Monday, December 29, 2008

We're Still Here (on Vacation)

The weather has been getting even better. It was sunny today and the high was in the mid-sixties. We took the girls to Point Lobos State Park. This place is spectacularly beautiful. We only went on a short walk, but there is so much to see here.

Afterwards, the girls still had some energy to burn, so we played in the backyard while Daddy caught a nap. He has been so great about taking the girls places while I rest, so it was definitely his turn.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Great Vacation Day

It's December 27th and I truly wish time would stand still. This is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable times I have ever had. Pete has been taking the girls all over and shopping, but I didn't get out of the house until 4 PM. First, we went to the beach and then later, we went out to dinner at a pizza house. They gave the girls raw dough to play with and it was a great time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Glorious Day After Christmas

Today was beautiful and we didn't have any obligations. We could go wherever we wanted, do whatever we wanted to do and relax as much as we desired. We ended up going to Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey and having an excellent lunch at the Old Fisherman's Grotto. Later, Pete took the girls to the beach.

Merry Christmas!

We woke up Christmas morning at our home in the Central Valley, but we stayed only long enough for the girls to open some of their presents. Unfortunately, we purchased two leapsters and only one worked. The girls had to share their gift and take turns, so Mom and Dad got to play referee and timekeeper...bummer.

We returned to our vacation home in Carmel and these pictures are of the girls playing with their stocking stuffers on Christmas night. I learned an important lesson today: Don't let your kids play with slinkys if they are wearing magnetic earrings (see picture of girls wrapping slinkys around their heads).

A couple of weeks ago, Pearl was having her hair trimmed (after attempting to do it herself) in the local salon, when Bubbles (our hairdresser) asked her what Santa was going to bring her. Much to my surprise, she said "slippers". Then Bubbles asked her what color, and to my dismay, she replied "rainbow". Well, I had my work cut out for me, but I think I did a pretty good job, don't you?

Christmas Eve with Family

Every Christmas Eve we go to Pete's parent's home to spend Christmas Eve with the extended family. It is always a special time.

Our Backyard in Carmel

These pictures were taken on December 23, 2008 in the backyard of our vacation rental home in Carmel. When it isn't raining, the girls are having a blast running in the spacious back yard.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Friends and a Power Outage

I still find it amazing how much the internet has changed our lives and how it helps us make friends. Just yesterday, I was contacted by a fellow blogger Mom who happens to live in the lovely town we are vacationing in. Stacey invited us to meet up with her two adorable children Austin and Ryleigh at the local children's library. How could we pass up such a great opportunity?

Only moments before heading out the door of our vacation home (to meet with Stacey and family), our power went out. I called the rental agency and hoped they could fix it while we were gone. After all, we weren't going to cancel our plans just to wait around for a repairman.

As it turned out, the power situation was a lot more complicated than anticipated and required the services of an electrician after hours in the rain. It was very cold, so we made a fire to huddle around. He finally got the power reestablished (temporarily) at 7:30 PM. We were warned not to turn on too many things at once until he could return the next day and add some larger breakers.

In the mean time, we met Stacey and family at the library. I just love the opportunity to meet fellow moms who have also adopted from China. Sometimes I just cannot think of things to say, even when I have so many questions swirling around in my mind. So Stacey, forgive me if my social skills were lacking, but I found your daughter (and Austin too) totally charming. I can tell that Ryleigh is a very intelligent little girl and she seems to have a gentle spirit about her. I can hardly believe she is still three. Austin seems like a wonderful son and his interest and excitement about learning is refreshing. I truly hope we will have more opportunities to get together.

I have attached some recent photos.

Below is what it looked like in our home for 2.5 hours,

The following pictures were taken with a flash,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Carmel by the Sea

We made it! We have been relaxing and enjoying ourselves ever since our arrival Friday afternoon. Saturday was sunny, cool, and beautiful. Sunday was rainy, but we stayed home and BBQ'd a nice dinner. Later, Dad took the girls to a children's museum in Monterey to keep them from going stir crazy.

We rented a home for two weeks and it is totally awesome! Here are some pictures of the girls from our first evening here.

Following are some pictures from Saturday:

Chloe's Christmas Production

Here are the pictures from last week's performance.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keepin' It Cool

I have started to write a post at least three times in the past couple of weeks, but it seems I always get interrupted and then I just don't have the determination to continue with it. Now, I have the opportunity, but my photos are not on this computer, so I will just have to post without them and slip them in at a later date.

Christmas is very low-key for us this year (at least until now). We didn't decorate or get a tree or hang any stockings. We haven't gone Christmas shopping, although I have made a few small purchases online.

That doesn't mean we lack the Christmas spirit. In fact, we have been enjoying ourselves with activities that celebrate the season. A week ago, we took the girls to see the Christmas lights at our local zoo and it was the perfect night, cold, but not freezing. They also had a train ride and a carousel ride and the girls had friends with them to share the excitement. Monday night was Chloe's pre-school Christmas performance and she was a star (literally speaking) in the play. She was really hamming it up and curtsying between songs. I could tell she was nervous when she first got on stage because her little tongue was really getting a workout. She was licking the cardboard star tied around her head and she kept sticking her fingers in her mouth. It's a very strange habit (the licking), but she settled in quickly and eventually kept her tongue in its proper place.

We also took the girls to see the Nutcracker and they both loved that too. During the second act, Chloe couldn't sit still anymore, so she danced in place to the music, much to the entertainment of the people sitting behind us (they could still see over her head). So many people in the audience were commenting on our girls and how beautiful they were. I was a little surprised, because nearly every little girl in the audience was dressed to impress and I don't have new Christmas dresses for the girls this year. I am embarrassed to admit that my sewing addiction has been waning the past couple of months and I didn't make anything special for Christmas.

Now for the fun part! We leave today for 16 days of vacation in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea. We have rented a house and we will be getting into the Christmas spirit in a big way. Stay tuned for lots of pictures, adventures and fellowship with friends!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

School Pictures

I was so excited when Chloe's school pictures came in. She was picture perfect. We have had Pearl's pictures for a couple of weeks now, but I was waiting until I had them both to post. Last year, they were both darling and now this year, they are even better. I guess all that posing practice I have been giving them by constantly taking their picture has paid off. I didn't know I could choose the color background for Pearl, so I left it blank. I guess the photographer decided to continue the "purple" theme to match her clothes.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

I'm not sure what happened, but we didn't take any pictures on Thanksgiving even though we had relatives from out of town coming in to share in our celebration. It was a small dinner compared to previous years. We totalled 8 including the girls.

The day was nice and relaxing and maybe that was one reason we didn't break out the camera. It was just so great to not worry about anything (other than the food coming out edible). Our meal was enjoyable and the fellowship was long overdue.

I haven't been out shopping yet. I absolutely detest crowds and try to do most of my shopping on line. I hope to make a few things this year, but we'll see how time permits.

My husband finally dragged me out of the house last night to have dinner in a nice restaurant and window shop in a very nice and not-too-crowded, shopping center. We all had a great time and the girls even posed and asked me to take their pictures. They must have been going through withdrawal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Good Life

There was a time when we were almost rich. We didn't worry about the price of anything and while our tastes weren't extravagent, we could pretty much have anything we wanted. Now times are a little tougher. We sold the vacation home and we have had our main residence for sale for over a year. We are eating at home a lot more and taking less weekend trips.

And yet, spending time with our girls and just being a family have made this a wonderful year. Four and five are such wonderful ages. The girls get more fun every day.

Tonight after her bath, Chloe came down to the living room to play and snuggle with Daddy. She is wearing a cute towel that was made for her by the wife of our local chief of Police. Pearl has a matching towel. Doesn't that fire look toasty?

Yes, these are great times!