Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thank You, Grandma Helen!

Smoochy thinks he's a cat. I was mopping the kitchen floor and he got himself up on the cat ledge and fell asleep in the sunshine. He'll always be a puppy at heart.

Olivia and Ke Xin love tea parties. Olivia engineered this set-up with footstools, pillows, cushions, stuffed animals and anything else she could get her hands on.

Olivia has declared she wants to be "fancy" all the time. She wanted to dress-up for our trip to the local Mexican restuarant, so I figured, "why not?" We put this together without too much arguing (since she is prone to arguing over everything these days...). I made her wear a pair of shorts under the dress, which made her furious (because they were plain grey and NOT fancy), but kept her modest.

The girls love sleeping together. I was able to snap this without waking them up. Ke Xin almost always ends up in our bed, but usually not until close to morning. She'll come in, get straight into bed and go back to sleep immediately. You can't argue with that.

Grandma Helen sent Ke Xin her first Asian baby doll! Ke Xin took one look and fell in love. She tried to fight her way thru the box, but it was pretty child-proof.

These two pictures show her reaction after we finally got the doll out of the box. She was SO happy!! The baby doll immediately moved to the top of her "favorite toy" list.

Lots of kisses for the new baby!!

Then she stripped the baby doll. She did that with her other baby doll, too, and does not appreciate it when I re-dress it. She'll strip them all over again, so I know not to bother.

She was able to make the doll sit up on its own, then she copied it until it fell over.

More hugs and kisses...

This picture says it all. One happy little girl!!!!

Olivia's final "fancy" statement for the day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Few Pics from the Week

We've had a great week. Ke Xin is really trying to speak. She listens to us talk and she tries to repeat after us. I don't think she spoke much Chinese, so it's like she's learning to speak for the first time. She has no trouble with sign languange and you're never left in doubt as to what she wants. She sings to herself alot, which is very cute, and her favorite thing is tea parties.
Olivia is still in love with pre-k and her teacher. She's very happy to get going in the mornings. Ke Xin loves to go in Olivia's school. Her very favorite thing is to look through the big window of the baby room. She waves to the little ones and says, "babies! babies!" After we drop Olivia at school, Ke Xin and I head for the local park. She has a blast playing on all the equipment and... watching the older men play softball. I don't know what it is about them, but we have to sit and watch them every morning. Thursday we ran into Aunt Debbi, who was running (!!!) on the track. I admire her endurance.

We went to the local adoption meeting (Adoption Option) last Friday and Ke Xin and Olivia had a ball! It was like a really fun block party. We all ate and had fun just talking and socializing. Olivia is a social butterfly like her daddy. Thanks to the Perry family for opening their home to us.

Daddy doesn't have to work this weekend, so maybe we can all do something fun together - or finish the play gym, which is still sitting in pieces in the backyard...

And here is a shout-out to Allison, who is in China at this moment adopting Qi Meng, Ke Xin's foster brother. Things are not going smoothly with his transition and she's probably ready to reach for a large alcoholic beverage right about now... Hang in there Allison!!!

Here are some pics from the week:
Olivia put together this dance costume.

Ke Xin figured out that sitting on the floor with a snack might not be the best idea...

Big sister pushed mei mei (little sister) on the swings...

So mei mei had to return the favor!

The "sister thing" is working out pretty well...

Look what Olivia found in her grocery cart!!! (If only it was that easy!)

Olivia is getting the jump on Halloween. Aunt Debbi has promised to make her costume this year. She has until October 1st to decide what she wants to be. Right now she changes her mind every day.

Bath fun! The only part about about bath time that Ke Xin hates is rinsing the shampoo out of her hair.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where's Smoochy?

There's a Boston Terrier hiding in the mess of stuffed animals and pillows on Ke Xin's bedroom floor. Can you find him? He's trying to avoid going into his crate for the night. Guess that's another pile I have to clean up... Where does it all come from???????????

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I forgot to post a picture!

Olivia had to have a family photo for her "cubby" at Pre-K. After 20 shots, we got one that worked (typical). I wish Ke Xin was smiling, but she was "over it" by the time this one was taken.

Time for School!

What? It's only the beginning of August!!! But yes, in our county, school started August 3rd. (Boo!!! It's 90 degrees outside!) Olivia went to school part-time last year. This year she is full time (8:30-2:45)!!! She is going to the "Georgia Pre-K" which is funded by the State lottery. Guess we need to start buying tickets, huh? We couldn't do any worse than the stock market has the past year!

She loves school!! (Yeah!) She loves her teachers, Miss Kathleen and Miss Tia!! (Yeah!) And she's already making friends. She is a social butterfly, just like her daddy. Thank heavens! Here are a few pictures from the first day:
Waking up all bright eyed and ready to go!

Mark is working afternoon shift, so he was able to go with her the first day!! Ke Xin was tickled about something...

She has to "sign in" each day. They will keep the sign-in sheets to show the difference in their writing abilities from the beginning of the year to the end. I was an over-acheiver-mom and made her write her last name, too. Then I saw everybody else just did first names. Oh well.
Sitting down with her new classmates for the first time. She barely said goodbye to us. Two of her old Child's Play classmates are in her new class and she already has a couple new friends, so I think she'll do just fine. There are 20 kids in her class, and the center has 3 pre-k classes, total.
When Ke Xin and I picked her up at the end of the first day, her teacher and the teacher's aid both remarked (seperately) about Olivia's artistic abilities. They were very impressed! I looked at the newly displayed artwork on the way out and realized that, compared to the other kids' work, she really is ahead of the game for her age. She has a cousin, Sam, who is VERY gifted artistically, so maybe it runs in the family??? They say that art and math use the same areas of the brain (I think), so I'm hoping this is a good sign... Here is a shot of part of her classroom. It really is quite large, and divided into activity areas.

There is an exterior door that leads onto a really nice playground and the interior door opens into a central cafeteria area. The kids eat lunch family style. Olivia loves that, too.
One funny note is that the front-desk lady and I got to talking as we were leaving the first day. She noticed me because I was carrying Ke Xin, who was screaming and kicking, like a sack of potatos. She wanted to stay and play with all the neat things in Olivia's room/playground and was furious that she was not allowed. The woman said I should enroll her at the center and I told her we'd only been home 3 weeks. She was amazed because - she was in China at the exact same time as us with a tour group! She left one day earlier and stayed one day longer, but she flew the exact same routes as us, too. What a small world!!!
The baby room is at the front of the school and Ke Xin loves to look in the windows at them and point, saying "babies! babies!"
The school is actually part of a daycare center about 1 mile from the house. The nice thing is that there is a sidewalk all the way from our front door to the daycare center. The PLAN is that on nice days when it's not too hot or cold - we walk. (I love my sit and stand stroller!) We'll have to see if I ever get my lazy butt out and do that, but at least the opportunity is available.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Good Week!

Ke Xin has been doing great!! We could not ask for a happier child! She laughs and sings and flirts all the time. As long as she's not tired, she is having a good time.

She had her first (US) doctor's appt last week. She was very shy, but there were no tears. Dr. Hutchinson was very happy with everything. She has slightly low muscle tone in her core (tummy) and legs, and his cure for that was to get out and play. No problem! She LOVES to rough-house. Her favorite thing is when Mark flings her up into the air and then down onto the sofa. I tried to get pictures of that, but she looks like she's being abused instead of having fun. Trust me, she loves it. As soon as she lands, she has her arms out wanting more. She has been having lots of fun playing with everyone, including the animals.

The dogs are always "swimming like sharks" under the table when she eats. They are always ready for any morsel that comes their way. I think she understands now that food is always available, so she doesn't gorge on her meals any more.
She's not terribly interested in books, but she loves abusing her father and will take advantage of him any time she can. At least she can't hurt him like Olivia can. Miss O is big enough now that if she jumps on him, she can do some damage! He's had a sore back for the last few days from a tackle she made on him. Of course, he kinda asked for it when he asked her to "snap his back". Sheez!

One of Ke Xin's favorite meals is spaghetti, probably because of the noodles. She'll eat it until she almost explodes. Olivia eats like a bird, so it's nice to finally have an enthusiastic eater in the house! Ke Xin is game to try almost anything. Another favorite is yogurt, any flavor.

The two munchkins asleep. They are both good sleepers and they don't keep each other awake. I lounge at the end of the bed while they drift off, just in case. I have threatened Olivia that I will move her back into her bed if either one of them acts up, and she has been good as gold. Hmmm, maybe bunk beds are in our future? We got a single sleigh bed for Olivia last year, and a really nice mattress. It's comfortable for her, but it gives both Mark and I backaches. We have an older (cheap) daybed in Ke Xin's room, but get this - it is the most comfortable bed in the whole house! We will keep it until it falls apart. Mark fell alseep in there last weekend and slept the clock around. When Olivia was a baby, and when we had the foster kids, I slept there and was always comfortable.
The only problem Ke Xin has sleeping is that she has bad dreams. Some nights yes, some not. Most of the time she will cry out, but continue sleeping. I go in and make sure she's ok and comfort her until she quiets down. If she wakes up, tho, there is no way she's going back to sleep in her room. She immediately heads for our bed. That's fine with us. She deserves to have her way and feel safe at night. The one thing that makes me wonder about her past is that sometimes, when she stays asleep during the dream, she will hold her arms up in front of her face in a defensive gesture, as if to protect herself from being hit while she rolls back and forth. Hmmmm..... Olivia never wakes up during Ke Xin's crying. Even the night I found Ke Xin (asleep) STANDING on top of Olivia's back, banging on the wall with her little fists. (That was a disturbing scene.)

Ke Xin loves the bath and really loves the shower. Any time she finds one of us in the shower, she has to jump in - even if she just got done with a bath. As long as she doesn't get a face full of water, she is happy as a lark. (This is Mark's cheesecake shot for the blog today!)

Ke Xin needs a nap at noon. She does not agree with this, but it is true. She will go bananas if I try to make her take one, so usually I don't force it. If we get in the car, she'll be out before we get to the end of the driveway (thank heavens gas is kinda cheap right now). And, rarely, she will pass out while she is playing. Isn't she just beautiful? I'd show you the whole picture, but she's naked as a jaybird. She loves to be naked! What is it with kids????? She is also potty training, at her insistence. If she is bottomless, she gets to the bathroom every time. If she has her pull-ups on, she makes it about 50%. I think that is great! Potty training was never a big deal for me with Olivia, and it isn't with Ke Xin, either. When they are ready, they do it. Her big thing is to wash her hands afterward. She is very hygenic, as always.

Tea Party - naked. At least Olivia kept her clothes on for a change. Ke Xin is REALLY into tea parties. Her foster mom must have shown her the ropes. Olivia was never really interested in tea parties before, but I think she's catching the bug from her little sister. Another love that has shown itself this last week is - baby dolls. Olivia went straight to Barbies, but Ke Xin LOVES babies (real) and baby dolls. I'll try to get her an Asian one for her 3rd bithday, in just one month!

And washing dishes - naked. I am proud of that little bottom. When we got her, it was flat. Now it has a little curve to it, like it is supposed to have.

Our first try at painting. Not naked. The girls got along very well and there was no paint-throwing. It still got everywhere, so I was up mopping the floor before bed. It needed it anyway.

And when we were done, Ke Xin started cleaning up! She's not as compulsive about cleaning as she was when we first got her, but it's definitely part of her personality.

It's like she's Cinderella. I let her help some, but I'm not going to let her think that's what she was put on earth to do. When I see her like this, I can't help but think that if she had stayed in China, this would probably be her "life", or worse. As an orphan with no family and no money, she would have no choice. I'm so glad she's here and not there.