complete there they were standing at the door with wide eyes and nervous giggles. They each had a backpack with a few of their personal belongings. A stuffed animal, a small photo album and picture frame, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a wash cloth. A few diaper's and pony tail holders for Ah Fong... that was it. What they were bringing with them from the first four and five years of their lives were stuffed into preschool sized packpacks... nothing more. Can you imagine walking away from your life as you know it, going with total strangers who don't speak your language and only having a backpack of belongings to validate everything you have ever known? I can't. I am not going to say that there haven't been any struggles (because there have) but I will say that the resiliency they have demonstrated is nothing but amazing.

 Pierson. He has penetrating eyes which no longer hide emotions. In the beginning of our journey together his eyes were often distant and distracted. Now his eyes show joys and sorrows, fear and relief as well as just plain orneriness. He is full of personality. He is curious and bold, he is tender and kind. He is our son.

In the beginning Maylin seemed to have an exterior wall made of iron (except while trying to go to sleep she became very cuddly.) She didn't initiate affection and used many things to distract from it. She didn't show a desire to break her defense wall down. She was strong and strong willed. She was cute and she knew it! She played that to her advantage many times. Over time those walls have softened and now she climbs into my lap to snuggle without being coaxed. She spontaneously tells us she loves us. She expresses emotion willingly. She is amazing! She is our daughter.

There are days when I have to remind myself that while it feels like they have been in our lives forever they still have a past. While much of it was good in the foster home some of it wasn't. And certainly it wasn't all good before they were put in foster care. I have to remind myself that their little eyes are peering at us with eyes of anticipation and wonder. They are still learning to trust us. I wonder if they see us through 'blurry glass'? They can see us for who we are but parts of their past are blurring their vision?
90% of the time the walls seem to be broken down. They seem to see us through clear sparkling glass. Their eyes glisten and their grins are contagious. They love each other and are fully  supportive of each other. They celebrate life's blessing with enthusiasm and joy.
Pierson is a comic. Doing things to make others laugh. (Like smashing snowballs on his own face!)
Maylin is spunky and vibrant. She seldom misses a beat.

They are both full of adventure. They seem to be enjoying exploring the world around them. Climbing, jumping, leaping over anything in their way.

(Santa has a new reindeer)
The huge world around them is their's to discover.
 This field is called "The big bottom meadow" at our house. It is a beautiful field that I played in as a child. We played in the creek which wraps around it, rode horses round and round it, collected walnuts from it, and climbed many of its trees. Pierson and Maylin's Great Grandparent's ashes are spread around the cedar trees in the center of the field. There are a lot of memories in this field and it warms my heart to watch my children explore it the same way I did as a kid.
These two love this 'curly' tree. We take many walks there to climb and sit in it's twists and turns which provide a steady place to rest our weary feet. Even though Pierson and Maylin have had many twists and turns in their lives I am constantly amazed at their ability to thrive and their strength to perceiver even when they are far from the life they knew. It makes me smile to see them walk home and slip into the norm of our lives as if they have belonged here from the first day they were born.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lunch at the Biggers

We have such wonderful friends! We have been blessed by the love and support of everyone around us. A few Sunday's ago we were invited to the Biggers' house for lunch. Jim had been fishing and caught a really big fish! (When Maylin saw the picture of the fish she licked her lips and smiled in a way that made her eyes sparkle.) Pierson and Maylin love fish and this one was no different! Pierson said "Dis is weally good Chicken Fish!"
 Even with a yummy meal it wouldn't be an afternoon at the Biggers' if playing with animals wasn't involved. Maylin LOVED this adorable little puppy.
 And both kids got to ride Klassy the horse. They love riding horses. I just wish our horses were younger and not quite so grumpy.  But when you get to be 35 and 40 as a horse you are allowed to be a little grumpy. : )
 Pierson had a great time building Tinker toys! He built an awesome.... building?  What ever you call it, it was amazingly tall and fragile!
Thanks again Biggers Family! We had a great afternoon filled with yummy food, fun toys and lovable animals!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthday Continues! : )

Ahhh! The love of Sprinkles!  Pierson was super excited about the strawberry cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkles!
What better than an awesome number 6 candle to top it off! (We boxed the delicious treats up to take with us to the restaurant!)

Sporting his new "Carolina Fleece" jacket from Grandma! He was excited to have a jacket that has "Daddy's sa-cool" on it.

Awesome puzzle from Ayi!
We went to one of the local Japanese steak houses for dinner! Pierson was a little surprised by the flames coming from the table behind us!
But by the time our cook came out he was thrilled about the tricks and flames!
My boys!
Pierson loves some shrimp!
Onion volcano! Awesome!
Birthday cup cake!
Awesome gifts from Grandma!
And this is what the face of a sweet little 6 year old boy who has had an absolutely fabulous birthday looks like! 
Happy birthday my precious boy!