Tuesday, May 29, 2012

tennesse:day 7-water park and final dinner

when we woke up we decided to go back to loveless cafe for a second time to try out their breakfast. it was delicious of course! we knew that amanda had chemo so we went to spend the day at the water park!
we all had so much fun, especially in the wave pool. it took river awhile to warm up to the slides. we went down each one once and she was not impressed and spent the next few hours in the wave pool. but finally, for whatever reason, she went down with flower and then we couldn't get them off the slides when it was time to go! it was all a blast.

we were all in need of some ice cream to cool us down. we went to a very highly recommended place and it was awesome!

right outside their door someone had chained their bike frame to a post with a note for people to sign it. the girls dug that.

and finally inside to behold the goodness. they highly encourage you to taste every flavor. i liked not feeling guilty asking to try different each one. check out some of their wild flavors on the board.

tired girl with ice cream all over her face. :)
we were all happy campers and flower left them a love note on their black board.
{i love your ice cream very much. love, flower}
we witnessed an almost fight that was pretty funny. as we were cleaning up to head out a very self righteous lady asked us if our dogs were tied up outside. we informed her they weren't ours and she continued asking other patrons and then lectured the culprit for being an irresponsible pet owner and how dare he tie them up in the heat for their pads to get burned. she told him it was bad for their health and so forth and he should be ashamed. he handled it very well and told her to buzz off. he was in there all of 5 minutes as he was picking up a to go order, with a sweet little babe in a stroller in tow. as he was leaving he walked up to her and said, "do you know what you're eating? it's high in fat and sugar and terrible for your health. that's very irresponsible and you should be ashamed." i busted up as i gave him a thumbs up and walked out.
by the time we were done there amanda was calling to find out our plans. we met her and jeannie and family for dinner and our third visit to loveless. the first time i had meat loaf but was having a hard time deciding between that and the pot roast. so i was excited to try the pot roast tonight. fail. they ran out just before our order was put into the kitchen. but oh well. i enjoyed their fabulous meat loaf a second time. it was fun to get to know jeannie a bit more and meet her husband. and the girls adore helena.

i did not want to leave because that would mean good-bye. i walked out and saw a rainbow and it gave me a weird sense of peace.(little did i know the next rainbow i would see would have to do with amanda...the day she passed.)
that was by far the hardest good-bye i've ever said because i was quite certain we wouldn't see her again. we hugged and hugged some more. and then when we got in the car and drove away i sobbed. :(
then we got back to the hotel to discover just how burned i'd gotten that day. joy.
we packed up all of our things and got ready for our early morning departure and i'm pretty sure i cried myself sleep.

Monday, May 28, 2012

tennessee:day 6-time with amanda

we went for breakfast about 11 and this place was a total score! we loved it. crepes and waffles? how can you go wrong. we all shared a waffle and a crepe. we ate outside and really enjoyed ourselves.

then we ordered amanda a savory and a sweet crepe and headed to her place. the girls were really excited to see where she lived and i was excited for some alone time! once the girls got bored inside, kg took them out to play in the yard, giving amanda and i a chance to talk. it was so wonderful to sit and talk with her, face to face. and boy did she open right up. she had so much to talk about that she felt she couldn't talk about with anyone else. she unloaded. some of the things she told me about a few people were surprising and sad to me, and her. she also told me things about the foster home that were heart breaking for both of us and was causing her great stress. we talked about her hopes and fears for the future of the foster home. we talked about some of the starfish and happy memories she had with them and their families. she recollected her hardest babies, and her side kicks. she told me how she'd always viewed river(and helena) as honorary starfish because they meant the same to her as her starfish. that warmed my heart. she told me that one of her best memories of one of her starfish was when she came to river's sealing and being able to be in the temple with flower. she sadly admitted that she always thought she'd be in the temple when flower got married and because of the recent circumstances she was so happy she made that trip. that was very special for all of us. i know one of our immediate connections was due to our religion. she told us when we were in china that she loved knowing what every stage of flower's life would be like, just because of that. and until recently we were the only ones. i still recall her email excitedly telling me that another family had joined the ranks. sadly i still don't know who they are. we talked about how different it was for us when we came to china, compared to the families that go now. she was so new to all of this and we were brand new parents, and her youngest to date, i believe, at 30. it was crazy. but soon enough she had it down to a fine art! we packed so much into that conversation! we talked about how scary it was that the government started questioning us and amanda because of our unique situation of having sponsored flower for a year before we adopted her(never thinking for the first 6 months that we'd adopt her!) but all of us being so new to this we didn't know not to say anything to the government about that and it almost got amanda's privilege to have a foster home taken away. we were all questioned and it was scary. we didn't get much time with her because of all of that. not like the families do now.
it was also at this time that she told me she knew she was never going back to china and i knew what she meant. :( she asked a few things of me and we made some promises to each other.

finally after all the deep conversation, it was time for happier things! we took her to get a pedicure. it was such a nice salon! i loved that there were enough chairs for all of us in the same area so we could be together and get them done at the same time.

amanda and the girls also got their fingernails painted.

that was a lovely way to spend time together!
all our pretty toes!
after that we went in search of lunch/dinner. amanda wanted thai and we stumbled upon this place but it didn't open for an hour so we pulled over into some shade and the girls and amanda took a nap. :)
amanda loved this place and said it was very authentic. kg and the girls seemed ok with it. i didn't like it. but it was all about amanda so i was thrilled that she loved it.

after that she recommended a yogurt place that she'd heard about but never tried. we were up for that! unfortunately none of us were big fans. the yogurt had too much air in it. it's hard to explain but definitely isn't a place i'd go again.
finally back at the hotel to swim the night away!

jack is so stinkin' cute and had a great time with kg.

another super fun day!

Let's kick it.

can you dig it?

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i love life. i love my family. i love adventures.

past ramblings

peace out