Sunday, September 25, 2011

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Released just this month, a film depicting revolt of indigenous Taiwanese against the Japanese in the 1930s is the most expensive Taiwanese in history with a price tag of $25 million. Critics say that "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" (official website) is a violent although accurate portrayal of the Wushe incident, the biggest rebellion against colonial Japanese forces in Taiwan which resulted in the massacre of both Japanese and indigenous Taiwanese.

I'm googling and reading what I can about Seediq Bale. I don't have anything personally to say about the film... as it's released in Taiwan and I haven't seen it, but I'm very interested in everything I can read about it in English speaking media.

Be aware that the film is filled with violence, as it depicts a massacre with beheadings.

Wiki link on the Wushe incident
Wiki link on the film
film trailer on YouTube (violent scenes)
article in The American Interest
article in The Economist
the film's official website (violent scenes)
review in the Wall Street Journal

"Mama, you marry Daddy?"

Hannah was eyeing Halloween costumes and really liked a fancy white dress. I explained that was a wedding dress, and that women sometimes wear them when they get married.
Hannah: "Mama, you marry Daddy?"
Mama: "Yes, I married your Daddy. It was a long time ago, long before you."
Hannah: "You marry Daddy when I was at the baby House in Taiwan and I was so little."
She can't imagine a time before her. That's okay, sometimes that's hard for me, too! :)

Hannah really likes watching the video I made of the day we met her. Lately she asks to watch it every night. Now she tells me the story of the video. "You hold me and you laugh and cry. I put my hands in Daddy's mouth. You give me a bottle and then I get so sleepy. You hold my hand and look at it because I was so little. You give me Dolly and I play with keys. You say, "Hello, Baby!" We go in a train, and back to hotel. I crawl on the floor. You feed me baby food and I say I want more, I want more!" I remember being so tired when I made that video... and I would work on it when she was sleeping when we first came home from Taiwan. I'm so glad I put it together while those memories were fresh.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

to Texas and back

This is TEXAS sized blog post that took me a month
to put together! A lot happens in two weeks.

Especially when you spend the night...

in three different family's homes and three different hotel rooms.

The day we got home Hannah asked me,
"Mama, where are we gonna sleep tonight? We go back to hotel?"

I wish we were still on vacation, too!

This all started many many many months ago when we learned that the Taiwan R.O.C.ks adoptive family reunion was going to be held in Grapevine, Texas, this year, it was a no brainer. We had to go! Kevin's sister lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and we hadn't been to their house to visit in nearly four years.

On the way down we stopped in the Ozarks of Missouri to visit Kevin's aunt and her family. Hannah was in heaven. The little girls showed Hannah their cow, ducks, over a hundred chickens, and three mama cats raising kittens inside the house. Hannah was in kitten heaven watching and playing with the 10-12 kittens running around the living room. She had so much fun she requested to sleep with the little girls and not with Mama and Daddy. We were gifted with a whole box of home canned goods. I especially love the home canned peaches on my oatmeal in the morning, and Kevin likes the tomatoes and pickled ocra. With multiple roosters crowing, it was time to get back on the road towards the Lone Star state.

During my two visits to Texas, a few things stick out to me about this state. These people are sure proud to be Texans, they love their flag and display it proudly, and I've never seen so many signs for Dr. Pepper!

at the Alamo at night

We spent a few days just hanging out with Kevin's sister, husband, and our niece. We decided to travel to San Antonio for two days to visit Sea World, the Alamo, and the River Walk. Walking along the River Walk was relaxing, and I enjoyed looking at the architecture along the river. We took a little tour, and it was a definite must to understand the history of San Antonio and why the River Walk is so special to this city. We watched the Alamo IMAX movie and then toured the grounds. At Sea World Hannah's favorite activities were hand feeding little fish to dolphins, watching live shows with dolphins, whales, and birds, and splashing around at the water park. Kevin's sister is eight months pregnant, and it blows me away that she was able to walk the whole day and do all of this with us. Friday morning we left San Antonio, drove nearly five hours back to Dallas-Fort Worth, packed up our things for the weekend, and left for the Great Wolf Lodge.

Sea World

Having an event like this at Great Wolf Lodge was nice because it was a huge place with lots to do, but small enough that we would see people from our group where ever we went. We could always find someone in the water park to play with and someone in the dining hall to eat with. I knew the faces of a lot of people in our group that I hadn't met yet, and it was kinda surreal to see people wandering around in the lobby, notice each other, and hug a friend for the first time!

We enjoyed pizza at a pizza parlor just down the road from the resort. The parents mamas were doing a whole bunch of talking and not so much eating! The after their dinners the kiddos around us just started jumping on the booth seats and were just so cute. Hard to tell them not to jump when we were too busy gabbing they were making friends and really being so good otherwise! Amazing to think that we had over 25 Taiwan adoptive families including TWO families all the way west from Hawaii and a family of TEN all the way east from Germany, all in one little room, enjoying one another's company.

That night back at the hotel, Lora and Allie hosted a party in their room. Lora thought ahead and brought little tiny containers of play doh for the kids. Great idea, as that's something that kids of all ages can play with. I brought along a package of "lady stickers," some Gatorade, and a bottle of wine "mommy juice" for the mommies. Unscheduled play time was definitely one of my favorite activities with the kids. So fun to let kids unwind, be kids, make friends, have a glass of wine mommy juice, and just BE. Oh yes, and take photos of all of the silliness!







It was getting pretty late, way past these kiddos' bedtimes. When I told Hannah that we need to go back to our room and get jammies on I heard a little voice say, "I want to sleep with Allie!" Aw.... This was so sleep. Allie and Miss Lora looked like they wanted a slumber party, too. I wanted Hannah to get a good night's sleep so she could be rested for a big day tomorrow, but Lora assured me that if she slept in their room and didn't settle down soon, Hannah would be returned to her parents next door. Hannah got to have her first slumber party, I went back to our room by myself to unwind, while Daddy hung out meeting up with most of the other daddies in the lounge.

Saturday morning we enjoyed an amazing buffet breakfast at the lodge. Pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, sausage, cereal, fruits, yogurt, granola, crepes, and lots more. Everything yummy for breakfast was all there. With full bellies we got on our swimsuits and headed for the water park with our buddies. After a couple of wave and splash filled hours, we cleaned up back in our room and gathered with a few people for a clothing swap in a banquet hall. We brought old clothes to hand-me-down to friends, and hoped to find some hand-me-downs for us, too. Our great finds include a cowgirl outfit, Hello Kitty crocks, and a few little boy outfits for Hannah's little brother. {No referral yet! Hopefully soon!}

During the clothing swap the kids were so funny. They played chase around the tables and laughed and laughed while hiding under the table cloths. Hannah told me she was hungry, so I asked Kevin to take three of the girls for a look around the hotel and get them a snack. After making sure it was okay with their mommies, Kevin took Gracyn, Allie, and Hannah for a walk. When they returned, they were each carrying HUGE ice cream cones and Kevin had a really pleased look on his face. Apparently, Gracyn likes mint chip ice cream. No, she REALLY likes mint chip ice cream! :)

That night we enjoyed a Mexican dinner buffet in the banquet hall, released red balloons attached with wishes by or for our children, and watched a slide slow filled with photos of referral photos, precious moments families were created, and families together back at home. It was very exciting to learn that next year's Taiwan R.O.C.ks event will be in Chicago, just a few hours away from us. I'm very excited about this, knowing that lots of our Midwestern Taiwan adoptive family friends are likely to go!

On Sunday Kevin's sister's family joined us for an entire day at the lodge's water park. We were exhausted after a full day of play. Hannah LOVED splashing her silly uncle over and over and over again. They both couldn't get enough splashing.

We visited the Boba Tea House and Fort Worth Botanical Japanese Garden again this trip. The noodles and boba are delish, and the Japanese garden is a lovely spot for photos. I think Hannah could feed the huge koi and turtles in the pond all day. While we were there, we watched a man propose to his girlfriend on a bridge in the garden. Her relatives were there to take photos of the moment he proposed. It was very beautiful, and she said yes!



One the way home from Texas we stopped to visit our friends Andrea and Libby. The girls swam and splashed in their pool and played with the little kitchen and stickers. We took photos of the girls at a local park, and some of the ones I took of Libby are some of my most favorite ever.



Ahhh. Great to be away and visit with so many people, but nice to be back home in our own beds, too. There's no place like home!

little bits from this week that I don't want to forget


Monday night we stopped by Walmart to pick up a couple of things. We always go to the toy section to play a little bit. Hannah is always so good in the toy section. She loves to play and never asks/begs/pleads/cries to bring a toy home. Daddy decided to set her on a bicycle with training wheels, and she started peddling down the isle. Our little girl can ride a big girl bike! She was so happy and proud of herself. We'll wait until next spring to get her one. Sounds like a perfect big sister present.

After preschool Monday Daddy asked Hannah what she wanted for lunch. Hannah replied, "I want to go to the mall." On my... she's three going on thirteen!

Hannah and Daddy were looking at the moon together. Kevin asked Hannah, "Can you touch the moon?" She replied, "No, it's too far away!" Kevin explained that to go to the moon you have to jump in a spaceship and fly for three days. You'd have to wear a space suit because you can't breathe in outer space. Hannah didn't understand what breathing was, and he demonstrated breathing in and out. Hannah eyed him and stated, "Daddy, you talk too much."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

milk face

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's a boy!

It's a boy! Referral call came last night night. Kevin's was at his computer desk and answered the phone. I'd been in Hannah's room picking up, taking summer clothes out of her closet, inserting more for fall, and trying on some hand-me-down shoes to see if they'll fit yet.

The little boy is an older baby, has huge gorgeous eyes, cheeks made for kissing, and some fuzzy/spiky hair. During the lengthy phone call we were provided with lots of information about him, and I kept thinking... "Yes, yes, yes... what's not to love? Hurry up and show me some pics of my son, lady!" :) As soon as we saw his photo, I turned to Kevin, sported a few tears, and we hugged. "I think that's our son!" We think he's perfect for our family, and hope that the judge assigned to our case in Taiwan will think so, too. We aren't allowed to share photos online publicly this time around. But believe me, he's soooooo cute!

What does Hannah think? She looks at the photos and says, "That's my baby brother," and then runs off to play. Oh well. When asked if she'll share her toys, Hannah looks at me for a long time with at look that says, "I'm supposed to say yes but I really don't want to." Nana suggested, "How about we go to a store and buy your baby brother some toys? Do you think he'd like cars?" Then Hannah got a huge grin on her face. She thinks Nana has a fabulous idea!

We've not settled on a name for sure yet. I'd like to see his characters and think about his name's meaning before deciding on an English first name and keeping his Chinese name as a middle name.