Sunday, September 30, 2007

Look!...Up in the Sky!...Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane?



...No!...it's a....Cow?

We live in a family-friendly, eclectic town. The city deserves props for staying affordable with lots of great food & shopping, fun events and cool festivals to go to every weekend. I should also mention that I work for the Convention & Visitors Bureau so I might be a little biased, but it truly is great to live in a place that you love to call home.

This weekend was the annual Balloon Festival. Leah loved every second of it...she's still talking about the cow in the sky. We met up with Grammy Re and Pop-Pop and had the best time eating funnel cakes, watching the balloon glow and seeing the fireworks.







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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bye Bye Dora, Ni Hao Kai-Lan!

I'm so pumped about a new series, "Ni Hao Kai-lan" which will begin airing on Nick Jr. on October 22. It's an animated daily show for preschoolers that Forbes Magazine says is groundbreaking. " Ni Hao, Kai-lan is Nick Jr.'s first series to feature a Chinese-American intergenerational family.

Through the eyes of a 5- year-old Chinese-American girl named Kai-lan, the series explores the colorful aspects of her upbringing and background, her relationships with her family and friends and the world around her.


Ni Hao, Kai-lan will take preschoolers on a joyful exploration of Mandarin language and Chinese culture, while helping them to identify their emotions and learn coping mechanisms to deal with their feelings." This is a great way to introduce our children to the Asian culture and also a great way to help them appreciate and retain their culture.

Kai-lan is 'a born leader who makes affirmative connections with people and nature, paying attention to the feelings of others,' said a consultant for the series, Dr. Janxin Leu, a cultural psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who studies the dynamics of Chinese-American families. She is part of an advisory team of educational researchers and social scientists that helped develop curriculum goals for a show that builds on the interactivity of Blue's Clues and the bilingualism of Dora the Explorer.

"They'll also feature regular Mandarin vocabulary words. Ms. Harrington, the show's executive producer, said she "hoped the series would have a special resonance for the estimated 60,000 girls in the United States who have been adopted from Chinese orphanages." And the 10-year-old girl Jade-Lianna Peters who is the voice of Kai-lan on the series was herself adopted from China. I know we'll be tuning in!




Click on the link below to see a short clip and meet the creator of the series:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn Moon Festival & Friends from China

Leah had all of her friends from China over today for some playtime and to celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival, a Chinese holiday that celebrates the moon, harvests, family and thanksgiving. Children dance with paper lanterns and eat moon cakes with their families.


Ten adorable little girls enjoyed a fun morning of bubbles, sidewalk chalk, singing & games and our preschool version of the moon cake...

Aren't we lucky to have such a talented daddy who can draw anything? Dora the Explorer made an appearance on our deck wearing a traditional mandarin outfit.


Leah and her friend Miranda

Nothing better than Goldfish with friends



I'm thinking I should send this pic into Minute Maid





Reading a wonderful book about the moon and shapes, and a favorite of Leah's....





Ring a Round the Rosie...A pocket full of posies...




Ashes...ashes...




We all fall down!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sweet Dreams, Little One



Our constant battle in this house is to get that baby girl down for the count every night since the day we brought her home from China. She trys every stall tactic in the book...i.e. attempts to make us laugh, has to go potty, cries, argues and begs, pleads and borrows to stay up. There have been more than a few nights were Shawn and I both fell asleep trying to get her to go to sleep. It's comical and exhausting at the same time of the ways we will bend of backwards trying to convince Leah that going to sleep is a stellar idea.


So I really appreciate days like today, when she goes down before her head hits the pillow.
Thank you preschool.
You have successfully worn out my daughter.




Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Season, New Look.

I gave our blog a makeover for the fall and changed the name, yet again. I think I'm finally happy with this title. The quote sums up exactly what our lives are like with our Leah, and also serves as reminder to live life to the fullest. We are just so blessed to have her, she is just the cutest little thing and so perfect for our family.

I've also developed a new hobby...digital scrapbooking...finally something creative and "mom-like" I can do! Being left-handed, I have always had challenges using scissors...can't cut a straight line to save my life.

Thank goodness for technology...with digital scrapbooking, you don't need scissors, just a good photo editing software (I use Adobe Photo Elements) and a couple of really cool digital scrapbooking sites. You can then publish your book professionally very inexpensively on sites such as http://www.shutterfly.com/, http://www.picaboo.com/, http://www.printmyphotobook.com/ and http://www.snapfish.com/.

A couple of my favorite digital scrapbooking sites:
http://www.scrapgirls.com/, http://www.shabbyprincess.com/, http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/, http://www.twopeasinbucket.kaboose.com/, http://www.scrapbookgraphics.com/, http://www.polkadotpotato.com/

Another big project I've been working on is creating "Leah's Story", an adoption lifebook for her that records everything I have about her background before she came to us...kind of like a very in-depth baby book, but I'm writing on a child's level for Leah as she starts getting older and having questions about her past.

There is a great site that I've been using as my guide for ideas, http://www.chinadigitalscrapbooks.com/. Research of many adoption resources encourage adoptive parents to prepare a lifebooks to attempt to assist a child in creating a sense of identity and confidence. I plan on including every little teeny tiny fact I can, down to even what the weather was like on the day she was born, this will be incredibly important to her one day and I want to do this right for her.

Leah already says "I born in China". I always want her to be proud of who she is and what she is made of. I love the diversity that adoption has brought to our family, we now get to celebrate holiday's from two cultures...parties all the time! The Autumn Moon Festival is coming up next week and Leah's favorite book right now is "Round is the Mooncake" and we love to talk about moon cakes and paper lanterns. We are having a play group over this weekend and are planning on celebrating the festival with her China friends. It's just too much fun.

Adoption is an awesome thing. Just plain awesome. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Jellyfish. Popcorn. Face Painting. Oh My!

What a busy, fun day we had! Leah had so much fun swimming this summer, we are continuing her lessons on advice from an instuctor that saw her swim in our neighborhood pool.



We also went to her preschool's Kid Fest tonight with games, face painting and treats for the kids. Leah is going to preschool twice a week for just few hours, but it has become the hightlights of her week...she loves it! We are so fortunate to have found such a neat little school with sweet teachers that love on Leah lots.

Miss Sarah, Leah's preschool teacher...Leah adores her and was thrilled to find out she would get her face painted by her.

Having some fun in the inflatable bouncy thingy


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Our 6th Wedding Anniversary



And what a 6 years it's been! Shawn and I were married on September 8, 2001, days before the Sept. 11 attacks. What a surreal honeymoon that was. And it just got weirder and weirder after that.

Little did we know, that our uneventful, by-the-book dating life--was about to get interesting with a roller coaster of odd medical issues, heartbreaking losses and unbelievable joy. Who knew marriage was going to be this exciting?

For the people that have the pleasure of knowing Shawn personally, you know that he is a rock, as sturdy as they come. He's one of the most kindest, open-minded, dependable, sentimental and considerate people you will ever meet in your life.

He has a wickedly-wry sense of humor, but at the same time, derives great pleasure from telling really lame, canned jokes. Shawn is the father I always knew he would be...totally wrapped...but it's incredible how much he loves his baby girl. He has unwavering love and deep loyalty to his family and friends.

I am lucky to have such a great team player to share my life with. I love you Shawn..happy anniversary!