Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

2011 Wrap-Up

January: Our year of milestones began with two celebrations—New Years (everyone stayed up late and welcomed in the new year for the first time) and Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos, with a very stale Rosca de Reyes. My bad for buying one instead of making it myself. Josi became a bonafide teenager, and has been steadily working on proving it throughout 2011.  I brought up the rear with an appearance on TogiNet Radio’s Adoption ~ Journey to Motherhood, hosted by Mary Beth Wells. The program centered around one of the classes I teach: Tweens, Teens & Beyond. The half hour flew and I was delighted to not know the format of the show prior to coming on. Wish there had been time for more dialogue… I had a lot to say (per usual).

February ushered in Snowmaggedon and Chinese New Year—the year of the Golden Rabbit, a year in which we were supposed to catch our breath and focus on calm (maybe this year??), and Aubry’s second celestial stem (“second twelve”) of her first life cycle this year (sixty years in Chinese zodiac cycle).

In March Holden turned eighteen, and that added new worries for Mom. I was involved in The Parenting Summit, a free online event that featured video messages from a number of a leading parenting and family experts. The focus of the summit was to share tips and advice on becoming a more effective parent. It was stressful to tape myself; I prefer a live audience… (You guess right if you thought I spoke about transracial parenting and adoption.)

April took us to our beloved Pawleys for our last-in-a-long-time-maybe-ever family vacay, this time with my mother-in-law in tow. We enjoyed the cooler weather at the beach and some respite from a very hectic schedule and the intense focus on Holden’s IB studies and college. Holden made a decision on which college he would attend. (Note: We were, and still are, thrilled with his decision)

May was a terribly emotional roller coaster. We lost Mark’s dad on the 17th, ten years after he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, while Holden sat for his IB exams.  Our oldest graduated from high school a week later, missing most of the pre-graduation pictures because he had a car accident (he was fine, although shaken up).

The International Dad wrote a guest post in June for Father’s Day.  We also celebrated our 20th anniversary, family-style. The couple-style will be celebrated in 2012… I began weaning myself from asking Holden to pick up the driving slack. The family began to “breathe,” absorbing the slower and quieter pace of life.

July heralded our first ever non-family vacation, if you could call it that. I coined it an orbiting vacation. Josi went to an invitation-only national soccer camp in the south (which is why we went to Pawleys in April), and we stayed on a lake in the next state. It was so sweltering that even the bugs were stopped their bugging. Holden stayed home to work, and yep… Accident. This one totaled the car, although he was fine. There are reasons a mother worries. (He still doesn’t have a car.)

August arrived quickly, and with it professional expansion: The launch of my first micro-published work: What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween, which I wrote because I saw a need to assist parents with ideas and support when their children are entering adolescence, when questions and emotions tied to having been adopted become more complex.

I am thrilled that I wrote and published this e-guide, that it has received wonderful reviews and feedback, that it has sold and continues to sell well, and that it has become an international seller (uh huh! :)).  I also became certified to teach a program—Bringing Baby Home—through the Gottman Institute for new and expecting parents. We took Holden to college, pulling Josi, Aubry and Greyson from school so that we could help alleviate any potential triggers due to separation.

Aubry had her last tweenie birthday in September (difficult for me to believe…).  I presented on four well-received topics at two conferences, in Richmond, VA and Indianapolis, IN.  We began to understand just how tough was going to be with Holden away at college, even though we had Skype, Facebook, Twitter, texting, phones, and emails going constantly. There’s nothing like someone’s presence to alleviate that void.

The big guy (my hubby) celebrated his birthday in October. Holden came home for fall break and it was wonderful to have all of us together. I was very selfish with his time and I won’t apologize for that… (His friends did get plenty of him, too.)

Greyson hit, what we refer to in our home as, the “double-digits” in November.  He became ten. It was huge and wonderful and kinda sad. My baby, so “old.”  To bring awareness to adoption, I participated in The Adoption Interview Project. Thanksgiving was spent in quiet reflection about those who were not with us and gearing up for the coming holiday madness.

December brought the wonderful holiday, special traditions and many, many guests, including Holden’s young lady friend. We’ve eaten dozens of calorie-laden cookies baked by Josi, Aubry and myself as well as enjoyed hours upon hours of downtime, board games and movies.

We stand of the edge of 2011, wishing it farewell as we step forward and welcome 2012 with many friends and their families. Thank you, 2011—for the lessons and the gifts. For the ongoing love and support of family and friends. For replenishing this mama’s well when it has run dry. And for the stamina to do what I love—being a mother, wife, sister, friend, aunt, mentor, teacher, writer, and speaker.

                      ~ Photo (yes, blurry) taken by one of our silly kiddos


Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Classes with Judy, Family, Family Celebrations, Growing Tweens & Teens, Parenting Your Adopted Child, The International Mom

Chinese New Year is Here!

We have been busy preparing for our second New Year celebration of 2011, Chinese New Year, which kicks off today, February 3rd. Aside from hanging scrolls, lanterns, and dragons around the house; we cleaned—to keep the good energy/spirits within our home, significantly encouraging good fortune for 2011. We will be making and eating an abundance of Chinese food (especially long noodles for a long life) this weekend when we get together and celebrate with families who have also adopted from China.

We’ve been doing this for years, ever since our oldest daughters joined our families. Most of our daughters are now teens and, if possible, more excited about this important cultural holiday because they understand and enjoy the significance as well as being actively involved in it. The girls help with the many dishes we will share and eat, but their favorite is the preparation and steaming of the dumplings. In fact, if the parents and younger kids don’t pay attention, they may miss tasting the fare because the girls tend to eat the dumplings soon as they’re ready.

For our family, Chinese New Year is just as important as Día de los Tres Reyes, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other cultural and religious events and holidays. And, for the first time ever, we’ve had conflicts for our time. There was no question as to what we should do; the other activities were dropped. As a multicultural family we made it clear that Chinese New Year was the priority.

This is the Year of the Rabbit, the fourth sign in the Chinese Zodiac. According to the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the year of the Rabbit are the luckiest. Their lives begin and end well. Rabbits are nimble, quick, cautious, and clever. Even though they may appear frail and gentle, they are strong-minded and willed.

The Chinese zodiac calendar follows a sexagesimal (sixty-year) life cycle. As I pointed out in an earlier post, Aubry begins her second celestial stem (“second twelve”) of her first life cycle this year.

2011 is the Golden Rabbit, a year in which we can catch our breath and focus on calm. We look forward to replenishing ourselves and our chi (energy) and living in the moment with those who bring immense joy and light into our lives. And, if you are also celebrating the Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

恭喜發財 (Congratulations and Prosperity!)


Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Cultural Awareness, Family Celebrations, Identity, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom, Traditions

One Step at a Time

A little bit of shredded carrot. Add some shredded celery, onion, ground turkey, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it all up. That’s the easy part.

The dough is the trick—the right combination of flour and water. The dough is in turn kneaded and rested, making it perfect for the dumpling shell. The dough first takes the form of a large ball and is further divided into smaller portions to make it more manageable. The smaller portions are worked and become long cylinder shapes, ready for cutting segments. Those segments are then rolled into balls and then pressed out with the palm of the hand and further flattened and thinned out by the Asian rolling pin. A small amount of the meat and vegetable mixture is added to the center of the round dumpling and then it is folded in half and sealed by crimping the edges together. The process requires patience and skill.

Josi made her first dumplings this past week. Yin (Josi’s Mandarin teacher) thought cooking would be great to do with her weekly Mandarin lesson. Josi respectively paid attention as Yin’s mother (who speaks no English) showed her the finer points of making Chinese dumplings. Yin’s mother cooked a few while we were still there. They were very good. What wasn’t cooked and eaten was frozen to be enjoyed later this month.

Chinese tradition is to eat dumplings at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Doing this represents a smooth transition from one year to the next. I view Josi making the dumplings as another step towards embracing her birth culture. To those of you who celebrate the Spring Festival, Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Cultural Awareness, International Adoption, The International Mom