Sunday, February 26, 2012

Old Fashioned Fun

Our church held an Old Fashioned Fun Night this evening, with events from "the good old days".  Katherine has been excited since she first heard of it, weeks ago.

There was a cake walk, with live music.
Kate and I each won a cake and so did Granny, who can't eat cake.  So, we brought THREE cakes home!
There was a poetry recitation time.  Most of us have never memorized poems (and wouldn't be brave enough to recite them if we had), but a few people shared funny little poems.  Katherine recited some verses from her upcoming school program - a silly rhyme about a porcupine.

And then there was the event Katherine has been waiting for...  The Spelling Bee!  Kate had read about spelling bees, and longed to enter one, but had never been a part of an old fashioned bee.  She was SO excited!  Pastor John, who is a lousy speller, volunteered to join the kids' bee to show them how it's done.  Or not.
When it was her turn, Katherine stood up and spelled her words clearly.  She was great!
There were words I was sure she couldn't spell, but she did.
And she had a lot of fun doing it.
She and another 2nd grader (who had beat out his older brother) went back and forth for a dozen words or more.
In the end, "would" stumped her.  But she was so proud that she had tried.
Movies and video games and computers are nice and all, but we'll choose good, old fashioned games any day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

School Carnival

Rachel and I went to a carnival at her school this evening.  It was her first time at such an event and she was pretty overwhelmed!  Her school houses only preschoolers - 6 classrooms with two sessions each.  A LOT of those kids and their families were there tonight, so it was very crowded.  But we had fun.  There were lots of games to play, all with prizes.
Rae tossed pennies into pans,
and threw balls and beanbags.
She picked a duck from the "pond"
and posed (looking bored and unaturally serious) on the "roller coaster".
Getting a cool tattoo was exciting!
And so was face painting.
She was the only kid all evening to ask for a kitty!
Rachel got assorted little prizes and a new book, but her favorite part of the evening was cashing in her ticket for a bag of popcorn and a can of pop.
Pop is normally a forbidden substance for Rae, so she made sure to enjoy every sweet, bubbly sip!
Games + prizes + special snacks + a chance to see some friends = a great carnival!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Playing Violin

Katherine finally started violin lessons a month ago.
She loves it.  She is so proud to say "I am playing the violin."
Her teacher, Eva, is a local high school student and a pretty amazing musician.  She is so patient with Katherine and Katherine works so hard.  During lessons, when Eva asks if she needs a break Katherine always says "no".
And Katherine learns so fast.  Eva shows her once how to finger a note and Kate has it.  Forever.
Katherine has been delighted to discover that she now recognizes notes in the hymnal at church.  It has been a huge revelation that an A is an A, no matter what music or instrument.  And she is learning how to read the magic of music.
I still have to remind Katherine to practice, but once the violin is out she is happy to play it.  She is pleased that she now can play some tunes she recognizes.  And she can't wait until she gets to use the bow.  (She can tell you how many more pages in her music book that will be!)
And I can't wait to watch my little violinist blossom.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Snow Day!

After a winter of not-at-all wintery weather, we were delighted to wake up to 5 inches of snow and an official Snow Day!  As soon as we let them, the girls bundled up and headed out to play in it.
This was Maggie's first snow and I am happy to report that she is  a Snow Dog and LOVES it!
For Christmas, one of my students gave me a Snowman Kit, with everything you need to build a snowman.
We've been waiting ever since for the Just Add Snow part.  And today was the perfect Snowman Day.
Rachel had never made a snowman before and she was SO pleased about this one.
He IS pretty cute!
We tried sledding, but it was tough going in the wet snow.
Especially with Maggie's "help".
But the snow sure made a couple of kiddos happy!
I made everyone come in after an hour, but I'm sure we'll be out again later.  Because we have SNOW!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not for the Squeamish...

My friend Kim brings out my ornery side.  Kim used to work in my school and is a master of good-natured teasing.  So I learned to dish it right back.  She especially loves slightly rude, earthy humor.  I have given her silly presents (like a plastic reindeer that poops out brown jellybeans) and once made her a kitty litter cake (with tootsie roll "surprises") and they only endeared me to her even more.  Last summer, I saw an unusual cupcake idea and just KNEW that I would make it for Kim.  So I stuck a sticky note in my calendar and waited.

Kim's birthday was this week.  There is a certain irony in her being born days before Valentine's Day, in the Season of Love.  It makes her roll her eyes and make gagging sounds when this is mentioned.  Friday I didn't have students, so some other friends and I invited Kim to come and have lunch with her.  We provided the dessert.
And what, you may ask, is on those cupcakes?
Why those are cockroaches.
Edible ones.
It's kind of amazing what you can do with a date, a caramel, and a little chocolate icing.
Kind of creepy, too.
But quite tasty, if you don't think about it too much.
And Kim?  She thought it was the best birthday cake ever!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crazy Hair Girl

Today was Crazy Hair Day at daycare.  I'm pretty sure Rachel took the prize!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chinese New Year - One Last Time

We are stretching our Chinese New Year celebrations out the full two weeks this year.  This evening we met with other families who have adopted from the same agency as we did to bring in the Year of the Dragon.  We have known some of these families since our very earliest days in the adoption process.  Tonight we marvelled at how many of us have added children since then!  And we gave lots of encouragement to other families who are waiting to receive their children.  This group is a big part of our family's support system and we always love being together.

Tonight we started off by breaking up into groups based on the zodiac animals for our birth years and acting out our animal in a sort of Chinese-themed charades.  Here are the pigs!

We had a potluck dinner - lots of Asian dishes and a couple of Mexican casseroles mixed in.  Rachel had two tea eggs and asked for a third...
A high school Asian club arrived and performed for us.  The kids went nuts when they saw the drums and cymbols!
The drumming started and the lion appeared!
Buddha came to wake him up (and mug for the crowd).
And then everything was a blur of motion, accompanied by the pounding heartbeat of drums.  Magic.
Rachel didn't quite know what to think.  She was content to sit on Daddy's lap at a distance and just watch.
But Katherine wanted to be right in the middle of it all.  She has loved dragon dancers since she first saw one at the age of 12 months.  And tonight she was thrilled when the lion came right up and danced for her!
Once the lion dancers wore themselves out the kids pretty much mobbed them.
And inspected the lion up close.
For years I have brought crafts for this groups gatherings.  (Someone reminded me tonight of the year everyone made pig snouts and curly tails!)  We made dragons, of course.
Katherine made hers and then helped other kids.  She totally enjoyed helping/bossing little Abraham through his!
As usual, no one really wanted to leave the party and we hung around later than we'd planned.  But eventually the hong bao were passed out and we headed home.
It was an evening of good friends and great fun.  May the Year of the Dragon bless us all.

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