Friday, October 31, 2008

I've Been Hiding

We have been taking pictures all week and many adorable moments have passed undocumented. I just didn't make the time to post about them. Today is Halloween and Pearl's school was having "Pajama Day", so she went to school in her pajamas. Dad and I almost didn't believe Pearl when she told us what she was supposed to wear, and Dad was poised and ready to rush her back home for a quick change of clothes in case she was the only kid in KG in her pajamas. As it turned out, I think a lot of other parents didn't believe it either because only about 20% of the kids went to class in PJs. Hey, I kind of like this. It sure makes the morning soooooo much simpler. Maybe we could have pajama day once a week :-)

Chloe's preschool sent home a note that she could wear her costume to school today. Well, if you had seen her costume (keep reading, there's a link to follow), you would understand that that wouldn't be a practical idea. So we decided to improvise. Chloe and Pearl were in dance class all last year, but missed their final performance because Mom scheduled the summer vacation a week too early......ooops! (But the prices and availability in Hawaii were so much better the first week of June). Even though we were unable to attend the recital, I was still obligated to purchase two costumes for the girls for the event. Today was the perfect opportunity for Chloe to wear her recital outfit to preschool. She was so cute this morning. I will have to post pictures later this evening (I really mean tomorrow after I recover from Halloween).

And last, but NOT least, if you are still reading at this point, I will reward you with the following link to a wonderful photographer's blog who took great pictures of Pearl and Chloe last night in their Halloween Costumes in gale force winds.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Been Tagged

I see these tagging games spreading rapidly like a bad cold. I realize there are only a tiny few of you out there even aware of Chloe and Pearl's blog, but it is the begining of cold season, so I guess even I can share in the misery fun. I must thank Elissa over at The Harrells: I'm it for sneezing this way.

STEP 1, List the Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules
2. Share 7 random or weird facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link to them
4. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

STEP 2, Seven random or weird facts (where to start)

1. Eleven years ago, this was Pete and I
Before Pete's lasik eye surgery and after I lost 92 pounds (unfortunately, I gained it all back and more) That fluffball is a grand champion English Angora rabbit, the best in the country at the time!

2. We never wanted children until I was almost 40 and Pete was 44.
I just never had the desire to increase the population on this overcrowded planet with so many issues. I always knew that if the urge ever hit me (and my husband simultaneously), then we could adopt..............and that's just what we did!

3. I'm a feet person. I've always liked feet (but NOT in a kinky way). I just think they're cute. Nowadays, I am not quite as fond of them since I occasionally get kicked in the head in my I sleep, thanks to Chloe.

4. I have an amazing gift for recalling phone numbers, but not zip codes or addresses. Now thanks to speed-dial, I no longer rely on this skill. However, I do have my credit card numbers memorized (including the code on the back) so that I can shop 'till I drop as long as there is a laptop and internet service nearby.

5. I am an engineer with a passion for residential architecture. I LOVE to design homes, especially unique ones. I don't like doors, but that is a whole story in itself.

6. Recently, I have had a strong desire to be a fabric designer.

7. I would like to break the rules and skip #7, but I am a conformist. I like to follow the rules and I like everyone else to do the same. I don't like cheaters.

STEP 3 Tag 7 people (sorry guys! Surprise me! I am betting only 3 out of 7 will actually meet the challenge-prove me wrong!)
The Choi family

With that, I am off to complete STEP 4!!

Santa Barbara Weekend

This weekend we traveled to Santa Barbara for some luxury camping at El Capitan Canyon. We stayed in a cabin with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and loft. One can also rent a "tent" with double beds, heaters and fine linens. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and exploring. Then on our way home Sunday, we stopped at the local zoo. We have been to MANY zoos, but this one is definitely the prettiest and you can get a closer look at the animals. The weather was fabulous!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY

Click on the following link to have a chance to win this AWESOME costume.

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rough Start Great Finish

Monday mornings aren't usually any worse than any other morning around here. I am careful to keep the girls in a routine and to be sure they get enough sleep. This week, one thing had changed that I had no control over.....the weather.

It was a cold morning (by local standards) and I was digging through Chloe's winter clothing drawers reacquainting myself with the selections. Chloe didn't want to get up, as is often the case, but a little bit of babying and cuddling usually works like a charm. This time, Chloe was feeling a little cranky.

I wanted to dress her especially nice today because not only did she have preschool, but there was an Open House tonight and she was "Star of the Week". I pleaded with her to wear one of the jumper dresses I made for her, but she cannot get her mind to appreciate the concept of "layers".

She cries when I try to get her to wear a blouse under the jumper. Instead, she digs down into her summer wardrobe drawer and pulls out a tank/T-shirt top with a brand name logo on it........not my idea of proper fall school attire. She fights, she cries, she resists. It takes both her father and me to wrestle on a modest long-sleeved knit dress and leggings. She is too hysterical for me to do her hair....I yell angrily at her as her father rushes her out to the car, late for daycare. She wasn't the only one in tears that morning.

A little later, I stop by the school to drop off 5 carefully selected pictures of Chloe for the Star of the Week poster board. As I check on her I notice she is sporting cute braids, compliments of her daycare provider. She is almost as happy to see me as I am to see her. She is COLD and wants to stay in the classroom while the other kids play outside, but the teacher makes her go with the other kids. I ask her where the sweater is that I packed, but it was obvious that she left it at daycare. We made up and she reluctantly admits that I was right about the weather.

When I arrive home from work, Chloe is sitting in the Time Out chair for heaving a toy refrigerator (doll house-sized) at her sister. The day seems to be continuing on it's previous path. I decided to dress Chloe up extra fancy (probably too much) for the Open House because I know she will be singing on stage for us. This time when I pull out the black velvet winter dress with the pink ribbon skirt, Chloe's face lights up in approval. I even fix her hair, curl the ends, and put in the "Princess Bow" that we reserve for special occasions. Chloe is wound up and joyfully exuberant. She keeps kissing me and squeezing my face!

For the past three years, any time Chloe has appeared on stage (6-9 times), she has succumbed to stage fright. I recall one dance recital where she turned her back to the audience, squatted on the floor, and played with a ribbon, while the other toddlers danced around her. For this evening, we had hope, but no expectations.

I don't know what happened to my shy girl, but Chloe was participating full throttle, waving her arms and hands and singing and having fun through all three songs. Her father and I were sooooooooooo proud of her efforts, especially knowing how difficult this has always been for her. Her teacher asked me about her special blanket from China and commented on the great story and how beautiful it was. This was the second time she mentioned that. She also mentioned that Chloe was coming out of her shell, totally quiet and shy last year, and quite the talker this year.

We rushed home to view the videos after the Open House ended and it was just as much fun to watch the second and third time around. Dad just couldn't get over how well his little Chloe did! Me too!

Gotta love the Koolaid smile!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Via Arte

Finally the weather has decided to cool down. In fact, it went from HOT to COLD almost overnight. We don't get a whole lot of that great in-between weather, but today will do just fine.

We had the urge to get out of our house (and get out of town), so we went to Via Arte, where sidewalk artists collaborated on a large-scale art project with chalk on black asphalt. There were a lot of great drawings and I'm sure by tomorrow, there will be a lot more. Afterward, we took the girls to Chinese food and then their favorite park.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pretty In Purple

Pretty Pearl prefers purple, particularily on portrait picture day.

Special Blanket Day

Perhaps you were unaware, but today is officially "Special Blanket Day", or at least it is in preschool in our home town. Chloe was asked to bring a special blanket to class for share day and tell the class why it is so special.

Well, Chloe LOVES her blankets ("gankets" she still calls them). She has the green baby blanket(there's two of these, in case one gets dirty) that I bought while dreaming of her referral. She has the TWO blankets (one lavender and one green) that her grandmother knitted for her. She has the yellow knitted heart blanket that a dear co-worker made for her and gave to me as a shower gift. She has several soft fleece blankets that friends and family have made for her. She has quilts that I purchased from adoption-related auctions. And even though she was abundant with blankets, I recently purchased a personalized "taggie" blanket because she is alway fondling tags. She even asks me to put tags in the clothes that I make for her, right in front where she can get to them easier. Yes, she loves her blankets very much!

So, how were we to choose, between so many special blankets, which one to bring to share day? Suddenly, I remembered that there was one more blanket, so special that I hadn't even shown it to her yet. I am not sure what I was saving this blanket for but it just seemed that she already had so many, she didn't need another. Last night, I reached into her special "keepsake" China drawer (the one with her orphanage clothes and a gift from the staff) and removed a beautiful satin/silk blanket from China. We purchased two (one for Pearl) of them when we were in China adopting Chloe.

Chloe's face beamed a brilliant glow when she first laid eyes on her blanket from China. She was over-the-moon. She joyfully threw it on the floor and rolled around in it like a little puppy. It was so cute! She then proceeded to drag it throughout the house for the rest of the evening (good thing the floors were recently cleaned)and then she insisted on sleeping with it. During the night, it had fallen onto the floor and when she woke up this morning, she looked distressed and asked for her blanket.

Here are some pictures of Chloe and her blanket (red on one side and green on the other). I wish I could have been there in class to watch her share it. Too bad the best poses came out blurry.

Monday, October 06, 2008

What I Come Home To

Today wasn't the best day at the office. It started off great. I was well-rested, enthusiastic, and feeling satisfied from a weekend of family time and sewing. I have been putting off a project whose deadline is rapidly approaching and it was time to get down to business. First, I needed to review and study my file that had all of my reference materials, contracts, estimates and correspondence documents.

I looked for it in my file drawers...........all of them............six times each. Each time I looked again, I thought it would somehow magically appear. I hadn't lost a file in 14 years. How was this possible? I had just cleaned out a bunch of files a couple of weeks ago. Did I throw it out? That would be unthinkable.

I came home for lunch, visably depressed. I had imagined telling my boss or the grant administrators my misfortune and it wasn't good. Now it was time to enlist help. I asked around. The file must be SOMEWHERE! How did it just walk away?

One more hour of frantic searching and then I decided to go door to door in the office. The first door I knocked on was our Finance Director. I mentioned my desperate situation and described to her my missing file. Pointing, I said, "It's kelly green and it looks just like that file you have sitting on that chair over there." She said, "Go ahead and look!" I did, and sure enough, it was MY FILE!!! I don't remember how it came in to her possession, but it wouldn't serve me to get upset now. I gratefully clutched my file in my arms and nearly cried on the way back to my office.

Another day mostly wasted. But now, I am ready to go and tomorrow is another opportunity!

Here is what was waiting for me in the driveway when I came home from work. It puts it all in perspective.

Two girls looking for roly polys in the dirt.

Dad put out the Halloween decorations.

Sharing Discoveries

What's that on your tire? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwee!!!!!Cute!

A Work In Progress

That must be the theme of my life. Almost everything in it is a work in progress. I guess that's how it should be.

Forgive the crazy blog appearance, but I just like to play around with things enough to mess them up. I procrastinate too much to actually enlist a "professional" to help me out. Of course, I don't have enough time to do it all myself. I just hate to turn anything "creative" over to someone else.

Another work in progress is Pearl's costume for Halloween. I'm gonna give you a sneak peak, even though it isn't finished. She wants to be Little Red Riding Hood, so I made her this really cute outfit and then I hope to make a really cute red hood to go with it (if I don't win the one from Grosgrain in the previous post). The corset will have ribbon lacing (not shown in picture) in the front when I am done, but I didn't like the ribbon I had at home, so I will be purchasing some more.

So what does Chloe want to be for Halloween? Well, I don't know exactly how she came up with it, I might have even mentioned it myself (not knowing it really even existed), but she says she wants to be a "Spanish Princess". Time to do a little studying of history. I looked up some images on the net and actually found some cute historical costumes that I might be able to replicate on a child-sized level. I have no idea how to make that traditional headpiece. Anyone out there have any ideas for me? For the dress, I am thinking gold fabric with lots of lace and a beautiful fan.

What happened to the days when they just wanted to be a ladybug and a bumblebee?

UPDATE: I finally figured out how to put my blog in order! Yay!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Giveaway at Grosgrain

Red Riding Hood Jacket GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Grosgrain is having one of their many giveaways and the only way I can enter for the item is to link back to my blog, so here it is. If you would like to enter too, just click on the link above and take a look.

This one is perfect for Halloween, a Red Riding Hood jacket. I thought it was an amazing coincidence as Pearl wants to be Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween this year. I will be making most of the costume, but I really would prefer to win the hood and save myself a little work! If not, I saw another hooded cape on Etsy for $22, but this one is nicer.

Three Playgrounds, a Zoo and a BBQ

We spent the entire weekend in Seattle. It was mostly warm and sunny. We arrived Saturday morning at 9:30 AM, picked up our rental van, checked into our hotel, and called our friends Sharyn and Paul. We had a few moments to rest and then went off to Bellevue to join them and their relatives for Dim Sum. It was a great start to a great weekend. After lunch we went to Playground #1 and met up with several other families. We read the weather report and dressed our girls accordingly. It turned out to be a lot warmer than predicted and our girls were overdressed.

After the first playdate, it was time for the whole group to head off for dinner at Tutta Bella's Pizza. We put all the kids at one table and all the adults at the other. It was more great fun.

We were too tired to join the after-dinner party at the hotel, so we just went to our room and hit the sack at 8 PM. We had been up since 4 AM and we had a full day ahead of us.

Sunday morning we all met up at Playground #2. Even more families showed up this time and the kids had a blast. Parents brought blankets, chairs and snacks. After a couple of hours of playtime, we walked over to the zoo. We started off on the carousel ride and then it became increasingly difficult to stay together as a group, so we drifted apart into smaller groups. At this point, Chris (our former exchange daughter) met up with us. She had just started college at the University of Washington the week before. It was so good to see her again. The girls hung all over her and eagerly received their gifts of the school mascot, Huskeys. It was such a short visit, only two or three hours. Chris is clearly independent and ready to be on her own.

Later that evening, a few families gathered at the adjacent homes of two of the families for a BBQ. The weather turned cold, but the company was warm and the kids were still full of energy. In fact, when it was time to go, Chloe had her first and only meltdown. She was just too tired and had too much fun.

We stayed over an extra day so that we could attend all the activities. After checking out of our hotel, we went back into town and found playground #3. This one was really cute and shaded. We took lots of pictures.

Dad was really anxious to find a nice restaurant by the water, so we drove around and stumbled across this place, and they seated us at the best table in the house with full views of the harbor on all sides. After that, we returned to the airport and arrived at home by 10PM that night.

Sweet Pea Slide Show

Here are a few of the pictures of the activities this weekend from Saturday and Sunday. The group photo is one of the wacky ones where most of the kids were acting up or unhappy. I will post my best group photo in a later post.

FOLLOW THE LEADER This mini-slide show is one of the fathers playing "Follow the Leader" with his daughter Joy and our Chloe and Pearl. I thought it was too cute! Too bad, I didn't get closer shots.