This week the kids went on a field trip to see Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and I went along with them.  Aidan sits in the very back seat with his best buddy.  They are just about the tallest kids in school, if not the very tallest (they are actually the same height, but Aidan is slumped down here).  So they are the "big kids" on the bus despite being only in second grade!

Eva is seated below with a classmate of hers who wanted very much to ride with me.  She ended up joining us after one of the older girls wouldn't leave her alone.  She gets a little smothered by some of the kids because they are fascinated with her.
We got our first snow of the year-not a lot but tonight's storm is making up for it (pictures to follow).  Eva acts like it is Christmas, her birthday, and Halloween all rolled into one!
Speaking of Halloween....
Sorry, can't correct the double flash messing with the grandsons' eyes, but everyone had a good time at the party.  And here are my two little ones on the morning after (Saturday morning cartoons).
 
 
My sister Kathy used to call kids pumpkin sometimes.  I never used that endearment until grandson #3 came along and then it just came out of my mouth without any thought--his brother is honey and his cousin is sweetheart.  Today our little pumpkin turns three.  Here he is at his birthday party this weekend, decorating his pumpkin plate.
 
 
Eva loves pumpkins, and not as decorations.
Eva started school this week-half days.  I had to think about this quite a bit because we still do not have a real bond but she definitely wants to be in school.  She loves school work and she loves the company of other children.  So I stayed with her Monday, and she needed me (Sunday night she was very excited about going, but the very first thing she did on Monday morning was point to her backpack and adamantly say no! even before getting out of bed).  Tuesday I sat back in the corner and tried to make sure I was not "doing" things for her that the teacher or teachers could do.  By the end of the morning she gestured for me to take my things and sit away from her at my own table.  Today she went by herself.  The teacher and aide were amazed at her math ability.  She's not dumb or in need of special education; she just doesn't know English yet.  I think they're in for a surprise in a good way because the fear of not being able to communicate with her will soon be replaced by amazement that they can understand pretty much anything she wants to get across.  She can also go down the hall and get her brother when necessary-he loves to hold her hand and show her where to go, etc., and she loves to have him nearby.
 
 
Eva spoke to Wu Yi through Skype earlier this week.  She wanted to pack right afterwards to go and visit.  I managed to get her back to bed instead, but in the morning she stuffed her backpack with all of her new worldly possessions (not her clothes) and used three other small bags for those things that wouldn't fit.  This is not the first time she has done this.
She doesn't haul them to the door or to the car, but it's pretty obvious that she thinks she should be embarking on a trip somewhere.  I wonder just how temporary she views her stay with us as being.  I think she came to America with a vague understanding of adoption but with the more exciting promise that she would be in the same land as her friend. 

There are other times when she is very disturbed by the idea of any of us being left while the rest of the family goes someplace.

Today her father had a couple of "oscopies" which turned out fine, but when we were waiting in the hospital room for him, she clearly motioned that he should change into a johnnie (and she thought that was funny), lie down on the bed, have an i.v. inserted into his inner elbow, and scream from the pain.  So she obviously remembers having surgery.  She was having quite a few laughs about it, but I've found that she can "wind up" quickly when she's being silly and that it's very hard for her to come back down without her feeling scolded or viewing me as a party-pooper. 

Today was no different and yet very different.  When I told her that we had to leave, she instantly began crying.  Like her brother, she cries silently.  Her whole body goes limp and her eyes fill with tears and she makes not a single sound.  She cried the whole 20-30 minute drive to our next appointment.  Eventually she believed me that we were not leave her father there, and when we returned to get him later, she was giddy with relief and excitement.

Adopted children just give leaving home a whole new meaning.
 
 
It has been gorgeous this week, though it is raining now and is expected to continue for a while.  Here are some of the things we have been up to:
Today was not a beautiful day.  We started out with the best of intentions.  Took Eva to the pediatric orthopaedist for her appointment that was originally scheduled for 8:20, then changed to  1:20, then just this morning changed to 11:00.  Anyway, we got there despite her saying she didn't want to go (she hates riding in cars and it's almost an hour drive).  We got seen about an hour after our appointment time.  Her club feet are too complex for the Ponseti method and the doctor recommended waiting until summer so that she could get acclimated to life here and because she will be wheelchair bound and pretty much lose her mobility when the time comes with hip to toe casts.  Okay.  Of course I agreed with that.  Then he said he wanted a cat scan of her feet and ankles before we see one another again in a couple of weeks.  They managed to get an appointment for 1:00 so we went over to the hospital at 12:30.  We waited about an hour while that receptionist tried to determine if our insurance company had agreed to the pre-cert or if one had been done.  They hadn't been contacted and approval takes 24 hours after the visit so we could not be seen and sure that the cat scan was paid for if we went today.  Took the kids to lunch.  Went to probate court.  Eva's visa says IH-3 instead of IR-3 so they can't process the application to have her foreign adoption validated.  We have to wait for her proof of citizenship to come in the mail for that.  So we came home!

Tonight should be better.  It is storytelling and pajama night at the elementary school and we're sure to have a good time at it.
 
 
Eva has been with us for a week now.  We have had our first social worker visit, had a well child check-up, made several trips to the store, gone to a family cookout, run in the hayfield, visited the playground....the list just goes on...it has been very busy.  We are sleeping on our time now and have been since maybe
Wednesday night, so it didn't take long.
We have learned that the personality description in her referral is seriously wrong or she has changed a lot in the last couple of years.  This girl is not shy, or reserved, at all!  She loves to hit her father-don't know what that is about, but Aidan did the same thing, and we know that it means they love him, so he takes the hits.
She loves to spend time with her brother.  He is enjoying re-learning some Chinese and he is the soul of patience with her.  He takes her hand and walks with her when we go out, voluntarily pushes her on the swing, is much more eager to sleep in his own bed now that he has a roommate (that was a great decision on our part!)  They jabber away in the back seat of the car, which is good since she gets carsick and he gets bored :)
She can be content playing by herself, which is awesome.  She loves to help cook.  She is a very picky eater despite what they said when I asked-the girl would live on fruit, vegetables, eggs, and nuts if I let her pick all of her own food.  Those are all great foods, of course, but within an hour of a meal she tells me she is hungry again.  That happened a lot with Aidan but I believe that food was fulfilling an emotional need with him and now we are trying to correct the wrong that did, so I don't want to go down that road again.
She is good with all of the other kids and the animals, but especially with our (almost) three year old grandson and with the youngest dog, Mangus.
I was so happy to see all three grandsons and the little granddaughter again and share my treasures with them.  It turns out that our daughter in-law knows of and just loves squeaky shoes, so I won't be hated for bringing home the adorable red silk pair!
And I have to say that I just love having two seven year olds!
 
 
These lyrics sum up the relationship between Aidan and Eva at this point better than I could ever do it on my own:

When you're the best of friends
Having so much fun together
You're not even aware, you're such a funny pair
You're the best of friends

It's like they are best friends who had just never met.  He is eager to show her everything and she is eager to communicate with him.  He loves having someone with "black hair and black eyes" like him, and she loves company.  He pushes her on the swing, she takes his hand and leads him around the house.  They sit together to eat their chicken noodle soup with crackers and pineapple.  They share a bedroom.  Both love the dog.  I have ten siblings and three older children, so I'm under no illusion that they will clash and fight at times, but right now this is everything that I hoped it could be.