Monday, December 26, 2011

Finally...our first Christmas with our family complete

Nana arrived a couple of days before Christmas and although we missed her birthday by a few days, we tried to make up for it with one of her favorite things, a carrot cake.
Christmas Eve saw the girls enjoying their squeaky shoes. After they went to bed we put all of their old toys in a closet and brought out their new gifts.
We decided to assemble some of the stuff so the frustration level would be lowered (how hard is it to open a plastic-wrapped tea set? It took a box cutter...).

Christmas Morning! Release the hounds!
 I predicted quite correctly that Kate would head straight for the tea set and Lucy would head for the strollers.
 Kate finally got up to grab a stroller too.
Then she found the airplane...Lucy's still going round and round with the stroller.
 Short break to try out the sit-n-spin and Kate is back to the tea set.
 Then it's back to the strollers...and trying to figure out how to push both at the same time.
After a couple of hours of this, we had a snack and took naps. We finally got to actually opening the presents wrapped under the tree.
Words cannot express my surprise and gratitude to Yia Yia and Pappou for a half-day of treatments at my favorite spa! It will be a much-needed time of relaxation for this tired mama.
 Finally, after what seemed like hours of shredding and ripping of paper, they settled in to play with their loot.
We feasted on ham, mashed potatoes, roasted parsnips, carrots and brussels sprouts with bacon, green beans, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry/orange relish and wine. Orange Stollen was dessert! I thought that bedtime would be easy and it was...with Lucy. Kate, however, seems to be getting her 2 year molars in. That, combined with the excitement of presents, Santa and Nana had her awake for over 2 hours beyond her normal bedtime and up by 4am. THAT sucked.

Lucy gave me a post-Christmas present by NOT screaming upon waking this morning at 6am. It was the first time since we've had her that she whimpered her normal "I'm waking up" cry but then she stood up and said, "Mama!". So I got up, and when I picked her up she wrapped her arms and legs around my body and gave me a big hug. It was so sweet. Since Nana was still asleep and Len was sleeping in the rocking chair with Kate, Lucy and I got back into our bed until 6:40am for some snuggle time.

We are enjoying some unbelievable mild and sunny weather so we took full advantage of it this morning by walking to a park near the lake at 9:30am. After 2 hours of playtime we got them back in the stroller where they...fell asleep. Of course. So I stopped in for a Vietnamese coffee on the walk home, dropped Len and Nana off at the house so they could nap and I took them on a walk in the stroller where they slept until 1:30pm. I got my workout for the day with that 2 hour walk for sure!

Len and Nana are giving the girls dinner of eggs, zucchini and quinoa right now so I can have some time to relax (and blog!). After we get the girls to sleep, Nana will stay home to watch the girls so Len and I can go to the movies! Can you tell I'm excited?! It's one of the things I miss the most about this time in our lives...going to the movie theatre.

Time to sign off...supper is over and bathtime is looming.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

This pretty much sums things up in our house!
Christmas was wonderful, exhausting, joyous, funny, aggravating and now, over. I'm off to an early bed. Be assured I will post more about our day in a future post.  Hope everyone had a fabulous day and that Santa was good to you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let the festivities begin!

The girls had a great Christmas Eve! Len took them to the park all morning while Nana and I prepped a bunch of food for tomorrow's feast. Lucy napped in the stroller on the way home so did not nap after lunch. Kate, unbelievably, did! So Lucy, Nana and I made a last minute run to Whole Foods. It was Lucy's first time in a grocery store and I think it totally blew her mind. She could not look at everything fast enough! She was pointing and yelling "Mama! Mama!" over and over. We munched and snacked our way through the store since there were samples around every corner. Lucy hoovered in a water cracker, some tortilla chips, brie with cherry preserves, a peanut butter cookie with a fudge dip smeared on top and some grapes. She was just so happy...I know she must be wondering what in the world has happened to her world.

The second thing that blew her mind were the squeaky shoes. We have a tradition in our house that we open one gift on Christmas Eve because Len's family always opened their gifts and celebrated after Christmas Eve Mass. My family traditionally opens gifts on Christmas Day so we have tried to maintain both traditions all these years and now I look forward to both. I mean, who doesn't want a sneak peek with one gift the day before?!

We gave the girls squeaky shoes to open today. The squeaky shoes are a tradition with adopting families in China. Nearly everyone I've ever talked to that has adopted from China bought squeaky shoes in Guangzhou before heading home. Not wanting to break with tradition we bought both girls shoes and decided Christmas would be a good time to gift them. Nobody was disappointed.

What OCD?

Remember when I mentioned Kate's penchant for closing the pantry door whenever it was left ajar? Yeah. So Nana decided to have a little fun with her OCD.

Santa's "helper" turned out to be Len's brother Butch and his children Tim and Christy! Thanks guys!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa is alive and well!

This came in the mail for Kate and Lucy today:
Thank you to Santa's "helper" for sending this! It's wonderful!
Ok, so really, who sent this?  What a thoughtful thing to do!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So yes, I realize that we've covered snacktime before with the cheddar bunny pusher but this time was a bit more subdued on Kate's part because we were having fruit...still an acquired taste for my little veggie girl.

Sadly, Kate is wearing the same Elmo shirt she had on in the last snack video...she is now requesting outfits with that damn Elmo being a favorite. Grrr.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to know when you need a date night

All four of us were preparing to leave the house on a last Target run before Christmas. We were all gathered at the back door putting on shoes when I looked up and noticed a...ahhh...ahem...(sorry Len)...booger in Len's nose. Without giving it a second thought I reached up, snatched it out and wiped it on a tissue I keep in my pocket for the girls' boogers!

Yes. Yes I did.

We really need some adults-only time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lots of pictures!

Every Thursday since Kate was 6 weeks old I have met with my Mama group. The various Mamas that attend have fluctuated over the past 2 years but for the most part, a core group of us meet every week without fail. The day Len took Lucy to get her ear tubes, I took Kate to Aleks and Luke's house for our weekly playdate. Kate, as usual, had a great time.
Monday was our last Wiggleworms class in the under-2 section. Next year they will still have Ms. Julie as their teacher but we will be in the 2-3 year old class. They had a great time as reindeer on our last day...

Next it was time for reading. Everyone gathered around Ms. Julie at first (although, notice that Lucy is heading away from the book while Kate sits directly in front):
 Sitting lasts for a page or two, then everyone stands up so Lucy circles back around to see what's going on:
Alas, much to Lucy's dismay, it's still time for reading so she (and every other kid) wander off leaving Kate and Luke (who is also in our Thursday Mama group) still listening to the story.
And finally, Luke too, loses interest, leaving Kate alone to the very last page.
To recapture everyone's attention, it was time for dancing and bubbles!
The girls are still very much enamored of their new potty, just not for the reasons I had hoped:

Life is never dull with two 2 year olds that for sure!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leaping forward

Yesterday we had our first speech therapy session after a two week break. Annie, our therapist, had to cancel the last two sessions for prior commitments. This means that we had not had a therapy session since Lucy had gotten ear tubes. Let me tell you, what a difference!! Lucy was more focused and receptive to trying to make the sounds asked of her. She didn't try to evade or refuse to make eye contact nor did she get overwhelmed and start throwing toys around as she has at pretty much every other session. Annie was amazed at the change in her. She is now saying the following words more clearly:

Bye Bye
Top (for stop)
Da Da
Wa Wa (for water)
Ba Ba (for bottle)

She is attempting to say Santa but the S sound is a tough one at the moment.  She also has trouble with the E sound as in eat or Meme.

She can also point to the following body parts:


And the final accomplishment is that not only can she suck from a straw, she can suck from a straw that has a valve in it (like in a sippy cup which means she has to really suck hard to get it out). We are working on using a hard spout sippy cup like this one. She can get a little bit out but it frustrates her and she gets too tired to stick with it for long.

All in all though, she is making great leaps forward in most all areas. One of the not-so-great moves forward is her testing of me. One of the best signs of attachment is when a child feels secure enough in a relationship to test the boundaries. Prior to the last few days, Lucy would either acquiesce to what I wanted without much of a fight or would just cry if she didn't get her way. Now, she will do the exact opposite of what I want (like standing/jumping on the sofa when I have asked her to sit), all the while watching me with a big smile on her face to see what I will do. This has resulted in a lot of time-ins (wherein she is removed from the action and made to sit near me but not allowed to join in the fun that Kate and I are having). After a short time away, I will tell her why she was there, ask her to apologize, kiss, hug and back to play.  Rinse and repeat multiple times/day for various other infractions. I must keep reminding myself that it just means she is feeling more secure, that I will still love her even if she misbehaves. It's super fun and I know how jealous you all must be.

Om ManiPadme Hum

And now, for fun, here's a snapshot of yesterday's rainy day play-date with Lina. They were giving Bernard the dog a run for his money...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Kate was having a particularly difficult time going to sleep tonight. Maybe she sensed that Len would be going out for sushi tonight with a friend, leaving only Mama to hold down the fort. Whatever it was, it was looking grim for Mama...and then this:

Kate:  Did Mama eat supper?

Me: Not yet. I can't eat my supper until you go to sleep.

Kate: Mama needs to eat supper.

Me: Yes, I would love to eat supper. Maybe you could lay your head down and close your eyes. Then you could dream about all the wonderful things you did today.

Kate: Kate go to bed now. Lay down in crib with Bedtime Kitty.

Me: Ok, kiss and a hug.

I get a big kiss and a tight hug from Kate. Then I lay her down in her crib.

Me: I love you. Night night.

Kate: I love you Mama. Night night.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Love Letter, Month 23

Dear Kate,

You are twenty-three months old today. What a funny, happy, VERBAL, girl you are!  
Your language has exploded this month. You speak not only in full sentences but full paragraphs. And the words you come up with still astound me. On the morning after our first snow you looked out the front window and said, "Is it wintertime Mama?"  
You know all the words to your favorite songs and pick up new songs amazingly quickly. Your new favorite is "Jingle Bells" but you have added a twist. Oh yes, you will sing the words correctly but occasionally you will just make up a song with your own words but with the tune from another song. For example, one night as Daddy was dressing you in your jammies, you spontaneously burst out with:

Jammies, Jammies, Jammies, Jammies
Jammies all the way!

or this version upon returning home from a playdate with your friend Lina: 
Lina, Lina, Lina, Lina
Lina all the way!
Lina, Lina, Lina, Lina,
Lina, Lina, LeeeennnAAA!

(both to the tune of "Jingle Bells)
You have also retrofitted the ABC song with different words...I guess the ABCs have become boring and mundane after several months of singing them.

Your memory surprises me.  When we pass our downstairs neighbor's house you will usually start singing, "Happy Birthday dear Zadie" even though it has been a few weeks since we celebrated her 2nd birthday.  You asked me the other day if we were going to go on a plane again to China "for Lucy." You recognize not only the street we live on when we turn the corner in the stroller but also the alley to our garage. You will announce that we are "almost home!" and start to sing the song I taught you so you would remember our street name.

You have taken to speaking for your sister. I know it must look to you like I am absurdly stupid when I ask Lucy to use her words to get what she wants but believe it or not, I usually know what her grunts and points are referring to. My goal, however, is to have her speak at some point.  Although I know you are trying to be helpful, your translating for Lucy when she wants something is only prolonging the "uh uh uh" that I am so desperately trying to banish from her repertoire. Stop. It.

I am pleased though that you and Lucy have bonded over a mutual love of dressing up. You raid the bottom drawer of the dresser every day and come up with some very creative combinations. And you always make sure that Lucy has something to wear as well (whether she wants it or not...you can be a bit, shall we say, insistent).

We were lucky enough to have Meme and Papa come spend Thanksgiving with us. You picked up with them as if it had not been months since we had last seen them. 
You thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner
which is more than I can say for your reaction to meeting Santa for the 2nd time in your life.
You weren't nearly as upset as Lucy but you looked dubious at best. I'm not sure if you were more disturbed by sitting in a strange, bearded man's lap or by Lucy's apparent terror. No tears were shed though and you bounced back enough to accept a small toy from him before we bundled you back up to leave Santa's house.

You have some funny quirks (some might call it OCD but I want it on record that I have not labeled it such...). I have a bad habit of leaving the pantry door ajar. Mostly it's because I put a child-proof knob on the door to keep you and Lucy out of the liquor stash. It is such a giant PITA that I fail to close it most of the time because I don't want to futz with it later. This bothers you to no end and EVERY SINGLE TIME you pass the slightly open door you will close it. 
So really, why do I even have the child-proof knob on there if you are going to police yourself?

You are obsessed with cleaning. You love to wipe down your tray after eating, you insist on having your hands wiped after every bite when you aren't using utensils, and I thought you were going to have a rapturous fit of joy when I let you sweep up the needles from the Christmas tree. I hope you never outgrow your need to clean but I suspect that as soon as you are tall enough to wash dishes you will learn that cleaning is highly over-rated.

We got your attention this month when a potty made it's appearance in our kitchen. You are quite fond of sitting on it and doing...nothing.
I am sad to report that you seem to have given up napping unless it is inconvenient for me as when we're in the car for a short trip or in the stroller on the way home from the park. You will sleep for those few short minutes and then wake up ready to start another adventure. It's so very exhausting.
But these things are over-shadowed by...YOU. You are such a sunny, happy girl and I look forward to seeing your smiling face every morning...
and reading to you every night.



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