Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Adoption Musing

As many of you know, we adopted a little girl from China a bit over 2 years ago. Most of the time I am so filled with joy and happiness at our family that I can hardly stand it. I share a lot of pictures in hopes of conveying how terrific we fit, and how great and amazing our three children are. We are proudly a whole Pile of Powells, and we are exceedinly happy at it.
There is a part of our life though that I pray about and fret over. So far at a bit under 4 years old, Emma hasn't asked me about her birth Mommy. I try to talk about it now and again, how there was a mommy in China and how we didn't get to hold her until she was 18 months old, even though we loved her long before that. I tell her about how the very day that she was taken to the hospital and listed for international adoption was the day that her sister in the states said to me, 'Mommy, isn't it time to go get Emma?' We talk about how God makes good fanilies, and how perfect it is to have her in our lives.
I sit sometimes and think about two holes in her heart. One is physical. She has a hole in her heart that we can have surgically corrected in the spring. I've worried it since before I've met her, but we trusted God put her in our lives and that we could handle what was there. With the marvels of modern medicine, its so much easier to know that that hole can be repaired.
There is another hole though, one that I'm not certain how to repair. At some point Emma is going to ask me about her Mom, her birth Mom. I worry about the hole that is left in her heart from not knowing why she was left. I worry that she will somehow see herself as not as good, or not as wanted. I worry about that peice that is missing in her. Its a hole I desperately want to fill, but I worry I don't have the means or the skill.
I wonder sometimes about what the right words are to tell her when she asks. I do't know why she was left. I can guess at some possible ideas, but I don't know for sure.
I as an adult, know that she is the piece that was missing in our hearts. I know as an adult that the difference in our complexions or our hair really are insignificant, that our similarities are so much greater. I catch her searching for her place though - she is starting to pick out children with hair like hers, and when we got our last cat she wanted a 'china kitty' to be like her (either black or siamese, she would take either)
With all these concerns, there are these perfect little moments that set my heart at ease. Sunday night Emma was in her first play - a little holiday number at church. They herd 20 or so 3 and 4 year olds up to stage in costume, and have them sing 3 songs. Emma was excited right up until we went to church, then she sat in my lap as I rocked her worried and sucking on her thumb. I bribed her to go up and sat up front with the twins and Daddy so she'd be sure to see us.
The two women herded preschoolers and assembled them on stage. Emma looked a little distraught as she searched the crowd. Then she saw us. I gave her a big smile, and her face lit up and she smiled the most beautiful grin. Every time she looked at us she got that same grin again. Maybe we can't 'fix' that other hole in her heart, but perhaps that is ok. Emma is amazing just the way she is, and her smile fills up my heart in ways I could have never imagined.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gymnastics in December

Saturday we were invited to a birthday party at Bounce - a big indoor gymnatics place. The kids had a great time, here are some pictures...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catching Up....Welcome to the holidays!

Well since the jog-a-thon, we've celebrated a few holidays and are fast approaching another one! Its the first weekend of December, and we are officially less then 3 weeks away from Christmas. Hard to believe! Above is a picture of the kids in our church Children's Musical this morning for Christmas. They did a terrific job!

After Thanksgiving we had a nice visit with family and then we went to see Elmo Makes Music at the Hult.

More updates soon!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jog a Thon

Today was the annual Crest Drive Elementary School Jog A Thon. Every year the entire student body collects pledges and then sees how many times they can run around the track in an hour. Its a big deal, and really fun to watch.
the kids are bussed over to the high school. Then they all go into the bleechers where they chant "Jog A Thon" as loudly as possible over and over. Then they file out to the track, line up at the start line and they are off!

Each kid finds the 'table' for their teacher, and they collect a colored straw in a plastic baggie that they carry for each lap that they make. At the end we total up straws and write down what they accomplished.

This year Emma and I worked Ms. Stewarts' table with another mother. Emma made one lap. It was FREEZING COLD - a little over 40 degrees and foggy when we started. Somehow the kids were still all excited about the popsicles at the end!
Jakey made 14 laps, or 3.5 miles in his hour. Violet was right behind him with 13 laps (3.25 miles) They did great. Only one other kid in their class beat them.
Of course the down side is that as we sat there, Emma's cold got worse and worse. Her eyes gooped up, her throat got sore-er, and she was toast by the time we were done. A good 4 hour nap when we got home and all was right for Emma (oh to be so young that you can sleep off a cold in half a day!)
Tired kids crashed early tonight.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall is here...

Well school is in session again. All 22,000 students have arrived in Eugene and settled in. The parking lots aren't too bad, but the sidewalks are full, and the dorms are overflowing. I both love and hate this time of year. I love the start of fall, new books, new learning, excitement and independence. I hate the start of fall, stupid drinking, too many lost people calling me Mam....
The freshman class this fall was born in 1990. That means that I could be their Mother. That seems so weird to me.
Overall things are going well. The twins are adjusting to school. The transition has been hard, going day and doing work instead of playing. Emma has really learned to love her new school, and most days practically shoves me out the door.
I had sinus surgery at the beginning of the month, and its been a very long haul. I didn't realize how long it would be, but I still have nights with pain and trouble sleeping, and I think I have another couple weeks before I'm totally 'healed'.
I'll try to post more regularly - oh wait, one more bit of news. We got a kitten!
Pics coming soon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

What a week. Tomorrow morning, the entire Powell Clan arrives on our doorstep. We are excited and we've been working like crazy to get ready. I went to the farmer's market this morning and got blackberries, strawberries and rasberries. I made a berry pie this afternoon, and its downstairs in the fridge waiting for the gang. I'm going to make scones in the morning, and coffee.
I don't know what we are doing yet - we may just eat and visit, we may go watch an Ems game or run to the ocean and run quads in the sand. I guess we'll figure it out when they get here.
Had a bit of excitement with childcare things. Went to where we thought we were going to put Emma, and found out it wasn't the place. Sat and watched and visited for an hour. Turns out the little boy with behavioral issues that used to beat up Jakey still goes there, and they put him in with Emma's age group before and after school. Add to it that they have taken in a pretty severely disabled kid that throws blocks and really needs some one-on-one attention, and it didn't look so hot.
Called the childcare at my work and even though they ALWAYS have a wait list, they had an opening. Took Em over in the afternoon to look and we loved it. She'll start in 2 weeks.
Date night tonight, not even sure what we are going to do but at least we are going to go out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Texas Here I come!

Well I did it, I booked our trip to Texas in the spring. My cousin, whom I've never met, is getting married. I have been close to his mom for years and years - she is probably my all time favorite realative on my side of the family, but we just haven't gotten in the same time zone too often. So off we go, 5 of us on a plane to see the other realatives.
I hope we'll get to catch up with some virtual friends as well, and scope out where my Mom grew up, where my folks got married, and where my Dad taught British pilots during WWII. It should be fun!
Any of you that are familiar with the Dallas area, give me suggestions of what not to miss!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Hard to believe its August already. Violet and I took a spin out to our local farm and bought 10 pounds of pickling cukes. They are brine-ing right now in the kitchen. I'd forgotten it takes 4 days to do pickles! I'm anxious for the other fruits to come out so I can put away some preserves and salsa.
We stopped by the bakery overstock store as well, and metioned we were doing pickles. The girl at the register said, 'do people can anymore, isn't that a forgotten art?" I don't think it is, do you? I know a handful of people here that can and freeze and preserve food, and from the web it appears to be pretty widely spread. There is something so good about knowing where you food comes from, and whwat goes into it.
We took the RV over to the dealership and dropped it off to sell it. Hopefully they will have some luck, although I'm not holding my breath as it is a bad market. We expect an invasion of the family in a couple of weeks, so have a few more chores to get done.
Hope you all have a great week! We'll take pictures of our great canning event Tuesday and post.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Just wanted to link to some pictures - our friend Livia shot the kids out at a vinyard outside of town, thought I should share. If you are local and you want a great photographer, check her out! Jakey, Vi and Emma are down the page a bit, but its worth a look.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Its a 3 day weekend, and it seems wild! Friday we spent the day puttering around doing all the things we'd normally do on a Saturday. We all went and saw Wall-E at the theater in the late afternoon, and then went out to dinner. It was a great movie and we had a lot of fun.
After dinner we came home anbd did a few things here before heading over to campus. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the 2008 Olympic Track Trials are happening in our town. If you turn on NBC tonight or tomorrow night you can see our school. Anyway, as part of the events, they shot off fireworks after the men's 10,000 meter. We parked in employee parking an walked onto campus. We ended up climbing the outside steps to the student union to watch the fireworks. It was really great.
Tonight we are going to set off our own fireworks. Today we have put away berries in the freezer and I've refinished the teak on 'Dory' the boat. Tomorrow I hope to wash and wax it with the kids help.
Overall things are going well. I'll post pictures of the boat as we get it fixed up. It really doesn't 'need' much anyway, but its fun to bring it back to its beginnings and make it pretty again.

More Loon Lake

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Loon Lake Camping

This last weekend we went up to Loon Lake, a beautiful alpine lake located about 20 miles from Reedsport along the coast. We took Dory the boat, and we tent camped.
We saw lots of wildlife, Elk, deer, etc. We even saw a few eagles.
We ate smores, we hiked and looked at a beautiful waterfall. We played in the dirt. It was great!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where or where has my summer gone?

It is Thursday. It is 36 degrees. What is up with our weather? They say that today we'll get to the mid-70s, but I have my doubts!
This week lots of activity around the house. They are painting the exterior, so I can't go out any of the rear doors as everything is taped shut. The sprinkler guys finished last week, and so now all my exterior plants should be in great shape.
Today the kids go to a Pen Pal picnic. They have been corresponding with kids from another local school, and today after a year of writing they get to meet. After work we all pile in the car and drive to the school for the annual carnival.
Next week the twins finish kindergarten, it seems so wild. They have no school Friday and only 2 days next week, and then they are free for the summer. The year has just flown by, its hard to believe.
Yesterday was an odd day for us too, as we got an unusual email. When I got to work I had an email from our adoption agency, the one that two years ago helped us unite with our youngest, Emma.
At the time we made a conscious decision to get out of the NSN line as the wait time for Chinese adoption was horrible and stretching further. We started looking on special needs list and switched, having approval from our agency for Emma around Mother's Day and receiving approval from China on my 40th birthday.
Well, it seems that they forgot to remove us from the list of people whose dossier went over in late January to China. So yesterday, they sent out an email to everyone who was on that list to let them know about any updates they needed to do since referrals for that group should come out in July. That means that the people in my group who didn't switch waited 30 months - 30! I can't imagine having not had Emma for the last 2 years. What a heartache. As she sits here leaning her little head on my shoulder and smiling at me, I know we did the right thing. An early contratulations to all those Moms and Dads who did decide to wait it out!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This is June?

IT is COLD outside, what is up with that? It is june, and we are raining and cold. Not much to talk about lately. We are having sprinklers installed this week at the house and so my yard is all torn up. DH picked up the boat last night, so this weekend maybe I can post entertaining stories about our first voyage out. Hopefully it won't be too hard, we've never launched a boat before so I'm sure if nothing else it will add to our humility.
Back to working out. Just about got rid of the 5 pounds I put on during the weeks before the trip and the weeks we were gone. Want to get rid of lots more.
The kids had an awards assembly today, and Jakey got 'Academic Excellence' award and Vi got a'Respect' award. I'm so proud of them.
Vi is trying to decide if she is ready to do the recital she has next week. It will mean 3 hours of rehersal Monday and 3 more hours Wednesday and a 3 hour performance (mostly waiting in the wings) Friday night. I kinda wnat her to skip it, but of course I can't tell her no. She HATES performing, so I don't see this ending well and I don't really want to spend 9 hours of my life next week waiting on this. Bad Mommy.
More soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Well, we made it home, after the world's longest Mother's Day. We got up at 5:30am on Sunday, ate breakfast and headed to the airport. We flew 10.5 hours to Los Angeles, trekked through luggage, customs and immigration, then headed off to a different terminal and caught our flight to Portland. More waiting then finally home to Eugene at 10pm. Midnight before we crashed. For those of you keeping track, you subtract 8 hours from the time in Britian, so we were up basically from 9:30pm Saturday night until midnight Sunday. Harsh.
I think overall the trip was a success, although it sure is hard traveling with the little people.
Looking back, I have the following highlights to share...
In London, the Courtland Gallery. Its such a little gem at Sommerset House on the Thames. Being able to stand up and really look at great art is amazing. So often in the bigger museums you are forced to stand miles from the art and you just can't see how it is put together. While I was there, the kids had a great time playing in the fountains outside.
In Paris, my best memory is kind of a fluke. We took a boat tour on the Seinne one evenning, which took off from the far end of Isle de la Cite' We were walking back to Isle St. Louis where we lived for the week, and we went by Notre Dame. In the courtyard outside there were performers in the dark. We have a movie of it, I'll try to load it this weekend. They juggled fire to rock music and it was simply magnificent.
In Wales the castles all were lovely, but I guess my nicest time was probably not at a castle. We had tried to see Manorbier, and we were hungry. I saw a town called Saundersfoot on the coast, and we drove to it as the newspaper had a lot of restaurants listed there. Saundersfoot has a little harbor and we parked. Dinner was eaten in a restaurant called 'Mermaid's Quay' overlooking the water. The fish had been caught in the harbor that day and cooked that evening, it was magnificent! After dinner we walked along the path and watched a local woman use a 2 liter coca cola bottle to play fetch with her labrador in the surf. We walked by lots of tiny ships, and it was just wonderful.
My other good memory is really of those rides through the countryside down paved sheep trails. It was fun, felt like an adventure and although stressful it was always great to actually arrive somewhere at the other end. DH did a great job on some scary roads!
We are slowly getting back on the schedule here. More when we hae time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Castle Marathon

Caerphilly Castle
The chapel at Avebury

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More castles

Today we went to a HUGE castle, Caerphilly, and then on to one that had been restored into a fairy tale, Castle Coch. I'll post pictures later, but they were grand. They are doing a ton of work on Caerphilly so you couldn't go into very many places, but Castle Coch was just the opposite. I guess someone bought it in the late 1800s and had it redone. They had all kinds of painting done, and they used it as a residence for a while and a hunting lodge. It was beautiful.
Went to Mermaid's Quay tonight for dinner and found a geocache. It was a microcache and it was great fun.
Also drove out to Pernath, and looked at the ocean. I guess James Bond films have been shot here at Cardiff Bay, with him racing a boat out to Penarth.
Have a good night!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Then Anglo Saxons and the Normans

On to Wales

After 2 weeks of big cities, we have slowed down considerably on our last day and wandered off the beaten path to what I can only describe as the wonderful, slow, charming country of Wales. I LOVE this place, I can't say that enough.

We rented a car that dh has been bravely been driving on the wrong side of the road. We find the traffic circles quite amusing, as they are everywhere. We rented a Kia van since there are 5 of us and lots of luggage. I think dh is sorry we did. I don't think I can appropriately display the roads here, but I'll try to explain.

Garmin has been a godsend on this trip. Thank goodness dh bought the European maps.
A roads are faily decent usually a lane in each direction and a dashed white stripe down the middle more then half the time. B roads are mostly single wide, but have ample pull outs. Then there are roads with no names, merely referred to as 'road'. A, B and 'road' roads all have high berms on either side of the road, with fences and underneath years of growth.

In the US, if you go down a road and it narrows to a single lane you are pretty certain that the pavement will end in someone's driveway. In southern Oregon, where we both spent our teen years, it often ended on a property with a rather hairy mountain man holding a shotgun and a rotweiller, so we are both a bit shy to go down those types of roads.

Not so here. As we wandered down the road looking for Gellifawr, our apartment/hotel, we made jokes about how we were on a sheeps trail, etc. Lots of turns, no cell service, and lots of farms in rolling hills.

We passed some bigger cow farms, and then we found it. It was an old blue stone 2 story manor house and the corresponding buildings had been renovated into apartments. We were tired, it was late, and I was wondering if we'd blown it by picking the place.

I foolishly didn't take photos inside, but wow. I walked into the dining room and I was greeted by a man in a tie serving people sitting a beautiful cherry tables with white leather chairs, fine crystal and china. Our apartment was huge, with 3 bedrooms, big white fluffy duvets, clear laquered wood floors, and a state of the art kitchen.

Each morning they fed us a full English breakfast. That means cereal, fruit juice, coffee, a basket of fruit, a poached egg, 2 slices of ham, sausage, potatoes, a stewed tomato, mushrooms, and toast. It was terrific.

We spent our time adventuring around western Wales. The first day turned out to be a 'Bank Holiday' and we headed to Newport Shores in search of a geocache and some stores. As we wandered down an A road into town, we came to something I've never seen before. In town people had parked on the side of the road, in a section that wasn't a full 2 cars wide. It was still a 2 way road. We got stuck. We opened the windows, pulled the mirrors in and made it. I kid you not there was not more then 1" on either side of that van. We definately ran against the plantlife over the stone wall on the one side. I didn't actually believe the van would fit, but DH performed magic and made it. I asked him how he was and he said he needed to go home and lay on the bed and twitch for a while

We tried to find a woolen mill that we saw advertised. It didn't have a street address, and we got lost. We ended up on a very narrow lane with high berms and twists. We rounded a corner and found two women pushing baby carriages going for a walk!

I mentioned this to our hostess this morning, and she said to me that she had moved here from Sweeden. They took her out to show her the sites and she has been baffled, since you can't actually see anything with the high fences!

We journeyed north and saw a castle where a princess was stolen away from her husband, then south to the place where she stayed for a few years. Guess she was busy - she stayed long enough to have 2 kids with the guy before heading home. They said they think she had 21 children with 6 different men, guess she was 'captured' a lot!

Today we drove to Kidwelly on our way to Cardiff, for the last part of our holiday. Kidwelly is well preserved and huge. We'll post more pics as we can.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Paris Photos

May 2nd

We did better today on the museum front. Got up and braved the subway system here in Paris. Not sure what the hangup was for us as we are usually quite the brave travelers. Of course it was fine. Took the subway to The Museum of Science and Industry and let the kids play for a few hours. Emma woke up with a horrid cold, but we dosed her and took her along to spread germs. I hate that honestly, but dh said we are are not spending the week in Paris in the apartment, and that other kids would get sick regardless so we should go. I caved.
We rode the subway over to the Sacre Couer as well. I did my workout for the day, I climbed all those steps (and there are a million of them) carrying Emma. It was sunny and actually hot out there.
Then we subwayed to the Orangerie, and miracle of miracles it was open!!! I finally got to see my Monet's. They are huge, who would have imagined!
Then we came home to the island, ate dinner and walked to Point Neuf. We bought tickets for the boat ride tonight at 9:30, so we could see the city lights at night.
Today a few more museums and maybe a flea market.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

We got up early this morning, unfortunately to the sound that someone had an accident in the bed downstairs. So I put everyone in our bed and while dh tried to sleep I did laundry and started reading. Murder in Montmartre is here, and so I've been reading that. Kinda catches the feel of the places well.
Took Jakey down and bought some eggs and snacks, and then made breakfast. Then we were off to find the 'hop on hop off bus'. We road the batobus (water taxi)down to the center of town. We got off near the Orangerie Museum, which we tried to go to on Tuesday. It has a big display of Monet's water lillies and I'm drying to see it. Anyway, today we were there by 12 (it opens at 12:30) so we hung around and hung around along with a growing crowd.
Turns out they are closed for May Day. So strike 2. Walked in and found the bus, and rode it to the Arc de Triumph. It too was closed. Took photos of the outside, and tried to do another geocache. Did I mention we found a geocache near the Orangerie?
Anyway, tried to find a second geocache near the arc, and then rode the bus to the Eiffel Tower. It was a madhouse. Also saw about 20 police cars/vans going through town earlier. I guess there were big protests.
Rode the batobus back to the house and I just ate the most amazing cake. They make this layer cake that is just fantastic. Glad we are walking a lot, I need it to offset the food here!
More pics later.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

European Vacation

Well we are on vacation, after what appears to be a long vacation away from my blog! Thought I'd share some pictures while we are gone.
We went to the Eiffel Tower for lunch and the view, and along the way we met a one legged pigeon that we named 'Peg'. Peg ate more of our lunch then we did (He had a fondness for Baugettes)
In spite of my better judgement, we rode the London Eye. I'm terribly afraid of heghts so this was a big accomplishment. As a bonus I was already sick with a terrible stomach bug, so I spent the time kind of in a haze. Here is a pic near the top.

When we were in London we also went to a lot of other sights, including Westminster Abby. Our theme for this trip is to go to places that are closed or just closed for the day. Here are the kids outside a closed Westminster Abby!