Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gearing Up for Halloween

We had a busy weekend celebrating Halloween!  We went to a super fun party where we all dressed up.  The kids had lot's of pals they knew there and some new ones as well!

We couldn't decide on a "family theme" so we all just went as we wanted.  Sammy is a Transformer, Simone is a 20's flapper, Adam is a pirate and I am sort of Wendy from Bob the Builder!

 There were a lot of kids there, a lot of yummy food and a ton of good hard playing!

There was even a pumpkin pinata, filled with goodies!  Each kiddo took a turn hitting it and they all just had a blast!

There was some relaxing after all the festivities....
Some loving squeezes between pals...
And a nice song from a couple of  rowdy pirates...
And some group photos of the FCC kiddos that all hung till the end of the party!

It was a fun night with great friends for sure!
And now we're all geared up to celebrate with some tricks and treats on Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Three years..

Three years ago and half way around the world.....

It still amazes me, how one moment can change your life and world in such entirety.  A moment so huge, one that you have waited for what seems like forever to happen - a moment you'll remember always for it has been etched on your heart. 

Now as I reflect on the last three years I just don't know how we did it without our Sammy Wei in our lives, in our family.   I've spent the last hour or so remembering that sweet chubby little baby that was placed in my arms three years ago in Taiwan.  And a big part of my memories of that day is anguish or heartbreak on his Foster Mother's face when passing him to my eagerly waiting embrace.  I clearly remember the final hugs and kisses she gave with such passion and love, the tears flowing from her.  On that day I didn't fully understand - for she certainly knew this day would come.  Should she be feeling so much....love?
Well, after knowing him as I do I can understand - after three years to reflect I totally get it.  This little guy simply grabs onto hearts and does not let go.  The bonds he forms with those he loves is so deep and true.  He is life itself...action and motion whirling around, with a booming voice that sounds like warm gravel and eyes that light up in the most beautiful chocolaty way.  He is pure laughter and hugs, full proclamations way too old for his three and a half years and the vigilant keeper of our memories and moments.  He is energy and cuddles all at once, he'll knock you down in his exuberance to get somewhere but just as quickly pull you up with a heart felt "I sorry".  He is smart as a whip and catches on to things so amazingly fast when he wants to! He is pure delight.

I remember the moments of getting to know him, the joy we'd all feel at the slightest giggle, smallest affections and tiniest signs of bonding.  He showed hints of the sparkles of life he's so well known for now, only then we didn't know just how huge those sparks would grow!  We witnessed his determination early on and his curiosity in all things.  We had an inkling even then that he could possibly be a bit of a handful....we truly had no idea just how much!!

The three years that have passed have been the most challenging of my life.  In a good way for sure, but exhausting and busy none the less.  And I have had so many life tests -  parenting tests - that I sometimes passed but probably just as often failed.  Sammy has taught me so much about life and how to really live it, about how to let go and enjoy each moment, how to be more daring and how to take time to really check the interesting things in life out.  And I've had quite a few lessons on time management with two wild kiddos in tow!  He's definitely taught me  how to dig deep into my brain to try to outsmart a pint size genius!  The joys and demands of my Sammy Wei....

My heart always hurts for Sammy Wei's birth mother and family on this day.  I remember the gratitude I felt I toward her on this day three years ago.  It has grown to not just gratitude but to a debt I could never fully repay.  I would have to give her all of my heart to ever truly show her how the decision she made to allow me to be his mother has meant to me.

On this day I give my thanks for my blessings, my children.  We will take time today to celebrate being a family of four and we'll reminisce about this day three years ago and half a world away.

Happy Family Day my sweet little WeiChe!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting a new Nature Park

Yep, we found a new park to walk and hang out and enjoy nature!  Another of my pals had told me about it and I am glad we decided to try it out.

It had acres and acres of natural trails to hike or bike as well as a very long greenway perfect for a casual stroll.  We walked and explored for hours, enjoying the beautiful fall TN day!
 Naturally we stopped for a picnic lunch!
 Then back to our nature walk....

 Sammy got the easiest walk, while my legs were a bit sore after the day! 
 BFF's....They are getting so mature and hardly looked back to see where we were, just kept up their non-stop chatter!
 After a few hours of walking & hiking we stopped at a local playground to get out any of the remaining energy they could possibly have.  Let's say we all slept well that night!

So if you are in East Tennessee and are looking for a great park to hike, walk or bike I strongly suggest Haw Ridge Park in Oak Ridge.  I'm so glad we checked it out!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Time!

My favorite time of year here in East Tennessee has arrived-------Autumn!   I love the cooler air, wearing boots & sweaters, lighting a nice fire at night and the amazing colors all around as the leaves turn brilliant shades. 

And I really love.......The Pumpkin Patch!

We had our annual FCC Pumpkin Patch trip this weekend.  And it was a wonderfully fun time for all of us,  The weather was perfect, not too hot but not cold with bright blue skies.  We had a great turn out and all the kids had the best time playing with their FCC pals.

This patch was a new one, since the other was just getting so large and was so busy.  We opted for a smaller one with less activities which turned out to be a great choice!  With less stuff to do the kids played together a lot and you could almost see the bonds that were already formed strengthen, and the new friendships developing!  Both my kiddos had a really awesome time and were fairly worn out when we left!

 After some play time we headed on the hay ride to pick our perfect pumpkins.

 And then it was time for a quick bite to eat...
 And a little more playing...

 before we toured the corn maze!
 The first maze was educational and the kids got to be farmers, planting corn, sorting recyclables and milking the cows.

 Then we made our way to the big maze where we had to find different scarecrows and punch our cards.  (The end prize was an ice cream cone...so needless to say we made sure to find all those scarecrows!)

 We spent some time relaxing
 But of course with these kids it didn't last long!  They played a made up version of "tag" with all kids involved, big & little!  It was great to watch them all run around chasing each other and having so much fun!

 Sammy and a pal decided to take a little break.  They had to run really hard to keep up with the big kids!
 One last visit with the animals before we headed out!  Sammy LOVED seeing the animals and woke up talking about them, how many he got to pet and the noises they made.

We finally left as the sun dropped fully out of sight. It was a wonderful event with really great friends....