Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picnic Song

I am ready to go off to Kindergarten!
That is truely where I want to be!
When I go off to Kindergarten,
everyone will be so proud of me!!

(and then Olivia does her usual free-form dance...)

Pre-K Picnic

This Wednesday evening was Olivia's Pre-K Picnic - the final event of the school year. Of course, it POURED. So, we all had to squeeze inside. It was extremely cramped, but we got through it. The kids went up front and sang 3 songs, Grand Old Flag, Don't You Worry, and I'm Ready for Kindergarten Now.

After singing, the kids got to join their families (if they could find them in the crowd). Each child had made an "All About Me" booklet with art work they'd done during the year.

Then we tried to eat. Lots of families gave up and left, so that made some more room for us. I had decided to keep it simple and just brought pizza and cookies with juice bags to drink.

This is Emily, one of Olivia's calssmates. Her family sat behind us. Her mom brought fresh vegetables and fruits to eat. Phooey on that! Health nut!!

Here's Olivia with Miss Kathleen, her teacher. Miss Kathleen is great and Olivia loved school because of her. Too bad we can't take her along to Kindergarten. But, all the Kindergarten teachers at her new school have good reputations, so I'm not worried about who shell get.

This is Miss Shantelle, the Teaching Assistant. She was great, too! What more can you ask for? (The previous assistant, Miss Tia, is out on maternity leave.)

We got one piece of pizza down and the daycare workers started putting the cafeteria tables back in place in top of us, so we packed up and left. Of course, we walked out into a SUNNY blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds. If only it could have cleared up one hour earlier... Oh well!!


What's that, you ask? Well, thanks to Brooke, now we know. Uncle Dave and Aunt Carol had both declared her "tongue-tied" when she had her first dental exam. Tongue-tied is when that little membrane under your tongue grows too thick or too long (or both) and "ties" your tongue down to the bottom of our mouth. It can interfere with eating and speech. In Brooke's case, she could eat just fine, but it wasn't helping her speech development. Her tonue needed to be released. Uncle Dave said he would fix it, but we decided that since she loves him SO much, she didn't need to associate him with what could be a scary and painful procedure. Our pediatrician gave us a referral to an ENT, and off we went. The doctor took a look, agreed with her aunt and uncle and made a surgery date. He told us the surgery would take about 15 seconds. Yup - seconds. They call it surgery because they have to put the patient to sleep in order to do the procedure. I know I wouldn't let anyone come near my tongue with a pair of sissors! We had to arrive at the surgery center almost 2 hours before her operation, so here we are at 6:15am for an 8am surgery. Yeech!! At least there wasn't any traffic! Brooke wasn't really sure what was going to happen, just that she was going to get her tongue "fixed" by the doctor (whom she liked alot). She was in good spirits. Daddy stayed at home so he could take Olivia to school.

We had to check-in and do a mound of paperwork. Brooke got an ID band and so did her baby!! She loved that. The clerk at the front desk was great!

We settled in to wait. I figured we'd be in the waiting room for quite a while, but they called us really soon. No time to color!

We were put into a cubicle and several nurses, her doctor and the anesthesiologist came by to visit. They were all great with her. She loved her hospital gown and especially her red (huge) socks.

By the time all the visitors were gone, she had no less than THREE wrist bands. One was her ID, one was an allergy bracelet and the third was a bracelet I had to write. They make you write what procedure you are getting in your own (unmedical) words. That way, everyone is on the same page and less mistakes are made. (He! He! If it had been me on the table, I could have written "face-lift" and maybe gotten one for free!) The strip on her chest is a thermometer.

And then it was time to go! The nurse brought a wagon for Brooke to ride in. She thought that was fun! She didn't seem worried or nervous and I told her I'd see her in just a few minutes. We'd already gone over how there was going to be a special mask she would get to wear and that it had magic sleeping dust in it. The doctor had explained that she'd only be out for about 1 minute, just long enough for him to make the cut and a suture, if neccessary. She rolled into the operating room at 7:55am.

This picture was taken at 8:30am and we're on our way home! Everything was done in just a few minutes and she was already up and watching TV when I got back to her cubicle. She got a smushed popsicle to eat for the ride home and she was ready to go (though she was walking like a tiny drunk)! The doctor was really pleased with how it went and he only put in one stitch. He said we didn't even need to come back for the after-surgery check-up appointment. She was back up to "full speed" by the time we got home. She still says that her tongue is sore from time to time, now, but that's because she learned fast that she would get a popsicle or grape flavored ibuprophen. Ha! It was a good experience and I was very impressed with the folks at the surgery center.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rehearsal Video

Here's a rehearsal video of one of the songs the kids sang. I can't get the other 2 videos to load and I've lost patience. But this gives you an idea... Olivia is second from the left in the purple dress, Brooke is to the far right in the polka dotted dress.

Asian-American Heritage Foundation

On Saturday night, we headed to the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. The girls were singing with some other students form the China Tree school. They were performing at the Asian-American Heritage Foundation dinner. The real point of this was for the school's founder, Susan Chapman, to schmooz with the corporate bigwigs there and find funding for the school. We had to get there early to rehearse. First up to practice was a troop of young ladies doing a traditional lantern dance. As usual, I had the same (and only) problem with my camera - not enough flash to catch the action at the fast shutter speed, but everything was blurry at the slow shutter speed. So here are some blurry pics of the lantern dance. There were also 2 ladies in GORGEOUS Thai costumes doing a beautiful dance, but none of those pics turned out at all. I got a shot of them later, in the "Green Room" (waiting room for the performers).

Olivia practicing her curtsey. Brooke was just enjoying the moment. She really didn't "do" a whole lot on stage, but she's cute "eye candy". Susan Chapman is the tall lady standing behind Olivia. The girls were not in their silks yet, because there was going to be food in the Green Room, and there was NO WAY I was ging to let either of them ruin their China dresses.

On stage rehearsal. Olivia and her partner, Grace.

Here's how they looked lined up on the stage. We even had violin players!

Brooke and her partner, Chloe. Chloe basically "drove" Brooke like a car (hands on shoulders) for the dance steps. Thank you, Chloe!

Olivia and Grace in the Green Room. They ended up with chicken fingers - NO sauce allowed for anyone. Ha!

Here are the Thai dancers. Their costumes were breath-taking. The photo doesn't do them justice. I snuck the picture because I didn't want to look like a total tourist. The little girl is one of our violinists.

A final run-thru in the Green Room. They were being reminded of how to hold their hands between the songs. Almost a week later, Brooke is still running up to me with a big smile and her hands held like this.

Our violinists were 2 sisters. They were cool as cucumbers, since they play with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. The sister in the red silks is 8 years old. She has been playing the violin for 5 years already!! They were great!

They hired a videographer for the event, so we were not allowed to take any pictures/videos during the actual performance. The "cute factor" was off the scale, even if their singing still needed a little work. Here are the girls in their silks after they sang. Before we left, we let the girls ride in one of the fancy glass elevators. We rode all the way up to the 23rd floor and back down, non-stop. Whee! We made our escape and headed for dinner at... Ikea. We love Ikea! It's a furniture store, but their cafeteria is GREAT!

Can Hollywood be far behind?????

Monday, May 24, 2010

Goings On

This is the fabulous orchid that Aunt Lori and Uncle Chuck gave me for Mother's Day!! It is beautiful, it is HUGE and it's color-coordinated with our new kitchen colors! What more could you ask for?? (Brooke is holding a placemat.)

The dogs (Jingle, Smoochy, Lucy) doing what the dogs are usually doing.

The brewery changed Mark's schedule again, so he couldn't make it to Olivia's pre-k's "Donuts with Dad" early Father's Day celebration. Uncle Dave was game to fill-in for Mark, so Olivia was pretty ecstatic.

Here he is trying to show where he banged his eye with the hatchback on his jeep. Dave can be a little accident prone...

(I remember mother praying that he'd make it thru dental school before he cut all his fingers off...) The kids were able to go home early after this, so Olivia was doubly happy.

As soon as the donuts were done, we headed to Brooke's gymnastics "show". She and her classmates got to show their parents all the things they have learned, and we got to go into the gym to watch and take pictures. As before, my camera doesn't do well, since the flash isn't powerful enough for the big space. And if I turn off the flash, the shutter speed slows way down and everything gets blurred. But here she is at the end with her purple ribbon. Yeah!

Uncle Dave had another engagement after the gymnastics show, so we went out to lunch at Burger King without him. He has a rain-check to try out the delicious Shepherd's Pie at the new Irish place near us.

Next, we made a quick stop at Debbi's house to see what she had out at her garage sale. Lots of good stuff, but not many customers. Olivia has a horn-of-plenty on her head, Brooke has a ring of Fall leaves. Debbi had them in her "free" box, so the girls felt they'd found great treasure.

Finally, we called it a day and headed home.

The next day we went to Aunt Carol & Uncle Dave's house for a combination graduation cook-out for cousin Garrett and birthday party for Carol's dad, Buddy.

Garrett (he got his hiar cut!) will be attending Kennesaw State University next Fall. It's literally just down the street from his house, so it's super convenient.

I can't remember how old Buddy is, but it's early 80-something. He is in great shape and is still working in finance. Lately, he's been helping folks who are being railroaded into foreclosure by their mortgage companies.

Cousin Ivey hates to have her pictures taken. She hates it even MORE to find her picture, for everyone to see, on this blog. So, I'm posting every shot I have of her here, just to irritate her. Your Aunt Heidi loves you, babe.

Neither Olivia nor Brooke will ever own a pair of shoes like these until they move out of my house.

The most exciting thing at the party for Olivia was her 2nd tooth falling out as she ate her hamburger!! The Tooth Fairy brought her a Fancy Nancy book!!!!!

Sunday, we went to a little park. There's no playground equipment there, just a really nice picnic area, a fishing deck and a wonderful, wide, paved walking trail. Next time, we'll bring the girls bikes.

They girls got to watch fish and kayakers floating by from the comfy swing.

Swingin' with Dad!

Swingin' with Mom.

Both girls had to try to cross the dangerous rapids. Thankfully they both made it in one piece. Ha! Just a fun afternoon out. My next post will show the girls at the Asian-American Heritage Conference in Atlanta, where they performed with the China Tree School.

And one P.S. - Mark's nephew Sam is still on the Appaliachain Trail. To date he has walked 300 miles. Yeah!! (Glad it's him and not me...)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Belly Laugh!

Meng Meng has the best laugh!! This video doesn't do it justice, but it gives you an idea. What a happy little boy!!!!! (Sorry about the pounding noise in the backgroud. Brooke was being silly.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Florida Reunion

I'm finally posting our Florida pictures! I am a slacker!

Here are the girls waiting to leave Saturday morning (while their parents run around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to remember everything that needed to be packed). We ended up only being about an hour behind schedule. For us, that's pretty good! Brooke was beside herself at the thought of seeing Meng Meng again.

Several hours of being stuck in the car can be boring, so it didn't take long for this (below) to happen. Actually they were really good travelers. (They got thru a 15 1/2 hour flight from Hong Kong to Newark without driving anyone - even me - crazy, so this was a piece of cake.) And we were really lucky in that we avoided all the storms that plagued the whole area. Driving could have been horrible and we only hit rain once, for only a short time.

The girls were much happier when we finally got to the beach. Hurray!

After getting the keys and discovering the beach had turned into a giant wind-tunnel (off-shore storm), we finally made it up to Debbi's condo. Here's the view from the 19th floor balconey.

Then Meng Meng arrived with his parents! Here is Allison, his mom. He was shy for about 5 minutes and then he just wanted to play with Ke Xin! He and Olivia took to each other right away, also. They were like the Three Muskateers!

It was time for bed and Meng Meng refused to let Allison get him dressed. He wanted Brooke to help him instead. Very cute!

..........................Kiss good night!!!

Everyone was up bright and early the next day (Sunday). Does somebody look happy?

We headed down to the beach after breakfast. It was Brooke's first time in the sand. She kept wiggling her toes in the stuff.

Holding hands on the beach! Brooke looks like a body-builder because her suit has floaties sewn into the top of it. The ocean was way too rough, so we jut played in the sand and looked for shells right at the shoreline.

The water was cold, but Olivia loved it anyway. Here she is posing/dancing on the beach.

Mark, Brooke, Meng Meng, Allison, and Ken on the beach, with Olivia in the water.

The haze in the distance is sand swirling in the air. It was really windy, but warm. They were flying "double-red" flags along the beach to tell people NOT to swim. We had the beach almost all to ourselves, which was great!

Is this guy going to be a heart-breaker when he grows up, or what??????????????

On the beach, in the middle of a wind storm, Ken finds a ladybug on his sleeve! The ladybug is the symbol of China adoption. Allison and I decided that it was a sign they would be adopting again!!!!! Ken showed the lady bug to Meng Meng. It was SO sweet - until Meng Meng smashed the ladybug off Ken's sleeve and then squished it in the sand!!!!! Oops! Maybe not so sweet after all? I guess Meng Meng likes being an only child! Ha!

..................................Roark family portrait.

................................Myers family portrait.

The condo had a pool, but it was COLD (colder than the ocean)!!!! Mark and Allison were very brave and got in with the kids. Olivia did fine, but poor Meng Meng was sooooooo cold, his teeth were chattering. The swim didn't last long (much to the relief of Allison and Mark).

Clowning around in the condo.

Mark reads a nap time story.

Meng Meng and Brooke share a favorite snack of yogurt!

That night, Mark and Brooke went to dinner with Meng Meng, Ken and Allison (where Brooke insisted Meng Meng eat his broccoli!). I stayed at the condo with a sickly Olivia. She was TOTALLY emotional, overly tired, and ran a high fever, which broke in the middle of the night. By morning, she was "right as rain" and ready to play on the beach again. Kids!
We were back down to the beach the next day (Monday). The beach was still very windy with double-red flags.

This picture keeps posting sideways, but it's a view down to the beach from Debbi's balconey. That's Mark, Ken and Allison with the kids in the middle of the picture (looking like ants).

More views from the balconey. There are 2 pools (one is partly indoors, partly outdoors), a hot tub, and then the big pool (adults only).
Brooke was tired of the wind and took a break.

Meng Meng was turning 3 soon, so we had a mini-pre-birthday party with yummy cupcakes!

All too soon, it was time to head home again. Meng Meng tried to help Brooke with her shoes & socks. (Prince Charming and Cinderella??) You could tell they were close while in China - helping each other dress, eat, etc. They acted like they'd never been apart.

Goodbye, Florida (and Debbi's condo. She's got it for sale, in case anyone is interested...)

The kids hugging goodbye for the 100th time. Unfortnately, Brooke hugged little Meng Meng so hard, she knocked him down onto the cement parking deck. Sheez!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was ok, thank heavens, but it was not a good way to end the trip. Allison, Ken and Meng Meng were GREAT roomates and, hopefully, we'll be spending lots more time with them in the furture! We've been home almost a month and Brooke is still asking to go back to the beach to see Meng Meng, and to go to Meng Meng's house, and to have Meng Meng come to her house, and ... I think she still likes him, just a little. : )

Before we ever made it out of the city limits, Brooke was fast asleep again. What a great trip! Thank you Allison, Ken, Meng Meng and Aunt Debbi!!!