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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At school I run a Women's Studies Group and the first thing that we do is look at how women communicate with one another, how they communicate differently from men, and how they can be biggest supporter or biggest saboteur to one another.  We progress on to trust building activities for the group, guest speakers from different careers and vocations, etc., and this year our focus is on women around the globe and trying to help those less fortunate.  One of the girls is going to Kenya in December for a week and returning next year for six months to volunteer at a home for children who were orphaned because their parents died of AIDS. 

It is because of the strong and special women in my life and our open communication that I am able to be friends with other women; a rare thing sometimes.

This isn't the best photo (Mom was sick with cancer and I had been washing dishes, hence the odd hand pose), but this is Audrey on the left, Ruth in the middle, me on the right, and Mom last winter.
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This is us back in 1979 or 1980 at my cousin's wedding.  (I've got the long hair.)
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These are my girls.  Lauren will be 28 while I'm in China.  Farran will be with me in China.
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I do have two older sisters.  Kathy was 16 years older than me and we spent years going to the grocery store together, trading babysitting, walking at 5 a.m., going to fairs, to the beach, etc., but then she had grandchildren and I started teaching....and our schedules didn't match up.  In 2004 I found her dying of a stroke on her living room floor.  I will never stop missing her.  She hated having her photograph taken, though.  My oldest sister June, 18 years older than me (I'm the middle sister), has the mental age of a young teenager and we love one another but we don't really connect.  Still, she is as responsible for shaping who I am as Kathy was.  Here is a picture of the two of them as children (with my first and second brothers):
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Two weeks from today, I will meet another female destined to change my life!
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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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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.

 
 
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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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First it was the beach with LB, PB, her sons, Aidan and me. 
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Then it was Storyland with all four of our children, our daughter in-law, and three grandsons. 
G wasn't there this time, though he does like that kind of thing.  He's busy getting an antique stock car ready for a show next weekend.
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Golden Baby turned 28 this week, and his birthday was on the same weekday on which he was born.  I don't know how often that happens, given leap years, but it brought back a lot of memories.  Here he is in the shirt I gave him, which goes well with his ref uniform, and here are some other photos of the week.
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