Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ringing in the New Year (a little late)

Saturday was our local FCC chapter's Chinese New Year party. Because I'm on the board, it's an all-day affair for us (and it's why Emma had her birthday party last Saturday instead of her actual birthday.)

So we went early to help set up for the party - like 9 a.m. - and were there until 4:30 p.m. A long day for sure, but Emma held up remarkably well. She really likes hanging out with the daughters of my fellow-FCC board members. Here's a picture of some of the girls after we went on a McDonald's run to get them some lunch...

The actual event got underway at 1:00 p.m. It was so much fun...there were more than 300 people there and it is so wonderful to see all of the friends we've met over the years with their beautiful daughters (and a few sons!) Emma was running all over the place with her she is with her good friend Helen...

After the Chinese dance performances, they gave away raffle prizes. Our FCC president asked Emma to come up and hold up each of the prizes as they were being raffled little Vanna White!

Frankly, I was surprised that the winner of this prize was able to wrestle it out of Emma's hands...but she gave it to her.

It was an exhausting day, but a good one. We're so fortunate that our area has such a large and active Chinese adoption community. A couple people in our travel group live in smaller, more rural areas and don't have contact with any other families who have adopted from China. I think that would be very difficult. I'm so grateful that we see so many families who are similar to ours...

Anyway, a belated Happy New Year...we hope the Year of the Pig is a good one for all of you!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Good morning... mommy's 5-year-old girl! Happy birthday, sweetie!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Meet the newest member of our family...

It's Sami the cat! I was the owner of two cats who lived to be 19 and 20 years of age...they died two years ago, within six months of each other. Emma has wanted another kitty, but I've resisted, mainly because after 20 years, it was nice to be pet-free for awhile. But as an early birthday present, yesterday I took her to the animal shelter to pick out a cat. We played with several, but she chose this one and named her Sami. She's 4 years old, declawed, and fortunately, she has very good litter box manners! Emma adores her, almost too much. The cat is a little spooked by her because she wants to hug and hold her so much. But I'm coaching Emma to be more gentle and to give the kitty time to get used to us. Anyway, here's the one photo I have of the two of them together...

It's too early to tell, but it's possible we may have to perform a kitty exorcism on poor Sami - look at those eyes!

Monday, February 19, 2007

A happy President's Day

Emma and I had such a nice day together today. Which is a good thing, since our day yesterday was less-than-perfect. I think we both had birthday party hangovers or something, because she was whiny all day and, at one point late in the day, I practically screamed at her for asking me repeatedly to turn on the tv. It was one of those days where you lie in bed and think about what a horrible parent you are.

Anyway, we started fresh today. It helped matters immensely that, after weeks and weeks of high temperatures in the teens, it was inexplicably 50 degrees today. We felt like putting on our swimsuits and hitting the pool. But instead, we headed to our favorite park to take a walk and feed the ducks. Of course, it never occured to Mommy Einstein that after weeks of below-freezing temps, the lake would be frozen over and the ducks would have headed to a warmer climate (probably northern Canada.) There were no duckies to feed, so Emma threw the bread on the frozen lake instead...

After walking more than a mile around the park, we headed to the local outdoor shopping area where we did a lot of window shopping and then ate dinner at Panera. My vegetarian chili and Emma's wild rice soup hit the spot...

Then back home for a bath and early bedtime for her and I'll no doubt hit the sack right after "24." Ugh, back to work and school tomorrow. But I'm glad my girl and I ended the weekend on a positive note...I felt so crummy after Sunday. Sometimes you just worry that what comes out of your mouth is going to scar your kid for life. But even after a bad day, Emma always seems happy to see me the next morning.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese post mortem

So after yesterday, I can offer one piece of sage advice to moms and matter how much your child begs, if they want to have a party at Chuck E. Cheese...DON'T DO IT!!!

I guess I'm being a little dramatic...the party was far from a disaster. The kids had an absolute blast and that's what's important. I just thought it was horrible. Not because of the noise and chaos...more that they have one party after another scheduled and you're rushed so quickly from playing, to eating, to cake, to unwrapping don't have time to enjoy anything. But as I said, Emma and her friends had a good time. Here are some pics:

Here is the birthday girl!

Here's Emma, Emme and Lola goofing around in front of the blue screen tv thing...I think this was the hit of the party....

And here is as close to a group picture as I could get...

Behind Emma are her friends Maci, Emme, Lola, Jasmine and Helen. Missing in action are Jia and Jenna.

After the party, we had to rush to our monthly China girls playgroup, which seemed rather tranquil compared to Chuck E. Cheese. We staggered home at 7:30...Emma was in bed by 8 and I hit the sack at 8:45. Emma's now playing happily with all the groovy gifts she got from her friends. We need to start getting ready for church shortly. Thank goodness tomorrow's a holiday and we can chill out for another day.

Friday, February 16, 2007


For long time readers of this blog (I think there are like two of you), you might recall that last October, Emma went to her first sleepover at her friend Lola's house. It was the first time in our life together that we had ever been apart. Emma had a blast and didn't seem traumatized at all (sigh!)

Anyway, tonight Emma is HOSTING her first sleepover, with Lola as her guest. When Lola's mom dropped her off, the two girls were so excited, they practically hypered themselves into a total frenzy. They've settled down a bit, but I'm sure there's no way these two will be asleep before nine...we'll see how it goes. Here are some pics of the two happy girls...

Tomorrow it's Emma's 5th birthday party (although she doesn't turn 5 until next week.) I'll give you a full report tomorrow on how the soiree went at that little place I like to think of as hell on earth...Chuck E. Cheese!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday afternoon at the puppet show

Sunday after church, we met our friends Dana and Jia for lunch and then went together to a puppet show. We are blessed to have a local puppeteer who puts on brilliant, original puppet shows...everything from Little Red Riding Hood to the Mikado. I don't throw the word around a lot, but he's an absolute genius.

Anyway, the girls were very excited about the show and looked so cute together, as usual...

The show was funny and cool and afterwards, the kids got an up close look at the puppets. One of the musicians even let the girls pound on the drums and play some of his instruments...

We had such a lovely time - the temperature today actually rocketed into the mid-30s, so we took a walk afterwards. I swear, it's the first exercise I've had in weeks, thanks to this blasted cold weather. But the temps are supposed to head back down tomorrow, so no one's putting away the hats and mittens yet.

Hope ya'll had a good weekend too...back to the grind tomorrow!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mommy - Ace Sports Photographer (NOT!)

At risk of sounding egotistical, my skills as a photographer have improved vastly since having a child. I think over the past four years, as I've taken hundreds if not thousands of pictures of Emma, I've learned a lot about what makes a decent photo. However, I have to say that I have developed little skill in taking photos of a moving child. It is so hard to capture someone in I discovered today at Emma's gymnastics class. I tried and tried to get some good photos of her in action, but I'm not happy with any of them.

That said, here are the best of the pathetic bunch (after seeing them, I'm sure you'll be thinking "These are the best ones? What did the duds look like?"

This morning at Emma's class, the girls got their first crack at the uneven parallel bars. I have to tell you, it's a little unnerving to see your 31 pound daughter, hanging upside down on the bars.

I did get a kind of cute shot of her working on her floor exercise...but, of course, she wasn't really moving much at the time I snapped the photo.

Ah well, practice makes perfect. Maybe I'll do better next week...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Prepare to be scared

Okay, what's the story here, you're wondering. Did my daughter just go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson? No, what she did is - while I was making dinner tonight, she got out her Libby Lu makeup kit (see January 28 post) without permission and gave herself a makeover. Now I'm certainly no makeup expert (one look at me would tell you that.) But I'm pretty sure using bright red lipstick as eye shadow is not really considered all that chic. But Emma was so proud of herself, I couldn't be that mad. Needless to say, her makeup kit is now on the top shelf of mommy's closet. Thank goodness it's bath night!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Greetings from the deep freeze

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted anything...I'm convinced it's because it's too cold to do anything requiring any energy. We've had more than two straight weeks with the temperatures below 30 degrees. Yesterday, the high was 7, but with the wind chill, it was like -15.

Of course, since it was practically sub-zero, we had a million things to do...gymnastics, a birthday party and then we went with some friends to see Sesame Street Live. Although Emma has never been a Sesame Street fan, she really enjoyed it. For me, it was the longest 90 minutes of my life! I've had a good time at some of the kids' shows we've seen...Dora the Explorer, Clifford and Disney Princesses on Ice come to mind. But this was mind-boggling dull to me. But the tickets were free, and as I said, Emma liked it - and loved getting cotton candy - so it was worth it.

Other than that..nothing much happening except trying to stay warm. Emma started to get a runny nose yesterday and woke up with a cold this morning. Hopefully it will be a mild seems everyone here now has a cold or the flu. I can't wait until spring!

Anyway, here's a funny picture I took of Emma at the birthday little goofy girl!