Friday, July 18, 2014

The Big Stink

This evening, the girls and I went to visit the corpse flower at the local college. Corpse flowers are huge, rare jungle plants that only bloom after many years. Their blooms smell of rotten meat (to attract the flies that pollinate them) and only last a single day. They are extrememly bizarre!
It was certainly the largest and weirdest flower I have ever seen. And the stinkiest! Despite the once-in-a-lifetime viewing, Rachel was not impressed.
So long, giant corpse flower, it sure was an adventure to see you!

Flower Power

There were lots of beautiful flowers at the botanical gardens, of course. In fact, all of us kept getting distracted by the blooms while we were supposed to be posing for pictures. Every time I go to Botanica, I find a new interesting plant. Here are my favorites from this visit:

How can you not love a flower as big as your head? The blooms are beautiful, but the gigantic buds, enormous leaves, and shower head like seed pods look like something from Dr. Seuss!

Hardy Hibiscus
These are another gigantic flower - the blooms are as big as a dinner plate. The bees were happy to dine in them.
And the seed pods look just like Seymour, the carnivorous star of Little Shop of Horrors!
Feed me!!

Water Lilies
Oh, the water lilies...
I understand why Monet painted them so often.
They are so elegant and so serene.

Pretty in Pink

And now for Miss Rachel!
Life is always interesting with Rachel around!
Her "naughty" side occasionally shines through,
but most of the time she is the happiest, most affectionate kid I have ever known.
She is sweet and funny
and such a free spirit.
Sometimes I look at her and marvel how my chunky baby with the buzz haircut has turned into such a strikingly pretty girl.
I think it is pretty clear that this girl has the key to my heart.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Miss Kate

Katherine is at one of those awkward crossroads of life, right now. She has finished with elementary school and is about to start intermediate school. She is alternately little girl sweet and teenage surly. At a church gathering this week, she bounced between playing with the kids and hanging out with the grown ups.  She can't decide is she is a kid...
or something... more.
And although she is still balanced somewhere in between,
...every day I see her tip more to the "something other."
We are enduring our share of tween drama,
and there are days when Kate is banished to her room for my own sanity.
But admidst the frustration and impatience, I catch glimpses of the young woman she will some day be...
...and that girl is pretty amazing!
At our Botanica shoot, Katherine kept asking to borrow a camera so that she could take pictures of flowers. Her photos were really quite good.
At one point the revelation occurred to her that "taking pictures is way more fun than posing for them." Well, yes! I've known that for a long time!
Granny and I are thinking maybe we've managed to pass the "photography gene" on to another generation!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Annual Botanica Shoot

Every summer, my mom and I take the girls to the botanical gardens for a photo shoot. Today's visit included the most glorious weather ever! It was 65 degrees on the 16th of July!!!!! I have so many beautiful pictures that I will need to make several blog posts to cover them all. Today's theme is Group Shots.
I love going to the gardens with my girls!

Monday, July 14, 2014

YJ Girls

One evening of China Camp we had a reunion with some of Katherine's orphanage "sisters". When we traveled to meet Katherine, there were seven other families from our adoption agency traveling with us. Our babies all lived in the same orphanage in the city of Yangjiang and were all about the same age. I realized then that the YJ girls shared a connection with each other, a tie to a time and a place before they were ours, and I vowed to help Katherine maintain those ties to her first friends. Ten years later, we still get together once a year and those reunions always make my heart happy.

This year, our gathering was small. Just four of the girls could come - Emily, Hannah, Katherine, and Sophie. I first saw their faces in referral photos, joyously emailed among the travel group parents. I was in the room when each baby girl met her family. I have watched them grow up with more than a passing interest. I love these girls!
Our reunion was pretty low key this year. We went to Sophie's house to talk and eat sandwhiches and root beer floats. The girls chased each other around the house and holed up in a corner giggling. The adults chatted and watched the girls interact. We love these chances to be together as much as the kids do. After supper, we walked to the neighborhood pool to let the girls swim.
At some point, there was the happy discovery that if you blow in one end of a pool noodle, water will squirt out the other end.
The tactical uses of this were quickly realized!
The girls would have stayed all night. (And I would have, too.)
I am so glad that these girls are still a part of Katherine's life. Sometimes the oldest friends are the best!


I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way