Thursday, December 25, 2008

School Photo and some odds and ends

We need naps.
The new, gently used dolly -- Thanks, Janet!!!


[Let me know what size you want, mom and dad!]

Really, we did bake....

Proof, even if the cookies never made it in the mail. Sorry. They were yummy.

Merry Christmas!

I need a new camera.
Mmmm, raisin cookies!

Taken during same sitting.

Flash killed the pretty tree lights.

Finally, a smile! Well, not from the dogs. They can't have raisin cookies.

More pics to come but here's an attempt at posting a video. Taken at preschool performance. Grace is in the blue dress, spinning like a pro! Happy Holidays to all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What does Grace Like?

Books: Fox in Socks (arrrgh), Goodnight Moon, a Sandra Boynton counting book with dogs -- title escapes me -- which I swear she is READING (or at least reciting from memory), Head to Toe (loves all the Eric Carle books -- she wore out Brown Bear, Brown Bear), and starting to like
"Win in in poooooo" (Winnie the Pooh).

Music: She is a You Tube junkie. ACDC, Jimi Hendrix (Let me Stand Next to Your Fire, or, as Grace calls it, "ooh ooh ah ah"), and several videos of children's songs including ones about rhinos, elephants, monkeys.

Toys: PLAY DOH all the time, and her toy kitchen - best when used together, tea set, bike

Also enjoys playing pretend (meals, mostly, or bathing her babies and stuffed animals), tunnels, forts (under the kitchen table); loves the 8 year old girl up the street; loves fish, birds, horses, butterflies, and dogs. Her placemat that she made for Thanksgiving at preschool gives "thanks for fish."

Kids say (and do) the darndest things...

Last month it was "Knockee off, Harris" (Knock it off)

Last night it was "Chicken boodie" (Shake your booty).

That last one was followed by a big grin and nod when I finally decoded what she was saying.

"Who taught you that, Grace?" I asked. "Lauren," she said immediately.

Ah, Lauren. Cute kid, new to preschool, could be Grace's twin but for an inch of height.

Harris, also of the under-three set, sticks his hand in the fishtank and pulls the fire alarms.

I think at least one of these new commands may come in handy at school.....

Final note: as I reached for the pajamas tonight to get Grace ready for bed, I turned back to see her looking at me with the widest eyes -- she was purposely opening them as far as they would go.

Just in case I didn't get the hint, she said "AWAKE, mommy." No doubt.

Monday, December 8, 2008

One little, two little, three little....

I will add more later. These are from the preschool thanksgiving feast (day before the holiday).

Friday, December 5, 2008


Grace and Christmas Pooh in the furniture department.

A bird in the hand is worth more than a sippy cup....

Hall Sprints.

Bedtime sillies.
Begging for crackers.

Grace is a truly incredible child. Here is what happened today in preschool:
According to her teacher, all the children were sitting in "circle time" listening to the plans for the day. The teacher mentioned that the storytime book would be about gingerbread men. Grace reportedly got up from circle time, walked over to the bookshelves and pulled out ALL of the books (randomly filed) that had gingerbread men in them, and brought them to the teacher. (We didn't even know she knew what a gingerbread man was!)
The other night before bed, she collected all the stories with rabbits in them for me to read.
Her favorite book these nights is "Moon" (really, "Goodnight Moon"). She enjoys looking for the mouse in every picture. She has a mouse in school (a real one) and its name is "Eee eee."
Today, I asked her to tell me her name. She did. First, middle and last. I am completely in awe of her brain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


That's what she says when she sees his picture, that of our new President-elect!

I am glad that Grace will grow up in an America that has chosen a new direction for this country, has demonstrated that hard work and intelligence can still bring the rewards (albeit additional hard work) of the nation's highest office, and has put a new face on our future.

Perhaps one day someone like Grace or even Grace herself will inspire Americans to revisit the Constitutional requirement for American heritage.

To all of that, I say, "Yes, we can."

(Postscript -- after watching the acceptance speech, I headed outside with the dogs in the midnight drizzle to let them do their business. Reese sniffed a bit too long at our Obama yard sign and as I watched in dismay, she lifted her leg and peed on it. Lest those among you who did not cast a ballot for Obama think this to be a reflection of some greater wisdom of canines, I hasten to note that Reese, being a girl and thus not usually inclined to lift her leg, only pees where others (boy dogs) have peed before. Someone in the neighborhood obviously allowed their dog to mark this sign, perhaps in some passive-aggressive commentary on our political expression. They also allowed the dastardly action to happen on election night, as Reese has had no prior reaction to the sign. And while I could be angry, I prefer instead to recall a wonderful and auspicious name I saw on a call sheet for a swing state I was contacting while volunteering for the campaign. The person's name was "Glorious Knight." Notwithstanding the incident with the urine, I will always remember November 4, 2008 with great joy as a truly glorious night.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grace and Reese

These photos loaded in reverse order. I think it will all be clear if you view them from the bottom up. No pun intended.

There's only so much poking a dog will endure.




Reese is lazy and therefore was subjected to some toddler pestering. Talley, who tolerates Grace much better, was smart and stayed far away during this photo shoot. Missing is the last shot, where Reese has gotten up and left the deck, upending Grace in the process. In the other pics, you can Grace doing her chores.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Second October

Head, shoulders, knees and toes!

No Paparazzi!

Grace has been using our stainless utensils for six months. But one night, after stabbing her fork into the wooden table time after time, we offered the ultimate threat -- "Do you want a baby fork?" -- referring to the useless, rubbery excuses for utensils that frustrate so many kids for so long. To our surprise, she replied "Yes!" with a big grin. Grace is shown here enjoying a meal of many baby forks.

Here she is, determined to wear her strawberry sandals from China one last evening before packing things away.

The weather has turned cooler here and we are enjoying every minute of it -- we've been to petting "zoos" to see the farm animals and back to the park we visited last year; we have taken Grace to the city to meet up with old friends visiting from far away; we have put away the summer clothes and moved on to tights and leggings and long sleeves and coats. Grace now finds plums, pears and apples in her lunch and cider in her cup. We roasted acorn squash (on the grill! Go Daddy!) and collected leaves in the yard.
Every day brings new words and skills. Lately, she has been singing ABC and Happy Birthday (sounds like "appee juju") and counting to 10 (using just 4 numbers -- clever kid, she's counting in factors! Or something like that....).

She enjoys drawing and making beautiful arts and crafts. She is very capable of expressing exactly what she wants ("The door OPEN," she says repeatedly before bed). She is also very stubborn and funny, and can really hold a grudge.

Eight weeks ago, a little girl in her preschool bit her finger while arguing over a toy. Not only will Grace still hold up her finger for inspection and kissing if you ask about the little girl ("Avery bite"), but she has also started to blame faulty household objects on this tiny fall-girl. "Avery broke it," she says, while pointing at lightbulb that has gone out. Cheerful and loving little Avery runs to hug Grace every morning despite Grace's visible lack of interest. One day, Dad witnessed Avery run full tilt toward Grace when, at the last moment -- like Lucy and the Football -- Grace ever so slightly and swiftly, and with no change in expression, leaned sideways and let Avery crash into the door behind her. When we tell Grace that she needs to forgive Avery for the biting, our daughter's response is (and always has been,) "Why?" We just learned that Avery will be moving away. Hard to know how Grace will take it but I sadly suspect even after Avery is long gone, she will not be forgotten -- or forgiven!

Grace has adapted well to her parents' busy schedule. Daddy's work means that Grace is spending longer days in preschool. Fortunately, she loves it and is thriving. She is very independent. The night before I left for a three-day business trip, I sat beside Grace to break the news: "Mommy's going on a trip-" I started, but before I could finish the thought, Grace held up her hand, waved and said "Bye! Bye Bye!" as if I needn't take a second more and should depart immediately.

Finally, I recently captured on video an episode of Grace TV (the baby monitor) where one normally finds at 9 pm reruns of the same soap opera of "Maaaa-mmmeeeeee," complete with fake tears and hyped-up drama. However, after spending a whole day with new people, Grace saved up some newfound dialogue for a zinger of a denouement. After we tucked her in, we turned to the monitor to find a pleasant, calm child laying on her back grinning and repeating my name in long, drawn out syllables. Guess she figured I was more likely to answer to that than the stock dialogue.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Pounds, that is. I weighed her on our scale today. Although she is still in the same sized diapers we brought to China, she is definitely growing. We estimated her weight a year ago at about 15 lbs.

She is still easy to carry but I am starting to think twice before letting other people pick her up.

Tonight some little girls in our neighborhood were remarking on her size ("So little, so cute.") They asked if they could pick up the "baby." In the past, I might have said yes. Now, however, I am starting to wonder if Grace really wants to be carted around (by other than her mom and dad, that is -- she clearly still wants that). So I told the girls to ask Grace if she wanted them to pick her up. The girls looked surprised. It's hard to see such a comparatively small child and imagine that her personality has advanced to the stage of having opinions about how she is to be treated. But then I reflect on the crib episode (see previous post) and I realize she's farther along than any of us fully appreciate.

In the end, they "jumped" with her by lifting her up and putting her back down (Grace likes to "Jum-pah!"). That satisfied their need to hold her and Grace retained some independence.

She then stunned them all by doing somersaults on the lawn.

Love and Lights' Out

Grace's vocabulary is exploding. There isn't a word she won't try to say. She's also very busy, watering the plants with a spray bottle and putting on her own socks, shoes and shorts. It's exciting to see her try so many new things.

Today, prompted, she said she loved me and daddy. Very sweet and rewarding. She also tried flossing: Hooray! Recently, she started calling me "Mom" instead of Mommy or Mama. It's cute and funny, coming from a 20 month old child.

But when it comes to bedtime, well....

She is rejecting the crib but won't stay in the twin bed. Since she is nearly completely potty trained, the crib represents an impediment to her ability to go without our help. But for whatever reason, the bed is not where she wants to sleep. She tricks us into taking her out of the crib by saying she has to potty. This little ritual went through three cycles tonight until I wised up. Tired of squatting alongside the toilet while she sang and grinned and made funny faces and tried to get me to give her bandaids or lotion or extra toilet paper, I turned out the light in the bathroom, left the door open and went down the hall, telling her to let me know when she was done. A few minutes later I heard "Ah Done!"

Maybe it was the lights' out technique, the tough love, or the fact that it was 9:30, but it worked well enough. We re-diapered her (pull ups still don't fit and neither does underwear), dropped her into her crib and left. She yelled for us for a few minutes and then fell asleep. Tune in tomorrow to see if she stayed there or awakened at 5:50 AM as she did this morning, conning daddy into putting her in her parents' bed.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Amazing Grace...or just ambidextrous?

Tonight before bed, she did a little drawing. I noticed that she is equally skilled with either hand. I'll try to post some video soon to show you her mad drawing skills.
[Please ignore the wall paper. That was one project we never managed to tackle before we left for China....]