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 great...as 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!

Sigh...smart 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. Anyway...here 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.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here comes the bride...

Okay...so sue me! I went ahead and gave Emma the Ariel wedding dress I got for free at Target (see last post.) I couldn't help it...I knew how much she'd love it. I was right!

When I saw this picture, I got kind of emotional, because I started wondering if I would ever see my little girl get married. When your in your forties and you've got a young child, you really worry about missing these things. Then I started fretting about who would walk Emma down the aisle, since she doesn't have a father. Sometimes it just breaks my heart that she doesn't have a dad. Although she seemed pretty preoccupied about not having a father early on (much more than being adopted really), she seems to have moved on from that. But I still think about it a lot. She's such a wonderful child that she deserves a mom and a dad (and brothers and sisters and a dog and a bunch of other things she doesn't have right now either.) I know I'm a pretty good mom (better than I ever thought I would be.) I just wonder sometimes if that's enough.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Little Mermaid is here!

This is a very exciting day in our household...The Little Mermaid is finally out on DVD! Emma loves Ariel, but the only copy of The Little Mermaid we have is a pretty much unplayable VHS tape. So we've been looking forward to the day the Disney special edition DVD comes out.

While I'm on the subject, I think this Disney policy of releasing the classic animated films on DVD like once every ten years and then "putting them in the vault" is insane. I think Disney must be a secret partner in Ebay or something, because the only way you can get a DVD of Snow White, for example, is by paying $80 for it on Ebay. It's not that big of a deal, except that you're going to have whole generations of little girls who will never really get to see certain Disney classics because they aren't available when they are at the age that those movies are most appealing (anti-Disney rant concluded...)

Anyway, back to The Little Mermaid...I ran over to Target on my lunch hour to pick up a copy. I was soooo excited because Target had this promotion where if you bought the DVD and the Ariel/Prince Eric wedding doll set, you got the Ariel wedding dress costume for free (a $24.95 value!) The doll set is on Emma's (extremely long and still growing) Christmas list, so for about $35, I got the DVD, the doll set and this beautiful Ariel wedding dress costume. It was pretty funny, because while I was in the toy section picking this stuff up, a middle-aged man in a business suit was wandering around looking really confused. He had obviously been sent there on his lunch hour by his wife to buy the same stuff. Poor guy, I finally asked if I could help him out, and showed him where everything was (they didn't have it all in one place, which made it a little challenging - not for an experienced shopper like myself, of course!) He was really grateful...

My only dilemma is that if I show Emma the Ariel wedding dress, I most likely can forget about her wearing the Lilo Halloween costume I just spent $30 on. Oh well, we'll see...I'm not sure what I'll do. I guess she'll be a cute Lilo or a cute Ariel!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sleepover post mortem

Well, we both passed our first sleepover with flying colors. I dropped Emma off at Lola's house after dinner on Friday night. I took a couple pictures of Emma and Lola to mark this big occasion, before Emma literally PUSHED me out the door!

I was actually a little weepy in the car when I left. But I decided that since I didn't have a child in tow, I would run over to Toys R Us to get in some early Christmas shopping (they were having a Buy 2, Get 1 Free sale on Polly Pockets, one of Emma's toys of choice right now.) I went home, watched a grown-up movie (In Her Shoes - loved it!) Read for awhile and went to bed. I slept so well and didn't get up until 7!

What was weird was getting up in the morning and having no kid there...no little girl to make breakfast for and to help get dressed and to color with or play a game with. Very eerie. So I entertained myself by mowing the lawn, doing laundry and taking the car through the car wash (which Emma hates!)

I went to pick up Emma around noon. She was happy to see me (what a relief) but she had a great time and managed just fine. So we made it through our first night apart...