Friday, October 31, 2008

All things pre-Halloween!

What seems to be becoming tradition, we're all sick; upper respiratory crud, sinus infections, inner ear infections. Been battling this in our house for 3 weeks now. It just keeps going around. Not to get in the way of Halloween preparations though. Snapped a few fun pictures of pre-Halloween preparations.

As for our plans for tonight, we always walk our old neighborhood. Allie and her friend Stacey (both 7th graders) are happily going to be ringing doorbells w/ Eliza tonight. All three will be dressed as witches and Hogan will join them w/ a witch hat. Should be fun, cute and exhausting! The good news about living on the farm is that a parent doesn't get left behind to answer the door 'cause no one wants to walk down our dark, scary 1/2 mile driveway. So, we all get to participate in T or T'ing. The bad news is, no one comes to our door for T or T. I always loved that. Okay, well enjoy. More pictures after T or T!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Warning: This is a Non-Eliza Post

So, we decided to bring in a "boarder" to keep Georgie Girl company. (Georgie Girl is in the blue blanket pictured above.) Her new companion's name is "Scotch". "He's" quite a handful and not very personable towards people. Georgie likes him okay, but he's much younger and keeps her on the move. Most days, she ends limping as she tries to keep up. It's pitiful; see the arthritis in her knees. You can see the pain and annoyance in her eyes. She's a grandma and was used to having old Clark to quietly graze with. This young fella gets "silly" over the brisk air or the blue herron that swoops down to our pond; pretty much finds any reason to start galloping through the pasture. Horses being horses, she HAS to keep up with him. So, limping away, the herd must stay together.

This picture is of Scotch checking in w/ Georgie after I put her blanket on. He was freaked out by the blanket. She, of course, is reassuring him. She's so sweet and always so good about standing still for blanketing. I'm hoping he'll learn trust from her. In his defense, he didn't have a very good start in on.

He didn't have a nice big pasture to play in so he loves making his new owner chase him all over the place before he'll let her catch him; yesterday it took her 30 minutes. He didn't have a herd to hang out with and learn social skills so "space" is an issue for him (both you encroaching his and him encroaching yours or Georgie's). Once he was broke to saddle, his job was to be the designated driver for a drunk man. No kidding! He would hang out waiting to be saddled, ride to a bar, get tied up outside the bar and be on-call to drive the drunk man back to his house. Now, I have no clue where this all took place because it sounds like something out of the 1800's to me. While we do live on a farm, we're quite a suburban area and within the urban sprawl . But that's the story I was told though. It's colorful; it allows me to approach his issues with comedy rather than annoyance. His (new, non drinking) owners are nice; it's their daughter's horse and she's 16. I've enjoyed having horse-folks out here again and watching someone ride. According to his new owner, for the first few months, every time she'd swing her leg over the saddle, he'd buck her off. Can't you just picture him doing this to a drunk guy and how funny that would be to watch. Though the rest of the image isn't very good, he'd get clobbered by the drunk and is now very head shy. Amanda, the new owner, has worked so hard w/ him to gain trust and let her ride him. They do beautifully together now.

That said, the cold weather has finally moved in. We've had frost two nights in a row and it's been windy, windy, windy. Since Eliza's been in school, I haven't had the opportunity to take as many photos of her as I used to. So, I decided to snap some of what's been happening around the farm.

This is the huge, 2-story elementary school being built right behind us. The next picture is what our view used to be. What the picture doesn't show is how close the school is.

I hate our new view; I hate that we can't ride horses, the 4-wheeler, dirt bikes, etc. out there anymore. I hate that I can't take the dogs out for a run in the fields anymore. I hate the all our deer and other wildlife have been run off. I hate that there's construction crews out there and we've lost our privacy. I could go on and on. The funny thing is, right after I took this picture, about 20 guys showed up on top of that burm and started picking up all the trash that's been blowing over into my pasture. I think they thought I was taking pictures as evidence. Hmmm, not a bad idea.

Of course, here's Sadie and Hogan (on the right). Look how big Hogan has gotten. He's the most handsome golden retriever (male) ever. He's absolutely in love with me and won't let me out of his sight.

Other than that, the dossier is coming along. We've had some good progress; our first homestudy update meeting complete, physicals, Hague-required child abuse clearances ordered from all states we've lived in since 18, and completing some other documents so that we can submit our intent and request PA for a little girl.

Well, Scotch is on the move again, so Georgie's heading after him. Look how annoyed she looks in the picture below. Can you see the arthritis in her knees. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Well, that's my non-Eliza update! Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My daughter

OCTOBER 11...the day that Eliza's adoption was finalized in China. Two years ago. I am so in love with my daughter, all of her. I love her facial expressions. I love how close we are. I love the way that she kept staring into my eyes while grocery shopping yesteday and all the while with a pure, happy smile on her face. It is such an enormous and yet love-filled notion to think that a child looks to you for everything. That you are their one person; their safe place; that they can be themselves with. Eliza reminds me every day of how gentle and true her heart is.

Something I didn't share about our Yangdong reuinion trip (to Kansas) was a moment that happened at the pool. Eliza comes alive at the pool and that day, she was practicing her jumping and diving to me. Jaiden, Julie's daughter, was enjoying it and wanted to be a part of it and the two girls had lots of fun taking turns. After some time, Jaiden finally fell asleep on one of the lounge chairs. So, we started packing our things up and suddenly, Julie and I both looked over and witnessed Eliza down on her knees beside the lounge chair and sleeping-Jaiden. She took Jaiden's thumb out of her mouth and proceeded to hold her hand. Quietly, she turned her head away from Jaiden, still holding hands and stared out into the view of a pond and grass area. For me, it was akin to a sister moment or to the times I'd visit Dad in the nursing home and just hold his hand and sit quietly together. My daughter. Serene. Strong. Kind. And most importantly, knowing. In that moment, I believe she knew who Jaiden was and remembered the time that they lived together in that room in Yangdong. It was beautiful and no, we didn't have our cameras with us.

That memory of Eliza and Jaiden affects me as much as the memories of visiting Yangdong two years ago and leaving behind the beautiful children who were still waiting for families; the uncertainty of their lives and the fading promise of a family as they aged in the orphanage. It tugs at me. I was reminded of that today when I was looking at Kelly's blog and she posted some pictures I had taken that day in Yangdong of her daughter. Now I know why my heart has been led to the older children on the waiting lists...and one in particular that we're paperchasing for (can't tell you anything more yet). It's a tribute to my beautiful Eliza's heart that on this anniversary month, we're working to bring home a sister from China.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Spontaneous Moments!

My beautiful little girl! Oh my, this face still melts my heart...

So, it's October. This month celebrates two years since Gotcha Day. I thought it would be fun to look back and post a few pictures over this month...some old favorites and some new. So, be on the watch!

One thing for sure, lately, Eliza has been doing some of the most spontaneous, beautiful things that clearly remind me to "enjoy the moment" and "take a look at what's around". In this picture below, we had just come home from the grocery store. Barney, of course, goes everywhere w/ us these days. Eliza loves getting a balloon at the grocery store so on this trip, the balloon was tied to Barney. Well, when we got home, she "jumped" out of the car (her favorite thing to do these days is to jump from high places). She ran over to the front yard and layed down w/ the biggest smile on her face. She watched the balloon wave in the gentle breeze. Sheer joy. Be still my heart! I had to get the camera...forget the groceries melting in the car!

Now seriously, stop and look at the above picture....Go ahead, look at it again. Do you remember being a kid and flopping down in the grass to gaze up at the clouds. I sure do. I remember laying there w/ my cat and dog and watching the clouds go by and the birds fly. I remember looking up into the trees and wishing I could climb to the very top. Do you remember feeling completely in that moment; completely happy and worry free? Ahhh, feels good doesn't it. Look at her straight legs, toes pointed, each hand holding Barney's, clutching Barney into her chest, as if to say, "I love you Barney, I love this place, I love everything and everyone" can't see her smile in this little picture, but I tell you, this picture, that moment, captures a peace-filled heart.

I've been meaning to post a picture of Eliza in her new (spare, back up) pair of glasses. These are dark, purple wire frames and flexible. I actually like these better. I think they fit her nicely. Pictures don't do them justice. They are very cute and very chic. I'm going to have to get some new glasses to keep up w/ her. Look past the toothpaste dribble on her shirt...every day now...ugh...the joys of her brushing her own teeth.