Saturday, September 28, 2013

Walking for a Cure

Last October our family lost 3 family members or friends to cancer.  Since then I have become aware of how often we hear about cancer - in the newspaper, on the TV, during prayers at church, in casual conversations.  My girls equate cancer with death.  They think if you have cancer, you die. And this scares them. So today we did something to face those fears and to fight back. 

We walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
The Race for the Cure raises money to support breast cancer research.  And it is a fabulous, pink-themed party!
There were pink hats, pink wigs, pink jackets, pink socks.  And giant men with pink mohawks wearing pink tutus! Everywhere we looked there were women in pink shirts that said "Survivor".
There were also tents set up handing out all sorts of things - water, bananas, string bags, sweatbands.  Rachel was delighted to find that one tent was passing out pink fingernail polish!
Steve ran the actual Race for the Cure early in the morning (in the rain).  By the time we arrived, he had showered and changed and took time to bring us doughnuts.
When it was time, we set off with hundreds of other people, walking to fight cancer.
We walked a mile through quiet neighborhoods, surrounded by people walking for their loved ones.
It felt good to be doing something to honor all the people we hear about who are fighting for their lives.  Today we were proud to honor the pink.


Sunday, September 22, 2013


We made our annual trek to the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival yesterday.  It is always a happy place!
We spent the day listening to music - bluegrass, folk, Western, Celtic, and just about anything else you can play on acoustic instruments.  We even heard Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley bluegrass style!  Our favorites, as always, were the folk artists Tom Chapin and John McCutcheon.  One of the best parts of the festival is that you get to see performers close up.
It was hot yesterday.  Hotter than predicted.  Which meant that we sought out shade whenever possible.  The festival takes place at the local fairgrounds and one stage is right next to the animal barn.  So we sat in the hog pens!  We could see and hear and we were in the shade.
Besides, the hog panels kept Rachel contained and made nice foot rests.
In the past, Katherine has been fascinated by all the crafts for sale, especially the stalls selling yarn or weaving.  But this year, the wanted to learn about all the instruments.  We looked at all the fiddles, mandolins, hammered dulcimers, banjos, and guitars for sale.  She eyed the beginning fiddle books.  She had a short accordian lesson.
And she bought a jaw harp.  She hasn't figured it out yet, but she's had fun trying.
Rachel was finally old enough to have a little freedom at the festival.  I let her roam around the area where we were sitting.  She was quite pleased with herself.  She spent the day playing with kids she knew (and a few that she didn't) and had a grand time as the official family greeter.
Steve managed to squeeze in a little nap during the afternoon.
By evening we were tired and filthy (Rachel especially!).  We'd had our fill of tie dye and grilled reuben sandwiches and sing-along tunes.  So we headed home to bed, with music still playing in our heads. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gotcha, Rae!

4 years ago today we met the cutest little 21 month old with a buzz haircut and deliciously chubby legs.
We were excited and nervous.  Little Fu Shen was terrified and furious.  It was a difficult afternoon, but those moments in the civil affairs office in Guiyang, China were when we became a family. 
Many of our pictures of Rachel's first day with us show one or another of us in tears.  Sometimes becoming a family is hard.  But the next day, the day Rae officially was adopted, she looked like this.
And none of us have ever been the same!  Rachel Fu Shen has brought so much sunshine to our lives.
She keeps things lively.
She has firmly insisted that our quiet, introverted selves go out and meet people and make some noise.
And she makes us laugh every single day!
She is such a joy and blessing and I am so glad that she is ours.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sweet Memories

Nine years ago today we first saw a picture of that beloved little face.  We'd been longing to be parents for years and had been working on adoption paperwork for 14 months, but that day was the first time that it felt real.  Yang Guo Dan was 7 1/2 months old and was waiting for us in an orphanage in Yangjiang, a coastal city in Guangdong Province.  She had chubby cheeks and a buzz haircut.  We didn't know much more than that, but we were instantly, completely in love with her.  We printed off dozens of copies of that picture.  We put them up all over the house and showed them to everyone we knew.  This gorgeous baby girl was our Katherine Guo Dan!  We are not quite as obnoxious about it now, but we still have Katherine's referral picture in our living room.  We are still completely in love with her.  And we have never forgotten the wonder and excitement of September 13, 2004.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


After three months of entirely too much family time this summer, my girls couldn't stand to be in the same room for five minutes without bickering.  By August, it seemed like I spent half my waking hours listening to them argue or tattle or complain.  I could not wait to send them off to school.  And I have to say, school has been, if not a cure at least good treatment for the sister battles.

Kate and Rae spend the half hour drive to school chatting and singing along with the CD of the day.  They've asked for stories about when they were little and we've laughed a lot.  On the drive home they talk about their day and what they did and who was "bad" in their classes.  And as soon as we get home, they rush off to Katherine's bedroom to play school.  (Because apparently they don't get enough of that between 8:00 and 3:35!)  I'm sure this sister love period won't last, but it I'm certainly going to enjoy it for now.  I love to see them interact.  The other evening I was cooking supper and looked out to see this.  I think it's my new favorite photo.  Of sisters.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Water Balloons

The girls have had the chance to play with water balloons twice in the past week.  This has been Rachel's first experiences with the wonders of water balloons and she adores them!

A week ago our church had a big outdoor party, with a cookout and games.  There was a water balloon throwing contest and all the kids participated.  They used real balloons only patially filled with water, so they lasted a long time!  Rachel and her partner Isaac tossed theirs for nearly 10 minutes (never once actually catching it) before it popped!
The water balloons were so much fun that Granny made more to enjoy this evening.  There were enough to toss back and forth and more to break over people's heads, becasue the whole point of water balloons is to get wet!

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