Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just a Typical, Out-of-Control New Year's Eve!!!

It's 8:15pm on New Year's Eve.

The girls....


And Mark..... snoring...
Yup - it's a typical New Year's Eve. : )

Happy Day to You!

Brooke loves to sing her version of Happy Birthday. She serenaded us during Christmas dinner. What a sweetie!!!! We're so glad to have our TWO girls with us this year!!!!


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Christmas!

First, a Merry Christmas from Snow White!!


A box arrived from my aunt and uncle in Michigan. The girls LOVED digging thru the styrofoam pellets for all the goodies. They weren't even that curious about what was wrapped - they just loved playing in the box. I wish it would stay that simple!

Mark was on vacation the week of Christmas, so Brooke got to wrestle a lot! She loves that!


Happy Baby! She let me use a curling iron on her hair and it worked out pretty well. Poor Olivia's hair won't curl at all - too baby fine.

Since Christmas was coming in just a few days, I figured it might be good to rake the leaves in the yard. The family was coming for Christmas dinner and it would be nice if the house looked nice. Olivia helped...
But that night she started throwing up and running a fever. We called Grandma Sally and cancelled our family dinner, so as not to spread the nasty germs and ruin everyone else's holiday. Dave and Carol took over and kept everyone together for a nice Christmas at their house.




Mark rested with Lucy. That's what vacations are for!


Brooke the Ballerina!


Brooke the Elf!!

Mark made his famous Peanut Brittle. It was DEE-LISH! He packed up several boxes and made Christmas Eve deliveries to all the neighbors - in the cold and the icky rain. They always look forward to his treats.

Brooke still wasn't sure what all this "Christmas stiff" was about, but she could tell things were happening.


Smoochy gets a kiss goodnight. It's funny to think she was terrified of the dogs when she first got home. Now they're afraid of HER!


The girls got to open one present before bedtime. Grandma Helen had sent a pair of mayching bears for them. They are black and have the softest hair EVER. The girls loved them and took them off to bed. Olivia was feeling better by this time, but we still didn't want to take a chance. And we were waiting to see if Brooke came down with the same thing.



Each girl got their own reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas".



Everything was ready for Santa's arrival.


Olivia was up bright and early the next morning screaming to everyone that Santa had been there. She declared there must be " a billion" presents under the tree. We just stayed home that day and had a quiet Christmas due to the recent germs in the house. It was very restful, but too quiet.

Here are a few of the gifts the girls got...
Aunt Linda made a hit with her Kai Lan book for Brooke, among other things.

Aunt Dianna sent Rock Star kits! Oh, my!


Aunt Cassie hand-made matching crayon bags, complete with new crayons and color books!! (She sent one last year for Olivia and it was used-to-death this past year. The new bags are heaven-sent!)


Cousin Blake sent a super-soft, BEAUTIFUL Hello Kitty doll for Brooke!


Mommy and Daddy found a new Asian baby doll to add to Brooke's collection. She was in love all over again.




Aunt Debbi made sure the girls will have the cutest outfits at gymnastics this year.






And Aunt Lori used her impeccable taste to keep the girls looking like they live on 5th Avenue!


When Aunt Lori opens her Manners School for Naughty Girls, we will enroll Olivia.



And Cousin Kate helped Olivia look beautiful! She looks so grown up!

Aunt Carol gave the girls Tea Party Hat kits. You get to decorate your own hat! The girls were all ready to have a tea party.


After all the Christmas fun, it was back to normal. Olivia tried to paint and Brooke tried to run her down with her scooter. On purpose.

Daddy drew a simple cat sketch for Olivia.

And here's what she turned it into... Pretty good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another Santa gift to the girls was a nail painting kit. Mommy had a hard time (lots of flipping the glasses up and down...) but I made flowers on one of Olivia's hands and green butterflies on the other - using toothpick tips and pin tips. I think I'm going to need a magnifying glass soon!
We tried to do Brooke's nails, and did ok - but we'll need to wait til she's older and can sit still longer.
It was a great Christmas and we have a lot to be thankful for - we're all employed and in good health. We hope 2010 keeps up our run of good luck!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dancing at Gymnastics

Just a little fun before Brooke's gymnastics show...

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Gymnastics and Fashion

Brooke and Olivia had their gymnastics "shows" last week. Basically, they go out on the floor in front of all the parents and do all the things they are learning. Brooke has only had 3 classes, but she's doing just great. The skills the little ones are working on are all basics - balancing, somersaults, climbing, etc. Brooke's show was nice because there were only a few kids and the parents could get close to the different areas of the floor to get pics. Here's Brooke and daddy before the show. (Her nose is healing faster and better than expected.)


Olivia and Brooke...

They started the show with warm-ups to music. The kids danced around the floor.


Choo-choo train! It's the only way you can get a bunch of kids around a large area and keep them together.


Brooke on the trampoline...

On the uneven parallel bars...

On the balance beam...

All the kids who participate get a medal. Brooke was VERY proud of her's!


The next night was Olivia's turn. This "show" had a lot more kids, so the audience had to stay on the bleachers. I love my camera, but in an area as large as the gym, the flash is useless. If I turn off the flash, the pictures are bright enough but the shutter speed slows down to capture enough light and the pictures are always blurred. Can't win!
Brooke was the keeper of the Maggie dolls. Olivia got a stuffed yellow doll as a baby shower gift and it has been her favorite since birth. She's just about loved all the stuffing out of that doll, which she named Maggie. We found an identical doll ("new" Maggie) and bought it as an emergency back-up doll in case anything ever happened to the original Maggie ("old" Maggie). Brooke has latched onto "new" Maggie and now the girls have matching lovies. I love those dolls because you can throw them in the washing machine and dryer.

Warm ups - Olivia is at the far right.

Uneven bars...


Arabesque on the beam...


In position for a cartwheel...

Medal time!


Olivia was disgusted that I hadn't bought her a bouquet of flowers for her performance. So she marched right out and got one. Next time I'll bring one along, since the gym price was alittle high...
The very next night was Olivia's pre-k "Holiday Show" at the local high school auditorium. The kids were excited about being in the big-kid school. It was COLD and RAINY that night. Double ICK!! I was amazed as parents came running across the parking lot in the dark with no coats or raincoats for either themselves or their kids. What is that deal????
Each age group at the daycare center came out and sang. The tiny-toddlers were precious. The center has 3 pre-k classes which adds up to 60 kids. They all came out together and sang 3 songs: I Want a Hippopatamus for Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and I Wish You a Merry Christmas. The entire thing was over in 20 minutes. And yes, I had the same problem with my camera in the auditorium as in the gym. At least our little video camera worked well, so daddy was able to see everything when he got home after work.

After the show we got home just in time to fix hot chocolate and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas show. I love that cartoon and it is a tradition to watch it. I'm amazed they still show it since it has the audacity to mention religion. Thank heavens! The Grinch is my very favorite, tho.

We made banana bread the other night. Brooke ended up with as much dough on herself as she got in the pan, but she had a ball. (And the bread was dee-lish!)

Olivia dressed her sister like a doll and put on the following fashion show...
Look at those little chicken legs!




Olivia had to model one outfit herself.


We started to trim the tree. The kids lost interest in about 60 seconds, so I got the lights on by myself (probably just as good). I got 10 strings on!!! You can read a book by the light it casts. Whoo-hoo! Garland and ornaments came later. That's olivia's self-portrait hanging on the closet door.


Olivia wanted a picnic the other night (she's still mad it's not summer anymore), so we had hot dogs in the family room.


Olivia and Brooke were invited to a princess birthday party and had a ball. Brooke keeps asking, "Party? Party?" I think she may be our party girl when she gets older...

My big fun lately has been steaming the wallpaper off the kitchen walls. My brother loaned us his steamer and it is FANTASTIC! I got the whole kitchen done in 2 nights! (You know you're old when you get excited about stripping wallpaper...) Now we can figure out what color to paint the walls. My meeting with the Chinese professor at KSU went very well and I have my required "verification" of the English translations of the Chinese adoption documents. I've sent a letter to the court to make sure that's exactly what they want. I don't want to get to the hearing and have the judge throw us out. Hopefully we'll be done with our adoption paperwork soon!! It gets old and never seems to end. Gee - like taxes. Oh yeah - that's coming up soon, too...