Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And so I run....

Yep, I am starting a new exercise program of running (well okay...jogging) a few nights a week after Adam gets home from work.  Just me.  No kids, no hubby, no dogs no nobody but ME!

Any of you who have known me for a while know that I used to run every day when we lived in Florida.  I loved it and was so disappointed when we bought this house in TN and there was no place to run.  I mean no place unless I pack up the jogging stroller, the kid and two dogs and drive to a park.  Our street is a short and hilly dead end and the only way to get to a subdivision is to go on a very busy main street.  It was just too much to keep up with after working a long day and so I just sort of gave up and haven't found my way back.

And any of you who have known me for even longer know I actually used to hate to run. 
Why run when you can walk...and smell those roses they speak of, and see the sights.  I did so enjoy taking leisurely walks daily with the dogs, throwing the ball and meandering through the fields and woods near our house.
But after our first pregnancy loss I, well...I packed on a few pounds.  I couldn't exercise for 3-4 weeks because of surgery and then I figured I'd be getting pregnant again anyway so why bother.  But as the months went by I just got  plumper, not pregnant-er. 
I also grew angry and resentful.  Angry at the loss I'd had and never took time to grieve-hoping to just move on, angry at myself for failing every month when I didn't get pregnant, angry at my husband who so wanted a baby, resentful at the world...for all those getting pregnant around me, at those who never suffered a lost pregnancy and at those asking "so when are you going to get pregnant again?".  Raw emotions that kept growing and swelling, unlike my barren tummy.

I had no outlet for these emotions either and they started to really take over my life.  A month turned into many months...each one a reminder of my failures as a wife, as a woman.  Those were dark days for me and it was the first time in my life I understood the word "depression" and could see it creeping into my world. 

So during this time my husbands father asked his kids and their spouses to join him in a 10k for his birthday, to raise money for Autism and to have us all together at such an event.  I reluctantly agreed~ I said as long as I could walk it at my own pace I'd do it,.  But I was not "training" for this like all the rest of them, no sir-ee-bob. 
Well race day came and off I went at my slow and steady pace.  But when 80 year old men and pregnant women (oh yes...those darn pregos at it again...ruining my day...) were passing me up- leaving me in their dust- I decided I couldn't stand for this.  As I picked up my pace a tad and passed the hunky firefighters handing out water and cheering us on I got the first boost of self confidence I had felt in...well in years!  So I picked up the pace even a bit more and although very winded I was feeling this peace- as if the anger, resentment and darkness was seeping out and floating in the wind.   When the race was over I felt as if I had accomplished something.  Finally I hadn't failed.  And I actually felt good, if not a bit achy.

When we got home I decided to put an end to the old me and start to get control over my emotions and my anger...and start to run.  I started then (as I'll have to now) with small goals....make it to the light post over there and then walk...and then the next light post..and then the baseball field..and then the park entrance and so on until I was logging in three miles a day.   And my feelings of despair subsided, I felt great about myself and I even lost about 10 pounds.  All good things. 
And when our second pregnancy ended like the first...well I did hit those depths again, maybe even harder...definitely harder... and deeper... but I had a way to let it out and work though it.  I had time that I could devote to myself and healing my wounds and time to think of what was next for me, for us.  
While waiting for our baby's referral the jogging helped take my mind off the eagerness I felt and let me dream of my sweet baby.  And it helped prepare me for the physical toll that a new (clingy) baby in a foreign country would put me through.
I even ran after Simone came home...put her in the jogger and off we went.  Of course some days we slowed our pace and did stop to smell those roses.  And pull them up with delight- roots and all ...

So the time has come.  I need to run.
Oh I haven't slipped into that abyss no...far from it!  I am at a place in my life where I feel content and know I am very blessed.  
But since coming home with Sammy Wei I don't get much (any) time to just myself.  Yes I get to take a shower alone...but that really is about it.  I just want some time to capture my thoughts and sort through them, time to not have to get anybody juice or a snack or change the channel or clean up after, time to not have to watch and listen -be on my A game as I call it - time for just me.  No kids, no hubby, no dogs, no  nobody!

So why do I share this with you, my bloggy world pals?
Well for a couple of reasons.  One is in hopes it'll keep me honest.  If I know all you guys are wondering if I actually jogged during the week then I may be more likely to put on those sneakers and head out.

And because my fellow bloggy Mom from and I have been conversing lately about making healthier choices for ourselves and our families and trying to come up with ways to get into better shape by both diet and lifestyle.  I've been working on the food part, trying to incorporate more whole or organic foods and healthier choices into our meals but the lifestyle still needs some work done.   So what better way to truly make some changes then to start exercising again.  Running around chasing Sammy is a great workout, but it still doesn't give me that mental break from all things kiddie land.  

And so I run....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Simone Q - 1st Grader at last!

Now come on....wasn't it just yesterday I saying how fast Kindergarten went by.  And wasn't I also just commenting on how much fun this coming summer would be...
And now here we are sending our sweet QingLu to 1st Grade!   Where did the summer go?  And when did my little girl get so old?  Old enough to be in "real" school! 

So to recap the events of the day ....
Yes there were some tears and some very long & embarrassing hugs and lots of peeks through the window.  Oh....but wait... that was just Sammy and me.  Simone really did wonderfully and was very happy and excited about being in 1st grade!  She was the first one up in the morning and so very sweetly *not* woke Sammy and I up as well.  Daddy was equally excited and I think may have been a tad responsible for our early morning wake up.  And although Sammy Wei was a bit miffed about being woken at first he gladly followed his sis downstairs for juice and cuddles.
Oh here she is...all ready to go!
(I think Ollie dog wants to go also...)

So everybody had the same idea to drop off the kids on the first day.  We had to park wayyyyy out there, but we all made it on time!  Sammy is busy checking out the line of traffic, but look how excited Simone is!
Here she goes...back to school...walking through the front door. 
Now I must add here she wanted to walk in "all by herself, no holding hands, I AM a big girl".
Putting her backpack away...
And ready to go!
We found her seat and she was making friends before we even left!
The class is small and the kids all seem very nice.  She even has two of her close pals in the class which made us all happy!
Soooo.....what did Sammy and I do on our first day of freedom?

Well, we waited patiently....
Until the school bus came to the end of our street. 
WoooHooo here comes Simone!!!! 
She had a great first day of 1st grade and even took the bus home like a real big girl! 

I still can't believe summer is over and that I have a 1st grader.  I can't believe how happy that little camper was to head back to school and the huge difference from last year.  And yep...I am a bit sad even as I sit here so proud.  Sad because the clock has not stopped, has not slowed and is not going to go backwards.  Proud because she has come so far and has grown so confident and sure of herself.
My baby girl is just growing up...and it's an amazing... yet going way too fast for me!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And on to New Hampshire we go......

After our two glorious weeks in beautiful Vermont we headed over to New Hampshire to visit with Adam's Mom & Dad.      And what did we do in New Hampshire?  Well....hit the lake, then the lake and then some more of the lake!  And not much else being that the weather was so great and the kids just loved the swimming and the sand.  Oh and of course "the cousins" that were there for the week as well! 
Adam's brother and his crew helped to keep things moving and all four kids were just in heaven!  But I must add....we were missing his other brother & family dearly even while being thankful to be with at least most of the family.

Sammy was loving all of the activity and both his cousins doted on him and were really just wonderful to him.  And being that the twins are closer to Simone in age the three had non stop fun!

Here's Sammy being...well...Sammy!
Swim mermaids...swim!  Simone and cuz~ the two fish splashed and swam for hours!
And Sammy Wei did not stay out of the water either!  He literally walked in as far as to his neck...and then walked around in the water laughing.  He loved it!
And sand play was a must!  Let's see...they made a castle, an animal farm and opened a lovely cafe with all sorts of yummy eats that included dumplings, coral cakes, french fries and pizza!
Below is a fine example of my delicious lunch one afternoon!
All four together! 
One of the sand castles...complete with pine cones, rocks and sprigs of trees.
And at an Alpaca farm we met a bunny (oh ya folks...that's a bunny) named Saraphina.  Isn't she precious!  Sammy wanted very badly to bring her home with us.  She was actually very friendly and let Sammy pet her for quite a while.
We met some chickens that were really cool too!  Sammy was not sure about these critters, he preferred the bunny.
We had lots of fun treats & surprises on our trip and one of our favorites was a visit from Adam's uncle.  He hadn't seen Simone since she was little and had not yet met Sammy.  But honestly you'd have thought they'd been playing on the beach for years together!  The kids just adored him and he was such a good sport playing with them!  Thanks Uncle Fred for such a pleasant visit!
Okay... do you see whats going on here below...?  Sammy is pulling his sisters hair and giggling about it-wildly giggling!  She is usually pretty patient with this is one of his favorite pastimes...
To be fair~ the bucket on his head was placed there, repeatedly, by said sister.
He does look sort of cute...I have to admit!
I think this was a sort of smile on this pic... he loved climbing the lifeguard chair over and over!  Let me tell you...he sure slept good that night! 
And look at those feet!  He has the biggest, cutest bam-bam feets I've ever seen!
And well, sometimes one just needs to nap! Sammy took most of his naps right on the beach and slept like a log! Guess the sand/water play did him good!
And the kids enjoyed the boat!  Sammy just liked to play on it whenever it was pulled up on shore! 

So that about sums up our New Hampshire leg of our vacation!  
We had such a great time with all of Adam's family and really enjoyed our time on the lake!  This was such a great vacation I've truly dreamed of for a few years....long lazy days in New England with family, sleepy nights being so tired from the daysin a  flurry of action and play,  lots of family, a dash of friends and tons of giggles and laughs!  Bonding time for all of us was an added bonus that has left us all feeling closer and more secure in our roles.

Oh and I haven't even started on my story of the "road trip" home...
Actually it wasn't so bad.  And as much as I could've stayed up north for much longer it was sooo great to get home.  I missed my home, my yard, my friends and the routine of our days.

But still.... I'll be counting the days till next summer...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer in Vermont

Vermont is one of those places, well the only place really, that I yearn to return to in the summertime.  I love the smell of the fields and farms, the sights of all of the beautiful flowers~both wild and planned, the feel of the air~ crisp in the evenings and almost heavy and hazy though the day.   I dream of the winding country roads with breathtaking views, the crystal clear lakes and the green lush cornfields.  Even ice cream tastes better when your eating it on the side of the road at a little shack smelling of grilled cheeses and fries!  I count down the minutes until we fly into Burlington and I'm always so amazed at just how quickly the time spent there goes by.  The kids and I stayed for almost 2 weeks and Adam came for a few days in the middle and drove up for our last few days which was really nice!

Last year we missed our VT trip because we were hoping to travel elsewhere (Ummmmm...maybe a place called Taiwan) so going home this year was even more of a treat!  Of course we go every winter...but it's just not the same as summertime!  So below are some of the photos I took on our trip in VT.

One of those ice cream days!  Sammy and Simone were just in heaven with the grandparents!   I love the smiles on the kids....
Sure there's a lake at the bottom of the property..but some days the kiddie pool is just easier!  Both kids spent many hours in it and around it!
And since you don't hunt shells on a lake Simone decided to go pretty rock collecting!  Of course she put Grammie to work as well...

And Sammy just loved my parents and was such a happy guy on the trip!  All of these new smiles and this happy disposition we've been seeing emerge was just magnified up there!  It's been so amazing to see...and   it hasn't left.  He has become this joyful little fellow whose obviously at ease within his family!  And he LOVED his Poppa!
Oh ....pretty girl in motion!
Another on of ice cream time!  Sammy did not share his cone with me.  At all.  Ate the whole thing himself and made one big mess doing it!  But hey, that's just part of summer!
Me and my Dad!  Love ya....
Oh yes...wouldn't share a bite with me but made sure Grammie had plenty to eat! Both kids loved to picnic at the lake and it became quite a nice habit!  Sure the birds and bugs got fed well too....
We call this one "oops".  Sammy just wanted a cupcake and Mama took too long to get him one so he had to take matters into his own hands.  I kept hearing a muffled (by cupcake) voice saying  "uh oh, uh oh".  Hmmmm, uh oh indeed!
Gosh he is growing too fast!  He almost looks like a little boy here, not like a baby!
Oh but what a cutie pie he is....
And this is called "cousin bliss".   I mentioned before that my bro came for a few days during our visit and my niece and both Simone & Sammy had a blast with her!  What great memories.....
Aren't they so cute...Sammy Wei had to be in the middle of it all and the girls were very gracious (most of the time) with including him.
And Sammy got a loaner vehicle from one of my friends for the week.  He wore the batteries out but had so much fun riding around!
And the three amigos!
Two lovely girls!  I love this photo of the girls and plan on framing it for Simone's room! 

We went to a street fair in Newport together and while a small scale event the kids all had a great time and we sampled some great Vermont fare! We even got a glimpse of a "green blender"....a blender was hooked to a stationary bike and to make your smoothie you peddled, fast. I was too late with the camera but it was funny to see!

And of course the spoiled pooches came along when Adam drove up.  Think they are used to traveling? Hit the highway and out they go!   As you can see Emma (the white one) is feeling all better!  What a relief for us and I think the trip did her some good too!

So there you have some of my photos from VT.  Of course I took a ton but tried to post just a few.
And after we left my parents house we went to visit with Adam's family in New Hampshire for a week!
We had a great time there and as soon as time allows!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Going home

What defines home? 
Is it where you grew up?  Where you came to after a school day, had friends for sleepovers, did your chores....where you spent your childhood dreaming of the day you would finally move out of to build your own home?
Is it the place you put your groceries on Sunday, rush back to after a long day at work, raise your own children and store your stuff: your furniture, your shoes, your new dreams for the future?

Could it be a bit of both?
Going home to the place you grew up - the home that really doesn't belong to you on paper...but does in the depths of your memories- is still going home.  Right?

Well I just returned from "going home".  And let me say...going home this summer to the house that I grew up in has been such an amazing experience.
To be sleeping under the roof I slept under for all those years of my childhood, but to now be doing it with my own two children with me...
To drive by familiar landmarks- houses I spent time in with friends, stores I've visited over the years, the lake I spent all of my summer days...and many of my winter- to see all that has changed and all that has stayed the same....
To see my parents interact with my children and the joy that was felt by all of them.   Even when somebody was being "the destructor"....
To be in the place that shaped me in my childhood and to see it through the eyes of my children.  And to imagine how it may shape them as well, for summers in the Northeast Kingdom are such a treat....

And to catch up with old pals and make some new ones....

Now anybody who knows me knows that...well I certainly don't know many strangers.  I have no problem going places alone with the kids because I usually run into somebody I know or make friends with somebody I haven't met before.  And this was true in Vermont.

I met many interesting folks including an adult adoptee (the 1st Asian adoptee in Vermont in fact) and his lovely family.  It was a great meeting and we spoke in depth (well as much depth as we could muster in McD's with our kids running around) about growing up adopted, being a minority within community~ even within your own family and he gave me some tips on what he would have liked to have had different growing up.  He was a remarkable young man and I was inspired by him and glad for his kindness and for sharing his experiences.

We met another family vacationing there as well with a 10 year old from Hunan.  It amazes me how the girls immediately got to know one another and happily played in the grass with their newly acquired Japanese erasers for almost an hour, like they had been best friends for years!  It was fun for us adults to compare stories and compare issues that relate to raising our children.  The girls exchanged email addresses and we hope to keep in touch!

I had the pleasure of meeting a birth mother who easily told me her story of choosing to make a plan for her daughter, 40 years ago, and the emotions that went into such a huge decision.  She also told me the story of being reunited a few years ago and how she is so certain that the decision she made was in fact the best for all.  She loves the family that adopted that baby and they have a mutual respect for one another.  It's so rare to ever hear such an honest account from "the other side" of adoption and for me, as an adult adoptee, it was very refreshing and almost therapeutic. 

I also met people just because we had children.  It's always nice to chat with other parents and watch the children~ strangers moments before~ building a sand castle or playing some game of make believe.  And it's always interesting to hear their stories, because we all have our own stories right.  And as I said...I don't know many strangers and stories seem to flow once folks ask me a question or two about my kiddos.

And of course I met up with or ran into people from my childhood, some alone and some with their own children in tow.  How amazing to hang out with people I played dolls with or swam in the lake each summer with families, homes and careers of their own!  To hear somebody tentatively say " that you?"  and then to put the face and voice with the person was very fun. And then to reminisce about our pasts....

But most of all- to have almost two weeks with my parents and let them enjoy their grandkids was fabulous!  And as a bonus my big brother and his family joined us for the last weekend there.  So on top of all the other great things about going home was that I got a few days with them!  The girls caught right up and played like crazy and Sammy just so enjoyed being amongst all the people and activities!  These are the times they will remember as they grow and to share in that was so awesome! 
And spending time with my parents and brother again...well it was almost like old times.  I could almost feel the 70's creeping around the corner and asking me to put on some hand-me-down plaid bell bottoms and our favorite Neil Diamond record on the player!  

So going home, whether I call the place by that name all the time or just when I return there, was truly a gift.
Photos to come...there were so many taken it'll be hard to choose my favorites...but I will try!