Monday, December 31, 2007

Vacation Part 1 continued

On our last day in Southern California, we visited Olvera Street and the Walt Disney Concert hall. The concert hall had an audio tour and it was wonderful. I have a feeling, we will be coming back to view a performance next time.

Vacation Part 1





We left for the Los Angeles area the day after Christmas as a group of six, Mom, Dad, Chloe and Pearl, Chris and her friend Michelle. Michelle is also a Chinese Exchange student; however, her host family is in Virginia. She and Chris became good friends through the exchange program and the internet, so we invited her to join us for Christmas break. Michelle enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with our family and then it was off to Southern California for adventure and fun. Sadly, she had to return to Virginia on December 30th, so she missed out on the second half of our vacation.

First, we went to the Getty Museum, then shopping at South Coast Plaza. The next day was Disneyland and dinner at Medieval Times. The next day we went to Newport Beach and shopped at Fashion Island, touring the University of California at Irvine (for Chris) followed by another dinner show, Pirate Dinner. Finally, we went to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles and then toured the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. We then spent one night at our cabin in the Tehachapi mountains before returning home (for a day).

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We had these pictures taken a few weeks ago. I think they came out really great. These will definitely be framed and posted around our home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Visit with Santa

After their dance performance Saturday morning, the girls had a chance to tell Santa what they wanted. Chloe asked for a Princess Guitar. It has been sitting under the Christmas tree for a few weeks now, so I think we are good to go.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Home Tour

Please forgive this break from the regular subject matter of Chloe and Pearl. This past Saturday, December 15th, our home was invited to participate in a Christmas Home Tour fundraiser for the local Women's Club. There were four homes on the tour, two older homes, including ours, and two new homes. Saturday morning was our girl's dance performance (no good pictures), so we left our home in the hands of the hostesses and we watched our daughter's perform (or freeze, in the case of Chloe). Pearl did a very good job following all of the steps and moves. I think she was the best dancer in her group. Chloe usually does so well in her class, where we watch her on a monitor, but she became frightened on stage and just froze, poor thing. We encouraged her and two nights later at the pre-school Christmas program, she was once again scared, but she did manage to sing along for a couple of songs. Pearl was a little wound-up and over-animated, but she did just fine. The little girl who was supposed to be Mary, also had a melt-down and cried on stage until she was escorted off.

After the dance program, we returned to town and toured the other homes on the Christmas tour. They were all so nice and fancy. I felt a little humbled at my decorating taste, but our home is definitely the most unusual, so I knew that alone was worth something. The photos above are of our home. I will probably post a couple more later, especially the girl's bathroom with the tropical fish ornaments hanging from a pine bough. While this is the most amazing piece, it just doesn't look its best in a photograph.

We decorated the dining room in red and gold with a Chinese theme. Chris brought ornaments from China that we used on the Christmas tree and I found some Chinese candles with the character for "Peace" that I used for a table centerpiece. Then, I just added some Chinese place settings (with chopsticks and dragon placemats) and some red lanterns, and we were all set! Perhaps, I can leave this up through Chinese New Year, except for the Christmas tree.

Now our home is clean and decorated and we can just relax and enjoy it through the holiday season. What a nice feeling!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have taken on a monumental project that has reduce my blogging time to almost nothing. Our very unique home has been for sale for several months now and we anticipate that it could take a very long time to sell it in the current market. I hadn't planned on doing any interior improvements, but that was before the invitation...........We were invited to have our home on display for the annual local Women's Club Christmas Home tour.

I don't even decorate much beyond putting up a tree. Now I had about a month to not only decorate, but to get the house in shape so that I could decorate. Today's project is the installation of a new kitchen floor. So far, we have removed ALL of the wallpaper throughout the house. We have painted all of those walls in a variety of colors. I have purchased furniture, pictures, plants and many other things just to make the house look like someone actually lives there. This weekend will be the big push to decorate. Hopefully, there will be many pictures to follow.

In the mean time, we really needed to have a family portrait taken. Especially now, since we have Chris and Pearl with us. I am not too keen on how this picture turned out, but it is all we have. Some of you may be seeing this again in your Christmas cards, if I ever get those out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breakfast on Saturday

On Saturday, we went back up to our cabin and met up with Mom's parents and sister in town for breakfast. Chloe rarely has the patience to sit through an entire meal, so Dad agreed to take her outside while everyone else finished up and visited. Pearl joined her on a wagon wheel bench and Dad shot this picture.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks and Family

Dad took Pearl and Chris over to his sister's house to spend Thanksgiving morning with his family. Mom took Chloe to the cabin to be with her family. After a great visit, Dad and the girls came up to the cabin to finish out the evening.

Picnic and Dress Up

The girls were having fun playing in their playroom. They did such a great job of laying out a blanket and setting up the perfect picnic, so I had to take a picture. Then they decided to dress up like princess cheerleaders.

Birthday Time

Grandpa and Grandma came to spend a month at the cabin just in time to celebrate Grandpa's 88th birthday. Uncle Dave and his wife came from a long distance to join in. It was a wonderful evening.

More Veteran's Day Pictures

We had a great time in Carmel and Monterey. On our way home, we stopped off at our favorite fruit stand, Casa de Fruta. 2008 is their 100th anniversary. The girls really enjoyed the carousel and train ride, while Mom shopped for Christmas items for the kitchen.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day Weekend

We took off Veteran's Day and went to Carmel and Monterey for the weekend. Sunday we went to the Monterey Aquarium. Here is one picture for now. Hopefully, there will be many more to follow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oops. I forgot a Post.

Here is a picture from October 24th. Somehow I already thought I posted it. Sorry Cousin Lisa.

Differences & Similarities

I was reading someone else's blog and she made a list of 108 things about herself for her 108th post (she missed 100). I found it quite interesting. When I had the idea to copy her, I realized that this blog is about Chloe and Pearl, not me (their mother). So I decided to modify the concept a bit. Instead, I will tell you my observations of my girls by comparison.

Chloe and Pearl are two very different little girls, yet they are amazingly close and rarely ever fight, although they do enjoy a good debate. I thought I would make a list of their differences followed by their similarities.


1. Chloe (even as she approaches 4) will put almost any non-food item in her mouth, except her fingers. Pearl never puts things in her mouth, except for her fingers.

2. Pearl likes to walk everywhere. Chloe always wants to be carried. Neither ever liked a stroller.

3. Chloe is Mamma's girl and Pearl is Daddy's girl (although they clearly love us both)

4. Chloe is a picky eater. She won't even eat fruit, except for raisins and olives. Pearl will eat just about everything, especially fruits and vegetables.

5. Pearl is lean and slender with a round bottom and narrow hips. Chloe is thin, but stocky with a pot belly.

6. Chloe's hair is fine and silky. Pearl's hair is medium-coarse with body.

7. Pearl usually follows direction and goes with the flow. Chloe has her own map and tends to take the scenic route.

8. Chloe makes up lots of original songs and tells cute little stories. Pearl tends to stick to the facts.

9. Pearl is whiny. Chloe is fussy.

10. Chloe, if permitted, will change her clothes about 4 times/day. Pearl, if permitted, will put on the same clothes she wore the day before.

11. Chloe does her own thing. Pearl does whatever Chloe does.

12. Pearl learns by observation and immitation. Chloe learns by trial and error (and error and error, etc.).

13. Chloe is scared of the dark and scary movies. Pearl isn't.

14. While it is still too early to tell for sure, Chloe appears to be right-brain dominant--free thinking, creative, expressive, word-oriented. Pearl appears to be left-brain dominant--logical, direct, focused, numbers-oriented.

15. When listening to music, Chloe has rhythm. Pearl just flails around wildly.

16. When it comes to ice cream, Chloe loves chocolate, Pearl loves vanilla.

17. Chloe has to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Pearl can go for hours without a stop.

18. Chloe has never had a "dry night" (she wears Pull-ups). Pearl has never "wet the bed" (she sleeps in her underwear).

19. Chloe MUST sleep in Mom's bed. Pearl will sleep in her own bed (but wishes Chloe was in the room with her)

20. While they both like lots of colors, Chloe tends to prefer pink and Pearl tends to prefer purple.


1. They both have more energy than they know what to do with.

2. They are the two silliest girls on the planet.

3. They both LOVE water, taking baths, swim class and fountains.

4. They are both courteous and polite.

5. They LOVE to dance and enjoy their dance class. They were having so much fun (and mischief) that we had to split them up into two different classes.

6. They both love to color, dress up, and to play with dolls, stuffed animals, legos, and especially jigsaw puzzles.

7. They usually want their hair done really nice with bows and they love to wear dresses and tights.

8. They LOVE preschool.

9. They are always asking if it is someone's birthday so they can go to the party.

10. They both have an annoying habit of asking me where I got everything. "Mom, did you buy this at the store? Mom, did you make this? Mom, who got this for me?, etc."

11. They both express gratitude for the simplest of things. The other day, Chloe wandered into the laundry room where she spied her yellow hand-knit blanket laying out to dry. She came running in to me with a big smile and hug and exclaimed, "Thank you Mommy for washing my yellow gankget!!!" They always thank me for making dinner too.

12. They are both exceedingly joyful and happy most of the time.

13. They always share food with each other, even their candy.

14. They love Dora, Diego, the Wiggles and especially, the Little Einsteins.

15. Both are excellent travelers, love hotels and sleep through the night away from home.

16. They love to wear pajamas.

17. I think their favorite food is spaghetti. They both ask for it for dinner most nights.

18. They both want to wear their fanciest shoes to daycare.

19. They are both Chinese (well, duh).

20. They love each other very much.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More Halloween pictures

We had a few more cute pictures from Halloween that I thought I would post separately. Chloe found another ladybug to hang out with.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Well, it has been another long hiatus since our last post. We have been busy going about our daily lives and having lots of fun. Pete has been getting excited about Halloween. It is his favorite holiday. As a result, that enthusiasm and anticipation rubbed off on all the girls, including Chris. Chris carved her first pumpkin the night before Halloween. She created a rather intricate dragon design and was up into the wee hours finishing her masterpiece.

Chloe dressed as a ladybug, complete with detachable wings. Pearl was dressed as a bee and Chris was a pirate. We went to a parade and party at the local park. There were hot dogs, balloons, jolly jumpers and lots of fun booths. The girls met up with another ladybug (same age as Chloe) and proceeded to play chase as only three insects high on excitement can. They were moving too fast for a good picture.

Chris met up with her Calculus teacher. You can see him pictured in a big fuzzy suit (maybe a dog?) hugging Chris. After the park, we took the girls trick-or-treating and then rushed home to pass out candy before the evening wound down. Pete inflated a mini-haunted house and placed it in front of our door. Guests had to come through it to receive their candy. I think I can safely speak for all of us that we had a marvelous time. Even Chris exclaimed "I cannot believe we don't do this in China!"

There are lots more great Halloween pics on Loving Lydia's blog. Check them out!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big Eyes

When we were in China adopting Choe, we were stopped by a lot of Chinese people who remarked about how big Chloe's eyes were. Little did we know at the time, but now when we look at those photos, we can see that she was scared. Nevertheless, her eyes are a bit rounder than the average Chinese eye and we still hear remarks about Chloe's "big eyes".

Earlier this evening, Chloe went upstairs to her room to put on her pajamas. She likes to do this at least an hour before bed, often even before her bath. Tonight I noticed that she was dressing in the dark and I remembered that Chloe is afraid of the dark. I turned the light on and said, "Chloe, what are you doing dressing in the dark?" She replied, "It's OK Mom. I have BIG EYES!" Then she proceeded to turn the light back off.

Preschool Open House

Chloe and Pearl both attend the same preschool. Chloe goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Pearl attends on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Chloe was very jealous last year when Pearl went on stage to perform and she couldn't go, but this year was different. Chloe had so much fun and we all enjoyed ourselves. Monday evening was the Open House and it was very crowded.


Sunday we returned home from a weekend of camping in Santa Barbara. On our way home we stopped by Solvang, a Danish American community. This tourist town is lots of fun and very charming. We enjoyed a nice lunch and lots of window shopping.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

El Capitan Canyon

Kern County Fair

On September 26th, Pete took Chris and the girls to the Kern County Fair.

3 Birthdays and a Moon Festival

September 22nd and September 23rd was a very busy weekend. Chloe and Pearl celebrated Jack and Patty's birthday on September 22. Jack turned 6 and Patty turned 5. The very next day, they attended Keeley's birthday celebration. Keeley turned 4. All of the kids know each other from daycare.

After Keeley's birthday party, we all went to a celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival in a park. It was hosted by the Kern County Chinese American Association. That isn't the exact name, but it is fairly close. I guess the Chinese community is rather small in Kern County. We ran into Chloe and Pearl's former pediatrician and also their new pediatrician. We had to change doctors when my work changed insurance providers. I even met a couple of work associates. It was a nice gathering, but we didn't get any good photos. Chloe met a little girl and immediately befriended her. Chloe kept leading her around by the hand. I have never seen Chloe behave like that before. They were only one month apart in age.

Preschool Open House & More

Another activity that occured during my blogging hiatus was the Kern County Fair. Pete took Chris and the girls to see it and play on the rides and see the farm animals and eat the food. Since Mom wasn't feeling that great, she was able to rest at home for a couple of hours. Pictures will soon follow (maybe even this evening).

Last night was the open house for the preschool that Chloe and Pearl attend. The girls got up on stage and sang three songs. I was pleasantly surprised to see Chloe singing and going through the motions, even with a big smile on her face. Pearl also did well, but was a bit hidden from view in the back row. These two just love school so much and they really enjoyed showing us all of the craft projects that they have been working on. It was such a fun evening.

Stay tuned. I have some pictures to post this evening and I have more to put together.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Where have we been?

I was doing so well too, blogging at least twice a week, and then BAM!! Nothing. Oh, I let a couple of weeks slip by. I wasn't happy with the pictures I had from the two birthday parties the girls attended or the pictures from the Moon Festival celebration. I wasn't feeling "creative". Then I managed to come down with my first cold of the season. Before you know it, another couple of weeks slipped by. If this is anything like last year, there are another 7 or 8 colds to follow.

But wait, this blog isn't about me. It's about Chloe and Pearl. Their lives haven't stopped. They have been quite busy. Let's see, I mentioned the two birthday parties, the Moon Festival. What else did we do? There were a couple of slow weekends at home and I am sure there were some more outings that I forgot about. Dance class is going great. Last weekend (September 29th), Chris had her photo session for her senior class pictures. They were beautiful and as circumstances dictated, I also had both girls with me, still in their dance outfits from class. The photographer took the opportunity to take a few photos of the girls too, even though this was supposed to be Chris' session. She even took some great pictures of all three together. Once I order them, I will be sure to sneak a picture or two onto the blog.

This past weekend we decided to try "luxury camping". We went to El Capitan Canyon, just north of Santa Barbara. It is camping with cabins and tents already provided. You don't have to bring any gear. There are luxury linens, king size beds, kitchenettes and even room service. It's like a hotel room in a campground. There were children everywhere and the beach is within walking distance from the front gate. On Saturday night, they had a big BBQ and a band playing great rock and roll dance music. Chloe cried for the first three songs and then decided she was going to have fun, so she asked Daddy to dance and it was all giggles and wiggles from that point on. Pearl loved it from the first moment and both girls were out on the lawn dancing until exhaustion set in (at least for Chloe). Pearl is like the Energizer Bunny. I don't think I have ever seen her tired. Getting her to settle in for bed every night is a little bit challenging because she has to kick and move around a lot before she goes to sleep. These girls had a blast and I have a feeling that we just started an annual tradition.

You will have to be patient a little bit longer. I have some pictures to post, just to prove we really did do all these things. I will start getting them up this week in the evenings....maybe not tonight, because it is Open House at Chloe and Pearl's preschool. Which of course, means more pictures! Until then...........

Sunday, September 09, 2007

An Ordinary Weekend

This was one of those weekends to just hang out around the house. We started off Saturday morning by going to the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. We had to go a little early since the girls had dance class afterward. Since we were early, we didn't get to socialize with as many of the local citizenry, but we did see the girls' preschool teacher, the town judge and a few friends.

Today was the first day of dance class for Chloe and Pearl. We decided to split the girls up this year so that they wouldn't goof off together like they were beginning to do near the end of last season. They seemed to do just fine being apart.

The rest of the weekend was spent just playing around the house and going to the park. Chloe and Pearl played dress-up with a Dorothy outfit and a princess outfit. They really had fun doing that. Mom and Dad even managed to fit in a movie (with Chris).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Heart is Melting

Chloe has been asking me to "Check up" on her in preschool. Tuesday, I told her I would and then promptly forgot. Boy, did she remind me that evening!

Today, I wrote it on my calendar to be sure not to forget to stop by and see her in preschool. I arrived around 10 AM and just watched her from a distance for awhile. She was in the "Art Room" with two other children. The rest of the kids were in the main room.

Staff encouraged me to go in, so I walked up to Chloe and she had this disappointed look on her face. She asked, "Why are you taking me away?". I told her that I wasn't here to take her home, but rather to just check on her like I promised. She gave me a big smile and a hug and exclaimed "Mommy, you are getting bigger!" (Just what I wanted to hear) I think she meant it as a compliment.

I fastened her shoe and she ran off into the other room, leaving me behind with one of her teachers. Mrs. White turned to me and expressed what an adorable child she thought Chloe was. Of course, I took it to mean that my child was the most adorable child in the world. She then mentioned that Chloe nearly brought her to tears when she told her the story of her mommy and daddy going to China to get her when she was a little baby. Chloe has such a sweetness and she is so proud of her story and sharing it, that it just melts my heart.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Day of Celebration

Well, it seems as though Chris and Pete and many others had a great day of sailing. Pete was tired and sore. They arrived home the next day, so Mom and the girls didn't get a chance to celebrate Chris' birthday with her. We decided to go out to dinner and couldn't find a restaurant without long lines outside in 105 degree heat. Finally, we decided to try our favorite local Teppan restaurant. At 4:30, we made reservations for 5:30 and then we drove across town to buy Chloe and Pearl new shoes for school and dance class. Both girls loved their new shoes and we got back just in time for dinner.

We had been avoiding this place, largely because we didn't think Chloe would behave herself, but tonight she was great. Chloe and Pearl were amazed at the tricks performed by our chef and they really had fun playing with the chopsticks. It turned out to be a fun evening for the whole family.

After we came home, we celebrated Chris' birthday with another cake (lemon was all I could find on short notice) and some presents. I think Chloe and Pearl enjoyed it as much as Chris.

Chris' Birthday

Saturday September 1st was Chris' 17th birthday. We wanted to do something special, so we planned a day of sailing in Ventura with Pete's friend Marc. Marc is the only sailor we know and he is also a good friend, so he didn't mind spearheading this whole undertaking. We decided the girls were too young and out of control for this trip, so Mom stayed home with them. Fortunately, Chris took some pictures, so that I do have something to post. Perhaps in a few years, we can do this with Chloe and Pearl.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Forever Family Day

August 28th 2007 is the one year anniversary of our life with Pearl. We will never forget the moment we first met her. It had been a very rough few days for us preceeding that. We were sick and Pete's brother had just passed away unexpectedly when we arrived in Beijing.

Pearl was so thin. She had a big smile on her face and she walked right up to the three of us (we had Chloe). She approached Pete first and addressed him as "Baba", then she looked at me and called me "Mama". Then she looked at Chloe and called her "Mei Mei" which means little sister. She seemed so happy to see us. We immediately left the small conference room and were given a tour of the orphanage and we met her teachers/nannies. She proudly showed us off to everyone we met. It wasn't until we headed for the van to go, that she began to realize she was leaving the only home she had ever known for three and a half years, and she started to cry. Fortunately, it didn't last long.

Following is a list of adjectives describing Pearl starting with the letters of her name:

P = pretty (we knew she was cute, but didn't expect her to be so photogenic)
E = enthusiastic (this girl has enough energy and excitement for two kids)
A = amiable (she is eager to please and has a friendly disposition)
R = restless (she is always on the go and fidgets constantly, even in her sleep)
L = loveable (she is very engaging and charming...what a doll)

Pearl is a joy to have around and it is especially great to see the love between her and her little sister Chloe. We are so lucky to parent these two girls. Here's to another wonderful year with our daughters from China.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chloe's First Day of School

Pearl started her second year of preschool yesterday, but today was the very first day of school for Chloe. She has been very excited about this day for a very long time. She has also been amazingly fussy and impossible this week. I don't know if the two are related, but she did express some fears yesterday about "bad kids" being mean to her.

We reassured her as only parents can and prepared her as best we could the night before. We took her to the school this morning and I think there were at least two adults for every child there. The first 15 minutes was just playing in the playground and we took an opportunity to take a couple of pictures. Every few minutes, Chloe would ask "Are you checking on me?", because of course, I told her yesterday that I would check on her. Finally, she looked at us and said we could go home now; she was fine. After being dismissed, we left, apparently earlier than most of the other parents. I think Chloe is gonna be just fine.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Long Weekend

Well, it was just another two-day weekend, but it felt very long. We had a nice dinner out on Friday with Chris after dropping the girls off at "A Good Time Out". Saturday morning we got up early and drove two hours to the LA Zoo to meet up with some friends. On the way, we got into a small accident when a teenager didn't notice us at a stop sign and ran into the back of us. We had to wait for his parents to come before we could leave. After that, we still arrived 15-20 minutes early at the zoo.

David is a friend of mine from high school. Denise is his wife from Taiwan and they have two wonderful little boys, Damian and Ian. We met up at the zoo and proceeded to watch the animals. It was hot and sweltering and we had some afternoon reprieve with a bit of cloud cover. Both Chloe and Pearl took turns having meltdowns and now Mom was so agitated that she cancelled next week's plans for the girls. We probably won't be going to any zoos or amusement parks for a few months. Next week, Pete is taking Chris sailing for her birthday with his friend Marc.

Sunday, we hung out around the house and played together. We figured out how to get 'Skype' going on the computer with video, so Chris was able to talk with her parents in China and see them on video for free. We also called our first exchange student, Daisy, who was also in China. It was fun to show her the girls and to see her again.

That's about it for this weekend. I'm ready to get back to work. Tomorrow, Pearl starts preschool.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day of School

Today is Chris' first day at Shafter High School. She will be attending as a senior. We accompanied her to the senior councelor's office and walked to a couple of her classrooms until they paired her up with a student to show her around campus and get her settled in. After that, we said goodbye and headed off to work. Her classes include Calculus, English, Government/Econ, US History, Sculpture and Physics. Her history teacher used to teach English in China, and he married a Chinese woman, so he also speaks Chinese. Hopefully, he will be able to help Chris if she has any difficulties understanding what is going on.

The school is undergoing major renovation which was started over two years ago and should finish up sometime this school year. It doesn't really look like $20 million worth of improvements, but school construction prices don't come at a discount.

I look forward to this evening when we can find out how Chris fared. I think we are almost as excited as she is about this new adventure.

Next week, Chloe begins preschool!

UPDATE: Chris had a good time the first day and made a lot of friends, especially in her Physics class. She spent much of her class time writing each student's name in Chinese characters. She said her Calculus teacher had a picture of Daisy and her classmates on his desk.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chris' First Trip to the Cabin

Since this was the last weekend before Chris started school, we didn't really want to plan a big road trip, but we also didn't want to hang around the house. So, we decided to go to the cabin and relax.

Chris wasn't ready to venture into the pool, so she just sat with us on the sidelines while Chloe and Pearl had the whole kiddie pool to themselves. It has been a beautiful weekend, except for the occasional reminder of a large forest fire in the distance. The smoke would sometimes choke out the sun and our car was covered with ash. This has been going on for over a week and has extended across the whole county.

Hopefully, we will find out tomorrow if Chris has a good class schedule at school. I am not yet sure what she will like for breakfast. We are still experimenting. She is very eager to try everything.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Pete took Pearl and Chris to Berkeley's birthday party. How do I begin to explain who Berkely is? Well, in today's world of mixed families, it probably isn't that unusual. We have known Berkeley since she was a little baby. She is like a niece to us. Her mother Jane was once married to Pete's brother Ray. Jane divorced Ray (long before I ever knew him) and married Dave (whom she is no longer married to) and together they had Berkeley. Fortunately for us, Jane and Berkeley (and even Dave) are still considered close family and they attend all the major family functions.

This party was not only a birthday party, but it was also a "going away to college" party as Berkeley is now headed for Chico State. She aspires to become a veternarian.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A New Daughter

Today we welcomed a new daughter for the school year. "Siwei" AKA, Chris has come all the way from Beijing China to attend high school just down the street.

In addition to gaining a new daughter (for the year), this was our first chance to see our new local airport terminal. With our last exchange student 3 years ago, we had to get her luggage on the carousel outside (in the 100+ degree heat). Now everything is indoors and very nice. There is even a replica of the first private aircraft to venture into space. It was designed and constructed here in Kern County.

Not even 4 hours after arriving in America, Pete took Chris and Pearl to a birthday party/going away to college party for a friend of ours. Mom stayed home with Chloe who is sick and a bit fussy. Stay tuned as there will be lots more to come!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


We spent the majority of the weekend lounging around home and trying to rest up. Like most little kids, Chloe and Pearl love to jump and rough-house and get wild with Mommy and Daddy, especially right before bedtime. Chloe has a way of sneaking up on you and then...........ATTACK!!!! Pearl is more direct, but less careful, so she can hurt.

Here are the girls jumping on Dad's back. It wasn't just Dad they were attacking, Mom has some battle scars from this evenings' wrestling match. So much fun with these two wild ones.

Pink Cupcakes

Chloe is very verbal and makes her requests known (Tinkerbell jigsaw puzzle, a trumpet, and a pink house). Her latest request that she has been repeating for the last three weeks was to help Mom make cupcakes. Pete has also been requesting cupcakes. Well, we do have muffin mixes for blueberry and apple streusal, so I thought we had all we needed, but our eggs were borderline too old. Then she went on an on about wanting pink cupcakes. I knew we were due for a shopping trip, so after she woke up from her nap, I took her to the grocery store. She is so much fun to shop with. I purchased a confetti cake mix and then found pink frosting. Chloe always helps me put all the items on the conveyor belt. What a little helper!

Pearl got to take her nap late (and short) since she was especially good and cleaned up her toys all by herself, at her request. She may not ask for alot up front, but once she laid her eyes upon the cupcakes, she really wanted one.

FFFF #42 Waiting

This past Friday's foto challenge was entitled Waiting. Saturday was a big family reunion in Bakersfield and I guess we showed up a little bit early. We watched as they inflated two bounce houses and the girls were very impatient and kept asking if they could go in yet. It didn't dawn on me to take a picture of them inflating the bounce houses, but it would have been perfect for the challenge.

Here are pictures of the girls waiting for it to be ready and then finally going in. They were especially excited because Tinkerbell is currently one of their favorite characters. Chloe recently demanded that I get her a Tinkerbell jigsaw puzzle and I had to resort to Ebay to find one.

Year of the Pig

It is the Year of the Pig. The babies born in this year are called "Golden Piglets (Jin Ju Bao Bao)". They are believed to bring wealth and happiness to their families.

I borrowed this picture from my good friend Betty. I just couldn't resist these adorable faces. We used to raise and show these furry creatures before Chloe and Pearl. You can see many more pictures of these wonderful animals at her blog for the Northern California Angora Guild

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Surprise for Mom

We are just settling back into our regular routine. Pete and I pick up the girls at daycare, bring them home, let them ride their bikes, then play in the playroom until dinner time and then bath time.

The big challenge is always trying to get the girls to clean up their playroom. Usually it takes threats, pleading, bribing, nagging, and occasional yelling (when Mom finally loses it). As usual, I gave the girls "the speech" during dinner. This is where I explain my expectations and prepare for round two. For the most part, I assist the clean-up while directing their every move.

To my astonishment, the girls finished their dinner and proceeded downstairs on their own and then managed to clean up their entire playroom, without a nag or bribe. I was totally amazed and the girls just beamed when I told them how proud I was and that they could have an extra book at storytime tonight.

Too bad I don't have a before picture, but I am sure you can imagine this room with jigsaw puzzle pieces, legos, baby dolls, and an assortment of trinkets all over the place. I was very proud of my girls tonight.