Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

What a tough year it has been! But tonight we will reflect on all the ways 2008 was good to us, and look forward with our hopes and dreams for 2009.

Everybody, please be safe out there tonight, if you're traveling anywhere. We will be staying in for a cozy evening of movies and junk food. Mailia has sparklers and noise makers at the ready, and we've encouraged her to wake us up before midnight. LOL.

Here's to great 2009 for us all!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Oh my gosh! Santa DID bring a skateboard!!!

Among many other things. Hope Santa was good to all of you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

The calm before the storm :-)

To all our friends and family, near and far............
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The stockings were hung...................

by the chimney with care. LOL!

Thank you Sharon!!! She LOVES her new stocking.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Christmas Activities

Mailia's Lai Lai (my mom) is here and we've been busy doing some of our traditional holiday sight-seeing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Small Town Christmas

I really miss my hometown at Christmas. Family, friends, the lights, the gatherings, the smell of real Christmas trees, and the new fallen snow. We try to re-create all that, here in Florida, and on the surface, it looks like Christmas, but it's a far stretch from 'home'.
So we turn the A/C up, click on the fake fireplace, and play Christmas Carols, while recalling all those wonderful Christmases from years past.
For Mailia, this is the only kind of Christmas she knows. So we play it to the hilt. Someday, God willing, we'll go 'home' so she can know what traditional Christmas is all about. For now, we are making our own traditions. And that's ok too.
We don't exactly live in a small town here. It's more like a suburb of Orlando. But there are still a lot of small town traditions and local customs that we enjoy. One of them is the annual St.Cloud Christmas parade. Low budget floats, lots of patriotism, and hometown pride as the bands and football players and cheerleaders march by flashing smiles to their parents and friends along the way. So simple, so down home, so perfect.
Mailia's Brownie troop entered a float in this year's parade, so I became one of those proud Mamas, beaming and heart swelling as she passed us by. Another 'first' for her Daddy and me. But the smile on her face was priceless! As her float approached, we could see her scanning the crowds for the familiar faces of her mama and daddy and Lai Lai (grandma). When she finally spotted us.........well let's just say it don't get much better than that. :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Though times are tough, we still live in the greatest country on Earth. We have much to be thankful for. We'll be counting our blessings today.

God Bless America! God Bless our Troops!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Space Shuttle

We watched the space shuttle go up the other night and Mailia wanted me to put our pictures on her blog. I think this was the first night launch she witnessed, and according to NASA, is the last scheduled night launch for the shuttle program.
The first couple of pictures were taken off the tv obviously. No one gets that close, except cameras, but the last two were taken from our driveway. Not the best pictures, especially with that huge utility pole in the way, but it was a beautiful full moon night....the orange glow is the shuttle. We are about an hrs. drive from Kennedy Space Center. We've watched many launches over the years. Some from over at the beach, once on KSC property (awesome), but most from home. The night launches are my favorites.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jimmie Wins the 3-Peat!

3X Champion Jimmie Johnson

Mailia went to bed a very happy #48 fan.

Nascar is over for this season, but she and I will be counting the days until the Daytona 500 in Feb. :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-Elect Obama

Half of the country went to bed (or woke up today) elated. The other half.........not so much. But it is what it is. I'm a conservative independent and feel that Obama is too far left, but we shall see. He has four years to prove 55 million of us wrong. I hope he does.
God Bless America!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

by Newt Gingrich

"Today marks the end of one of the most dishonest, relentlessly one-sided campaigns of bias and distortion by the mainstream media in American history.

The latest tactic in this elite media campaign has been to declare the presidential race over in an effort to discourage some voters from going to the polls. After all, if Barack Obama has already won, why should supporters of John McCain even bother to vote?

But this election won't be decided by Keith Olbermann, or CNN, or the New York Times.

It will be decided by you.

So annoy the mainstream media. Remember 2000. Remember how close it was. Remember how every single vote counted.

Go out and vote. Now."

Friday, October 31, 2008


Hope yours was as profitable as ours. :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Fu Sisters Fu-Ever!

I cannot let this day, our Gotcha Day, pass without sharing another story. Through the amazing power of the internet and (IMO) divine intervention, we share our Gotcha Day with another family......Sara's family. I 'met' Sara's mom-to-be through an adoption yahoo group, a Fuzhou adoption group to be specific. Another family traveling to get their daughter had captured photos of our soon-to-be daughters together at the orphanage. We became cyber-friends immediately, having so many chats about those amazing pictures and how our 'daughters' were friends a world away. But then, the divine intervention part...........we both got our notices allowing us to travel to China at the same time! We would not be traveling together, but we would be in-country at the same time. We made plans to try to find each other once there. As it turned out, we 'accidentally' bumped into each other while our girls were getting their medical evaluations! "Accident"??????? I don't think so.
We have since maintained our friendship although we have many, many miles between us. We have met with Sara and her family several times these past two years, and I treasure these times. We are sooooo extremely blessed to have this bond and for Mailia and Sara to remain Fu Sisters and friends forever.
So, congratulations to Sara and her family on their 2 year Gotcha Day!
I'm posting some photos of our girls............while living at the orphanage, after we found each other in China, and home in the USA.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Gotcha" X2

"Gotcha" day...........aka the day (in the int'l adoption community) that the face you've looked at for months, and sometimes even years, finally becomes a walking, talking, breathing child.......Your Child. This picture captures the exact moment that Mailia and I saw each other for the very first time. It still sends chills through me, and I almost never fail to start humming that old Roberta Flack song..."first time ever I saw your face".
Our 'gotcha' day is Oct. 29, 2006. Tomorrow will be two years. And I remember it all as if it were yesterday. Her first word (mama), followed by "where's baba? (daddy)", her first tears, her first shy smile, and then the giggles. She was scared, but trying so hard to be brave.......I was scared, wondering if I could be the mommy she deserved. But my fears were nothing compared to the unknowns this child faced....she was handed off to total strangers with nothing more than the clothes on her back.....she was now expected to call this person 'mama'.......she was to sleep in a strange bed, communicate with those who could not speak her language, eat strange food, and then walk onto an airplane that would fly her to the other side of the world where she would meet more strangers that wanted to hug and kiss her and talk to her in words she couldn't understand, and then a final airplane that would take her to meet her new 'baba', arrive at a house that was not yet her 'home', filled with animals that were called 'pets'. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear this child must have felt. But by the grace of God, combined with her courageous and curiosity-filled spirit, she faced each new experience of her new life as another big adventure. And she did it with a smile.

My daughter...........the most courageous person I have ever known.

Happy "Gotcha" Day Mailia! Your 'mama' loves you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Johnny Pumpkinseed (revisited)

Last night was the monthly roller skating party for M's school. Just as we were leaving we bumped into her teacher. Ms. H. says that M's pumpkin project was "adorable", and is now on display, with her story, in the media center. :-)
I think she (we) got an A!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Johnny Pumpkinseed

Our family and our extended families have been experiencing some of life's most difficult realities, making it tough to find things to blog about. But I wanted to share this picture of M. and her pumpkin project for school. Each child was to choose a character from a fairy tale, or a tall tale, then create a costume for a pumpkin and write a story about him/her. They had been learning about Johnny Appleseed recently, so she decided that "Johnny Pumpkinseed" would be perfect! As it turns out, I think she was right! We worked hard and he turned out so cute! Looks like an "A" to me. :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A new letter from PoPo and YeYe

We received another letter from Mailia's foster 'grandparents' in China. It took me some time to get it translated, but the English version finally arrived yesterday. For me it was another brief glimpse into my daughter's first years and I am humbled by these people who loved and cared for her when they themselves had nothing. YeYe (grandpa) wrote this letter and tells of Mailia coming to them when she was 2 days old, the orphanage dropping her off with 5 bags of rice formula and a monthly stipend of 90RMB, equivalent to roughly $13 US . He writes that "she eats a lot when she was little, so it's not enough for her. Her grandma makes rice cereal for her, she eats that every day because we were very poor." He then goes on to tell us that they kept her full time until the orphanage told them that she had to go to school. She was about 5 at that time. This is when she returned to the orphanage. After that YeYe would pick her up on his bicycle on Sat. mornings and return her on Monday mornings. At some point she became ill for what he writes as "about 70 days in spring". "PoPo (grandma) takes care of her days and nights, gave her some Chinese herbal medicine, and she was recovered little by little."
But then came the sad part that even Mailia's daddy said was a tear-jerker. "We brought her back on moon festival (when autumn/harvest arrives) and national holiday (1st week of Oct.) and this is the last time we see her. We go to see her next time and the orphanage say she is gone to US. PoPo cried out, no appetite for several days, misses her every day and night. The orphanage is no humanism (inhumane), they don't even tell us to go see her and keep a memory."

He then asks me to forgive him for not being able to write back sooner as they have 'been harvesting the rice'. He asked that we write back whenever we can so we can always stay in touch, and then to "please take good care of her".

I've probably read this letter a dozen times already, and get misty-eyed each time. I just cannot imagine what it would be like to live a day in their shoes. But I am ever so grateful to have this connection to Mailia's past and give all the credit to her PoPo and YeYe for doing the wonderful job of raising my child until I could find her.

I read the letter to Mailia and she stood beside me beaming with pride the entire time.
She is ready for us to write back and send more pictures. We most definitely will!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Picture Day at School

She got to wear something besides a uniform for picture day and was pretty happy about it.
I can only hope the pictures come back with her looking as nice as she did this morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thanksgiving is when?

These wild turkeys wander thru our yard every day, several times a day. Most usually early morning and just before sunset. I do not feed them, so I'm not sure of the attraction. But I enjoy watching them. Neither they, nor my cats seem to be bothered by each other, rather just curious.
I never knew that turkeys could fly, but they do. They roost in those big live oaks at night and then swoop down into the yard when the sun comes up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We have a Brownie!

And a pretty darn cute one, too. She is so excited about being a Brownie and can't wait for her troop meetings every other Tues. And her mom is excited because she's doing 'girl stuff'! :-) Of course, her first question after joining Brownie scouts, was "can I join cub scouts instead?". lol But now that she's been to a couple of meetings, she is happy where she is. They're planning some fun activities for the year and she is anxious to earn some badges.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm shameless :-)

A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. :-)
Mailia is now a Brownie Scout, and her troop is selling nuts, candy and magazine subscriptions to raise money for their activities and earn badges in the process.
We went door-to-door thru the neighborhood this past weekend, and then combined with extended- family sales, she has earned over $150! Pretty darn good for her first attempt at selling anything.
I don't want to try to sell any of the nuts and candy here, because the orders would come to us and we would then be responsible for shipping. But thought that I could at least throw the magazine info out there, in case anyone is interested. Especially those who might want to re-new a current subscription.
So here's the info.............they prefer that orders and/or re-orders are place online. Apparently the kids (their troop) receive more profit when ordered online.
The organization# is 425610101
Her ID#is HAU1

I don't want anyone to feel pressured or obligated to buy anything! Just thought I'd toss it out there in case someone may be about to re-new one of their subscriptions anyway. And I wouldn't know who did or who didn't. They (Reader's Digest) don't share that information. We would just get "credit" for a sale.

So, there you go! The troop is planning an over-night camp-out at the Brevard Zoo
near Melbourne, FL. after the first of the year. Just thought you might want to know what they're selling for.
Thanks for looking!

I'll post a picture of her in her Brownie vest as soon as it arrives.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Remember

We will NEVER forget.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ike is next in line.

We are as tired of this as all of you reading. Hurricane season runs until Nov. 30th. It can't be over soon enough.
Who knows where Ike will really end up, or how powerful he will be, but like Gustav looked last week.........Ike is looking very bad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

OMG! Sarah Palin was AMAZING!

She is a total package! The most compelling speech, with the most dead-on delivery, that I've heard yet this year. Rudi G. ran a close 2nd, but Sarah was something else.
I hope everyone of you got to listen to her tonight.
This woman is for US!