Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lydia's Birthday-Saturday

Lydia is a friend and fellow designer. She draws plans for homes and small commercial projects. We also do this type of work, but sometimes we collaborate on projects where she does the design and we do the engineering. She is the type of person (and comes from the type of family) who works long hours and multiple jobs. It is this dedication to hardwork and her genuine talent that affords her the opportunity to design her own beautiful home.

She invited us over today for a party, but we didn't find out until after we arrived that it was her birthday. There were lots of little kids for Chloe and Pearl to play with, however, their favorite activity seemed to be digging and rolling in the dirt! Lydia and her baby girl are pictured in the far right, middle row.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

FFFF Challenge-Cheesy Smiles

Thank you to "Loving Lydia" for this weeks challenge, entitled "Cheesy Smiles". It was painful for me to take and use these pictures of the girls. It is so easy to get this smile. I am usually directing the girls to "not smile so big". This time all I had to say was "SMILE!". These are definitely the pictures I would edit from my blog for any other situation, but for now, they are perfect.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday with Chloe in the Backyard

We stayed home this weekend. We have another big trip planned in a couple of weeks, so we thought it would be a good time to rest up. Pearl is a little under the weather, so she preferred to stay inside and color while Chloe wanted to play outside.

We built a giant chess board in our backyard and ordered hand-carved teak pieces from Indonesia. Unfortunately, a few of the pieces were stolen, so we just kind of leave it in the yard as a decaying sculptural element. Maybe someday we will try this again when the girls are old enough to play chess. Here is Chloe telling me the names of the pieces.


It is time to schedule our social worker visit to come and interview us to prepare Pearl's 12 month post-placement report. This is the last report that we must complete and send to China, so that they can see how well she is doing in our family. One of the things we have to do before this report is to prepare some recent pictures of Pearl to include in the report. So I thought I would take these pictures and put them into a collage for the blog. If you are a regular viewer, you have already seen some of these. A couple are new.

In another month, I will do a special post as a tribute to our first year as a family together with Pearl. She is a dear sweet girl with a gentle nature. We are fortunate to have her in our lives.

Friday, July 20, 2007


When Chloe was a baby she didn't seek out any form of comfort. She was very brave and never seemed scared. She didn't cry when she fell down. She wasn't cuddly or affectionate although she liked to be held if you were standing and moving. After several months, I just figured that was her personality, not a huggy-feely type. She was all action. I never was huggy-feely either. Chloe didn't need pacifiers, didn't suck her fingers and didn't need a blankie or stuffed animal. She eagerly went to bed and slept contentedly through the night.

What a difference a couple of years and tons of love makes! Chloe is the most amazingly affectionate little person I know. Unfortunately, she has a lot of fears, but I think that's because she values her circumstances so much. She now needs her blanket (she calls it "ganket") alot and she usually carries a stuffed animal or baby with her. And she frequently needs to sleep with Mom or Dad. But, the behavior I find most fascinating is her need to fondle tags. Especially, when she is drinking. She must have one hand on a tag, usually the one on her pants, although sometimes it is her shirt tag. She does this several times a day. Sometimes she wants to be rocked and sung to at the same time. Of course, I love this opportunity to make up for lost baby bonding time. She says to me "Mommy, will you rock me like you did when I was a baby". I just say "sure", but I don't tell her that she wouldn't let me rock her when she was a baby. Some things just take time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mid-Week Life

The weather is getting nice, a little cool for a Central Valley summer. Mom's work is getting exciting. Construction will start any day on the Police Department expansion project.

Dad has been begging for homemade chili for dinner, so Mom made a crockpot full. Unfortunately, it turned out a little too spicy for Dad. He took his chances and ate it anyway. This recipe is definitely a keeper. We just need to turn down the heat a little. The girls weren't even interested, so they shared shredded cheese.

Mom doesn't usually like to let the girls play with Play Doh unless she is in the room with them. Tonight I gave in and let them play. After sticking around for awhile, I left the room and decided I will just deal with the mess later.

The following picture is from last Sunday morning in Tehachapi's Central Park. We took the girls there after breakfast for a little fun. We ended up leaving in a hurry when a creepy-looking guy started hanging around the playground.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Backyard Friends

For the past few weeks, we have noticed some visitors in our yard hanging around close to the ground. It was quite a surprise for this time of year, since this particular family usually leaves us in late spring. I guess there was a late arrival this year.

We really enjoy watching the red-tailed hawks growing up and learning to fly in the backyard. The baby is very loud and we can often hear him squawking for his mama. Tonight, I noticed the baby bird playing in the backyard sprinklers, catching some relief from the valley heat. The pictures attached were taken last week. Baby was sitting on the wall and I was taking pictures. Then Momma came over to keep an eye on her baby.

Chloe Feeds Ducks

Saturday afternoon we headed for the cabin to try another weekend there. Unfortunately, the pool was closed for a big Luau party and the girls couldn't go swimming. Dad took Chloe to the lake in our back yard and she fed the ducks.

Saturday at the Children's Museum in La Habra

We took a detour on our way to the cabin Saturday morning. It was too late to try Disneyland, so we decided to check out a Children's Museum in La Habra. It was pretty fun and large. There were lots or rooms to explore including, a bubble room, train room, experiment room, shopping, dress-up, theater, arts & crafts, animals and much much more. It would have been very easy to spend most of a day there, but after an hour or two, we headed off to experience "The Cheesecake Factory" for the first time. Mom was disappointed that she could only manage a bowl of soup. Cheesecake is one of her favorite dishes, but she will have to wait for the next trip.

Friday-Sick on Vacation

The good news is Dad and the girls had a wonderful time at Newport Beach today. The bad news is their photographer and mother was sitting sick in the car the whole time, waiting for the moment when they could check into their next hotel.

We had entertained ideas of Disneyland today, but Mom was pretty much out of commission, due to a bad meal either Wednesday night or Thursday lunch. I think they had a good day, even though they didn't get out much after the trip to the beach.

Thursday-Escape from Work

This past Thursday, July 12, 2007, we decided to take the day off and visit with an old high school friend of mom's, Choon, whom she hadn't seen or talked to in 15 years. Mom and Choon knew each other from 5th grade through high school graduation and were very close friends.

The girls had fun playing with Choon's kids, especially 6 year old Lauren. Lauren was such a sweet girl and Pearl followed her everywhere. Choon also had two older boys, Evan and Corey. Evan was not interested in walking to the lake in the heat, so he didn't make it in any of the pictures. We met Choon's husband later on that evening at South Coast Plaza.

Choon and her family now live in upstate New York, so this was a rare opportunity to catch up and share life as parents.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Escaping the Heat!

We decided to escape the heat (107 on Friday) by heading to our cabin in the mountains. We used to go every weekend before we had kids, but Chloe used to fuss a lot whenever we went there, so it wasn't really very much fun.

On the way to the cabin, we stopped at K-mart to pick up some puzzles and games. Chloe asked for a "sea turtle" puzzle and to our amazement, we actually found a jigsaw puzzle with Diego and a sea turtle. What luck? Now I suppose Chloe thinks she can ask for just about anything and we will get it for her.

Well this weekend was a lot different from the fussy times of the past. We all had a blast playing games, putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing in the park and swimming in the clubhouse pool. It was a wonderful weekend since the girls both had fun the whole time. Our home is right on the edge of a small lake and we are next door to one of the parks. We had so much fun, we decided that we are going back next weekend. Maybe we'll even bring BOTH of the girls' swim suits.

The cabin is a bit in need of a deep cleaning, so we plan on doing a little bit each weekend. The weeds are overgrown, the windows are dirty and the cobwebs are getting out of hand.

I designed and built this place 7 years ago and we finally put it up for sale. We also put our main home up for sale. We are hoping to downsize to a smaller, but more functional main residence that we can design ourselves. Besides, we have two college educations to save for. We love both our homes, but they are very expensive to maintain and we think we could better utilize the money elsewhere.

Enjoy the photos from this weekend!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fireworks Celebration

This is an added footnote as this post will be our entry into the FFFF Friday foto challenge. Donna has now passed the torch onto Loving Lydia who will now be hosting the challenges. Thank you so much!

Our community is a small town. We have our annual fireworks celebration, but we always celebrate it a day early, on the 3rd of July. That is so that we can afford a nice professional show from crews that are booked in the big cities on the 4th.

As usual, we invite all of my co-workers and our family to our home to view the fireworks because they usually set them off at the high school nearby. Well, this year, they moved the fireworks to a field DIRECTLY across the street from our home. We really did have the best view in town. See picture #2 for a view of the crew setting up. This was taken from our yard. Picture #3 shows a co-worker's trailer in our driveway and people playing ping-pong. Many more people showed up and I believe we had more than 100 people watching from our lawns and driveways.

Picture #1 is of co-worker's lovely daughter "J" (name witheld for privacy) holding Chloe like a baby. This is how Chloe frequently wants Mom to hold her, but it was a surprise to see how close she had become with J in just a few short hours.

Well, I think everyone enjoyed the show this year. Chloe was scared at first, but managed to overcome her fear of the loud bangs and had fun. This was Pearl's first 4th of July celebration and she was thoroughly enjoying herself. She was sitting with J and her sister M, but we could hear her ooohing and aahhing from where we were sitting. She is not one to hold back her enthusiasm.

I hope everyone reading this had a great 4th of July!