Monday, September 14, 2009

Tea Party!

Since we went to Stone Mountain in honor of Olivia's birthday, we wanted to do something special for Ke Xin. She LOVES to play tea party, so the logical choice was to go to the local tea house, Tea Leaves and Thyme. Now that Labor Day was over, we got a small group together and headed into town for a fun Saturday afternoon.

They have clothes and hats and gloves for the customers to dress up, so everybody had a good time. The girls showed off their new looks.

My favorite look on Ke Xin -

The "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" hat just wasn't the right look for Olivia.

But she enjoyed all the others she tried on...

She even changed clothes into a flapper style dress...

She's ready to head out on the town!!

What a Southern Belle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cousin Ivey got into the spirit...

The food and tea were excellent, also. There were all sorts of little sandwiches and sweets. The grown ups started with a hot blueberry tea and finished with "Magical Garden", a red rooibos tea. It is supposed to be really healthy for you, but it tasted great, too. (And I'm usually a sweet-tea person.) The girls and Ivey had hot chocolate. We had to pace Ke Xin, since she was sucking it down like water. The tea house is a small old house on Main Street. It was packed with patrons and the servers were literally running to keep up.

Mark and Debbi (who, amazingly, is still talking to us after having to live with us for 2 1/2 hard weeks in China). Debbi has sworn she's never traveling any further than one (1) time zone away after battling jet lag for almost 2 full weeks after we got back. We had a male server at the tea house and he was so happy to see Mark, it was funny. He kept popping by to talk sports and get a testosterone fix.

Aunt Carol and Ivey...

Me and the girls. Ke Xin was starting into a hot-chocholate sugar crash by this time.

Debbi had birthday gifts for both Olivia and Ke Xin. Ke Xin ripped into her magnetic ballerina as soon as we got home. The doll has different mix 'n match magnetic outfits.

Sunday was special, too, because we visited with Aunt Lori and Uncle Chuck, Olivia's godparents and originally long-time friends of Mark. They are always SO good to the girls. We had lunch at Featherstones and the girls got MORE gifts. Cool clothes, jackets and gift cards. Aunt Lori will be in charge of training them for the retail and entertaining portions of their lives, as her taste is always excellent. (She serves an awesome formal tea, herself. You'd have to see it to believe it.)

After Ke Xin unwrapped her new dress and sweater, she had to put them on. I took her into the restroom and she got a HUGE smile when she saw herself in the mirror!

We forgot that it was Lori and Chuck's wedding anniversary! Late Happy Anniversary to them!!!

Ke Xin was pooped after her weekend full of festivities.

What a great weekend!!! Thank you to everyone who sent best birthday wishes to the girls. We have so many wonderful friends!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ke Xin's Birthday, Part II

Ke Xin turned 3 on September 6th. We got a Fairy cake, which she loved.

All set to celebrate! I don't know that she understood it was her birthday, but she understood she was getting cake and presents, so it was all good as far as she was concerned.

Waiting for the flames to begin!
Cake! Yeah! (Actually, it's more like "Frosting! Yeah!" since she scoops all the icing off the cake and never touches the cake itself. Sigh...)

She got several baby-related items, whch she was happy about - but it was the shoes that really got her excited.

A new baby doll that talks! She identifies body parts and sings. Ke Xin likes her alot, but Baby, from Grandma Helen, is still her #1 baby.

Olivia tried to help Ke Xin unwrap everything, but we held her back. She loves playing with all Ke Xin's new stuff.

My new favorite picture of the girls together. Wearing new hoodies their Aunt Linda sent from Illinois.

Ke Xin as a Fairy!

I left Ke Xin playing in the sunroom on her own for a few minutes while I washed dishes. Mistake. When I checked on her a few minutes later, she was perched happily on the family room footstool, with the netbook off the computer table, out of it's bag and opened up. She was so proud of herself!! We'll really be in trouble when she figures out how to tun it on...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ke Xin's Birthday!

Ke Xin's birthday fell in the middle of Labor Day weekend. All local family and friends were busy, so it was pretty quiet at our house. We decided to keep things simple. We went to the new Tellus Museum up near Mark's brewery, ate Chinese, had cake and opened presents at home. Because Ke Xin loves tea parties so much, she will get to have a family tea party at a real tea house next weekend. I think she'll really love that. Sometimes I wonder if we should change her birthday when we do the re-adoption. She's always going to have to "compete" (or put up with) with Olivia having her birthday just a few days before, and Labor Day, with the date she has now. But then, I don't really like the idea of changing what was set in place in China. But maybe delaying her birthday just one week wouldn't be too bad? Who knows?

Anyway, we were really impressed with the museum and the kids loved it.

The museum is brand new and squeaky clean. After getting our tickets, we were greeted by a friendly alosaurus (formerly brontosaurus). The timing was perfect since Olivia has been studying dinosaurs and fossils at school. Ke Xin was not impressed.

A giant sloth. He did not look very friendly, especially his teeth!

T-Rex!! It made me think of the scene in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex makes it into the hotel lobby and stands there, with an ear-splitting roar, while the "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" banner falls around his feet.

The Raptors - T-Rex's little friends.

Fossilized dino eggs from Henan - Ke Xin's birthplace!

Like the sign says, "Touch This If You Dare!!" Of course, it was... dino poop!!!! Ha!!! Olivia was looking for wet wipes by this point. Ke Xin just giggled.

This was the weirdest thing I saw in the whole museum. A giant armadillo with the head of a cat and a spiked tail. It was pretty big. How it walked under the weight of that shell, I don't know.

Turtle Soup anyone?? I don't think he'd get run over trying to cross the road...

Look at Ke Xin's smile! What a cutie!

Jaws! Olivia loved the idea that this shark was the size of a school bus. She can't wait until she gets to ride the bus next year. (Wait - next year!!??!!)

The museum is split into 5 sections: dinosaurs, rocks and fossils, the history of motion, a children's science area, and a planetarium. We moved into the fossil and rock section next, known as the Weinman Mineral Museum - the original museum that the Tellus grew around. There were lots of very beautiful stones. This is a huge amethyst geode.

Another example of amethyst. They had all kinds of rocks and minerals from all over, but they just didn't photograph very well.

The History of Motion area - they had everything from planes, trains and automobiles to space rockets. To think that planes have evolved from what's below (cloth and sticks) to the thing we rode on for 15 hours all the way to China, complete with tv's and bathrooms, and carrying 500 people at once...

A cockpit - no I can't remember what plane (jet?) it's from. I'll just stick to my Hyundai Sonata.

Olivia Myers - future astronaut??? I doubt it - the uniform just isn't fashionable. I can imagine her decorating it...

Next, we went through the children's science area. No - there are no pictures. I forgot to take any because we were busy with all the hands-on stuff. There are displays for bending light, electricity, weather, nature, sound, magnets, heat, gravity and other things. There was also a model railroad display at the rear of the Motion area which was really nice. Toot! Toot! We saw a movie in the Planetarium about weather. It was a little complicated for the kids, but they had fun laying all the way back in the theater chairs and watching a movie on the ceiling. I don't believe Ke Xin has ever been in a theater before, but she did just great!
The Tellus also has 2 more hands-on displays for the kids - digging for fossils and panning for stones. The digging for fossils display is kinda like a big sand box. The kids get paint brushes and can walk into the sand box area and clean off fossil displays that are underneath the sand, on the floor. Or, they can go to a trough along the wall and dig for little fossils they can take home.
In the panning for stones display (sponsored by Vulcan Materials, Grandpa Howard's former employer!), there is a long trough with running water that winds all the way around the room. You stand along the sides and pan in the water and sand to find little colored stones you can take home. The kids loved this area best of all. Olivia was soaked from almost falling into the trough, she was so intent upon getting all the stones she could find.

We finally had to leave because the museum was closing for the night. The grounds are just beautiful, so we walked around some. They have a small observatory, so of course, Olivia had to pose in front of it. (They also have a HUGE dump truck on display in the parking lot. It was probably donated by Vulcan also, since they use them down in the quarries.)

Then we hit the road to get our Chinese birthday dinner. Ke Xin had sweet and sour chicken, Olivia opted for shrimp and Mark and I had Thai. We have been to 3 Chinese restaurants since we got back from China. The odd thing is that we have been waited on by Latins and Americans only - no Asians! What is up with that??? I keep hoping we'll see someone that Ke Xin can possibly communicate with, but nope. Oh well...

We went home for cake and presents, but my camera card was finally filled (I think there are 1700 pics on it) and those pics are on another camera. I'll get them downloaded one of these days...