Thursday, December 20, 2007

Frosty the Xue-shirt

The xue fell last week. I missed her first day in the real stuff as I had to go to work. When I came home, we went outside and made xue-angel hands on the top of the picnic table. Then we made xue-balls and threw them to Talley, who ate them. Grace is intent on crushing the xue-ball in her fierce grip, willing it to collapse into something dense and hard. I think she may be strategizing an improvement for the next generation of Super-conducting super-collider.

[Note the really great rocking horse from Pap.]

More Amazing Grace

Grandma "Honey" visited last week to help out and spend some time with her granddaughter. Gracie nicknamed her "MamMam." And since Mommy was out of town for three days, Grace has started to substitute "DaDa" every time she would have called for "MaMa."

We were also treated to great visits by Aunt Elaine and Uncle Lee, bearing gifts of pink Harley-D. clothing (thanks! She would also like a Hog, please), and Todd, who coined the "raised by a pack of dogs" comment. Todd brought her a doll, her first (other than the one the pawn shop lady gave her) -- she pulled it in next to her cheek and ear and nuzzled it close. Awwww...

Next week is Grace's first birthday. It's hard to believe this much time has passed.
She is loving the books and other toys everyone has given her. She also gets great joy out of running her hand along the handrail as we carry her up the stairs. And standing at the back sliding glass door yelling "TAAAAA!" at the top of her lungs. That would be Ta for Talley, the dog we are most likely to be yelling at/for....

Here are some more pics (photo credits to MamMam). Stories to follow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wolf Child; Raised by Dogs

How many different dogs can you count in the following pictures?

Walking--almost! Climbing stairs--full tilt! 3.5 teeth and counting. More pics and a few stories to come...

Funniest comment to date from a friend who did not put this on the blog so I will:

"Thanks for the blog link. I've now caught up on the past 5 months of your life [...] and was a little astonished to not see one photo of you or your husband holding her, cuddling her, etc. Are you photophobic? I know that Grace is darn cute, but from all the pictures, I would guess that she is being well cared for by a group of dogs."


[With apologies to my husband, who cares for her very well.]

And there were five different dogs -- although a yorkie, a pit bull, two beagles and another dog-of-indeterminate origin were all lurking just outside the shots for a grand total of ten. She's not afraid of any of them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Many Faces of Grace

No photos right now; just a musing on how hard it is to capture any particular expression she has --she is in a constant state of motion and emotion. I hope we get all of them on film before she gets any bigger....

On that point, she is now well into 9 month-12 month clothes. Thankfully, our dear friends and neighbors (no names but you know who you are) and family are keeping her well-clothed and shod. We are so lucky to have the support of all of you. And to those who send gift cards, rest assured we are putting them to good use (mundane essentials like formula, diapers -- but all of us appreciate those things). We have a library of board books and some precious ones we'll save for her later years. We have blocks and blankets, homemade quilts and rockers to take her into
her elementary school years!

I am LOUSY at thank you notes. Ah, but you know that by now.....My current plan is to sit down at Christmas and properly thank all of you with a hand-written note (and somehow squeeze in a birthday party for Grace). I don't think I ever sent ones for our wedding gifts, though, so my deepest apologies to those for whom this is an unpardonable offense. Know, though, that Grace is getting great love from us and that your thoughtful gifts were very much appreciated.

We can't wait for the first SNOW!

Grace is gurgling, hiccuping and crying out in her sleep tonight. Par for the course. She is never a restful girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fear the Turtle!

Happy Halloween!

Grace stayed awake the whole time (and then some; too much excitement)

We trekked around the whole block, stopping in to show her in her finest Terps gear (apologies to all our North Carolina friends...they don't sell Heels/Wolfpack/Devils gear at the local Target! Or Steelers or Sox or Patriots or Bills)... and collect a bit of candy for Daddy.

Actually, when we got home, we added it all back into the bowl for redistribution as the neighborhood kids had cleaned out Ma and Pap (paternal grandparents who came for the fun and to help out while Daddy recovered from his piranha attack).

Here's our sweet baby eating marigolds and dissecting her shoe pompoms (courtesy of Grandma Honey) prior to the outing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's she up to?

Everything! She laughs a lot -- sometimes it's a chortle, a burst of rapid-fire chuckling. Mostly she just grins. Suburban life is very amusing. Today, she enjoyed watching her stuffed animals tumble humpty-dumpty-like from the upper edge of her crib. Does it mean she lacks empathy or like her daddy, she enjoys seeing a well-executed PLF (parachute landing fall)?

We are at two teeth and counting. The Niagara rush of drool has abated, so perhaps we are between teeth right now. She uses the existing ones to masticate tortellini and the ear of an extremely patient dog.

Crawling is fast and purposeful -- usually the purpose is to get to the dog's dishes of food and water before the tall people notice. Lately, she has discovered the joy of hanging over the edge of her high chair after we have removed the tray but before we have released the prisoner. I think she is trying to test the gravitational pull of the pergo flooring, or the balance/load capabilities of the chair legs. I still have my money on civil engineer but daddy is pulling for LPGA pro.

She is not shy. Last week, she went to work with mommy to meet all her fans. High-level pols and other greatness doesn't phase her. I am pretty sure she was sizing up the offices to see which one she will take.

Words are still more like sounds -- although we get a lot of "Uh Ohs" now. "Mama," "Dada/Baba" have always been with us but "VaVa" arrived with the teeth (I keep waiting for the "Voom!"). A squeaky "Hello" seems to be getting a trial run.

Did I mention that she can throw a tantrum now and has lost interest in potty training? She still knows what the potty is for but will only use it if she is allowed to stand on the seat, Hunan style.

And lest we forget who is in charge, the fussing over the baby monitor (A.K.A. Grace TV) caused me to dash upstairs and miss the last pitch of the World Series. She is definitely a Sox fan, but her timing is lousy. I think she is actually a bigger soccer and football fan and was trying to signal as much to me.

Gotta go -- Grace TV is beckoning.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Fall Photos - October 2007

From the intense heat of a late Indian Summer to the (finally!) cooler days of autumn, here's Gracie, taking it all in. Oh and yes, GO SOX! (Another World Series Win today.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pics from Gramma Honey's visit 1st Week in October

I Have a Mystery for You! (apologies to "Raymond")

Question: What weighs 3 kgs at birth, 6.2 kgs at 3 months, 5.2 at 8 months, 7.2 9 days later and 6.8 kg one month after that in the U.S., having outgrown a clothing size in that same month and eating everything in sight?

Answer: Nothing. The scales in China don't appear to be calibrated.

It's Potty Time!

It seems just yesterday I was balancing over the squatty potty in China while Grace dangled from the Baby Bjorn above, wondering why she had awakened to face a toilet stall door....

Too much information? Okay, I promise not to post any pics of Grace (or any of us) on the pot but I swear on my late Grandmother's peanut butter captain crunch that our daughter was "Potty Aware" at 8 months! Back in China, when we would have her in the hotel bathrooms and stick her over the toilet, she would compliantly pee. Now that we are going through enough diapers to build a 9-hole par 3 on top of the landfill, we are more diligent about getting her on the potty.

[I think they call the diapers "Cruisers" because they know you will have spent on them the equivalent of a first-class cabin ticket for Alaskan whale-watching departing from Key West by the time you get the baby potty-trained.] Nevertheless, I am ecstatic to report that we have achieved both #1 and #2 on the pot with great regularity (don't call between 10:05 and 10:07 am!). Once she has the dexterity and foresight to take off her own diaper, I feel certain we will have a potty trained baby!

More September pics

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

September pics

One Month Later...

Time flies when you have the most precocious baby in the big blue-green planet. After a week at home, Grace started to crawl...backwards. After two weeks home, she mastered the forward progression, though it was not really a crawl but more of a lunge/drag/swivel/pitch forward/repeat motion. After three weeks, she took off like a shot in a straight line and we ran around installing baby gates and putting locks on cabinets. No more leaving her on the kitchen floor while preparing the bottle!

Shiny pretties (thanks to Sarah for that cute phrase) caught her focus in China; now she has moved on to anything made of a silvery grey plastic, needing a power source and sporting buttons. Baby wants cell phone, blackberry, remote control, laptop, portable phone, microwave (okay, it's white, but the noises make it really interesting), and more... And if my glasses survive the year, it will only be because she tired of the game.

And food -- still the omnivore, Grace has mastered the grasp (in September, actually) and can lock on to morsels of food with left or right pincers, and manage to get it into her mouth. She is clearly right-hand dominant, though, and so we expect her to major in engineering in a few years. Here she is with couscous (thanks, Tasha!), which actually doesn't get too close to the alimentary canal. Must be because this is not a chopstick-ready food.

We've had lots of great visitors -- grandmothers, aunties (related and unrelated), neighbors and more. Grace welcomes them all with her drooly grin. She grew a tooth upon our return from China and is working on a companion -- both lower jaw, center. More to come.
What else? Sleeping was great -- 10-11 hours at a stretch, mostly uninterrupted. But after all the company and the return of mommy to full-time employment, Grace decided to try waking up every hour all night long. This is not as fun.
Oh yeah, there's more but I'll save that for another post...coming soon -- the Potty Diaries!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Make sure you read the last several posts, which might not appear on this page but are listed at right in the archives. They are recent and have cute photos but have probably already been bumped into archives due to the size of the pics I am posting. Thanks for visiting! Leave a message if you like, as we'll save them for Grace.

Eating and Drinking in China

Our culinary adventures ran from chicken and cooked cucumber in Beijing to a Mongolian dish of eggplant and mushrooms spiked with the seed of the Chinese Prickly Ash tree (effect is a cross between a clove, a mild pepper, and novocaine), duck wraps, buttery radish soup in poultry broth, a fried maggot (or was it cicada larvae?), cinnamon-BBQ ribs and some incredibly good spicy Hunan dishes (re: 90 percent red peppers, 10 percent pork, or beef, or eggplant).

Less interesting was the bland dim sum in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, although the seafood was nice and the Thai food (sweet and spicy shrimp and shredded green mango salad) at the Cow & Bridge was a welcome respite from buns. We also did some damage at the fusion buffets, enjoying shrimp dumplings; eggs scrambled by chopstick; green tea ice cream; glutinous rice packages, bean curd and vinegar, enough bacon each morning to make me cringe when I watch "Babe" and fresh fruits like star fruit, mango, lychee, and papaya.

Grace partook of some of these, starting slow with congree and fried rice and working her way toward roasted poultry and pork dumplings. She has a special talent for sucking a noodle in record speed (think retraction of a tape measure or canister-style vacuum cleaner cord...) Here we have catalogued her enjoying the four foodgroups, from the top: Juice, Goose, Fries, Formula.

More Grace in China

Modeling a variety of outfits and moods, here's Grace: