Jan 25, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!
This is the year of the Ox,.

According to Wikipedia... The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

To celebrate the year of the Ox we had our Families with Children from China celebration two weeks ago. The kids had a great time and we got to officially introduce Owen to our FCC community.

The kids will wear their Chinese silks to school tomorrow and they are having a celebration at St. Jude that I'll be able to attend, but that's about all the celebrating that we'll do this year. We did make Chinese soup and spring rolls for dinner Saturday night, so I guess that counts, too.
Besides Chinese New Year we've been quite busy around here. My classes have started back and the marketing class that I'm taking this semester is quite intense and time consuming.
We had some unfortunate news a week or so ago when we found out that Michael would no longer be working for the engineering firm that he had been contracting with. He still has his firm, but with no new projects on the horizon the future is starting to look bleak. He's been working hard pursuing new projects and we're hopeful that everything will be all right.
The kids have been trying our nerves quite a bit. They are both going through phases of arguing and making bad choices. There have been a lot of bad choices around here and I'm starting to feel like a warden in my own home. Just today we caught them playing with water from the bathroom (again) and their activities have been severely limited all day. We're starting to see that this is a "downside" to having virtual twins. But, in the end we love them dearly and just try to explain to them h0w we want them to make good choices and love us. We just keep telling ourselves... this too shall pass.
Enjoy the pictures! I'll update as I can, but this is a VERY busy semester for me and my blogging time may be limited!

Jan 6, 2009

Another one of my favorite pictures

This is another one of my favorite pictures of the kids. I was trying to get them to pose in their silk Chinese jackets and this was what I got. Cackie just threw her arm around Owen's shoulders and grinned that sly grin of hers. The look on Owen's face cracks me up... it's a cross between "hey dude" and "wassup".

Don't they look cute together? They're practically inseperable and you can tell in this picture how much they really love each other.

Santa Picture

I almost forgot to post the picture we got of the kids with Santa. We went to the mall after church the Sunday before Christmas and despite not yet having any lunch the kids were in a great mood. I think the picture pretty much says it all...

Jan 4, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

OK, this is another “catch-up” post. We’ve been busy, busy, busy around here and I’m honestly glad that things will start to calm down now.
So, what have we been up to? Well, a few weeks before Christmas we had a very busy Saturday with Christmas activities. In the morning we had breakfast with Santa at St. Jude. This was Owen’s first experience with Santa and we were quite anxious to see how he would do. The breakfast wasn’t anything to write about, but the kids had a great time and we got a nice family photo with Santa. Owen did wonderfully and was soo excited to see Santa. It was a good morning for all of us.

Cackie & Michael having fun at Breakfast with Santa

Owen & Mommy having a great time, too!

The kids in the new Chili's Care Center at St. Jude

That evening we took the kids to an event called “Alpine Village” at a local church. Cackie loved it last year and this year was not a disappointment. Both kids and all our friends had a great time. After the village we went to dinner with some friends, it ended up being a very late night but we all had a great time.

Fun at Alpine Village

This is my FAVORITE picture!

They loved these rocking horses

After that busy Saturday we kept very busy until Christmas. The day after my birthday we hosted a holiday party for Michael's office. I took that day off and cleaned the house from top to bottom (well, I didn't do anything on the 3rd floor since it's just storage... but the first & second floors were spotless!) I was soo worn out by the time our guests arrived and by the end of the night my feet were killing me. We had a great time, though! There were two other kids who were a little older, but Cackie & Owen took to them right away. This was actually one of the best things that could have happened because the other kids LOVED being able to go outside and play with Bruno & Jackson. (We had 60+ degree weather that evening and it was quite pleasant). Cackie & Owen spent a lot of time out on the deck with the dogs too and it really helped Owen to overcome his fear of them! Since that night he has asked us numerous times if the dogs can come in the house and play! (Best Christmas present that Michael & I could have asked for!)

The next day we all went out shopping. It was quite an experience! The kids wore us out and we were glad to get home to take late naps.

Christmas was very exciting at our house. We were excited about Owen’s first Christmas and couldn’t wait to see him open his gifts. Michael’s Mom, stepdad and son Zack came over in the morning and we enjoyed brunch with my family and watched the kids open their presents from Santa. Just after noon the in-laws left and we started in on the rest of the pile under the tree, but it wasn’t long before the kids (and everyone else) started to show signs of needing a nap. So, that’s just what we did… we put the presents on hold and headed for rest. After nap we finished up the pile under the tree… just about the time the sun started to go down. It was a great day! We were all still in our pj’s and we were soo relaxed!
Putting out "reindeer food" on Christmas Eve
Opening their Christmas Eve PJs
the tree before we dove in
they like their new bean bag chairs
Barbies and Thomas, oh my!
That evening we snacked and watched Kung Fu Panda with the kids and then the adults enjoyed Wall-E after the kids were in bed. Unfortunately I had to work the next day, so I couldn’t stay up late, but Friday was an easy day at work.
On Friday evening we were lucky to get a visit from Robert and Aimee. Robert was a volunteer at Owen’s orphanage and would occasionally send me little updates about him while we were waiting. We got to have lunch with Robert when we were in Tianjin, so it was great to see him again and share Owen’s growth with him.
After we recovered from Christmas we started getting ready for our New Year’s Eve party. We had a great party with some of our FCC families. The kids enjoyed themselves playing on the 2nd floor and the adults got to sit and enjoy ourselves downstairs. I’ve come to enjoy these get-togethers so much because we have all become such great friends. All the kids stayed awake until midnight and it wasn’t until 2am that Michael & I climbed into bed. It was the perfect way to start the new year.
Since then we’ve taken time to relax and spend some time with the kids. This week things will start to pick up at work for me and I’ll start my next class the next week. Michael will start getting busy with home improvement projects and the kids keep us busy all the time, so it was nice to have this weekend to relax.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a wonderful 2009!
Enjoying blackeyed peas on New Year's Day