Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Aquarium Pictures

The Oregon Coast Aquarium

On the 5th of July we met some dear friends at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It was a lot of fun (it took a lot less time to get through the aquarium than I remembered). It was a long drive for a short visit - but time spent with friends is always treasured regardless of the distance.

I think our favorite thing was the Japanese Spider Crab - it can get to be 100 feet in it's span.

Of course all the kids loved the "passages of the deep" tunnel.

Here are pictures of all my precious kids and our friends.

4th of July - After the Fireworks

These are my favorite pictures!

More 4th of July pictures

I should probably tell you we were at Rock Away Beach.

My favorite line from that night came from Jackson to his Dad.

"Do you want to come sit with me Daddy, it is a really great view!"

4th of July and the Aquarium

This summer is full of fun, firsts and moving! We wanted to do as many fun things in Oregon as we could before we move to the great state of TN. We also wanted to make sure that Carter and Maraya got to experience things, like the beach, aquarium, the list goes on - I will post individual trips in the days to come.

This was the first 4th of July for them, and the first time in a long time that we did it at the beach.

We got there early to get a good spot, the kids played in the sand for at least four hours. Digging, making sand angels, covering themselves or each other with sand - they had a blast. They loved how the sand felt on their feet - and when we got home - boy we had sand in placed I didn't think possible!

More Date Night and Special Day Pictures

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Date Nights and Special Days

I think individual time with each child is so important to build a strong and close relationship with them. We had started having "date nights" with our children when we first brought Zoe home, about four years ago. Once a month, either Bill or I would take the other children out individually for some one on one time. This is not a "hit the arcade or spend a lot of money" kind of thing. This is truly to spend some quality time with each other, learning more about each child, their interests, their concerns, what is important to them, also it is a great way to model respectful behavior - manners, holding doors, etc.

Last summer we also started having "Special Days". This is a day when one child gets to have mommy and daddy all to themselves for an extra special thing that the child chooses. Those are truly wonderful times, and I learn so much more about my children and who they are becoming.

It is during these times that Zoe shares her fantasies about China and her China mom - something completely age appropriate and expected. I am so glad that she talks about it with me. Carter and Maraya, recently had their individual dates with us - they both talked about Ethiopia. Carter even asked me on his date "why you brought us here?" It was a good opportunity for me to hear more about his memories, what he misses, what he loves and his thoughts and feelings about America and his new family. Of course we always talk about his Ethiopia mom and how wonderful she was, as well as his uncle and brother that they both remember.

Jack - what a great kid he is. He is really becoming a wonderful big brother - patient, kind, helpful and loving. He is my nature boy - loves bugs, trees, animals, science. His perfect date is walking around a nature park and talking - gotta love it.

Maddy - What a beautiful girl - inside and out. We recently went to get her nails done and then to Clair's for some "fun shopping" as she likes to call it. She tried on hats, glasses, held up ear rings, etc - she looked great in everything. Yikes - my tall, beautiful, blond girl with green eyes and a tan that looks great in everything - I am very afraid of boys in her teen years!

Maraya - she is such a joy, fills me love, reminds me of what is important. She loves to try new things, isn't afraid of much at all and is always so happy. She loves it when I do her hair, or really just spend time with her. Her and Bill recently went to a park, then the rose garden then some ice cream - a wonderful time.

Carter - he is ALL BOY - no nature walks for him - give him cars and sports! I took him to pump it up recently - he bounced all over the place. I bounced a bit with him - until I picked him up in one of those things and hurt my back - oh well - it was better in time for me to go down the bouncy slide.

Zoe - She is my thoughtful, caring, sweet as pie girl who prays for everyone - then on the other hand does everything to cover herself and get someone else in trouble. She has come a long way though - typical sibling behavior. She just wants to cuddle and have time with either Bill or I. Her favorite place to go is the zoo and then out for Chinese food. I have a special surprise though - for her next date - I am taking her to the Chinese gardens then to Chinese dinner. She is very China focused right now.