Monday, July 21, 2008

Summa, Summa, Summatime!

Ok, did you get my Will Smith throwback? I used to love this song. Truth be told, I still do. It reminds me of how much fun summer is. However, I must say it has been way more fun this year.

Well, settle in, my friends. This might end up a long post. We have lots to report!

We were blessed to take a nice family vacation to Tennessee this summer. It was the first time we had taken the girls on a big adventure since China. What's funny is, we packed WAY more for this five-day trip than we did for China. We should have imposed weight limits!

Here the girls are just getting acquainted with the water. Aren't they the cutest?

Before we headed on down to TN, we stopped in Lexington for an overnight stay in a hotel. We wanted the girls to experience their first time swimming in a big pool! Well, they never cease to amaze us because we saw them flip their roles as sisters. Usually, Abby is the brave one. She's up for anything fun. Laney usually stands off to the side and lets Abby try it first. Well, this time, Laney took the lead. She got in the water with us (and Uncle Robby and Aunt Ally) and loved it! Abby was a lot more tentative. She had lots of fun by the end, but it was nice to see Laney throw herself into something new and excel. She was even jumping off the side of the pool into our arms! Both girls were even daring enough to submerge part of their faces and practice blowing bubbles out. They had such a good time and we were proud parents sharing in their joy!

"NO nite-nite!"

Back in the room, the girls slept on a pull-out love seat. We thought surely the swimming would have worn them out, but no deal. They were just too excited to sleep on their "little bed" next to Mama and Baba. I was a little worried the hotel would remind them of China and get their little minds stressed. It didn't though. They enjoyed the first leg of their vacation.

Behind Robby and Ally's Jeep...getting closer!

Saturday morning, we got up and hit the road (after the continental breakfast, of course!). We met up with Tony's parents in Pigeon Forge and headed to the cabin.

Our cabin home.

--Side note #1--The girls traveled like champs! They watched a bit of Cinderella (or as Abby calls her, PRINCESS!!!!) and munched on snacks. Another bonus, the potty training stress was slowly melting out of sight. We left pull-ups on them for the ride, but they stayed dry! Each three hour leg, they did not have any accidents and asked to go to the restroom whenever they needed to! PRAISE GOD!

The stream near our cabin. Isn't it lovely? Kids would jump off one of the high rocks into the deeper parts!

--Side note #2--Bless the girls' hearts. Every time we got in the car they'd say, "Home?" Sometimes you could tell they were hoping we would say yes, and other times you could tell they were hoping we'd say no. But it was cute. By the end of the trip, they were calling our cabin their "Cabin home".

While we were there we did some shopping and the girls shopped like champs. At the Disney outlet, Tony had them pick out a stuffed animal (great, just what they need!) and Laney picked out a Tigger (after some serious contemplation about how disappointed Mickey Mouse would be if she left him behind). Abby, happily chose Mickey Mouse over the pyramid of characters. This made Laney both happy to see him come home with us, and stressed because she knew she couldn't get her hands on that Mickey rightfully because Abby had chosen him. What I thought would be just another stuffed animal has developed into beloved friends. They snuggle with them in their beds and they went everywhere with us on vacation. Good call, Baba!

Ok, before I launch into the next part of our trip, I have to clarify. We do NOT mind when friends, family, or friends of friends, or friends of family ask us the following questions. It was just tough because we were stopped at least fifty times by total strangers. And the questions are not always asked politely or as innocently by these strangers. You'll see why it wore us down after you read on...

Other than the relaxing time of shopping and sightseeing, we did participate in a rather new sport with our family. It was called Chinese Twin Spotting. These are the rules: if you see a set of Chinese twins you're supposed to stare intensely as you pass. If the twins or the parents do not feel your stare enough, find your husband and child and circle around to look at them again. Extra points are earned if you can stop in the middle of a store and, while staring, you get to see the twin girls do something cute like yell for the thousandth time, "What IS IT?" as they point to yet ANOTHER stuffed black bear. Can you guess which players we are in this game?

It is perfectly acceptable to approach said twins (and family) and proceed to ask the pre-approved list of questions. In no particular order, they include:
  • Are they twins?
  • How long have you had them?
  • Where are they from?
  • How old are they?
  • Do they speak English?
  • What are their names?
  • Are they identical?
Our answers (secret thoughts written in parenthesis):
  • Yes. (That's why I painstakingly dress them alike)

  • We've been a family for 8 months. (Had them? Like new shoes? Good grief!)

  • China. (No need to name province, they have NO idea.)

  • Two and a half (Pretend to smile as they say, "That's what I figured!")

  • Yes they speak English. (Didn't you hear them say "What IS IT?" Or "Potty Baba!" when you were staring at us two aisles ago?
  • They usually ask the girls their names, to which the girls stare or reply LaLa or MeiMei. Talk about totally confusing. All this does is prolong a conversation I hoped would end 10 minutes ago

  • No, they're not identical. (To which they reply, "Are you sure? They sure look alike." We acknowledge that they do, and reassure them they're not identical.)

Ok, so please don't get me wrong. I LOVE that our girls are so adorable and that we appear friendly enough for everyone to approach, but it does get tiresome. I love that our girls are cute enough you don't want to take your eyes off them. We can't take our eyes off them either! (Hehehe, for other reasons too!) We have had only a couple of inappropriate comments, thankfully, and I worry about that. It isn't a problem right now because the girls pretty much ignore them, but I do worry about what it will be like as they get older.

If it were someone who wanted to know about them because they were adopting or someone in their family was adopting, we would be thrilled to launch into their story. We are proud adoptive parents! And the girls will be proud of their story too, hopefully. But we know there will come a time when they just want to be regular kids enjoying their family vacation.

One really neat thing was that we ran into a large group of girls (and boys) that appeared to be adopted. What tipped us off? The kids appeared Chinese and they were all shopping with Caucasian males whom they referred to as Dad. Well, one father stopped us and asked about the girls. He explained the big group he was with was an adoptive group from 12 years ago. The kids were all 13 and each year the group reunites and vacations together. The girls were all from Nanning, China. How cool is that? They were beautiful (and the boys handsome) and looked like they were having a good time. The moms had taken a day trip to the Biltmore and so it was up to the dads to corral the kids. They were all so friendly and interested in where the girls were from. Now THAT was a great experience!

We made the long trek home and it went well. I have to admit, at one point, the girls were singing so loud and I was suffering from some serious car sickness. About 15 miles south of here when we stopped to refuel, I jumped out of the car and asked my in-laws to ride with them the rest of the way home. Mama needed silence. I mean, it's not all roses and rainbows all the time here, right?

Overall, the trip was pretty darn near perfect. The girls were jewels and we had a great time sharing a special place that Tony and I had come to love as a couple. Now we celebrated there as a family.

Next post...NEW Jeep and FTIA reunion picnic!



Anonymous said...

How cute are they!!! I am sure the questions can be unbearable sometimes. I pray that they are never asked rude or on called for questions. I know that they will be proud adoptive children, just like the group that you ran into on vacation... great idea to meet up with some of the other families that you traveled with to keep in touch and to see how everyone is growing.

God be with the 4 of you,

Anonymous said...

It was a great vacation, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was great getting to vacation with all our family. Papaw got some experience wtih potty training with the girls.
MeMe loved everything from feeding the girls, playing with the girls, taking them to the potty and even letting them emptying the kleenex box. The whole trip was such a blessing! Love you all, KynaMom (MeMe)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like everyone had a great time and that your struggle with potty training has been a success! Congratulations, as I've heard that can be a difficult obstacle. Loved the pictures and was glad you updated! Keep us informed of the girls' happenings. They look fantastic!

Vickie and Tom

IzzyBeth said...

Oh, do we feel your pain! That post really made Hubby and I laugh out loud.

Our questions . . .

Are they yours? (No, we picked them up off the side of the road).

Are they siblings? (which is usually followed by - they look so much alike) (No, we just make them hang out together all day and sleep in the same house.)

Do they have the same parents? (Hubby says he wants to answer - "No, I've been sleeping with someone else, don't tell my wife.")

I just have to keep remembering that many people do not think before they speak. Although there is one lady I avoid at Wal-mart because she questions me every time we go through the line. The first time, she looked at the kids and said, "Are they adopted?" NICE. What if they didn't know?

Okay - sorry for the long comment. I'm glad you had a great vacation! And YAY ON THE POTTY TRAINING!!!

Anonymous said...