Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today is the Day -- and every Day Hereafter

The massacre in Connecticut was Friday.  On Sunday, we held Grace's 6th birthday party (early, since the holidays are so busy).  I will post pics from that but suffice it to say, every parent in the room was drinking in the sight of their happy, lively children.  I hope that by the time G is old enough to read this blog without assistance, Congress will have enacted the strongest gun and ammo control this country has ever seen.

Now, to lighten the moment, allow me to post my favorite picture of this year, taken this fall at the zoo by my mother (nice job, mom!).  Grace is sitting on a large, bronze tortoise on a gorgeous, sunny day in November. Okay, maybe a few more....


Monday, August 27, 2012

Gotcha #5 and Kindergarten

WHY DO I STILL HAVE A CRAPPY CAMERA??? WHY, WHY???? Maybe Santa will bring me a grown-up camera for Christmas, or sometime before our baby turns 21. Did I mention she had monster truck tattoos on her arm today? Not that you could tell by the resolution of this cereal-box prize of a camera.

5 Years of Grace Xue and a New Beginning

Today marked the anniversary of our introduction to Grace in Hunan, China. She was such a tiny, delicate little person with an intense gaze and fully formed character. Now, still petite, she packs a wallop physically and inter-personally, and we are so very happy she is who she is! Yesterday, G and I capped a long, sweet and fiery summer (both the weather and her will) with a trip to the gym -- rained out before we could hit the pool, we kicked a soccer ball around a racquetball court and bemoaned our late arrival -- the rock wall was closed. I suggested we cross the street to see if "Brave" was at the movie theater. It wasn't playing any longer, so we saw "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Spoiler alert -- they adopt a Chinese girl about Grace's age. Why hadn't I brought TISSUES??? Or read a review? Despite this particularly heart-string-tugging twist, which left me bawling and Grace staring at me, we both enjoyed the movie. She pronounced it better than Brave would have been. I think she was saying so to protect me because she knew that the heroine in Brave wrestles a bear and she was thinking I would not want to watch that (I don't like human on animal violence on TV...although I think I could've handled the flick...). On the way home, we saw a massive, full-color rainbow over a wet soybean field. She wanted me to chase down the pot of gold, not knowing I already had and it was strapped in a Britax clutching "Baby B" (Beth, thanks for that receiving blanket -- it's still receiving lots of love from Grace). She also tried on, for the last time, her outfit in which we received Grace in 2007. The shorts were fine (pants then, I recalled) but the "Ethnic Baby" inscribed tank was quite snug. Just as well - I am happy to report she has grown more than an inch since May and half of that in the last month. The next morning, Grace awoke excited but scared -- Gotcha Day had arrived but equally as important in the annals of Grace's life, today was the first day of Kindergarten! I fed her anxious tummy some scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese (isn't that what we all crave when we are nervous? No? Well, I do!) and we bustled into the car for the quick trip to the bus stop (tomorrow we will walk). She had brushed her hair, put on her shoes, stuffed her backpack and was ready to go. First one at the stop, she cheerfully greeted each kid as they arrived (she knew only a few of them but was happy to host). She also chased cats, looked for bugs, compared backpacks, dodged the paparazzi and the mamarazzi, and generally behaved like no one who professed to be scared. I sought and got a big, strong hug before the bus was in sight and positioned myself to film the boarding. Too bad I wasn't using ESPN's fast-action videography equipment -- she shot out ahead of the pack and raced up the steps without even looking back. Later, she told us she had waved from her seat but it was hard to tell through the tinted windows. No, I didn't cry -- all used up in Timothy Green and anyway, this was a day for celebration! After school we got the full debrief -- she made a new best friend (her words, delivered with much enthusiasm), "Kayla," and learned many rules. They went to gym class, music, recess, and so forth. She had time to eat lunch but no one responded to her raised hand to help open her water bottle (oh, bad mommy -- need to change the vessel tomorrow). She needed only one reminder (uh oh, already!) to listen to the teacher (she was deeply engaged in making that new BFF). Her homeroom teacher noticed her special anniversary on our family info sheet and gave her the privilege of taking home the summary of the day's activities (teach is also an adoptive parent and familiar with Gotcha Day). Grace shared with me the fact that they mentioned God in the Pledge of Allegiance, so we discussed some concepts of religious freedom. We also talked about her likes/dislikes as far as lunch and snack options (tuna cups and yogurt with cinnamon is out, plums, apples and dried seaweed are in). Then we let her choose the Chinese restaurant, fill her tea cup with packets of sugar and generally revel in her big day. One of our fortune cookies had the word for "wife," which is pronounced a lot like "cheese." Enjoy the pics, finally!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Still Kicking!

Okay, I am a bad mom -- I haven't touched this blog in nearly a year.  My main problem is not trusting my computer enough anymore to download pics and then upload them here.  Need to get over that this year, as once in a while one of you, our dear friends and family, actually check in to see what we are doing.  I am not a Facebook person, as you know, so this will have to suffice. 

Let's have some quick stats --
G is 5 and still in preschool, Kindergarten in the fall.  She weighs about 2-3 lbs more than last year at this time.  She is active and happy.  She is still swimming and playing piano.  Looking into horseback lessons this summer and maybe Mandarin after a visit from her special Auntie and Uncle (Donna and Al).  We had a great visit with them last year in the U.K.  Photos attached. 

Still isn't really pronouncing her "r's" too well but I am not concerned.  Still loves animals deeply and wants to grow up to save them.  Tonight, she brushed her teeth wearing her Veterinarian costume.  Could read "Animal Hospital" on the back of her uniform (!).  Came to Take Your Child to Work Day and charmed the pants off everyone.  Loved the pedometer we bought -- walked over 6000 steps in about an hour...(really?  really?) at the park today.  Beat me in Memory (but just barely) before bed.   

Here are some pics from last year (ack!): 

More to come!

Climbing Tintagel (King Arthur's castle) in Cornwall

Grinning at a train station outside London

Gotcha Day 2011

Mulan, Halloween 2011

Tending to the Jack O'Lantern, 2011

Snack break on hike to daddy's bridge site

Visiting the bridge site with Daddy

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Another milestone: Swimming

Forgot to mention that Grace swam her first few strokes without assistance at lessons on May 28 and again in the pool with me on the 30th.  So exciting!  She started lessons in December and is getting very confident at floating, putting her head under water and jumping into the water (at someone).  Pics to come.  As of now, she is 32 lbs, and easily sees the tops of all counters and can turn on all light switches. She also can buckle her own child safety seat, clip on her bike helmet and write her first and middle names.  Guess she'll be wanting the car keys next....