Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Party #2

Katherine turned 6 years old today. Sometimes it seems impossible that she could already be that old. But when you spend time with her, she is most definately 6! As always on this day, I have thought of her birth family. Katherine was found at her orphanage gates when she was just a few hours old, so January 31st would have been her birth family's first and last moments with her. I wish that I could tell them how wonderful and beautiful she is and to let them know how grateful I am to have her as my child.

Katherine's postponed "friend" party was this evening. She had invited several kids, but only 3 little girls had called to RSVP. Well, one got sick and one didn't show. So Kate's good buddy Allison was the only one to come. When Katherine realized that her party was down to one girl and herself she shrugged and said, "Oh well, I still have a friend here and we'll have fun." Sometimes she is amazing! Allison and Katherine did have a grand time. They went to daycare together as toddlers and have been good friends since they were a year and a half old. Tonight, they made butterfly crafts, played, ate supper, and spent a LOT of time giggling. Rachel tried her best to keept up with the big girls and they in turn were very tolerant of her. It was not the party we had imagined, but it ended up being a fun evening and Katherine went to bed with a big smile on her face.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthday Party #1

Since Granny and Poppy will be gone during Katherine's postponed "family" party, we celebrated today with the local part of the family. Granny made a big dinner and invited Aunt Sharon. Poppy had made Katherine a treasure hunt, complete with maps and clues scattered all over the house. Kate loved it! The final clue led her to a treasure chest full of glittery fake jewelry and "jewels". She is quite pleased with the gift. We had ice cream and cake (Katherine decorated her butterfly cake herself) and opened some gifts. Katherine has taken the whole party postponement in stride - I'm so proud of her. Of course, she's also figured out that she'll have MORE parties this way!

Snow Fun

The bad part of having a January birthday is that sometimes your birthday party gets snowed out. The good part of having a January birthday is that sometimes you get to play in the snow on your party day! We went over to Granny and Poppy's to enjoy the snow. Steve built a ramp at the top of the yard and both girls had a blast sledding down it. Kate rode until she was soaked. Every time the sled stopped, Rachel would yell "more!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow, but not a Snow Day

We woke up to the beginnings of a much-anticipated snow storm. Steve's school was cancelled. Katherine's and mine was not. So, Kate and I bundled up and drove to school. It snowed all day. It was obvious that the not-too-bad roads were getting worse. Finally, at 1:30 there was an announcement that school would let out an hour early. It was a popular decision!
The one big problem was that Katherine's "friend" birthday party was supposed to be tonight. Two of the little girls coming live in other towns and would have to drive on nasty roads to get there. So, we made the decision to postpone the party until Sunday. Katherine took it remarkably well. She loves parties and hates last minute changes, but even she could see that a party in a snow storm was not a good idea.
It was a long drive home on snow packed roads. Visibility was terrible and at times it was hard to tell if we were even on the road. I was glad it was only 17 miles. Once home we read and just chilled out. We called Granny and Poppy and all went out for pizza.
Katherine's "family" party was supposed to be tomorrow. After looking at weather maps and road conditions, we decided to postpone it until next week. Several relatives will need to drive halfway across the state and the roads are snow packed the entire way. Not good. Once again, Katherine took this well. I feel bad for her, though. Birthday parties are exciting events and it's hard to have to put them off for so long.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

100th Day of School

Today was the 100th day of school for Katherine's class. She has been looking forward to this day since the very 1st day of school! She's been more excited about today than she has been about her birthday later this week! There were lots of festivities in kindergarten and Granny went to help. Every child brought 100 of something (Katherine chose puzzle pieces) and they put them all together to make an "I Spy table". They also wrote their numbers to 100, put 100 stamps on a paper, played Chutes and Ladders (with 100 spaces on the board), wrote a story about what they'd buy with 100 dollars (K. picked cats and a cat house!), and ate cake shaped like the number 100 decorated with 100 M & Ms. It was quite a day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun with Daddy

While I was cooking dinner tonight, I looked out to see some wild basketball shooting going on in the driveway. Rae was dunking baskets (with Daddy's help) and Kate was making granny shots while wearing her favorite dress and her snow boots. After supper, Katherine and Steve made cherry cheesecake and both girls licked the beaters. Daddy Time is so much fun!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tea Time

This evening, Katherine asked if we could make tea in the teapot we brought back from China. So we did. Katherine likes the idea of tea better than the actual stuff. Rachel, however, got excited as soon as she saw the teapot. She begged for me to hold her up to watch the tea steep. Then she eagerly guzzled two cups. I realized that this must be comfort food for her. I'd never thought of it before, but her foster parents most certainly made tea on probably a daily basis. Even babies drink tea in China. Seeing Rae slurping cooled tea made me determined to make it more often. I can try to keep this one tiny bit of her culture alive.

When we were in Guangzhou in September, it was 100 degrees and about 95% humidity. Utterly miserable weather. Even the locals complained about how hot it was. One afternoon, I took advantage of nap time to slip out into the unbearable heat to go shopping. Many of the shopkeepers in the little stores had turned off their lights and were sitting motionless in the depths of their stores, waiting for the relative cool of evening. They turned on the lights when I came in, the only shopper in sight. In several shops the workers offered to make me tea. They swore that it would help cool me off. I laughed, but never took them up on it even when one man offered a cup of the "coolest" tea - made from tea leaves picked before the dew dried in the morning. Hot tea in a steam bath? No thanks. But hot (or at least lukewarm) tea on a cool evening with my daughters? Mighty fine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1st Haircut

Rachel had her first haircut this evening. Her hair has been buzzed several times, but I don't think it has ever been cut. She was NOT pleased about the whole experience! Katherine came along and did a wonderful job of distracting and comforting Rae. And now Rachel's hair is less shaggy and looks like it is meant to be in this style!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being 2

Yesterday, Rachel came wandering in from the back of the house saying, "No, no, no, no..." She was also sporting suspicious white streaks on her face. Hmmm.... I asked her if she's done something that was a no-no. She answered "Yeah." I said, "Show me." She led me to her room, chanting "No, no, no!" There I found that she'd opened her drawers and dug out lotion and diaper cream, hence the white streaks.
I guess it's good that she knows the rules, even if she doesn't follow them! Now I know that hearing "No, no, no, no!" means trouble!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

I looked outside this morning and saw sunshine and blue skies - there were even birds singing. I thought, "It looks pretty nice out." And then I looked at the thermometer. It said 6. I'm getting very tired of the deep freeze. It has not been above freezing in nearly 3 weeks. It hasn't been above 20 in almost two. It takes 10 minutes to bundle everyone up enough to get in the car to go somewhere. My classroom is so cold that I wore long underwear and 3 shirts to school all week. The street in front of our house is solid ice, with ruts and bumps everyhwere. Yuck!!!!
After weeks trapped inside the kids are REALLY restless. Hurricane Rae was out in full force this morning - dumping toys, emptying drawers, unrolling toilet paper, and stripping completely naked all before 8:30. Steve just took Katherine and her new bike to the high school to ride in the hallways. K. got the bike from Santa and hasn't been able to ride it at all!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dress Up

Rachel loves dress-up clothes! Accessories are also a must. Her favorite dress-up outfit is a pink tutu, worn over her clothes. (Remember the dancing hippos in Fantasia??) This picture was taken several weeks ago, but the look is the same. Last night she wore the tutu and her snow boots all evening. She also wanted to wear them to daycare this morning.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Photo Shoot - Rachel

We started off the New Year with a photo shoot! Yeah, pictures!

Babies and toddlers in China wear warm padded outfits that I refer to as "fat suits". Rachel was wearing them in her referral photos. Both times we were in China, I kept my eyes open for the sorts of clothes that the average Chinese child wore because I wanted to buy some. However, I never saw what I was looking for. When we were in Guangzou this fall I finally found this outfit. It's not totally authentic, since it does not have split pants, but it's close! There is even a pig embroidered on it for my little piggie (Rachel was born in the Year of the Pig). So today, Rachel was once again a Chinese girl - fat suit, squeaky shoes, and the wild hairdo that is the result of her Chinese bizz cut. She's a hoot!

Photo Shoot - Katherine

My sister, Robin, is a shopper and bargain hunter. She has WAY too much fun shopping for her nieces! She keeps a clothes rack at her house crammed full of beautful outfits that she buys on sale and saves until one or the other of the girls grows into them. If my girls are wearing something adorable, chances are, Robie bought it. If not Robie, then Granny. This dress was one of Robie's prizes. Katherine has been madly in love with it since the moment she saw it. In fact, the day's photo shoot began because Kate wanted to pose in this dress!

Photo Shoot - Red Coats

When Katherine was about 3, a girl in our church passed down a beautiful red wool dress coat to her. Kedzie had loved the coat, but had outgrown it. She finally agreed to give it away if she could pick its new owner - Katherine. Kate is now big enough to wear the coat and it is still beautiful. This winter, my mom bought Rachel a darling red fleece dress coat very much like Katherine's. This, of course, necessitated a photo shoot. The last shot shows what the girls were REALLY wearing!

Photo Shoot - Panda Sisters

Aunt Robie gave the girls adorable panda outfits for Christmas. They are just too cute! By this point in the photo session the girls were far more into giggling than posing, but the pictures make me laugh!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way