Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kerbie's Visit

When we traveled from Beijing to Nanchang on May 11, 2008 it was just two families, the McKenzies and the Lathams. Jolie and Shawn met their precious daughter Kerbie in that same conference room just minutes after we had met Kate. We really enjoyed their company while we were in China and were thrilled that they live in Richmond, VA. We were certain that we would visit with them once we got back home.

We were so excited when they planned their trip down to Atlanta with a stop-over in Raleigh! Kerbie is such a sweet thing! She is 20 months old now and has started talking. She loved the dogs (she has a couple of her own) and enjoyed making sure they ate all their food. She also helped Phil work on his squatting (very important resting position in China).

After all the kids had gone to bed, we started swapping "horror" stories about the first few weeks back from China. All the adjustment issues. Trying to figure out how to be a working family again. Feeling totally disfunctional, disillusioned and afraid to let on how low some of the lows could be. It was reassuring to know that we were not alone in our stress. I felt like an idiot for not realizing that they were probably experiencing at least a little of the same and, even if they weren't, that they at least would be supportive, having made that same journey with us back in May.

It was great spending some time with them. Lots of laughs. Lots of stories. Good therapy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

He's Going to Hate This !!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She's Going to Love This!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Elf Party

It is so easy to take for granted how lucky I am. I never give a second thought to the fact that I live in a safe and loving house, with all my needs met and a whole lot of my wants, too. And it's been a couple of years since I was actively serving in the community, so it's easy to have a kind of happy bubble existence. And easier still to put off new volunteering starts because we were "expecting". At any moment we would get word from China. I would need to be a full-time, kid at home, 24/7 Mom. Not that it would happen quite that dramatically, but I didn't want to commit to something that I couldn't follow through.

I realized last year that I needed to pop that bubble and find a way to contribute here in our "new" hometown. I got an application to begin volunteer training with Interact, an organization that helps battered women and their children in the Triangle area. Then we found out that we were picked to adopt Kate!

It's been a busy 6 months since our trip to China, but it's time to dust off that application and get moving. Wednesday night, Alex, Kate and I spent the evening at Interact's annual Elf Party. We organized toys, clothes, books, and other gifts for Interact's Holiday Bazaar. The bazaar is an opportunity for their clients to come with their children and pick out gifts for one another. We helped set up "shopping" areas for Mom's to "shop" for their children and another area for the kids to pick out gifts for Moms. The bazaar will be held this weekend and will have volunteers helping the kids "shop" for their Moms, helping Moms by keeping kids out of the way while Mom shops and getting all gifts wrapped up to keep secret until Christmas.

Both Alex and Kate had a great time and I had numerous complements on how helpful and hard working my two Elves were! Hopefully next year, after having gone through the volunteer training, I'll be able to help out during the bazaar itself! While we drove home Wednesday night, I had two tired kids both agree that we definitely need to do that again next year.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Kate received a video of the Nutcracker performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov and was so inspired that she ran up to her room and put on her "butterfly dress". After posing for a few pictures, she danced around the kitchen, asking Dad to help her with the lifts!