Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost Caught Up!

When we installed the granite, we cut down the bar behind the stovetop to make it a more usable area. Mark decided to just replace the whole section of drywall underneath since the people who cut down the bar botched the job and left a huge gap below the granite. He had 2 helpers who supervised all the stages of the job.
Brooke (she let us know she wanted to be called Brooke now, so we jumped at the opportunity) REALLY likes to help. She'll follow you, trying to carry things, saying "Help! Help!" She loved watching daddy and helping him hammer and saw.

Olivia brought home another masterpiece from school the other week. It is a portrait of her sister!! We've hung it on the window next to the kitchen table. Brooke loves to point at it and say her name. She is tickled that her sister painted it and Olivia is very proud of her work.

The dogs have a very hard life at our house. Poor things.

We finally got around to giving the girls a bath in the big jacuzzi tub in the master bath. I never use it because I feel guilty - it's so deep and takes so much water. But it's the perfect swimming pool for the girls.

Just a couple drops of bubble bath and the jets turn it into a REAL bubble bath.

Brooke had the best time and she wasn't frightened by the roar of the motor/jets at all.

Brooke has enjoyed watching Olivia in her gymnastics class. She's been trying to copy her at home, so we thought it might be time to let her take her own lessons from Miss Yolanda. She was excited to get dressed in her very own leotard and head to the gym.

Everything was great - until class started. Then the tears came. She didn't sob, but it was obvious she was scared. But - she didn't leave the class. She could see us watching her and knew she could go to us, but she didn't. Miss Yolanda is very good with all the little kids and has plenty of experience working with tearful students.

And she made it all the way through class! She did everything Miss Yolanda asked and was tear-free by the end. She was proud of the ink stamps she got on her hands and feet at the end of the class, just like big sister Olivia. And when we went back for her second class last Friday, she was ready to go and have fun. She was all smiles and so proud of herself.

The girls are still in love with their playgym. Thank you again, daddy!

Brooke the Lone Ranger!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Halloween Pics!

Olivia was excited to carve the pumpkin until it came time to scoop all the guts out with her bare hands. But she stuck with it. She and Ke Xin saved all the seeds for daddy to eat. They got bored very quickly after that and, as usual, mom was left to cut the face alone. Olivia would pop back every so often to see that I was keeping up to standards and remaing true to her plan.

And here is Halloween Pumpkin 2009. I don't think Ke Xin could understanmd what all the fuss was about. It made me think of The Simpsons, where the Great Pumpkin comes to life and, instead of giving gifts to all the good kids, goes on a rampage to avenge all the slaughtered pumkins of Halloweens past.
They had a costume day at Olivia's pre-k. This year she chose to go as a "skater", even tho professional seamstress Aunt Debbi had offered to sew her a custom-made outfit. Oh well, it made things easy for everyone since she already had a skating dress. (Thank you, Ivey!)

The school party consisted of all the pre-k'ers dancing in the cafeteria. Parents were not allowed inside, so I had to snap a few pics thru the glass.

..............................Everybody Conga!!!!

And then it was here! Finally! Halloween!!!!!!!
Here are the Princess and the Skater getting ready for the little subdivision party at the clubhouse. Ke Xin still didn't really have a clue what was going on, but she was having fun and that was all that mattered.

Another example of the famous "Ke Xin Smile"... We gotta work on that...

Off to the party! Daddy is carrying raincoats, just in case.

They are in disguise, but Bat Girl and the Power Ranger are really Jennifer and Jonathan, the newly adopted kids of our neighbors. (Bat Girl was very popular this year for some reason...)

The Halloween Parade turned into a jog, and then a run, to the clubhouse.

Olivia always loves to dance! Whoo-hoo! (We are looking forward to the day when she develops a sense of rythmn...)

There were hotdogs, cheetos, and other yummy junk food. Ke Xin is still working on getting the proper grip on a hotdog.

Our neighbor Lori, with her son Flor. Flor was old enough that he just wanted to hide, but he had to be there for his new siblings.

Let the games begin! Olivia did pretty well at Musical Chairs, but she was knocked out near the end.

Another game involved balloons, so it was popular with everyone.

The kids had to run a relay race. When their turn came, they had to run to the other side of the room and sit/bounce on their balloon until it popped. It sounded easier than it actually was. Olivia wasn't getting the job done, so a kind-hearted adult "helper" popped hers right out from under her. She loved it!

Mom and her two girls. Last Halloween we were paper chasing for the adoption as fast as we could and praying that nothing would go wrong at Mark's work. Thankfully, everything worked out.

The party is over and the girls had a great time. Notice the raincoats? That was the end of the dry weather. It just got more and more rainy from there. Thak heavens the girls were able to go to the party, otherwise Halloween would have been a dud.

Mark took the girls out for a quick, wet, cold Halloween. I stayed home to hand out our candy. Usually everyone puts their candy bowls at our neighbor's house and hold a little "street party" in their driveway. But with the rain, we were washed-out.

And so went Ke Xin's first Halloween! Mark brought her home, at her rquest, after about 30 cold, wet minutes and then took Olivia to the neighbor's Haunted House. Olivia loved that. This year Ke Xin was probably wondering why we got all dressed up, went to strangers' front doors and demanded candy. But the strangers actually GAVE her candy, so that was all that really mattered!! Mark tried to teach her to say "trick or treat!" but all she would say was "Treat!!" like she was answering a question. Ha!

One last pic of our yard before we tore it all down! What will we add next year?? I was able to get to Kroger first thing the day after Halloween and get the last, totally cool, 6 foot long, black, blow-up cat balloon on sale!! Yeah! Clean-up went quickly and now comes Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Playgym is Finished!!

Olivia drew this picture - two smiling flowers holding hands. One flower is Brooke and the other is Olivia. It gives us hope, since there are still times when Olivia gets furious (and jealous) and declares that she wished she hadn't asked for a sister and she wants to give Ke Xin away. From what I've heard, she's behaving like a typical sister.

It was time to start decorating the lawn for Halloween. We really got into it this year. It was fun and Olivia was very proud of the final product. Ke Xin had no idea what in the world we were doing.

I plugged in the lights along the porch and driveway every night. Mark said it was like coming home to landing lights at the airport. The neighbors were very complimentary. (I think they were worried we wouldn't stop adding to the display.) No one else on our street did anything, so we had to make up for them being lazy.

I just don't see a curly perm in Ke Xin's future.

But Olivia has definite possibilities... (over my dead body).

For some reason, the following picture won't load correctly. It is my nephew, Garrett's, 18th birthday cake. Very cool!!

This is David and the girls waiting for Garrett to come home from his birthday dinner of sushi with his best friend Zack, who has the very same birthday. The rest of us preferred something cooked, so we had a separate "birthday" dinner of pizza without him.

But, he was late getting home and I had to get the girls in bed, since Olivia had school the next day. We missed Garrett cutting his cake. Olivia cried because she wanted cake (frosting). But a few days later, Garrett and the whole gang, including his girlfriend, showed up at our house with a whole cake for the girls to make up for the cake they missed. It was a wonderful Halloween cake! Garrett was a sweetie for bringing it to the girls and they were VERY thankful.

Ke Xin's favorite part of the cake is the frosting. This cake was made of several layers with frosting between each layer. Ke Xin actually took the cake apart and scooped the frosting off all the layers.

And then, something wonderful and unexpected happened...

Mark finished the playgym!!!!!!!
The same playgym that was supposed to be finished by the time we got back from China (July 11th). Truely - better late than never. The girls LOVE it. Yeah!
Here are Mark and his "supervisors".

Before he could get it finished they were trying to play on it.

Doesn't Olivia look like a shampoo commercial?

I love the little ears on Ke Xin's Hello Kitty quilted jacket. I better enjoy clothes like this now, because she'll probably start fighting me about them pretty soon. Olivia wouldn't be seen in anything that cute (baby) these days.


Pretty neat!!! The reason it took Mark so long to put it up was that we got it second hand and he had to make several repairs. But he wanted it to be soooo "perfect" that he got discouraged. We had to remind him that it didn't have to be perfect - just sturdy. It looks great to us and it is very strong and safe, and fun! What more could you ask for? Great job, Dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!

Peek-a-boo!! I love this pic of Ke Xin.

She is very proud that she can get onto the swing seat all be herself and hold on. Olivia will have her swinging by herself before long.

Ke Xin also loves to... vaccuum!!!! (Olivia still runs away screaming from the vaccuums.) She is in charge of keeping the kitchen floor clean. (The thing against the wall is the raised bar we cut off in back of the stove top, making way for a larger, flat work area of granite.)

And, of course, she is perfectly happy to vaccuum in the nude...

Next up - Halloween!