Monday, May 6, 2013

Final Wrap-Up!

Wow, I never realized how much time Facebook sucked up blogging time until I went to write this post.  It's been forever since I did an update.  Its a bit repetitive posting some photos here, because I like the immediate gratification of sharing them on FB.  But, I'll do it anyway.  At least the narrative will put things in order.

Biggest event of the past few months was Josie making her First Communion.  Its a big deal with our family, as it is with most.  My parents and my two sisters flew here from the East Coast to be a part of the Mass and festivities following.  It was a beautiful day for a celebration of such magnitude.  I'm afraid that no one got the message to our church - which did a terrible job in organizing and preparing the children for this sacrament.

I try to stay positive on this blog, but there was little to praise about the Communion Mass.  I expect those of you who read here might remember your own First Communion or Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  I think, within their respective faiths, these two rites of passage carry equal importance and reverence.  So, you can imagine our dismay when it was announced that there was NO dress code, NO group photograph, and NO procession.  Families were given 3 Masses to pick from: 10AM, Noon and 2PM.  Masses were held at the local Catholic elementary school, in the gym.  This was supposed to alleviate over-crowding and provide enough room for the Communicants and their families to celebrate the Mass.  

Imagine our surprise to find the gym packed upon our arrival.  Not only packed, but a large number of people had 'reserved' whole rows (20 chairs across) and in some cases TWO whole rows of seats like they were on a cruise ship!  They laid out handbags, scarves, jackets and anything else they could find and then posted guards around their protected space!  We tried to be respectful of this arrangement.  James and I sat on the end of a row with Josie while the rest of the family searched for seats.  Ten minutes into the mass, there was still a whole empty row behind us while my 70-something parents stood in the back, unable to find a seat.  What's worse is when we asked the person who was 'guarding' the row if we could make use of it, we were given a lecture about how they had arrived an hour early to reserve those seats... "For people WHO ARE NOT HERE!" I replied in my most emphatic whisper.

There was no need to whisper.  All around us, people spoke in normal tones throughout the entire mass.  I mean, full conversations in the middle of the homily, texting on their cell phones, placing calls on their phones to find late arriving guests, etc.  It was a disgrace.

I am, by no means, a conservative, buttoned-down, holier-than-thou, type of Catholic.  I enjoy a casual gathering as much as the next girl.  However, some events require a certain reverence and respect.  None of either was provided that day.  Two of the Eucharistic Ministers, grown men, were in tee shirts.  The auditorium was set-up like an MTV sound stage and not one traditional hymn was a part of the program.  I know I sound like an old foagie going on and on, but it was embarrassing to hear my family comment on what a mess the whole thing was.  They were right.

Here are some family photos taken that day:

So, enough of my belly-aching.  Moving on to other events...  Our dear Maddie is at this moment finishing her Freshman year of college!  We are so proud of her!  It has been a big year of changes for her and she handled them all with fortitude and resolve.

She has set a goal to study abroad in the Spring semester of her Sophomore year.  This requires holding a solid GPA and having one's course load arranged so no credits are lost along the way.  She has signed up for an on-line course over the summer, arranged her Fall schedule to have only courses in her major and has already begun the paper chase for the study-abroad program.  She is also very active with her sorority and holds down a part-time job as a hostess at a Sports Pub on campus.  When she was having trouble with French II, she spoke with her professor, got a tutor and pulled a B out of the course that she was failing at mid-term.  I can tell you that NO ONE was more surprised than her parents when this kid turned out to be a go-getter!  We've stood back and watched her make her way - with fingers and toes crossed - and she really did great.  Good for our Girl!!

Here's Maddie (on the right) and Friends right before her Sorority 'Spring Formal'...

Finally, I guess its time to let everyone know that my "KICKING AND SCREAMING" had ended.  We are moving back East where my darling husband has secured an awesome job with an awesome company.  James has already started in his new position, which is located in Washington DC.  We will be here in California until Josie's school year comes to an end.  The house here has been on the market for 10 days and we have received 3 offers.  I will be traveling to Virginia this week to continue our home search there.

Its all moving quite rapidly, and I've barely had time for pleasurable pursuits - such as my research and getting together with friends.  We all plan to make the most of the limited time we have remaining here in California.  James has planned outings with Josie to make sure she sees all the wonders of the LA area  before we move.  Here are a few photos of Josie and Katie at the Griffith Observatory in early April:

Josie is going to miss her friends here so very much.  We are worried mostly for her, because she is a tender hearted girl, who feels loss so deeply.  We know she is returning to her Virginia friends, but we have to keep in mind that she was 4 years old when we left.  Although, she has never forgotten or been out of touch with those friends.  They have done a great job of letting Josie know how much she is loved and how much they are looking forward to her return:

A welcome home letter from Josie's friend Emma

And James and I are doing our best to re-acquaint her with the sights of her past:

So, it remains to be seen whether I will continue to blog once we return to Virginia.  I started blogging back in 2004, when we began our adventure to adoption.  So much has changed.  Life is certainly fuller, better, and much more exciting with two daughters!  James and I consider ourselves the luckiest parents on earth - we have two great daughters who are devoted to each other and love each other so very much.  We had no idea back then that Josie would be Maddie's other half, that they would complete each other so fully.  We also had no idea how much love, joy and laughter could come from that tiny little baby from China.  Our girls have changed us, and our family, for the better and forever.  I am thankful.....


  1. I've been a blog stalker for a couple of years.... Through 3 peanuts. I've enjoyed your blog and will miss it. I wish you well on your move back!

    1. Thanks, Karen. I'm glad you found us through the Peanuts - one of my favorite blogs and also one of the families we've been blessed to meet through adoption. My best wishes to you and yours!

  2. May your move back to the east coast go smoothly and quickly. I'm sure you'll all pick up where you left off!

    1. Thanks, Sue. Josie and I will continue to enjoy your photos together... She reads your blog to me now! Love to you and Steve from all of us!