Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brooke and Music

Brooke loves to hear music in the car. But, she wants to hear HER music (kids singing), not mom and dad's music. As soon as we turn on the stereo, she'll assess what's on and tell us her opinion. If she hears her parents' music, here's what we'll hear: "No like-a Baba music!!" She usually gets her way...

By the way, she has made much progress this last week. She has started recognizing and naming different colors and shapes! She no longer says "Ga-goo" for thank you, but pronounces all the correct sounds. All systems "Go"!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brooke's Dream Room

We stopped at a new subdivision, just for fun. Olivia loves to go thru "fancy houses", just like her mom and dad. It's fun to see different floor plans. When they are decorated, it's fun to see whether they look good or bad, and steal ideas. These houses were really nice and they had 4 decorated models. The kids' rooms were especially nice. Brooke was really enjoying herself. It was almost like having a midget real estate agent along. But, when she found this bedroom, it was like she'd just found heaven. She went bananas, running back and forth, almost speechless. When she finally found her voice, she said, with her eyes wide, "Brooke's room! Brooke's room!" (I thought it was really neat that the pillow had a "B" on it.) Just to aggravate her, Olivia said, "No - Olivia's room!" and she almost had a heart attack, and kept repeating that it was "BROOKE'S room!" We finally had to pull her out of there.
So, she has the taste of a professional decorator. And she loves shoes. Aye-yi-yi. She's gonna need her Aunt Lori.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day!

February 14 was Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. They don't always fall on the same day. CNY is based on the phases of the moon, so it can fall anywhere from January to mid-February. We got up and headed to church that morning. Brooke got dressed up and wore her stylish boots. We've started letting her go to Sunday school by herself and she loves it.

After church we came home to attend to the dogs. Brooke got kisses from Daddy. When Olivia was a baby, we did a thing called "baby sandwhich" where we'd get on either side of her and kiss her cheeks at the same time. She endured it, but she never really enjoyed it. Brooke will actually request it! She is a snuggle baby.

After our break, we headed to Dynastic Buffet, a great Chinese buffet place. They had a special buffet for CNY and we absolutely gorged ourselves. Brooke went bonkers over the shrimp dumplings and won tons. Olivia ate a little of everything -hurrah!

We had planned to go to a CNY celebration on the other side of Atlanta Saturday, but with the snow, we decided it would be safer to stay home. By Sunday everything had melted, but we decided to just go next year when Brooke is older and can appreciate it more. We had a small celebration at China Tree on the 6th, but I forgot my camera, so no shots of it. The girls got matching necklaces as their CNY gift. It is a leather string with a small diamond shaped pendant with the symbol for "blessing" painted on it in Chinese characters. (Of course they were delivered late because of the snow.)

Mark got this leather jacket a couple years ago as a gift from the brewery (in the long-ago days of the generous Busch family). He declared he didn't like it and put it straight into the closet. I made him wear it this day and, surprise!, he decided it looked pretty good after all! Men.

The girls got their Valentine's cards from us and for each other. They each got a small art-kit gift. Aunt Carol, Uncle Dave & Ivey came by with a cookie-gift basket for them, also! How great!!! The girls loved it!

Since Olivia had "winter break" the next week, we went to the dentist for a cleaning. It turns out Olivia has two barely-lose teeth on the bottom front. The tooth fairy will be visiting soon!! Linda, the hygenist, warned us to start saving serious $$$$ for the orthodontist now. (Tiny, perfect baby teeth don't have enough room for big adult teeth. Sigh...)

It was Brooke's first time in the dentist's chair. She's seen me there before, and Olivia went first this day so she could watch. Brooke was very brave and did great!! No trouble at all! Two of her baby teeth are fused together on the bottom. And Aunt Carol discovered she is tongue-tied - the little membrane that connects your tongue to the bottom of your month runs all the way to the end of Brook's tongue instead of just connecting in the middle, so it's "tied down" to the floor of her mouth. Later we'll have the oral surgeon give it a snip unless it interferes with her speech before then.

All smiles at the dentist!!!

After the dentist we went bowling!!!! It was Brooke's first time at that, also! She didn't like all the noise at first, but after she got into the game, she became a true bowling fan! Olivia always loves bowling.

All smiles at the bowling alley!

Later, Daddy gave the dogs a pedicure. Then he turned his talents on Brooke. She didn't mind. She will never be a foot model. (He's covered in drywall dust. More on that later.)

I kept saying we'd make dumplings for Chinese New Year. I finally got around to it toward the end of the week. The girls were excited and ready to help. We all sat down at the table and I rolled out the dumpling dough one dumpling at a time, like they do in China (supposedly). The girls loaded them with filling and pinched them shut with Mark's help.

We used half the dough and my arms were aching from rolling out all those dumplings (yeah - I'm terribly out of shape). We quit for the night since it was (thankfully) bedtime. The next night I rolled out all the remaining dough at once and used a round cookie cutter to cut the individual dumpling wrappers. It worked SO much better, I'll never go back to the individual-roll-out method. The dumplings were delicious and we'll probably do them again soon. Brooke was over the moon about them, and I asked her if she made them with her China momma (foster mom) and she said yes. I'm not sure how accurate her memories are, but it's a nice thing to think.

For 2 days during the school break, we watched a couple kids from down the street for a few hours while their parents were at work and their older brother was at soccer practice. It was our first opportunity to spend any real time with them since they moved in and it was fun! Olivia went wild having company over. Jennifer is 6 and Jonathan is 7. They played like crazy and wore each other out. They are both adopted, as is their older brother. It's nice that that's a common thing on our street. Another neighbor has 2 adopted kids, but both of them are off to college now.

Brooke's new nails - ladybugs (the symbol for Chinese adoption)! Maybe when I go back to work, I can do kid's manicures! Ha! The economy would have to make a tremendous turn-around for that to work.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Videos!

I'm sorry that the videos don't work most of the time. Very frustrating!! The problem is with the Blogger people and we'll have to wait for them to fix their site. Eventually....

Olivia was happy playing outside until she suddenly figured out she was cold and wet. She can be quite dramatic, so this is what she did for awhile.

But after some hot cocoa and dry, warm clothes, she was ready to head out again. Here are the girls sliding down the front yard. We'll always remember this Valentines Day/Chinese New Year weekend!!

It REALLY Snowed!!!!!

First of all, Thank You to Grandma Helen and Grandpa Bun for the beautiful flowers they sent for Brooke and Olivia. The arrangements were beautiful and the girls were thrilled!!

The weathermen said it was going to snow today. At first they said we'd get a dusting, with heavier snow south of Atanta. Then they said we might get a little more. Usually they are wrong, so I ignored them. Here's how much I figured we'd get.

So I was pretty surprised when it got like this...

But ultimately it got to this! And it was still coming down!

After Olivia got home, the girls went out to play in the snow. We found out it was the PERFECT packing snow for snowballs and snowmen!

We made a snowman down by the mailbox, but he isn't done yet so we'll get a pic of him tomorrow.

Shortly after this, Olivia decided she was cold and went from a happy child to a sobbing child in the span of about 30 seconds. So we went in, warmed up, had some hot chocolate and got into some warmer clothes. Then we hit the slopes!!
We have the best yard in the neighborhood for sliding! What a fun way to end the week!!

Being a yankee and having a steep driveway, I just had to shovel. We had enough trouble getting out of the driveway last time it snowed and I was going to get as much snow out of the way as possible. Of course, it will freeze tonight and we'll all be stuck in tomorrow anyway.

Here are the bushes in the backyard. Pretty good for a 4 hour snowfall!


When I picked up Olivia from school yesterday, she calmly told me that I had forgotten to have her do her home work. It had been due Monday (4 days earlier). The kids had to draw or paste pictures of things they would find in outer space on a sheet of paper. I told her we'd do it tonight and maybe her teacher could still put it in the book the kids had made. (That paper had gotten mixed in with other homework due at the end of the month, and I overlooked it. Bad mommy.)
When I got to school this morning, Miss Kathleen had a story for me.

At lunch on Thursday, Olivia had suddenly burst into tears, sobbing at her lunch table. Miss Kathleen had asked her what was wrong. Olivia had sobbed that she hadn't done her Monday homework. (Remember this is 4 days later.) Miss Kathleen told her it was ok, but then Olivia says she didn't have the homework because... I WOULDN'T LET HER DO IT.

Miss Kathleen thought it was quite funny. Thank heavens the woman has a very good sense of humor. She told me she knew that wasn't true, but she thought I should know about it.

Why do I have this horrible feeling that I'm going to find DFCS (Dept. Children & Family Svcs) on my doorstep one day after Olivia says something crazy like that when she's older??????? (That actually happened to one of Mark's co-workers...)

AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!! It's already started and she's only FIVE!!!!!!!


Nothing terribly exciting has been going on lately. That's probably good. The weather has been cold and WET. There is mold on the deck. I think there's mold on me. I think I'm tired of the winter. I want a long, sunny, hot day for everything to dry out. Here are a few random snaps from life around the house.
Mark and Brooke take a nap together. Of course the dogs are right there, also.

Olivia's class had "Community Helper Day" and the kids got to dress up as their favorite community helper (vet, nurse, doctor, etc.). Out of the blue, Olivia chooses to go as a... Gardener. Gardener? She has never had the slightest interest in plants! But we threw this outfit together. She makes me think of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Also, she has a new boyfriend. He is a classmate and his name is Jack. Jack doesn't agree with this, since he likes a different little girl (who likes a different little boy), but that makes no difference to Olivia. She's happy as a clam anyway.

Grandma Sally and Grandpa Howard came over for chili one cold night. Brooke insisted on combing grandpa's hair. Grandpa was good enough to cooperate.

Here they are on the sofa. Of course, there are dogs wedged in between them.

On a different night, we hooked up the little camera/kareoke machine and Grandma Sally, Brooke, Daddy and Olivia had their own private dance party.

One event of note was the "6-month" visit by the adoption agency. China requires a 6-month and 12-month update on all the kids. It was very easy and they decided to let us keep her for now. Ha! All our adoption paperwork is complete, except for the 12-month visit next summer!! Brooke's new U.S.-issued birth certificate came in the mail last week and we are DONE with all the forms, petitions, fees, endless copying, and everything else required to get that little child from there to here. Yeah!
Here's our social worker, Chaunda, with Brooke. She is the same lady who reviewed and accepted our original application to adopt, so she's been with us from Day One.

Santa brought Brooke a nail polish kit for Christmas. It has turned out to be alot of fun. Brooke has very little patience for sitting, so we do simple designs with her. Here, she has hot pink nails with black and white polka dots. We do the polka dots with the tip of a toothpick. Mommy has to take her glasses off (or take out her contacts) so she can get close enough to do the detail work. Ugh. Mommy is getting old.

Olivia has more patience to sit still (not a whole lot more...). So we can do more detailed designs on her nails. This time we tried white cats on hot pink nails. The eyes, mouth and whiskers were done with the tip of a pin. I am proud to say they have lasted almost a whole week.

The other morning we took Olivia to school. When we got back to the house, here's what Brooke and I found in the laundry room. Oswald was having a catnip orgy on the floor! It was all over the kitchen floor, too. The cats love it. Jinx just slowly rolled her fat body all over in it. They were VERY disappointed when I cleaned it up.

Like I said, nothing terribly exciting. My brother turned half a century old. Wow!!! I better not make too much fun of him because he is my dentist and, therefore, has the ability to make me pay by way of a dental drill. We had a nice little Chinese New Year celebration at China Tree school last Saturday. Everyone brought a dish and we had a pot-luck lunch after class. The kids got to do some crafts. Of course, I forgot my camera. Better luck next year...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Art for the Grandparents to See!

Olivia draws stuff every day. Here are a few more pics. The first is her portrait of the 3 dogs, Lucy, Jingle and Smoochy.

Here's a cat. It could be Oswald or Oprah.

A butterfly, with trees and a stormy sky.

Olivia and Brooke, with heart, flowers and a peace sign.

A princess.

Our house, complete with sun and rainbow.

A witch!

Today's work - a family portrait. Mark loved it because he has hair.