Monday, January 31, 2011

Here's What 7 Looks Like

Today is Katherine Guo Dan's 7th birthday.  She opened a few more presents this morning, celebrated Chinese New Year at school, went to a pancakes and sausage feed for supper, and finished off the evening with a new book.  So far, 7 looks pretty good.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Almost 7 Year Old Pirate

Katherine turns 7 years old tomorrow.  She can't wait!  I told her that the day before I turned 7 I cried and cried because I wasn't done being 6.  6 was still a little kid, but 7 was big and I still wanted to be little.  She thought that was pretty ridiculous!  We had her "family party" this evening.  There were two cousins and a couple of aunts and Granny and Poppy and us.  It was a fun little gathering.
Katherine wanted a pirate party and insisted on wearing her pirate costume.  Last night we made a pirate ship to serve as a decoration.
I looked on the internet for pirate cake ideas and decided that all of the options were way out of my cake baking comfort zone.  So Kate and I decorated her cake with a treasure map and she was pleased.  It made for interesting cake cutting, as everyone requested a different section of the map.

We had present opening time and checked out the gifts - books, puzzles, zhu zhu pet accessories, and other fun stuff.
Granny, Poppy, and Aunt Robie just returned yesterday from two weeks in Hawaii and had fun Hawaiian gifts.  The erupting volcano was a hit with all the kids!

After most of the guests had left, Katherine settled down with her favorite present - a box of Playmobil pirate figures and all their detailed accessories.  There will be many hours of imaginary pirate play in her future. 

It was a good day for my almost 7 year old pirate.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Freezing at the Park

We have had a lot of cold, gray weather here lately.  We've all been a little stir-crazy because it's been too cold to go outside much.  But earlier this week we'd had enough.  So, we dug out the long underwear, bundled up as best we could, and went to the park.  Never mind that is was 25 degrees out and the windchill was somewhere below that.  I must say, it was a lot of fun!  And since it was so unpleasant out, we had the entire park to ourselves.  Now that's a rare treat!  We stayed until our faces were frozen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Tea

The last time we were in China, we bought a tea set.  Katherine picked it out as a gift for me.  Most of the time is sits on a shelf above the kitchen sink.  But on Sunday evenings we take it down for Tea Time.
A year ago I blogged about the first time we drank tea on Sunday and how excited Rachel was.  The sight of a tea pot and the taste of tea reminded her of her foster family.  And she was SO happy to drink tea again.  So I decided to make Tea Time part of our week.  Most Sunday evenings since, the girls and I have had tea.  It has become our ritual, our way to end the week.  And we all look forward to Tea Time.

Katherine doesn't particularly like tea, but she loves the idea of it.  And she loves the routine of our time together.  We talk about the week that has passed and go over the schedule of the week to come.  It's our quiet reflection time.

I don't know that Rachel still remembers her foster family.  And that makes me a little sad.  They loved her so much.  But Rae still gets excited every time I mention tea.  She loves drinking it and she loves being a part of something that seems grown-up.
Steve has never joined us for Tea Time.  He claims that he doesn't like tea.  But, as Katherine points out, it's not really about tea.  It's about hanging out with people you love.  It's about remembering your past and wondering about your future.  It's one of the best parts of the week.

The three of us look forward to Tea Time all week long.  And savor every drop. 

Gotcha Day Dresses

Every year my sister gives Katherine a beautiful dress for Gotcha Day.  Robie buys lots of dresses, but the Gotcha dresses are always special.  This year Robie continued the tradition with Rachel.  In September, on the first anniversary of Rae's Gotcha Day, Robie gave her a fabulous dress - black velvet and pink satin in tiers like some magical layer cake.  Rachel was instantly in love with it.  But, since it was still 95 degrees out, she had to hang it in the closet and wait to wear it.  Every week she would beg to wear the "pretty dress" and I'd have to tell her no.  Katherine's Gotcha Day rolled around at the end of October.  Robie gave her a dress just like Rachel's.  When Rachel saw it she was certain that Kate had stolen her dress!  A screaming tug-of-war over the dress erupted.  It took some doing to convince Rae that there were TWO dresses and that hers was safely hanging in the closet at home.  The girls love these dresses and look so beautiful in them.  They wore them to church this morning and literally danced with excitemment to put them on.  This isn't the greatest picture, but oh those dresses!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow...ummm...Ice Day

We are having a Snow Day today.  Actually, the maybe half-inch of snow is not a problem but the layer of ice underneath is.  Oh and the windchill at 6 AM was -1.  So we were happy to stay home from school.  After the early morning no school phone calls, Steve and I went back to bed to doze and the girls watched their fill of cartoons.  Then Steve took the girls to the doughnut shop.  (It's not THAT bad out!)  Then it was time for painting.
Of course, a fight broke out just after the pictures so that was the end of painting.  The afternoon plans include making pumpkin bread (Steve and Kate) and chicken and noodles (Joy).  I'm  sure there will be more fighting, too.  By tomorrow we'll all be ready to go back to school!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Silk Shoot

We decided to have our annual Chinese New Year photo shoot a few weeks early.  Katherine loves this year's silk dress in an unusual shade of lavendar.  Rachel had to be convinced that her outfit was not "for babies".  Kate has always loved having her picture taken and is quite the little model.
2011 will be the Year of the Rabbit, so we dug out some Easter bunnies as props.

Rachel, on the other hand, doesn't like to sit still long enough to have her picture taken.  Her typical pose is the "cheese".

Then there is the Mick Jagger look...

That's just m girl!

We tried some shots with both girls together.

Sometimes that got a little silly.

And sometimes it's just magic.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pretty Princesses

Rachel has been wanting to play games.  Not that she really "gets" them, but it always sounds like fun.  So we've been looking for very simple, very quick games.  I found a new one today and it was a big hit.  Here we are after a rousing game of Pretty Pretty Princess and yes, Daddy was the winner!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I was on the computer the other night while the girls "watched" a Backyardigans cartoon.  And this was what I saw.
And this doesn't show the four books stacked by my chair.  Yeah, we like books.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Snow Time

We hoped for a snow day, but didn't get one.  So we had to wait until after school to play in the snow.  Here is what the girls thought about SNOW.

Katherine really wanted to make a snowman or a snowdog or a fort or something, but this snow was all fluff.

She gave up on making snowballs and just threw snow!

And Rachel?  Well, Rachel was pretty obsessed with the snow shovel.  She worked and worked at trying to shovel - hard work when you're only 3 and you can hold on with just one hand.
We stayed out until we were frozen.  The entryway to out house is overflowing with mittens and hats and boots melting slush on to the floor.  But is was so much fun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's Snowing!

Do you see those BIG boots?  It is finally snowing and my girls are ready to try out their new boots!  I know much of the rest of the country has been whalloped with snowstorms, but we have not had anything close to resembling winter here until today.  And snow it so much fun!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sweet Lina

When Rachel came home from China, our church offered to throw her a baby shower.  I suggested that we donate money to Love Without Boundaries instead.  (LWB is an organization devoted to helping orphans in China, especially children with special needs.)  We made Love Without Boundaries our mission for the month of September and raised nearly $1,000.  Our donations went to help sponser a baby at the Anhui Cleft Healing Home.  LWB sent me pictures and information about the little baby we were sponsoring.  5 month old Lina had  severe bilateral cleft lip and palate, Downs syndrome, and a sparkle in her eye.  Love Without Boundaries e-mailed me today to let me know that little Lina had developed respiratory distress.  (Cleft babies are very susceptable to respiratory problems and other illnesses.)  She was rushed to the hospital and given treatment, but her little body just wasn't strong enough to fight anymore.  Sweet Lina is in heaven now.  She didn't have a family on earth, but she was loved.  Please pray for her spirit and for the nannies that cared for her.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Princess

While I was fixing supper Rachel decided to play dress-up.  The pictures don't show the rainbow striped tights or how lumpy her clothes were underneath the "princess" dress.  The upside down tiara is nice, though.
Rae told me that she was a "pink princess" and that she was "pretty, pretty."  Who am I to argue?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  We are SO not into New Year's celebrations.  We went to bed early last night and spent most of today hanging out at Granny and Poppy's house eating, napping, and reading.  Pretty boring.  But it was nice to do nothing.

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