Cast of characters... or you need a scorecard to tell the players apart
(Updated August 2011; text updated March 2012)
I worry that my system of using initials to talk about my children and family members could be a bit confusing especially is you don't know us in real life. To help with that, I've created a list of 'who's who' in the big, ugly house. I will begin with the youngest and work my way up:
Here is L., who is 3 (her picture desperately needs to be updated). She is always on the go and exploring things, but is also very much Mama's girl, especially when other people are around. Sadly, she and her sister (below) have decided that their favorite activity is removing their diapers during nap time. I won't be sad to see the phase disappear.
And this is G., also 3 (and also needs a new picture). She is not quite so adventurous as her sister, but is far more interested in other people. Her big grin and princess wave are really adorable. She has become quite the talker and will parrot back absolutely everything that is said around her, including the phrase, "I 'dorable!", which means that we really need to curtail saying this to her.
This smiley little guy is K., who is 6, but after adjusting for his time in the orphanage, is really closer to 4. We adopted him when he was two years old from Vietnam. Although he started out with a lot of things stacked against him, he has been making remarkable progress. He is the sunniest little boy and joy to have around. His newest accomplishment is that he has started to learn how to count and write letters. We discovered he could write letters because at the moment he is sporting a big 'A' on each knee which he wrote with pen.
D. comes next in the line-up. He is 9 years old and is in 3rd grade. I'm not sure there has ever been such a gregarious child... at least not in our family. He has become an amazing reader over the summer and reads constantly. Yet another precocious reader in the family... this means that finding books which challenge his abilities, yet are still appropriate becomes a challenge. Good thing I've had a lot of practice.
This is TM who is 9 and also in the3rd grade. He came home from Vietnam when he was 3 1/2. TM loves all things mechanical, especially if those things involve wheels or computers. He is also developing into quite an artist and draws wonderful, elaborate pictures.
Meet H., our 9 year old daughter from China and the last of the trio of virtual triplets (along with TM and D.) She has facial tumors and it seems the most likely diagnosis at this point in Linear Nevus Sebaceous Syndrome, an official rare disease on the NIH website. Despite everything stacked against her, H. is one of the sunniest, most resilient children I've ever met. It's as though she is our own personal Pollyanna. (And I mean that in a very good way; I love the book.)
This is P., who allowed me to take her picture in a rare moment of photographic cooperation. She is 11 and in 6th grade. P. loves to read and make things and go places. Like L., though, she is not so sure of interacting with other people. Recently she has started dancing with a group at church and is loving it. Oh, and she would also give her right hand to have a pet cat... if only her sister weren't allergic.
Now we're to A., who is 14 and is in 8th grade. A. is my happy, bubbly girl who I can always count on for a smile. She is also a world-class organizer and is often my right hand around the house.
Next up is B., who is 17 and a junior in high school. He is a great guy and amazing with the babies. B. has a great sense of humor and is a lot of fun to have around. He is a beekeeper and loves to cook, often helping me in the kitchen. He also is the 'baby whisperer', having amazing abilities at rocking fussy babies to sleep.
M., the oldest child in our family, is 19 and is a freshman in college, living off campus, but only 25 minutes away. M. is a wonderful daughter, helpful and cooperative. It will be very odd not having her around as much this year, though I am excited to see what she does in college.
I suppose the list wouldn't be complete without including me (E.- above) and J. (below). I am a homemaker, wife, mother, homeschool teacher, and holder of many opinions. J. works at a local university and does his best to spend as much as he can at home with us. We've been married 20 years.
So there you go, a nice list with photos so you can keep us all straight.