Sunday, December 31, 2006

If looks could kill...

So after a fun day together, my precious little angel decided she did NOT want to go to bed last night. The minute I mentioned that it was getting close to bedtime, her eyes filled with tears and she said in her little quivering voice "But I'm not tired and I want to stay up with you."

Before your heart melts, I should tell you that Emma is pretty good at turning the tears on and off when she wants something (or in this case, didn't want to do something.) So, despite the tears, I got her clothes off her totally limp and uncooperative body and got her nightgown on. Then it was off to the bathroom to go potty and brush our teeth. I think reality was setting in, because this is the look Emma shot me while she was sluggishly brushing her teeth...

Isn't she adorable? Anyway, upstairs to bed we went, a quick story and then lights out. Despite her protestations, Emma was asleep within seconds. And here it is, 12 hours later, and she's still asleep! I think someone was more tired than she knew.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

At least someone got some new clothes!

I may have mentioned that my Christmas largesse consisted primarily of clothes that didn't fit me (big surprise!) However, Emma totally lucked out and got a fantastic new dress-up outfit from my Aunt Hazel. Everything fit her and it looks mah-velous!

Unfortunately, I snapped this picture before Emma draped herself with the bright purple feather boa that makes this ensemble complete!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Belated Merry Christmas!

We just got back from my parent's house...we had a fantastic holiday. Nothing earthshaking...just a great time with our family.

Emma says she had a super Christmas and was so excited that Santa remembered that she was staying at Biggie and Poppa's for Christmas. Here she is, opening her gift from Santa...the ultra-hip Polly Pocket Cruise Ship...

Her big present was the new bike she got from grandma and grandpa...they got her a 12 inch bike last Christmas, but she has already outgrown it! So we went with the 16 inch Cinderella bike. It's a little big, but I think it will be fine by summertime...

I got a bunch of clothes that didn't fit, but who cares? It was just fun watching Emma enjoy the holiday.

Here's my favorite picture I took this week...Emma was sitting on her Uncle Murphy's lap...

I don't know what it is about this picture, but Emma looks so grown up to me. I can't believe I will have a five-year-old in a couple of months.

Hope everyone had a great holiday...from catching up on the blogs, it sounds like you did!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And we're off...

...tomorrow to spend the holiday at my parent's house. As you can see, Emma is packed and ready to go!

Although I'm not that thrilled with the long drive, we're looking forward to spending Christmas with my mom and dad. Emma is so out-of-her-mind excited about Christmas this year. I'm convinced four is about the age where the anticipation of Christmas is nearly unbearable for a child. The season really does take on a whole new meaning when it's shared with kids.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday...hopefully I'll have some festive pics of Emma for you after Monday!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Not so fast...

As I've read the comments some of you have left on my last post, I was concerned that I may have come across as the world's most perfect, know-it-all parent. I was re-reading the post and I really did sound like a self-congratulatory cross between Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and the Supernanny. Trust me when I tell you, every day I wake up and hope to be a fantastic parent and every single day, I fall short (some days, WAY short!)

It seems like at the end of the day, there's always something I beat myself up about. I'm constantly doubting my parenting skills (or lack of said skills.) There's something I said to Emma that day that I now regret or something I should have said. I came down too hard on her about something, or I bought her something she really doesn't need and now I'm spoiling her. Then there are the days where I'm tired and cross and she's whiny and we seem to be at odds all day. Those are the days when you just have tell yourself to start all over again the next day and hope that your kid isn't storing all this stuff in her head for when she writes her "Mommie Dearest" memoir in 35 years.

I swear, every night when I go to bed at night, I pray to God to give me the strength and wisdom to be a better mom the next day.

I guess the point of this rambling post need to pat me on the back and tell me what a great mother I am. I think I'm a better mom than I ever thought I would be. But I know there are people out there doing a better job than me. I'm definitely a work in progress!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The meltdown

Let me preface this by saying I have been pretty much blessed with the world's most even-tempered and well-behaved child. I'm sure it's partly due to her genetics and partly due to the fact that I expect Emma to behave and she knows there are consequences if she doesn't. I think I've had to put her in the "naughty chair" like three times in her life. And in the past four years, we've had to leave a grocery store once and a restaurant once because she wasn't being good. The point is, she's a wonderful kid.

However, she's not perfect (what child is?) It seems that every year, a couple months before her birthday, she has a bad week or two where she apparently is getting all the bad behavior out of her system. She did it before she turned two (I remember the first time she threw herself on the floor sobbing hysterically because she didn't get her way, I was convinced she was autistic!) And she did it right before she turned three and four. And now we're having a little bump a couple months before she turns five.

So the past week, I've seen a significant upswing in the teariness and whining (when Emma starts the whining, I tell her "sorry, I can't understand you because I don't speak Whinese" - I know, what a comedian!) I guess I should be grateful she doesn't ever throw tantrums - man, I have friends whose kids scream and yell and hit them and do all this stuff I wouldn't put up with for a second! But the incessant whining over the past week, I have to admit, has really gotten on my nerves.

Anyway, last night we had Emma's friend Helen over for a couple of hours (her parents had a neighborhood holiday party to attend.) Unfortunately, from almost the moment Helen was dropped off, Emma decided it was going to be an unpleasant evening for everyone involved. We made some gingerbread cookies and Emma pouted because she thought hers turned out badly. We made reindeer out of construction paper and Emma sulked because I had the nerve to compliment Helen on hers. We decided to play a game and, of course, the girls fought over who got to use a particular game piece. When I told Emma that Helen was our guest and she could choose which one she wanted to play with, well. that was the final straw! Emma ran into her room and flung herself on her bed sobbing. She wisely didn't close the door, so we could hear the full extent of her agony.

I know some parents would disagree, but my strategy when we have one of these rare meltdowns is to pretty much ignore it. I went in the room and told Emma when she got herself under control, she should come back out and play with Helen and me. But like most kids, Emma is stubborn and she stayed in there and sobbed for the better part of 30 minutes. Helen's mom came to pick her up and asked what was going on, I just rolled my eyes...she understood!

So like ten seconds after Helen left, Emma came out of her room and said (like nothing had happened) "Can I have a snack now?" I had to sit her down and explain how VERY disappointed I was in her behavior and how I wouldn't be surprised if Helen doesn't want to come back over for a long time. Which led to more tears. She wanted to know if I hated her (she has been pulling this out everytime I need to reprimand her about anything.) I assured her I didn't hate her, I loved her more than anything in the world, but that doesn't mean I don't always like her behavior.

Blah, blah, blah. I guess we'll see today if she got her little annual emotional growing spurt out of her system. We have another busy weekend, including going to our church's huge holiday spectacular with a big light show, the choir singing Christmas songs, a live nativity and Santa and Mrs. Claus (it kind of takes in everything!) I would prefer not to have to leave this because of my whiny kid. I think I'll just be positive and BELIEVE she's going to shape up!

Anyway, I thought I'd leave you a picture of Emma from earlier in the week when she was's hard to believe we were sledding at this same park two weeks ago!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

FFFF challenge

Donna's FFFF challenge this weeks is pajamas! Emma pretty much prefers nightgowns to pj's. Here are a couple pictures of her in her favorite nightgown. This particular evening, she was favoring us with one of her energetic interpretive dances...


Sunday, December 10, 2006


We've had a very full and exhausting weekend. What is it about this time of year? We are not exactly social butterflies, but we are booked every weekend until the end of the year. I like to be out and about, but we did way too much this weekend. The house is a disaster area because I haven't had any time to clean. I did just do two loads of laundry, so I feel a bit better.

Anyway, the most fun we had this weekend was on Saturday when we met two of my friends and their daughters from China. We went to this children's museum thing that the kids loved. Emma, of course, spent the bulk of her time in the art area. Here's a picture of her and her friend Kimmie, who just got glasses and looks adorable!

They had this pretend hospital and Emma was the doctor (guess who had to be the patient?!) Anyway, she ran around with these glasses and badge and a pager and was hysterical! My favorite moment was when her "pager" went off and she yelled "Let the nurse handle it - I have an emergency here!" I love this picture...

I wonder if there's any chance Emma will ever become a doctor? That would be cool...I could stop saving for retirement.

And here's one other pic of Emma, Kimmie and Jenna. They will all turn five in the next three's so hard to believe. They are all such sweet girls...each unique in her own way. Us moms met at an adoption seminar during the wait and have stayed close for more than five years now.

Well, I need to unload the dishwasher so I don't feel like a total slug. Have a good week, all!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Four years ago today...

...I was sitting in a meeting room at a hotel in Changsha, China waiting to be given my baby girl. My memories of that day are a blur. But I do remember being almost sick with apprehension. The day before, we had been given the latest development reports on our children-to-be. What I zeroed in on was that little Yin Yi Qian (Emma) got very upset when she was around strangers. My new daughter was going to hate me! She had been at the orphanage since she was two days old and had never left the building until she was carried onto a bus on this chilly December day to be driven to a hotel 90 minutes away to be handed to a total stranger who looked and smelled different than anyone she had ever seen before. I was almost in tears thinking about how confused and upset she was going to be. I was just sitting in this room with my sister and niece and 11 other families and thinking to myself what a monumental mistake this had been. I was literally shaking.

But I didn't have much time to fret because our CCAI guide announced the babies were here! And who was the very first baby that was carried in the room...but little Yin Yi Qian! Here is a short slide show of our first moments together. I apologize for the poor quality of the photos. This was before the advent of digital photography and I had to scan these in with my crappy scanner. But anyway...

Here was the moment I was handed my you can see, she looks thrilled!

As you can tell, our first few moments were not without a few tears!

Bu then I showed her the little toy I had brought for was a small baby mirror.

I really don't know why I chose this particular toy...but it was a brilliant choice. Who knows if my baby had ever even seen herself in a mirror before? After that, it was the start of a love affair that continues to this day (not between Emma and me...between Emma and the MIRROR!)

After showing her the mirror, there were no more tears from Miss Emma...she was a pretty happy little baby for the rest of our time in the room...

The one thing that I was later a little sad about was that, because Emma was the first baby in the room, I really didn't get to enjoy the rest of our group getting their babies. Of course, we would get to know them over the next two weeks, but I would have liked to have seen the joy of the other families as they saw their babies for the first time.

Anyway, after like 15 minutes, we were told to take the babies back to our rooms and try to wind down a little from all the excitement. When I got Emma to the room, I began taking off her FIVE layers of clothing! No exaggeration. When I finally got her stripped down, it was time to attempt my first diaper change. My niece D.J. watched with much amusement. I'm sure Emma was thinking at this point "who is this idiot and why can't she get a diaper on the first try!"

Then it was time for our first bottle. I have to tell you that during the wait, I spent countless hours researching baby bottles and finally settled on Avent bottles with the disposable liners. The perfect choice. So I mixed up Emma's Chinese formula, which we had bought at the grocery store the night before. I put it in my state-of-the-art bottle and put it in Emma's mouth. "No, I don't think so," she said. Well, she didn't actually SAY it, but she kept pushing the bottle away so I knew that's what she was thinking. I was in a real panic. She was very hungry but she wouldn't let me give her a bottle. Our CCAI rep said some babies only like the bottles they're used to. So my sister Marcia ran across the street to a little store across the street and bought some cheap Chinese bottles. We made cuts in the nipples so the formula would come out easier and - TAH-DAH - I successfully gave Emma her bottle!

And here's a little post-bottle bliss...I think we were starting to bond a little...

This is my favorite picture of the two of us from the entire trip...and it was taken just a few hours after we met...

I have to thank my sister Marcia who did such a good job taking pictures of our trip to China...because my memories of the experience are sometimes blurry, it's so great to see all the photos she took.

Far from being a monumental mistake, choosing adoption was the best decision I have ever made. Has it always been easy? No, of course not. We had a very difficult first month home. The first week back, I was sick with infected tonsils and the remnants of food poisoning that I picked up my last day in China (I spent the entire flight home in the bathroom throwing up.) The first week, we were up all night and slept all day because of the time difference. And even when we got back on schedule, poor Emma suffered through night terrors for a month. She would be fast asleep, but cried and cried. I felt so helpless and was exhausted. Even though I didn't know it at the time, I'm sure I was suffering through some post-adoption depression. But soon Emma started to sleep through the night without crying and I got some sleep and we got through it all.

So I can't believe it's really been four has the time gone by so quickly? It's a cliche, but it really does seem like yesterday. On the other hand, I really have no memory of my life before Emma, so it seems like forever. I love you so much, my little girl...every day, but especially on December 9th!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Xmas photo outtakes

We had Emma's Christmas pictures taken a couple of weeks are a couple of them we ended up not using for the cards. The resolution isn't very good because they're scanned from proofs. But I thought the photographer did a good job. We've been going to her since Emma was one year old. She's not a great artiste or anything...she's just been taking kids' pictures for more than 20 years and does a nice job of capturing their personalities. We really like her. Anyway, hope you like the photos!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Let's go sledding!

Whenever it snows here, hundreds of kids head to a park charmingly dubbed "Suicide Hill" to go sledding. The park has a frighteningly steep hill that stops just short of a very busy street. Families have been sledding at this park for generations.

So when we got 8 inches of snow Thursday night, my friend Dana and I decided to try to talk our girls into sledding at Suicide Hill. Jia was totally game, but Emma took some convincing. One of the few things that concerns me about Emma is her reluctance to try anything new. She is such a timid child (hopefully this will come in handy down the road when one of her friends pressures her to try cigarettes or drugs.) In the meantime, she often hangs back when it comes to new experiences. But we threw caution to the wind and loaded our sleds in the car and drove over to the park, which was quite the scene.

Much to my surprise, it didn't take much convincing to get Emma on the sled and we were going down the less steep part of the hill in no time!

The girls had an absolute blast and looked so cute on the sled together!

Of course, for the first time,I found out how much work sledding is for PARENTS...I'm the one that had to drag the sled back up the hill time after time - often pulling my 31 pound daughter on it. I'm a little sore this morning, but it was great fun and I'm sure we'll be doing it again soon.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day

Like a lot of the country, winter weather has hit here with a vengence. We had an ice storm last night and we're supposed to get like a foot of snow this afternoon and this evening. YUCK! I'm not ready for winter. Emma is thrilled, of course, because school was cancelled today because of the ice and, if the forecasters are to be believed, will be closed tomorrow because of heavy snow.

We managed a quick run to Target and McDonald's in between the ice and the snow. And we spent this afternoon decorating the Christmas tree...

It's been a tiring day for both of us and Emma is taking one of her rare naps (that don't involve a moving car) right now. So a little peace and quiet for mom...I think I'll read for awhile and pick up the house a little before the next round of shoveling and entertaining Emma.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Emma and the Big Guy

Wow, I can't believe I went this long without posting anything...I had every intention of checking in while we were on our long Thanksgiving vacation out east, but I guess we were having so much fun, I didn't have time!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday...we sure did. Emma had so much fun hanging out for a week with her cousins and it was nice to spend time with my parents and my sister and her family. There was plenty of eating and shopping, which is par for the course for our family!

I'm sure the highlight for Emma was going to see Santa at the mall...she went to see Santa for the first time last year, but she was still a little apprehensive when it was our turn. We coaxed her to go up to him while Brennan and D.J. were still visiting and that seemed to break the ice...

Then she had Santa all to herself...

She told me afterwards that she asked Santa for two things that she had failed to mention to me previously. I thought I was done shopping, but I guess not...I have to get her at least one thing she asked Santa for!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Emma and Peter

After school and work today, we went to our favorite children's photographer to get Emma's Christmas pictures taken. While we were there, the photographer asked Emma if she wanted to hold her bunny rabbit (named Peter!) Emma was a little hesitant at first, but then fell totally in love. The photographer took some great pictures of the two of them...I snapped this one while Emma was just getting to know Peter.

Well, I have to get back to packing...we're off tomorrow to spend a week with my sister and her family in Boston. Emma's so excited about seeing her cousins!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gee, it's FUN being a mom! (WARNING - gross!)

Okay, yesterday was just one of those days. Shortly after we got home from school, Emma told me her tummy hurt. What this normally means is that Emma has a big poop she needs to get rid of. So she sat on the potty and did go. But as she was sitting there, she said her tummy still hurt (I'm sure you can all see where this is going...) So I'm leaning in close to her, trying to see if she has a temperature or anything and -BLEECH - suddenly there's blue vomit all over her, me the floor, the toilet. I guess that fruit punch after school wasn't such a good idea. It was really shocking to me because Emma hadn't thrown up since she was one year old.

Anyway, after like two seconds, Emma looked up and said "it's okay, Mommy, I feel better now." Geez, I would THINK SO! So I stripped all our clothes off, plopped her in the tub and started cleaning up.

It's funny, during the long wait for Emma, one of the (many) things I worried about was how to deal with a sick child. I mean, I would rather see someone get decapitated in a movie than see them throw up! And I just never get sick. But it's weird...when you're a parent, you're more worried about how your child is doing than you are about being soaked with vomit. It's not fun to deal with, but it's not horrible like I thought it would be.

Anyway, it must have been something she ate, because she didn't have a temperature and was asking for dinner an hour later. And she was back in school today, bragging to her little friends about how she barfed all over the bathroom. They were VERY impressed!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thank goodness that's over for another year...

Emma doesn't have school today and I'm off work for Veteran's Day. Unfortunately, the day has not been all fun...Emma had to get her flu shot this morning. Shortly after getting up, she asked me what we were doing today and I told her we had to go to the doctor and then we were going to spend some time with her friend Helen and her mom. Of course, the first words out of Emma's mouth were "Do I have to get a shot?" I know a lot parents would dodge the question by saying "we'll see" or something. I've done that before. But this time I just said yes. Well, turn on the waterworks! She cried for like 15 minutes, pleading with me not to make her get a shot. I just kept saying it would be over in a second and wouldn't hurt much. Strangely, she stopped crying right before we left, didn't protest on the way to the doctor's office, and didn't shed a single tear while she got the shot. Weird! Anyway, here's a picture of her in the recovery room...

To help her recover from the trauma of this major medical procedure, we went to this big children's indoor play center with Helen and her mom. The girls absolutely LOVE this place! Emma's favorite is the ball pit.

The appeal of the ball pit has always escaped me. I seriously doubt I would love rolling about in a small area filled with hard plastic balls while scores of children hurl themselves and the balls all over the place. But Emma totally digs it. Emma and Helen also enjoyed building a big tower in the contruction room...

As you can see, they toiled away on their building project AFTER they visited the face painting room.

Emma totally conked out in the car on the way home. I carried her from the car into the house and just plopped in the easy chair and let her sleep. I don't care how long you have your kids or how old they get, there's something so incredible when they're sleeping in your lap. I'll never get tired of that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Family FotoFun Friday challenge

Donna's FFFF challenge this weeks is HATS! This is one of my favorite pictures of Emma. She has on a cheesy Burger King crown instead of a hat...but it's on her head and she still looks cute to me!

The most exciting weekend of all time

Of course, that's not entirely true. Okay, it's not even remotely true. But we did have a little fun this past weekend. On Saturday, we went to the playground with our friends Mary and Helen. Despite a rivalry that mirrors that of the Red Sox and Yankees, Emma and Helen always seem to have a great time together...

On Sunday, after church and a swanky lunch at McDonalds, Emma and I tried to make a dent in the carpet of leaves in our yard. Emma was actually a big help raking the leaves (hey, it's never too early to put them to work...that's my philosophy!)

It is so depressing to me to spend an afternoon raking and bagging leaves (one of my LEAST favorite chores) and then look outside two hours later and see your yard covered with leaves again. I should just hire someone to do it, but I'm too cheap.

P.S. in the background of the photo of Emma raking, you can see where our garage used to be...they poured the concrete last week and as soon as it solidifies, they'll start building the garage. It's not too soon for poor mini-van is not used to being exposed to the elements!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Four years ago today...

...I was pacing up and down the hall at work like a caged tiger. No, not because it was Election Day, although it was, and I had already voted, but I couldn't care less. Because I knew this was the day I was going to get the call that would change my life. My DTC date was September 24, 2001 and I had been waiting more than 13 months for my referral. The referrals for October were almost two weeks late coming out at this point. There were reports that the referrals were late because September AND October were going to get their referrals this time (boy, those were the days!) That ended up not being the case and the October people would have to wait another few weeks. But barring some catastrophe, I knew I was in this batch. I was still worried though. A year before, my friend Dana was supposed to get her referral and the CCAA had mistakenly included hers with another agency's packet of referrals. That agency couldn't just forward it to had to go back to the CCAA and then to her and it was another three weeks before she got it. So in the back of my mind, I knew there could be a screw-up of some kind.

It was late morning and I was checking the September2001DTC CCAI yahoo group like every 30 seconds. Finally, the first referrals appeared - they were calling people! I ran out to the front desk and told our office coordinator (and my friend) Valerie that the referrals were coming and that if anyone called for me, she needed to ask who it was so I'd be ready. I can still remember how the anticipation was almost dizzingly unbearable.

A bit later, I was walking back to my office talking to my friend Kerry when Val ran toward us. "Your agency's on the phone!!!" Val and Kerry asked if they could stay and we went in my office and closed the door. I took a deep breath and in this embarrassingly shaky voice, I said "This is Donna." The woman on the other end of the line laughed. "Don't be nervous...this is Elaine at CCAI and I'm looking at a picture of your beautiful daughter!" Relief flooded over me...there was no mix-up or lost dossier...I was a mom!

I tried to concentrate as Elaine gave me the details...her name was Yin Yi Qian...she was born on February 24, 2002 (just over 8 months old and the same birthday as my niece D.J. who was traveling with us to China!)...she was at Yiyang SWI in Hunan 6 months old, she was 13 pounds and 25 inches. I tried to ask a couple questions that she didn't know the answer to, but I wasn't really into asking questions at that point. She said she was emailing me my daughter's photo as we spoke and I would get more details and pictures via Fed Ex tomorrow.

I hung up the phone and Val and Kerry hugged me and congratulated me. Then I turned to my computer to see if I had gotten an email from CCAI was there. I looked at my friends and said "we're going to see Emma for the first time." I have to be totally honest here...I had tried to steel myself and my family and friends for the reality that the referral picture might not be great and that Emma may not look all that cute in it. I mean, they don't call them mug shots for nothing. I admit there were times over the previous year that I would see someone's referral photo and think "Oh, that's too bad." I mean, you knew the baby was going to be adorable once they saw her...but often those pictures are not so adorable. So I had tried to tell myself that just because the referral picture wasn't lovely, that didn't mean my daugher wasn't lovely. As it turned out, I needn't have worried myself, because when I clicked on the photo attached to the email, I was about to lay eyes on what was, and remains to this day,













About three seconds after the picture came up on the screen, complete anarchy broke out. I burst into tears, Kerry started screaming and Val ran out into the hallway yelling to everyone "DONNA JUST GOT HER REFERRAL!!!" Soon there were like ten people in my office, looking at the picture and hugging me. It was so unbelievable.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of phone calls to family and friends and hours of staring at that picture. I can say with all honesty that getting that call and seeing my daughter's picture for the first time was the most incredible moment of my life. I think I lot of people would wonder why actually getting her in China wasn't the most incredible moment. I think that's because I was so nervous and apprehensive on the day I got Emma, I was almost sick. I remember almost nothing of gotcha day. If my sister hadn't recorded every second of that day on a camcorder, I would probably have no memory of it at all. It was that surreal.

But I remember in great detail almost every second of referral remains the single greatest day of my life. I didn't know it at the time I got that call, but exactly four weeks to the day, I would be on my way to China to get Emma. And my life would change forever...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Am I too strict here?

Emma was playing with her state-of-the-art Disney Princess cell phone last night. She was having an imaginary conversation with her "boyfriend" Rashaan. Rashaan is a really cute 6-year-old boy at her school (Emma has always preferred older men.) Anyway, when she finished with her pretend phone call, she told me that Rashaan had called because he wanted to go out on a date with her.


Okay, that's what I wanted to say, but I refrained. I told her I thought maybe she was just a little too young to go out on a date. But I asked her where she and Rashaan would go on a date. She thought for a moment and said brightly "Maybe you could take us to the playground and to Chucky Cheese!"

Frankly, that sounds better than some of the dates I've been on...I won't bore you with the details of the time a guy took me out to an elegant dinner at Long John Silver's on our first (and only) date. I swear, that hush puppy is still lodged in my colon somewhere.

Anyway, call me Mommie Dearest, but I don't think I'll let Emma start dating quite yet. It's really freaky how soon kids today start thinking about stuff like that, though...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We got back a little while ago from a strenuous night of trick-or-treating. We went with our friends Dana and Jia. It was a little chilly, but the girls had a blast and would probably still be out there if the moms hadn't finally called it a night. Here's a picture of Jia and Emma (aka Mulan and Ariel the Bride....)

And here's Emma with some of her haul (notice her rosy cheeks from being out in the cold!)

I'm sitting here eating one of her many Kit Kat bars...I'm sure she'll notice tomorrow that it's missing. The last thing she said when I tucked her in tonight was "DON'T EAT ANY OF MY CANDY!!!" Geez, am I that transparent?!

Anyway, I hope your Halloween was happy too!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another birthday

We had a fantastic weekend. Saturday was my birthday (I know, at my age, big deal!) and we met my parents in St. Louis to celebrate. Man, it was cool being in St. Louis the day after the Cards clinched the World Series. We are big-time Cardinals fans, so we were thrilled!

Anyway, the weather was great, we spent most of the time doing our two favorite things - eating and shopping. I didn't take many pictures, but I did snap this one of Emma and my mom, or as Emma calls her, "Biggie" (don't ask!)

We had a super time, but were kind of tired and cranky when we got home early Sunday evening.

When we drove up, we discovered that our garage had been torn down the previous day...don't worry, it was supposed to be torn down this week because we're building a new one. We just didn't expect it to happen over the weekend. I guess contractors show up when the inspiration strikes them. Apparently they were VERY enthusiastic when they began pulling it down...according to my neighbor, they also pulled down a power line and cut off electricity to the whole block. Anyway, I hope to be able to post some pics of our new garage soon. It's supposed to take 5-6 weeks to build, but who knows?

Kids in shades

Donna over at the always entertaining Double Happiness blog has a weekly photo challenge. This week, she asked us to post photos of our children in glasses (sun or otherwise.) I have some recent pics of Emma in her shades, but I thought I'd post a funny photo I took of her when she was about 15 months old. Even at that age, she was such a clown!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back to school

Today was "bring your parent to school" day at Emma's school. So I spent the morning watching Emma and her classmates do their lessons, go to gym class and eat lunch in the cafeteria (the less said about that, the better - YUCK!) It was fun spending the day with her at school and observing her with her friends and teacher. Here's a picture of her with her best school friend Jasmine...

When I put her to bed tonight, Emma asked me if I'd be going to school with her again tomorrow. I told her I couldn't, but I'd come and visit at the next parent day. I did have a good time, but after 12 years of school, four years of college and two years of post-graduate work, I've probably had enough of going to school (except for visiting Emma's!)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The ducky park

This weather this past weekend was not a matter of fact, it totally blew. Cold, windy and rainy for two straight days. On Sunday, when there was a brief reprieve from the rain, we dashed out to our favorite park to get some fresh (and cold) air. The park has a big lake that has become home to about a hundred ducks and several cantankerous Canadian geese. Emma loves to feed the ducks (the geese...not so much!) So we brought some bread to feed them...

I think we lasted about 30 minutes at the park...Emma didn't even want to go to the playground because it was so cold. Let's hope we haven't jumped right from summer to winter already!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Even after four years...

there's nothing more beautiful to me than my baby girl sleeping peacefully.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Princess Potatohead and Billy Monster

This will come as a great shock to many people, but I'm not very crafty (see October 11 post.) So I'm not one of those people who would or could spend an afternoon carving an elaborate pumpkin. It's just not my skill set. Emma and I got a couple of pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and decorated them this morning. We used Mrs. Potato Head things to make a princess pumpkin and then this other pumpkin decorating kit to make Billy Monster (Emma named them.)

They're not as cool as carved pumpkins...that's for sure. But they're pretty cute and Emma loved decorating them.

Our day at the pumpkin patch

More than two years ago, our best friends moved to Tennessee. Dana was my closest friend and her daugher Jia, who is a year older than Emma, was her best buddy. Although we have been in constant touch via email and the phone, and we've seen them a few times since they moved, it was still a tremendous adjustment for us when they left.

Last week, Dana and Jia moved back here. We were so happy when we found out they were returning. But I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive. Would things be the same? Emma and I had made other friends and I was worried that the girls wouldn't be as close. Kids change a lot and you can't force friendships.

Well, I'm happy to report that it's almost as though they never left. We spent most of yesterday together and it was so fun! We went to a local farmstead, which had a big pumpkin patch with all kinds of activities for children. Emma and Jia ran all over the place, hand in hand. It was so adorable! Here are a couple pics...

It was such a lovely fall afternoon and we had a blast. Today, it's supposed to rain all day, so I guess I will be forced to clean up my cluttered house. That's what rainy days are for...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Calling Martha Stewart!

We've got some really nice neighbors next door...these two gay men who are really delightful (even more so after they took out their swimming pool and stopped having late-night pool parties!) Anyway, they always really knock themselves out when it comes to decorating the outside of their house for holidays. Their Christmas decorations are amazing, although they did have one of those huge inflatable snow globe things last year that I think are pretty tacky. So this year, they have a whole new Halloween decor, with orange and white blinking lights and scarecrows and pumpkins and ghosts and witches. Pretty spectacular.

So Emma and I were outside last night taking in the whole thing. She turned to me and said "Momma, I wish you were more talented so we could have a cool yard like this." I just cracked up (a) because it's true and (b) my daughter's "tell it like it is" personality is pretty hysterical (at least at this point.)

Even though I thought it was funny, I was embarrassed enough to make a run to Michael's over my lunch hour to pick up some Halloween-type decorations. Emma and I put them up after school. So here's my pathetic attempt at decorating for the holiday...

It's so sad, I know...but Emma thinks it's stupendous and that's all that matters to me!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Oh #@*%!

Yesterday I had to take something back to a friend's house that I had borrowed for the Moon Festival. I had only been to her house once and thought I knew exactly where it was so I didn't even bother writing down the address. But we found ourselves driving up and down the street trying to find a house that looked familiar. As we were crawling up the street once again, here's how the conversation went:

Me: Emma, I don't think I can find the house.
Emma: Oh DAMN!
Me: WHAT DID YOU SAY????!!!!!
Emma: Uh, nothing.

I should say at this point that I don't use profanity. It's not a big moral thing with me, it's just not my style. I guess if I dropped a safe on my foot or something, it's possible some expletive would escape my lips. But my point is, I knew Emma didn't hear this word from me. Now back to our story...

Me: Emma, where did you hear that word?
Emma: (silence)
Me: Did you hear it from someone at school?
Emma: Yes.
Me: Who was it?
Emma: (starts crying)
Me: Sweetie, it's okay...I just want to know who said that word to you.
Emma: But if I tell you, then you'll call their mom and they'll get in trouble! girl. I guess I should be happy that she's so empathetic AND that she did use the word in perfect context. So I just told her that she should NEVER use that word or other swear words because people will think she's not a very nice girl (and she is a very nice girl.)

Maybe I should send her to Catholic school...I'm sure no one swears there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Moon Festival

Saturday was our local FCC chapter's annual Moon Festival. It was such a beautiful day...sunny and in the low 80s. Not particularly autumnal, but a great day for a cookout. It was a long day for us because I'm on the FCC board here, so we got there early to help set up and stayed late to clean up. But it was a lot of fun...Emma has made a lot of friends through our involvement with this group. are some pictures:

This is Emma with little Ella. When Ella's parents got home from China with her, I couldn't believe how much she looked like Emma when she was a baby. It was astounding. They don't look as much alike now, but Emma treats Ella like a little sister and they were almost inseparable last night.

This is Emma with her friends Amy and Mer. When we passed out glow sticks to the kids after dark, the three of them ran all over the park like maniacs chasing each other. It was pretty funny.

And here's Emma working hard on decorating her Chinese lantern. If you call "working hard" coloring the entire thing purple with a magic marker. I guess she was going for a cleaner look than some of the other kids.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time, although we were exhausted when we got home last night. I think today is definitely going to be a lazy Sunday.