Sunday, June 28, 2009

Butt and Sissy...
That's what G calls Brett and Casey. Its the funniest thing ever to hear her yelling out Butt!!! Butt!!! and then run up and hug him when he comes into the room. G loves her brothers sooooo much. She likes to climb on them and sit on them at every opportunity. She pretty much never tires of them although they do occasionally tire of her :-)

The other day, the boys went swimming and took G along. G was in heaven!!! Her two favorite things: brothers at her beck and call and WATER!!! The kids took turns holding her and trying to get her to kick her feet and splash the other. G thought that was great!!!!





Monday, June 22, 2009

Holiday (x2)!!!
June 21st, 2009 was a very big day in our house! Not only was it Father's Day but it was also our 23rd wedding anniversary! That's right, 23 yrs ago yesterday, two very young and fairly immature people got married and began a life together. We married on the third saturday in June on Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. There was a full moon of course, which I actually have a photo of and is fondly referred to as "The Honeymoon" :-)

My plan for Father's Day was in part to get daddy and daughter pix taken. I had big plans for this. I made the appointment about 3 weeks earlier, had chosen a super cute summer dress for Georgie, purchased a coordinating shirt for Bobby and gathered my very best Picture People coupons. To ensure success, we got up and out early, came back in time for G to have lunch and a nap right at noon. Like clockwork, G woke up at 2:15, in perfect time to get to the photo place at 3:00! I dressed her and combed her hair and she was just so cute! She must have remembered from last time because she started saying "happy!!!, happy!!!, happy!!" over and over again.

I thought, "this is going to be great!!!"

We went in the back, the photo guy had them sit on the floor and G's whole mood changed. Photo guy suggested having G lay on her tummy and Bobby tried to get her to do it and that was it... FREAK OUT!!!!

Let's just get this straight. Since we met Georgie, a little over 6 mos ago, she has almost always preferred Bobby over me. He's more fun I guess. She definitely prefers me over other people but, given a choice, its Daddy all the way. But on father's day, when mommy wants to get pix to memorialize that beautiful relationship, she began sobbing and ran to me to be picked up. Any efforts to extract the sweaty little velcro baby were met with blood curdling screams. Ugh. All I could think was "seriously??" We tried everything. We switched photographers, we changed photo areas to one that was in the front, we let her play with toys for awhile, we brought out her stuffed monkey, we tried to giving her cookies. No go, no way, she was having none of it.

After a while I admitted defeat. We viewed the few photos they took, picked the least bad (see below) for our free one and off we went. After that Georgie was as happy as could be!!!

Little kids are so confusing sometimes :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New look!!
I was getting tired of my blog. You can pay talented, informed people to create a custom blog design for you. I think it runs about $100. I kept thinking about going that route but it seemed kind of pricey. I'm not talented enough to create one of my own. I'm just not techie enough. Then I ran across a site called "Hot Bliggity Blog". They have all these premade blog backgrounds to choose from along with super easy instructions for installing them. So cool!!!

I tried to find one that coordinated with my flowery custom title bar. I'm not sure, maybe its a little too busy??? Anyway, I'll try this for awhile and if it gets to be a little much, I'll change it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

99 things...
Saw this on another blog and thought was kind of fun! I bolded 51 of the 99. It makes me realize, I need to travel more.

Here are the rules: Bold the things you’ve done and post on your blog!
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain-Or was it a really big hill? =)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child –She’s home!
16. Had food poisoning-The worst!!
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill – It’s called a mental health day!
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon 3
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language--tried mandarin, it was hard but I'm going to try some more
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies-Gosh, hasn't eveybody?
62. Gone whale watching (when I was a kid, didn't see any whales though)
63. Got flowers for no reason =)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (I must have when I was in NY but honestly, I don't remember it)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (Payless Shoes when I was like 19)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone --pinkie finger of my right hand
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Given birth to a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Six months ago today...
(or maybe yesterday its hard to tell with the time change) a frightened baby girl was placed in my arms. I had been working toward that day for about 3-1/2 yrs at that point. But, the dreaming and hoping for a little girl had been with me most of my adult life.

On 12/7/2008, we woke up, ate breakfast, and then began preparing for our "gotcha" moment which was to be that afternoon. We gathered things together, prep'd the crib in the hotel room and ogled over the little clothes that would soon be hers. A half hour before the babies were to arrive at our hotel, we went downstairs to the lobby to see if we could catch a glimpse of her coming through the door. Although our agency was receiving several referrals that day, only our little girl would be coming from that particular SWI.

Finally, a man and a woman holding a little girl walked through the door. She didn't look like our baby but I couldn't tell for sure. Our referral pix had been taken in July, almost 6 mos earlier, and I was prepared to not recognize her immediately. I moved a little closer and saw that this definitely was not our baby. That beautiful little girl was a little older. She would be joining someone else's family.

About that time, our guide arrived and said that our daughter would be coming a little later, they were going to another hotel first with 4-5 other children. I thought, "that's ok, I've waited this long, I can wait a little while longer." Soon other children began to arrive and all families were asked to go to the conference room. We waited a few minutes as some families began to receive their children. There was no logic or organization to it at all. Many children began to cry and scream. It was a mad house so I stepped outside and looked as another woman carrying a baby beautifully dressed in red silks walked up the grand circular stairway. Bobby said "I think that's her" but I knew it wasn't. Then, just behind was the last child to arrive that day. She had lots of straight black hair and was dressed in a brown, puffy, puppy dog outfit that was much more suited to a little boy than a little girl. Her skin was dark brown--much darker than it appeared in her referral pix-- and her cheeks were fiery red.

I took one look at her and said to Bobby "that's her." We followed her and her little entourage (the swi director and 2 women) into the conference room. Through our guide it was confirmed that, yes, we were the people chosen to be the parents of Zhang Nian Sheng. I wanted the hand off to be calm and as unstressful as possible. We'd had several discussions that day about how we were going to do things. Bobby and I looked at her a little and said "hi" and thought we would spend a few minutes to let her get a good look at us before touching her. But then, all of a sudden, the director said something in Chinese and then robustly grabbed her and placed her in my arms while saying "mama, baba." She still didn't cry. Her lip quivered a bit and she looked so, so sad and frightened. I held her and whispered in her ear "its OK little one, we'll take care of you always. Don't be scared, it will be OK."

We had some cheerios for her and a bottle of water which, if I recall correctly, she gulped down. After a few minutes, we took off her jacket. She was incredibly hot. The bright red cheeks were a combination of dry skin and flush due to being so bundled up. Her body was clean and her hair combed but it was obviously not washed in quite some time because it was plastered to her head and kind of crispy to the touch. We stayed in that room for about 20 mins or so, took pictures and tried to ask the swi staff some questions. Really though, its kind of blur.


Fast forward to today. In the last 6 mos, our little girl's life has completely changed. She has a new name, Georgiana, a family who loves her and two cats that she loves sometimes a little too much. That scared little girl has grown physically and developmentally in ways that continue to surprise me on a daily basis. G's vocabulary is huge!! she probably uses well over 125-150 words and seems to understand just about everything we say. Granted, some of her words are understandable to only us LOL! She's even started learning some of her letter sounds from playing with the Leap Frog fridge phonics "A says a..." She loves going to the park, being pushed on the swing and going down the slide "weee!" G loves to eat, and dance, and laugh! She loves to swim in the pool, take baths, and play peek a boo and chase with daddy. G loves animals and babies and saying "hi" to everyone she sees. She loves to give hugs, blow kisses and give five. G's favorite toys are probably her shape box and glow worm. She loves to wear hats, bracelets and sometimes makes a pretty good effort at putting on socks and sandals. Her favorite song is now "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and her favorite thing to say... is "happy!" which she squeals and then laughs and laughs.

Mostly though, she's just a joy; an unbelievable gift to our family every single day. She has her moments where she can be trying, of course, but her temperment for the most part is very even. She can be a bit stubborn but has never had a temper tantrum. She's smart and gentle and so beautiful.

She is the perfect match for our family and on a daily basis I am thankful for our good fortune in being matched with this beautiful little girl. I can't wait to see what the next six months will be like!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sandspit Beach:
The friday before Memorial Day, we had to go pick Brett up from school so he could be home for Casey's high school graduation. We decided to make a bit of a day of it. So we played hookie from work, Georgie played hookie from the babysitter and we took her to the beach by Brett's school. Even though it was super hot here (high 80s at least) it was a little on the chilly side up there. As you can see from the pix, all was not lost though. We were able to find our emergency "Georgie-had-a-blowout" outfit and pop that on her so she wouldn't be too cold.

Sandspit, the little beach we went to, was basically empty. As you can see from the pix, it was pretty much just us. Positives were tons of shells and rocks, seals, pelicans, etc to look at plus, no crowd. The water was cold but G not so much so that G couldn't put her feet in and splash a bit. Near the end it became somewhat problematic because G just wanted to dive right in but, if she had, she would have been freezing. We spent about 2 hours there watchinger her dig in the sand, pick up rocks and shells and yell "birdie" whenever the opportunity arose.

It was quite a lovely time actually.

After that, we got Brett in the car and began our long and painful trek back home. It only took us 2 hrs to get there but almost 5 hours of straight driving to get home. The traffic was really, really bad which wasn't unexpected due to the holiday weekend but still unwelcome. G did really well in the car, she almost always does. She slept for a few hours, snacked, and played with Brett in the back seat. Right about the time we pulled into our neighborhood, she'd had all she could take and, when I looked back at her, had the saddest expression on her face I've ever seen. Luckily, we were out of the car only about 1 minute later then she happied right up again!!!!

That kid is such a trooper, I swear!

Georgie when we first arrived. Notice clippie still in hair :-)


I just love her sandy little foot! So cute!

Daddy and G taking a walk. I think G had found a piece of seaweed she couldn't put down!

G loves to be swung up into the air. Not too fast though or she gets frightened

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Splish splash!!!
At the recommendation of Jen, a fellow blogger and friend found HERE, we decided to visit The Huntington Library in Pasadena this past weekend. Her little boy is just a few weeks older than Baby G so generally if a place appeals to him, its pretty safe G will like it too. It's been a really long time since I've been to the Huntington.

As far as museums to visit with kids go, it was pretty great! The galleries are in separate buildings: European in one, American artists in another, etc. Then, all around, the gardens. G did pretty well in the galleries between stroller, carrying her and letting her walk quite a bit. As long as we didn't expect her to stay in one spot too long, she did well. She enjoyed pointing out doggies, horses and babies she saw in the paintings and sculptures and even though she was a little more loud than the majority of the patrons, she didn't scream, screech or cry so we got tons of smiles and a lot of "Oh my god, she's soooo cute" type comments. I've always loved art. I took many art history classes in college and ever so briefly considered majoring in art history and doing MA curator program. Maybe in another life. Anyway...

The gardens were a little more G's style, of course. She loved smelling the flowers in the Shakespeare and Rose gardens. It was nice to just move at her pace which was really SLOW :-) There's also a beautiful and very tasteful chinese garden with a pond, many huge koi and ducks. One of the ducks hopped up onto the shore area and G spent a good bit of time trying to catch it. Bobby spent a good bit of time protecting the duck from being caught.

We saved the best for last! I'd been told about the Children's Garden and was glad. They have all these little fountains that the kids can splash in. Because we knew G was going to be getting wet, we brought her some swim clothes. Good thing too because G was SOAKED!!! But I don't think I've ever seen her so happy. She just splashed and splashed and splashed for well over an hour.

To prove what a perfect day we had, even the weather cooperated. It was cool and overcast all morning but a few minutes after G started splashing, the sun magically appeared!

Prancing near the Rose Garden:

Taking time to smell the flowers:

This is the face she would make every time she smelled the flowers. I couldn't tell if it tickled her nose or what but it was so funny!

Near the pond in the Chinese Garden. I'm often struck by how truly beautiful she is. She has the sweetest, softest features.

This is the water area. G would have been happy to live in this area!

Splashy, splashy, splashy!

G loved these deeper pots. At first she just stuck her hands into them and held them there for a few minutes. She just loved being in the water.

There were quite a few kids that would come up and play in the fountains with G. Some of them older like 5 or 6. G really did well with them. Not overly aggressive at all but not at all intimidated either. This is her playfully doing keep away with part of the fountain the kids were all fascinated with. I just love her mischievious smile!!

G checking out this long tunnel. I thought she might be afraid but no, she forged right ahead. Once she saw daddy at the other end she ran!

Overall, it was a fantastic day!!! I gave it a 9 out of 10 and Bobby gave it an 8. I think that's impressive for a day at the museum with an almost 17 mo old!