Florida '98

Steve, Lynn, and Maya visited Steve's sister Barb and her daughter Sammie in Clearwater during the month of June. The cousins were adopted from China about two weeks apart in August of 1997; this trip was only the second time they've met!

Happy together

These kids hit it off from the moment they saw each other. Maya is about four months older than Sammie and immediately taught her many new things, such as when to scream during a long car ride, where food goes when you throw it from the table, and that kicking and yelling are rewarding in and of themselves, even if they don't help you get your own way.

Not to be out done, Sammie showed Maya some of the finer features of her apartment, such as the alarm clock that always seemed to need an adjustment. Here they are caught in the act, and looking very guilty.

Maya took her first boat ride while we were in Florida. She looks just a trifle concerned compared to Sammie, who is already an experienced boater.

Nothing like a Barney video to induce that trance-like, glassy-eyed look in your child. In this picture, you can almost see their brains getting soft. But when you really need a few minutes of quiet, well...

The Sammie show

The combination of Sammie's light weight and high energy make her prone to levitating. In this picture, she's beginning to float away from Barb, whose hands reach her just in time.

When you try to take Sammie's picture, she waits until you take your face away from the camera, then she smiles--it's a little game she plays, because she knows she's supposed to smile when the camera's pointed at her. Lynn looked up from the camera as if she were done, then snapped this picture when Sammie flashed the greatest number of teeth!

Nothing like a ferry ride to bring out the smiles in everyone. We're on the way to Caladesi Island, in Honeymoon Island state park, which boasts "one of the ten best beaches in the world." We don't know what the other nine beaches look like, but this one was just fine.

Is she looking pensive, or just quietly anticipating the day's activities? Hard to say, but this is the calmest she looked during any of our beach outings...

...Although I suppose you could argue that she looks even calmer here. Everyone likes to take a nap on the beach as a little pick-me-up in the middle of a long hot day. And everyone--at least everyone in our party--managed to squeeze one in.

Finally, Uncle Steve gets a chance to give Sammie a bath. She picked up quite the tan while we were visiting her!

Maya moves in

When a kid like Sammie has so many toys that you've never seen before, how can you play with all of them at the same time? Maya's solution was to become one with the toys by entering the toy box and burying herself.

On our way back from Caladesi island one day, we saw a pair of dolphins swimming slowly. The dolphins were in no particular hurry, and they let us approach them very closely with the boat. Maya's first dolphins!

It's not easy digging in the sand, wading in the water, and running on the beach all day. This kid looks like she's had a long, hard day.

And what do you do after a long hard day at the beach? If you're a toddler, you don't even have to wait to get off the beach--you can just go down for the count...

...Especially if you happen to be reclining in Mama's arms. Lynn's not really as serious as she appears in this picture--just think of her as stoic. She held Maya in her arms for two hours while the girl was sleeping!

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