I am leaving on Friday at dawn.  For those of you who have adopted, you know that this is the stage at which you start to feel like the White Rabbit.  You even start talking like him, "Don't just do something, stand there... Uh... no no! Go go! Go get my gloves! I'm late".

If you understand that, you've been there :)

Fortunately for me, Grange Fair is tomorrow so I can relax-I spent the last few nights calling people for food donations for the ham & bean supper, went to Aidan's open house, had a church officers meeting  and a meeting of the social studies council executive board.  Have also been busy getting things ready for my sub, who is more than competent to take over for me, so that is a big relief.  He also just happens to have adopted from China using the same agency that we are using for Eva.  Amazingly small world, especially because he was living in Wisconsin at the time.  What were the chances of him then moving to New Hampshire just when I needed someone like him to come along?

So I'm sort of ready-you know how that goes.

I'll leave you now with some photos of those that I will leave behind:
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Aidan complained that I always have the camera and he never gets to use it, so this is his idea of a self-portrait (remember that he doesn't like having his photo taken, so of course he was being a goofball even for himself as the photographer).
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We had the big kids and their kids over for supper tonight and it is just so much fun to watch them together.  So much fun that I didn't even think of getting the camera out as Aidan and the first two grandsons played swords, using kickboards as shields, or as the youngest grandson lined up the trains inside the barn and then locked them in, or as the baby clutched a Shetland pony and wouldn't let it go.  Then the younger boys were playing on the lawn while Aidan, RB and I went on "the trail".  It's really just an arc into the woods behind the lawn, but we love it-Aidan blazes the way through the branches and brush, usually walking with a stick that he uses to slash obstacles out of the way or to mount the heights of our boulders.  I have to teach him to be imaginative at times, and he really picked up on the adventurer/explorer theme and has a great time with it.  On our walks we encounter pine needles galore, horse mushrooms, and yards and yards of teaberries.  If you're not from this part of the country or you've just never seen the last two, here are a couple of pictures:
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These aren't my pictures (yes, I scoffed them from someone else) but the next three are.  Once a year I make sure that we get to the ocean, which is a couple of hours away, because I had lived all my life in New Hampshire and not seen it until I was 19 years old.  That's what happens when you have 10 siblings, live on a farm, and have a swimming hole across the road as well as the 4th cleanest lake in the world just a few miles away.  But I love it and so did these guys:
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I don't like shopping.  Or bargaining.  Or yard sales.  I used to like grocery shopping before the prices went up so much.  I do like antique shopping but only if I am actually looking for something. 

But every now and then I get excited by something, and that happened this weekend when I went to a church fair in town (not our church, but another one).  Here is where Aidan keeps his "little things" in his room:
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I had been looking for something like this for Eva, and this is what I found at the fair for a whole five dollars!
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Our oldest grandson and Aidan sit on the porch in canvas lawn chairs so the little boys needed special seats of their own.  For $3 I came home with this:
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Now I'll leave you with the image of what our house looks like when all four grandchildren are over and all of the big kids are home (and Aidan retreats to his room; he still dislikes "crowds" and he also dislikes having his picture taken, in case you hadn't noticed, though I did manage to get one in here)
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Our first grandson graduated from preschool!  A big deal because he has gone to this daycare/preschool since he was six weeks old.  This summer he will attend five weeks of half day summer school at our local elementary school and get off the busy at our house to spend the rest of the day with me and Aidan.  Here he is with his best friend (they have both been together since they were infants) and then making some of the goofy and sweet faces that he has a talent for.
We had a birthday party on my mother's porch for her, even though she is gone.  She would have been 83 years old.  The eight of us living nearby gathered with her best friend and my cousin who is like a sibling.  Here is her cake, the view from her porch, and my two younger sisters.
Today my oldest kids and Aidan and the grandkids went to Storyland (Little Baby was working).  Here are some shots from our outing.
 
 
Just in the last two weeks we've gone from this-so warm that the kids were playing with squirt guns even while there was snow on the ground......
.....to this-two inches of snow mixed with sleet and hail that made driving Aidan's birthday guests to and from the party a dangerous proposition.....
...to one day later-Easter egg hunt....
....to a day of intense heat yesterday (and still 70 degrees at 10 at night)-with enough wind for kites...
...to balmy weather this morning that has now turned to rain.  In New Hampshire we always say, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change :-)
 
 
On April 1 we had a snow day; on April 9 we were all playing outside without coats and trying not to track mud into the house.  Here are some shots of the two weekends.
 
 
I am behind on visiting your blogs and posting to my own-sorry.  Twice a week I sleep at my mother's house so two nights a week I don't sleep.  Most of the time I'm operating in a foggy state.  So I'll just show you what we've been up to in pictures.
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Tiger Scout visit to my sister's bakery as part of their healthy eating unit.  She makes all organic products and everything comes in gluten-free as well.  She shares the business with a woman who owns a health food store.

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Pinewood Derby race for Cub Scouts

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Aidan was excited, but his car came in last in each heat.  My husband said a lighter car is a faster car.  He used to drive stock cars, so he does know something about it, but stock cars have one thing pinewood derby cars don't have-an engine :-)

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Visit to Chutter's store in Littleton.  They have the longest continuous candy counter in the world and are in the Guiness Book of World Records.  Pretty Baby used to go there every couple of months with her best friend in high school.  Aidan loves to pick up tourist brochures and when he got one of theirs and asked if he could go there, I called Pretty Baby and we made a trip today.

 
 
Some people with less than wonderful childhoods want a certain type of family-the one they never had.  Others have wonderful childhoods and want the same thing for their own family.  I'm in the second category.  I grew up with four sisters and six brothers, and four of those brothers were "in a row" between my sister 16 years older than me and myself.  So I always wanted boys-plural.  Didn't get them.  But with the grandsons and Aidan, I've got them now and I just love it!  Here are the boys playing outside on a spring day this week-just before a day of snow and freezing rain.
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This doesn't mean that I don't love my girls.  In fact, there are some people who make your day better, and brighter, simply by being in the world.  Our first daughter is like that.  She is quiet, and sweet, and a magnet for the rest of us.  Even her siblings go to her for "balance".
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I can't wait to see what the personality of our one granddaughter will be.  Already she is a super happy baby, smiling easily when you talk to her.  She looks a lot like her brother, but she also looks like our son in many ways.  
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(P.S.-I don't have that many pictures of Little Baby, since she's away at college)
 
 
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We finally got snow.  After only having snow on December 26 and most of the state having a brown Christmas while the rest of the country got hit, we are making up for lost time.  We've had three snow days and a delayed opening in the past two weeks.  This coming week we will have either heavy snow and winds or a blizzard-depends whether or not the storm tracks along the coast or further out to sea.  And the temps?  They'll be frigid for at least the next week.
So what do you do with weather like this?  Yes, there is sledding and skiing and snowboarding, but there is also hanging out around the house playing games and going out for pizza with the whole family when Aidan's first badge ceremony for Tiger Scouts gets canceled due to heavy snow (how many of you learned to spell cancelled with two Ls and get frustrated that one of the rules that made sense in grammar has been changed?).  Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:
 
 
We sent our I-800A application in on November 2 and got the receipt about 10 days later, even with Veteran's Day in between.  So now we wait for a fingerprint appointment.

Halloween was a good time, but I gave my camera to Pretty Baby to take pictures of all three boys, since Brody was not coming to town and both she and Golden Baby were taking their boys to see G's parents at the same time.  So by the time I got the camera back, Aidan had had enough of his Ninja costume (he looked great!) and I only got shots of him eating candy.
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The little ones were adorable.  Ricky was a skeleton-he wanted to be a ghost but no ghost costumes were available in his size so a skeleton was his second choice.  Brody was a cowboy, and what a little swashbuckler he was!  And Matthew was a fisherman; this is the costume that Ricky wore in 2008 but because of our delay in Beijing (paperwork issue) I missed both seeing him that year and seeing Matthew born.  This makes up for it!
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And now we have a new arrival!  Our first granddaughter was born this week.  At first they thought she was 17-1/2" long (short) but on second measure, stretching her out, she was found to be 19-1/2" long.  Brody was pretty scared of her at first but he is already catching on to the big brother thing.
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Our daughter in-law with the baby earlier today

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Golden Baby and Brody with the baby on the night she was born

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Pretty Baby with her niece on the night she was born.  The baby has Pretty Baby's middle name and Matthew has her uncle's name as his middle name, so the "mutual admiration society", as I call the relationship between our first two kids, continues.

Excited little cousin-he's not the baby of the family any more.  In fact, he just turned two last month and he's potty trained.  Takes after his mother that way!
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