Friday, August 3, 2012

History, Horses, Heritage.....

I hear there comes a time in the the evolution of a family when the parents realize that their time with the children is soon to be curtailed. I had that awakening recently. In only four short years I will be losing Mari to the commitments of college...and in 4 years when Mari goes off to college, Julia will be in high school...probably busy with her friends and sports...began to make me feel that for all the vacationing we did together over the still wasn't ENOUGH!!!

I really do wish we had gone and done much, much more....especially when they were in pre-school and elementary grades when taking them out of school was not as challenging as it is now!!! Money sure can be a limiting factor but how does one value the memories and bonding?!?!?!

So to that end, we have been doing a LOT of short trips away this summer!!!!!!!!!!

 We've gone up to the lake house ...with cousins....made more memories on the zip line.

 We had more campfires together.

 Discovered that this generation had a disdain for smelling like smoke
 and preferred a more digital experience.

We spent time in the lake trying to cool off from our SEARINGLY HOT summer!

Just being silly....but making memories that bind all the same!

 Enjoying the speed and excitement...

 ....and epic spills that have become part of the 'remember when' sessions already!

Having good quality time with a cousin is simply PRICELESS!!!

Another thing we have come to realize this past year....thanks to a DNA test to confirm ethnicity...that not only are my girls of Mayan descent...Mari almost completely....but they have LOADS of cousins among fellow adoptees among our acquaintance!!!!!!!!!!! We were aware of siblings being here somewhere... six between the two girls that we know of....actually had HOPED to find a few through the DNA test but to no avail. The complete surprise was the number of 'cousins' they had right here in our own backyard!! Even though we will never be able to learn of the exact family tree that made it possible, by the % of shared DNA they are anywhere from 2nd to Distant cousins....and in our book....cousins are family!!!!! Another thing we are adoptees can feel a deep craving to be with and feel connected to anyone or thing from their birth country. I mean we 'knew' this...we had met adult adoptees and talked and read up on this....a LOT....but it has recently become tangible here in this house!! So we've taken a couple of trips to Guatemalan adoption reunions lately!! One was to Kentucky where we met up with some 'cousins' who also happen to share an insane love of horses.

My city girls got a real taste of country living...right down to what the cat dragged in!!

 We spent the day at the Kentucky Horse Park!

 Where my little horse lover was in her own little piece of heaven (-: Not only did we get up close and personal with retired Kentucky Derby winners, we went through education barns and saw shows of reining skills and displays of horses from around the globe.

 We saw horses and ferriers...and silliness.

 Then we went back to the host's barn and that is when a total and pure happiness descended!!

 Julia's dream would be to have her own barn with two Morgans....and a real riding helmut (-:

 Oh to have pastures and horses!

 Well Mari was not about to turn down the chance either!!

Though she was happier being the horse!!

Then we took a brief detour through Midwest history on our way to another Guatemalan reunion just a week later...

 In the blazing heat of a record hot summer we are taking a lot of our pictures huddled in any bit of shade we can find....makes you wonder how Mary Todd Lincoln survived in hoop skirts?!?!?

 The History Alive program was in full swing and the girls learned how to play with vintage toys from Mr. Lincoln himself!

 The obligatory "we were here" pose!

 Even though I have been to his tomb before I simply did not remember how impressive it was...and more amazing in this post 9/11 era how OPEN it is to the public....and how knowledgeable and dedicated the National Park Rangers are as we questioned them endlessly.

 So can you guess where we went next??

 Massive, impressive...what more can you say?!?! We rode up and looked out 
and came down to earth again!

Three immigrants on the shores of the mighty Mississippi!

 After melting our way west we arrived at Moguate!!! So far the meet and greet was a blast...we wish more older adoptees would find the joy of reconnecting so Mari and Julia aren't always the oldest though!!

The dancing the night away is is now time to soak, swim, and socialize by the Lake of the Ozarks!!! We'll be right back ya'll to show all the fun by the pools (-:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So it has been seven months since I last formed a coherent post.

 Cryptic explanation for my absence but in the effort to play fair to all.....I can say only that life got rough. While we heal, and until I get the energy and know how to open another blog where more privacy can be practiced, I figured I'll just post an odd picture here and there with a bit of commentary. I feel the need still to provide the girls with a place to come and "have memories".....feeling a bit disingenuous by only posting the sugar coated version of this time in our life ...but the meatier memories really do not belong in the public forum!

So to go back and try to catch up....or put up the current and try to go back....hmmmm....thinking going back is still a bit risky emotionally so let's start here and work back slowly.

I am still sewing. Less frequently but it still provides me with solace and sometimes even helps to 'fill my bucket' with the pictured dress...not my most creative or artistic creation but one that is getting to live the life I had hoped for it ....and then some!!! Thought it would be cute for an Olympic opening ceremonies party...but it was bought for a little girl who will be wearing it to the ACTUAL opening ceremonies in London!!!

Had my Dad staying with me for a couple of weeks around the fourth of July. Certainly hope I have his longevity genes! 87 years old and he kept up with us 'kids' as we took in two straight nights of fireworks.

A proud grandpa with his granddaughters Alyssa, Julia, and Mari.

Not to be out done we have a proud Dad with his girls...

It was hotter than Hades all week so a little frozen treat was in order!!

A rare photographic feat...Patrick and I in the same frame!!!

 We are still into our 'traditions'...this is our annual trek to The Original Rainbow cone on the south side of Chicago...almost no pictures to show because while we ate ice cream a big storm came pounding through and we had to duck for cover!!

As we drove home we feared for what we would find....


...and with each passing block it got worse!!

But we were spared any real damage!!! Better yet, we were one of the VERY FEW houses left in town WITH power!!! Meant we became the temporary hostel for my parents, my sister, niece, nephew, and a brother as the 105 degree days without electricity were life threatening
 in their own way!!

In the end of June we held another pair of annual traditions....the family picnics!! One weekend devoted to Patrick's mega family and the next devoted to my mega family. Such a blessing really that my girls have 30 first cousins. 

One of my favorite shots of the 'teen girls' at my family's picnic....if I wasn't on my laptop I might have been tempted to find one of them when they were the 'toddler girls'....but then that would be too depressing....seeing the change and knowing that Mari is the only one in the above picture who is not yet a driver or in driver's ed....but only because she has a December birthday!!!

To think this was only a portion of my immediate family at the picnic....because we waited too late in the day and missed a few of the early departees!?!?....kind of joyful that both of my parents were able to attend since not one single other of the cousins left in their generation were able to make it out to the picnic grove but also kind of depressing to see the wheelchair and walker in the picture )-:

Sentimental as well to see Julia starting to tower over her cousins on her Dad's side of the family....

...and see her in the sack race with her 'favorite' sack that once came to her neck!!!

We have almost NO family pictures lately...and then we get two in as many weeks that we really like...go figure!

Patrick had a lovely time with his brothers but this too was a bittersweet year for only have 3 of the 8 siblings able to gather for the reunion....)-:

Now speaking of bittersweet!!!!!!!! Brace yourself for the last event to be covered in today's post.....

Yessiree Bob!!! I am now officially the parent to a HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN!?!?
Literally in that she has already taken one summer school class!

This moment marked an unbelievable milestone in our lives in so very, very many ways. All I can say is, while part of me was extremely relieved to have this moment....part of me wondered how the heck that little bundle of brains that walked with me onto a plane in Guatemala City had gone from a chatty toddler so eager to find out what those big neon letters on the store fronts meant that she taught herself to read at 30 months a third grade wordsmith who found her spelling tests to be so unchallenging that she did all of her words backwards and loved to show off her skill to spell backwards to her Auntie Peggy at every opportunity....had become a young woman heading off into high school????

See what I mean??? This happened!! When all I see is ....

....the toddler who's eyes drew us in and led us to her in Guatemala!!

Okay, enough sappy sentimentality for one post!! Just leave you with a couple of pictures of Mari celebrating the milestone at her 8th grade Luau...