Monday, September 15, 2014

6 years...Forever Family Day

Six years ago, Sept. 15, 2008, Forever Family Day:
We celebrated the Noodle's Gotcha Day over the past few days.  Saturday we went out to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  Both girls were so excited to wear their silks!
Sunday, we went to Chuck-E-Cheese as a reward for her summer reading.  Let me just make an aside comment that both J and I really don't like Chuck-E-Cheese.  Major sensory overload, crummy, greasy pizza, overpriced games, I could go on and on.  However at the start of the summer, I told the Noodle that if she read for 1500 minutes we would take her there.  She had been back to school for almost 3 weeks--it was time for us to pony up, since she put in the work.  I will let you in on a little secret...on Sundays, it opens at 11, which is probably the least painful time to go.  You're welcome.
Monday we had a little gift for her to open.  Some years we've gotten her something related to China and other years weve just gone with something she's interested in.  She had been pining for this dinosaur excavation kit so it was a good fit.  I asked her what kind of cake she wanted and she told me chocolate so I made this recipe.  Yum-Mo!
There is lots of discussion in the adoption world about whether to celebrate a Gotcha/Forever Family day or not.  I guess our view is that it was a major event in our family's life and it is a reason to celebrate.  It was definitely the fulfillment of prayers, hope and lots and lots of faith.  Certainly there is an aspect of loss (of birth family, culture, country) but there is also a grafting that occurs.  This article explains the idea so well.
So we celebrate another year of having the Noodle as our daughter and never forget what a blessing that she is to us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Day of Preschool!

So. much. excitement.  Seriously!  She was ready to go.  Watching sissy catch the bus, get her backpack in order and head off to school...it was finally Mei Mei's turn :)
Of course, the first-day-of-school pictures.
And some silly ones as well.
We had talked about what to expect and she had so much fun when she went for her orientation morning.  She was silent a bit more reserved when her teacher came for the home visit but still pumped.
This week she'll only go for an hour, but next week, three mornings a week she'll be heading off!
Not a tear or a backwards glance (small sniff from me) and ready to greet "Tick Tock", which is what she calls her teacher because of the clean up song they sing.  Love it!  Now I just need to remember to call her by her correct name and not "Tick Tock".  Ha!
Here's to new beginnings!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

So actually the holiday was Sept. 6th through the 8th, but we finished up today--all good things, right?  In case you're not familiar with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, it is held on the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese calendar.  Usually it falls somewhere between mid-September to mid-October.  Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is to China, what Thanksgiving is to us.

A chance to reconnect with family, reflect on the bounty of the harvest, give thanks for blessings and to celebrate all things round, specifically the moon.  Grace Lin has a really cute picture book called Thanking the Moon that we check out regularly from our library--it explains the holiday in a simple, easy to understand way.
There is also a lot of talk about Chang E, the jade rabbit, and a wood chopper who wanted to be immortal.  These relate to legends that the Chinese have in regards to the moon.  Often, people will go out and gaze at the moon and they can find comfort that even if they are not with their loved ones, the loved ones are also gazing at the same moon.  I try to sneak in a little birth-mother/birth-father talk where this is concerned.

Lastly, during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, people traditionally eat mooncakes.  I would definitely say that mooncakes are an acquired taste.  They are beautiful pastries that have various fillings inside like red bean paste or lotus seed paste inside and nestled in the core is an egg yolk (again with the round reference).  
We have a variation that works wells for us--you can find the recipe here.  Yesterday we started making the dough but ran out of time and so finished this afternoon and enjoyed the cookies after dinner.  
Perhaps you are looking some of the pictures of the Noodle as she was cooking and wondering "Why is she wearing safety glasses, circa 1976?"  Good question.  Unfortunately, when I posed the same question to her, she just continued reading the recipe and pushed the glasses higher onto her nose.  I guess Girlfriend is just embracing her inner diva?!
Anyway, happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival to you!  Enjoy the beautiful, full, round moon, eat some mooncakes (or some variation of them), celebrate your family and remember that even safety goggles can look cute--if you wear them with confidence!
Past Mid-Autumn Moon Festival info. here , herehere and here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Busy but fun weekend

Some weekends are nice and relaxing, where you can just hang and chill.  Others are filled a whirlwind of activities.  This past weekend was a busy one!
Saturday morning Mei Mei and I went to a little Bible class for her where she got her very own Bible and a Bible bag.  She was so excited!!  When her name was called to come up and receive it, she marched up there with her arms outstretched and then ran back to my lap to show me.  It brought tears to my eyes to see her get so pumped about her Bible.  I hope that her love for the Lord stays strong!
While we were at church, J was working on the dining room floor.  Once he had ripped up the carpet, we had planned on refinishing the wood floor--it had looked like it was in great shape and so we were all set to go.  Come to find out that under one spot, at some point in the 90+ years of the house's life, plywood had been put down and so we couldn't refinish it.  On to plan B--painting the floor with white so that it would have a nice "porch-y" feel to it, since the dining room had, at one time, been a porch.  That didn't work either because even with primer and outside, porch grade paint, these strange streaks kept coming through.
Grrrr...on to plan C--to put down an entire new floor and since we had planned on doing the kitchen floor at some point as well, to just do it all together so that the floors would be cohesive.  We had also hoped to replace the windows in the dining room this fall, but that certainly isn't going to happen now after this floor debacle.

Anywhoo, J was busy installing and the Noodle decided to get creative with the massive amounts of cardboard that was being generated and make a fort.  Clearly J is the "cool" parent because I would have adamantly  gently discouraged quite such an elaborate design...Ha!  I guess we're a good balance :)
After lunch, the Noodle and I went to go hear author/illustrator Marc Brown (of the Arthur books) speak at a local library.  Her name had been picked because of her involvement in the summer reading program through our county library.  He was very funny and even read to us a sneak peek story from his yet to be published book that is coming out next year--shhhhh!
By Saturday night, J was still busy working away but getting close to completing the kitchen.
He had ripped out the existing floor and unearthed a floor that I hadn't seen for years!
I sat on the chair and talked to him, sipped my wine and worked on these--
I've never really been a decorator for fall, but this year thought I'd try a few things out.  Do you decorate for fall?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tune up

Would these two stop growing already?!
Adjustments had to be made on seats and handlebars to accommodate the ever growing legs and arms before we could take our Saturday morning stroll...geesh, the nerve of them!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cork boat kiddo craft

A few weeks ago, before we headed back to school, we decided to have another craft afternoon. Nothing fancy and certainly not any crazy supplies or complex directions.  I had pinned this activity and the Noodle thought it looked like a winner, so we jumped in!
Wine corks?  Check (ahem, just a few floating around!)
Toothpicks?  Check
Colored cardstock?  Check
Twine/string?  Check

After gathering all the materials we spent the afternoon sitting out on the porch creating.  I made a model for the Noodle and then she was more than happy to work on it, on her own.  She needed an extra hand to tie the string, but other than that, she was golden.
She kept going and even made some little cork people.  What could be better?  I love their faces! And do you see that tie?!  Gah!
And Mei Mei...she was having fun cutting the paper with the craft scissors, poking toothpicks into the corks and generally exploring the materials.
The real fun for her however, happened when we broke out the bowls of water to set the vessel in for their maiden voyages.  She was pleased with her boat, but luurved dumping those corks into the water and then splashing away to her hearts content.
The Noodle, meanwhile, had a whole conversation going with her cork people and the boat.
 Both were exploring, creating, experimenting and having fun.  Success!