We have been busy, as always.  The kids and I are almost done with school.  The grandkids keep growing.  The school board has settled down but still takes up a lot of my time.  I'm taking online courses as prerequisites for a third master's degree.  This one will be in speech language pathology and I hope to end my education career in that position.

Here are some recent photos of the kids to show you how they're doing.



The Girls

The Big Kids, Their Spouses & Boyfriend

Hello to all of you in blog/adoption land.

Sorry I have been AWOL for so long.  It's all the School Board work, not the kids.

I had a sleep study to see if my migraines were coming from that and they determined that I don't get enough sleep.  Duh.

Went to Seattle for a week for a conference.  Wonderful time.  Missed my 21 year old since I have not lived in a hotel without her-she came with me to China both times-but the city was great.  Met my nephew and his girlfriend and stepbrother for dinner while I was there and watched the debut of the final Twilight film in Seattle where they knew every landmark on the screen and cheered-that was cool!
As you can see, my nephew is short like me.  The other two aren't exceptionally tall, they just look it.

Eva had surgery on November 1.  Throughout the summer she had several castings to try to get as much correction done as possible before/without surgery.  When that was no longer making any changes, the surgery was scheduled.  It went fine but they diagnosed pain meds based on her weight without taking into account her fast metabolism (she has preschool weight but almost 9 year old metabolism) so the meds were wearing off after 20 minutes.  She cried for the first 24 hours.  Now she just cries a few times a night--every single night.  At first it was pain, then it was the itching-her hard casts were replaced this week, so we don't know if it's the itching or habit waking her up now.   
Her English is really coming along.  A couple of weeks ago I was putting eye makeup on (that doesn't  happen often-just don't have time) and she asked if she could wear some.  I made her day by saying yes, put a little powder on her lids, and then she told me that she knew how to get a boyfriend.  I said, oh yeah?  She said yes, you find a boy that is like you, that you like, and then he is your boyfriend.  I said, oh, the typical non-committal reply, and she went on to say that it helps if you are pretty.  I said what about people who aren't pretty?  They have boyfriends, too.  She said, yeah, like you, I mean, you used to be pretty when you had long hair.  I asked her if that meant I no longer was and she said no, not really, but if I grew my hair long again I would be.  The kid is always honest!
Eva got her casts off yesterday.  On November 1 she will be having surgery because we've achieved as much correction as possible with the casts alone.  The surgery will be tendon release and possibly some wedging at the same time.  The doctor said there will be at least two or three other surgeries down the road.  She is happy to be "free", and when we got home she had a surprise package from Wu Yi, her sister in Idaho, which just made her night! 

Aidan and I are going to get haircuts today.  At the start of school he refused to let me cut his or make an appointment, then within two weeks he told me he needed a cut!  Sorry about the drips on his shirt-we had just had Chinese food and he ended up wearing some :)
Where has the time gone?  Everyone is back at school.  Kids are doing well.  

Eva is on her third set of casts and gets the fourth set on tomorrow.  They are soft casts which means that I can take them off a few days before the next set is scheduled to go on.  These are corrective, to try to see how much can be achieved through casting alone.  In October she'll have a set put on under anesthesia so her tendons can be released at the same time.

Aidan is loving his new teacher, I think.  It is important to him that I help him do his spelling enrichment each night even though he does his homework at homework club.  Today he asked why he needed to spend time with "that teacher" like Eva, since he already knows English.  He's referring to the ELL teacher, and I'm sure he'll be done with her services this year.

When I'm not busy with family and school, I'm negotiating with the union as school board vice-chair in my own district, attending incredibly long meetings for the same board, working at getting cable expanded in our town, serving on our state's social studies council as president-elect, or writing.  I have now sold four manuscripts since last fall.  My real joys are writing and being outside.  We have a piece of land that we will someday build a new home on and I went there every weekday this summer while the kids were in summer school to cut brush, cut trees, haul both, plant things, etc.  I'm that person who walks acreage every day and knows every. single. plant. in my walk. 

On a sour note, migraines are just about killing me.  I don't know if my lyme disease is active again or if it's something else, but I've found the doctors almost useless.  The Migraine Brain says that if one lasts more than 72 hours you should be in the hospital getting i.v. drugs because you are dehydrated even if you are drinking.  You would think that after 26 years of them someone might have mentioned that, especially since mine can go on for three weeks at a time.  Anyway, the main cause of progressively worsening migraines is poor sleep so next Wednesday I have a consult for a sleep study.  I have no trouble falling asleep, just trouble staying asleep.  For the last week I've also been clenching my jaw in my sleep so much that I can't turn my head on the pillow in the morning without the help of my hands because the pain in my head/neck/shoulders is so extreme.  This could, again, be all related to lyme or it could just all be related to migraines.  I think that colonial doctors were onto something when they used to drill people's skulls to let out the evil spirits because there are days when I think that might just bring relief!
I am out of school for the summer.

Our first son lost the end of his finger in a treadmill this week when his foot slipped off the tread and he stumbled, tried to catch himself automatically with the other hand....ouch!  It was not a clean cut-more like a meat grinder thing.  So he has been home for a few days.

The little ones went swimming today for the first time this summer and had a great time!

On June 27 Eva will have two casts put on and go into a wheelchair for the summer.  The good news is that they will be soft casts.  I can remove them the day before an appointment for a new cast so that she has at least 24 hours to bathe, swim, run, etc., before she is immobile again.  Much better than the hard casts would be.

Eva has decided that she wants a "real" middle name because Yuqiang is not a real one.  So we went through a list of what we would use and she dislikes all of them; she finally decided that using her Chinese name was okay !
This week I got a message from a lady in Europe who was searching for her son's friends from the orphanage and in her search found my website.  What a wonderful surprise!  Now Eva and Wu Yi can communicate with one of their playmates from their days at the orphanage. (Eva is in the center)
I have a good memory for minutia and am known as something of an elephant when it comes to recalling very specific details, zip codes, phone exchanges, etc.  I also have excellent eyesight.  But when Google started changing things, it was difficult for me.  First they made me change my password and had requirements for the new one which meant I could never remember it.  Then they added all those fuzzy words you have to read correctly before you can post.  Well, I don't see hidden pictures.  You know those things where there are dots and there is an image hidden within those dots?  My husband gets them almost immediately.  He tries to show the picture to me.  He shows me the "reveal" at the back of the book, shows the dots to me again and says, "Don't you see it?"  No.  I never do.  Ever.  Google's fuzzy words are like that to me.  It's amazing how very stressful those fuzzy words are to me, in fact.  I made my husband take the hidden picture books out of the house.  I won't do that with Google, but just wanted to grumble about it.
Time flies....

Eva had a cast put on one leg-disaster-it was off four days later.  She developed a pressure sore immediately under her baby toe and was developing two others.  She was also completely depressed-a state that child is never in-not whiny, bored depressed like most kids, but dull eyes and listless body and a complete change of her perception of herself and her life here.  So the next one can wait.  My husband kept saying things like, "Don't you want your feet to look like everyone else?" and she said, "No."  Eva is happy being Eva.  See before and after phots, below:

Aidan turned eight and had a good turnout for his party, despite his class being slammed with the flu-he came down with it that night, then me, then G, then Eva.  He is feeling fine here, though, hanging out with William, our weekend exchange student from China.  William is the top chemistry student in the country and will go to college in DC next year.  The top 12 students were sent to the US for a three week tour that included all sorts of major cities but a first stop in NH.  This is always their favorite part of the trip-staying with real families.  William was thrilled that he got to meet our governor, sit in his office, look at his wall photos, talk to him, etc.  He was also head over heels in love with our children and them with him.
Easter was busy, full of adults and children having a good time at my sister's house.




Eva's sister, Wu Yi, is turning nine this weekend!
She is so lucky to have her friend "nearby" (other side of the country) an to have a brother so close in age to her.