Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Car

Before we had kids Steve and I bought a minivan.  We had a large dog that we hauled around regularly and we knew children were in our future, so we figured that a van made sense.  And it has proven to be a useful vehicle.  But recently we discovered that the 10 year old van needed $1,000 in repairs.  It no longer seemed such a useful vehicle.  So we started car shopping.  Yesterday we took the van for one last ride and said goodbye.
We dropped the girls off at Aunt Robie's for the day and Steve and I spent the day car buying.  We came home last night with a Subaru Outback.  It's not as big as the van, but we really didn't need all the space.  We havn't learned all the little tricks of it yet ( it does have seat warmers!) but I think it will be a good car for us.  The girls, of course, are delighted.  As Rachel said, "New car!  New! NEW!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Primping

Granny made Rachel a new dress.  It's pink, has kitties all over it, and has pockets.  This may make it the ultimate dress!  Rae had fun admiring herself in the bathroom mirror this morning.
Of course, if there's a morror, then you should try out all of your tricks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day Randomness

February drags on...  Rachel finally stopped running a fever after a week and went back to daycare on Friday.  Just in time for me to come down with the crud.  Grrrr...  I'm better now, but have very little voice.  But there is good news!  It was wonderfully warm (like 75 degrees) several days this week.  And look what is in our backyard!
Spring bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, and tulips are my very favorite flowers.  I could pretend that it's my Dutch ancestors influencing me, but really it's because I am SO happy to see flowers after the long winter.  Aren't they just gorgeous?

Katherine and I did not have school today, because of Presidents' Day.  Steve had to work and we all voted to send Rachel to daycare, so it was a quiet day.  We ran a few errands, had lunch with Granny and Poppy, and tackled Katherine's pit, er, room.  Kate loves order and is always so pleased when her space is clean and organized.  Unfortunately, she seems to possess no organizational skills of her own.  No matter how many storage boxes are provided, put-away plans put in place, or endless reminders to clean/staighten up her room is usually a disaster.  As in have-to-clear-a-path-to-reach-the-bed.  Thankfully she's always willing to pitch in when I step in to re-organize.  She even lets me throw things away!  So here are the results of the day's labor.  I'd better enjoy it now, because by the weekend I won't be able to see the floor.

Now for some random, but amusing, pictures.  We don't have a fancy ice dispenser in our refrigerator (much to the girls' disappointment) but we do have a filtered water spigot inside.  For most of us it is no big deal to open up the frig, push the button, and fill a glass with water.  But for Rachel it's a little more complicated!  Now Rae is Miss Independence and does not want help getting a drink.  She can do it herself!  But I laugh every time I watch her, because this is what she has to do.

Yup.  Climb inside the refrigerator, hold up a cup, and carefully position everything to push the button and catch the water.  But so worth it to do it by herself!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Me and Lou

As I have written before, Rachel has a lot of speech articulation delays.  She omits some sounds and substitutes other sounds, which can make understanding what she's saying difficult at times.  One of the sounds she can't make is "Y".  So she uses "L" instead.  (This is actually a really weird substitution speech-wise, as most 3 year olds can't say "L".  Leave it to Rae to make things interesting.)  She has always said "less" for "yes", but now she's adding more and more words and sometimes it just sounds funny!
-- Rae dancing around the living room shouting "Lay!  Lay!"  [Yay! Yay!] when she realizes that Dora is on TV.
-- Rachel pretending to be a cowgirl and hollering "Lahoo!" [Yahoo!]
-- Rae naming colors - "red, blue, lellow"
-- When she's excited she says "Oh la-uh!" [Oh yeah!]
-- Rachel asking "Go outside?  Play front lard?"
-- A yak in a picture book really gives her fits - it's a "lat".
-- Rachel has only recently started using pronouns - I, me, you.  They are such confusing words!  Conversations sometimes sound like a Who's on First? routine.  But I love it when Rae snuggles up to me and says "Me and lou, Mama?"  Less, Rae, me and lou.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two Valentines

Yeah, this is as good as we're going to get for this Valentine's.  Katherine went back to school today, even though she is still coughing.  Rachel stayed home with Steve.  She's still not herself (and not at all into posing for the camera).  We're usually more festive at Valentine's Day, but sickness made us lose our enthusiasm.  Everyone got valentines this morning.  The girls got books and magazines - it's an odd valntine, but what they really like.  We made heart butterflies this evening.
And now it's time for temperature-taking and medicine.  Oh well, we still know we are loved.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's been a long week...

Here's what our house has looked like this week.
And this.

Yeah, it's been a looooong week.  Actually, I love the mitten tree in the first picture.  Steve's mom gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago and it works SO well, even in our tiny entryway.  I'm just tied of having to use it at all. 
As for picture #2, both girls are sick.  And we're all sick of them being sick.  Poor Katherine has had a fever and cough since Tuesday.  By Friday it had turned into a sinus infection.  She is on antibiotics now, but they haven't kicked in much.  And she has been miserable.  Of course, if she's miserable everyone is miserable.  Let's just say we've used up a month's worth of patience in one week.  Rachel spiked a fever Friday and has been feverish ever since.  She also has to blow her nose about every 2 minutes.  Despite it all, she's been her usual cheerful self.
But things are getting better.  The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and the week's forcast calls for highs in the upper 50's and 60's.  Yeah!  Steve offered to stay home with the girls this morning so I could go to church.  I did not argue.  It was nice to be around healthy people for a couple of hours.  And tomorrow is Steve's day to stay home and play nurse.  I will try my best to refrain from skipping as I head off to work.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Blues

   It's been a well, February like, week here.  Katherine has been home sick for three days.  We had more snow.  And more frigid weather (it hit -18 last night). And another Snow Day.  We're tired of Snow Days.  We're tired of winter.  I'm pretty sure this is why February has "only" 28 days.
   Last week Katherine asked me if the groundhog could really tell if winter was almost over.  I explained that it was kind of like asking Granny's kitties or her kindergarten teacher's pet hamster if winter was over.  In other words, no.  Then Kate asked why we even pretended.  I told her becasue it was silly and fun and maybe gave people hope that winter might soon go away.  Kind of like people in China calling Chinese New Year "Spring Festival" even though it is never anywhere near spring.
   So for now I'll pretend that there are crocuses blooming underneath the snow drifts in the back yard and admire the sweet little summer dresses for sale in the stores and just hope that spring will come.  Soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pirate Party #2

Katherine had her "friend" birthday party this weekend.  We don't live in the same town where she goes to school, which has impacted birthday parties.  Last year only one little girl came.  So, this year we decided to move the party to Aunt Robie's house, which isn't any farther away for Kate's school friends and allowed us to invite some "China friends".  It was a success!  Katherine had four friends come, so we had five giggly first graders at the Pirate Party and they had a LOT of fun.
The girls started off by painting treasure chests.
Then they went on a treasure hunt.  I'd written clues in pirate talk (like "When me's stinky and needs a scrub, I goes upstairs to me pirate tub") that sent them all over the house.  They all took turns reading the clues and were delighted with their "loot" (junk jewelry and chocolate coins).

Robie made a strawberry cake and we added pirates on top.  Robie really wanted to use the beautiful cake stand that was once our Great Aunt Katherine's, so she did, to celebrate another Katherine.

Actually, hardly anyone touched the cake because there was something way more interesting.  Cocktail swords and grapes - does pirate food get any better?

After the grapes were gone, we went back to crafts.  This time it was coloring pirate masks.  And then hiding behind furniture and jumping out wearing the pirate masks.

After a group photo

and gifts there was a little time to play with pirates.


Then it was time to go.  It was a fun party.  And Katherine was one happy 7 year old.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chinese New Year

We celebrated Chinese New Year with other adoptive families tonight.  The girls were excited to wear their silk clothes and looked so beautiful in them.  We met at a Chinese restaurant to eat and chat with all our friends.  Rachel was so pleased to have her favorite food in the world.  Noodles!
She also had a grand time passing out tangerines, a symbol of prosperity.

And then there was ice cream...

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, so we made rabbit ears.

And did some coloring.

Then it was time for a group shot.




We have known some of these families since we were waiting for Katherine to come home.  We have watched these girls (and some boys) grow up.  They welcomed the arrival of our children and we have welcomed theirs.  It is a wonderfully supportive little community and we always enjoy being together.  And every year I look at all of these beautiful children and marvel at the amazing acts that bring them together.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Girls

It was 30 degrees today and after the week we've had, it felt downright balmy!  On the way home from school Katherine begged to play in the snow.  Mom's pretty good at giving in to that request.
The girls bundled up and headed for the yard.  They wanted to sled.  Kate wanted to ride and Rachel was more than happy to pull.  Not very effective, but they didn't care!

Katherine got a little bossy (I know, not her!) so Rachel started a snow fight.  Surprise!

But snow fights are fun.

So is throwing snow at each other.

Rachel had a hard time making snowballs, but we found a solution.  Sand shovels work well for launching snow!
Both girls were covered in snow.  Later, I found snow down their shirts and up their pant legs.

But playing in the snow sure was fun.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day. Again. Oh, and Happy New Year!

We were all out another day because of the snow.  The girls spent part of the day at Granny and Poppy's and claim to have played with snow inside the house.  Sounds like something Granny would dream up!  Once they were back home, there was a lot of fighting.  (We are kind of tired of Snow Days and are ready to go back to school...)  So we dug out the playdough and later, the puzzles.
Tomorrow is Chinese New Year.  It's the Year of the Rabbit and Granny and Poppy brought back cool rabbit shirts from China Town in Honolulu.  So, since it's already tomorrow in China - Xin Nian Kuai Le!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We Could Be Weathermen

It was 70 degrees just a few days ago, but none of us were at all surprised to get phone calls late last night warning us that school was cancelled for today.  We didn't need to read any meteorology reports or check the Weather Channel to know that it was going to be nasty.  You see, it's always nasty on or very near Katherine's birthday!  She has had her parties postponed more than once, Snow Days called, and out-of-town relatives driving in snow storms.  So, you can mark your 2012 calendars now - it will snow on January 31st! 
The girls have spent their whole Snow Day at Granny and Poppy's.  I heard plans of a picnic in front of the fire.  When I left them, they were wearing straight-from-Hawaii grass skirts and coconut "bras".  Perfect clothes for blowing snow and -15 windchill, don't you think?
I've sat at home doing not much of anything.  Steve has been way too productive (working on taxes on a Snow Day?) and then went out to tackle the snow.
And we already got the call that Steve, at least, gets another Snow Day tomorrow.

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters

Sisters

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