Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: The Santa Train

Right after Thanksgiving, Larry read about the VRE's Santa Train:  12 commuter trains leaving different stations at different times to give kids a 1 hour ride on a train with Santa.  Last year, the tickets sold out in 12 minutes on-line.  This year, in a real "teacher of the year" moment, Larry stopped teaching his class on a Monday morning at 8:58 to be ready when the tickets went on sale.  He snagged 3 tickets to the 8:30 AM Santa Train before tickets sold out to the whole event at 9:04!!

It was hard to tell if Larry or Abigail was more excited, but it was a very fun event.  I hope we can do it next year.  (Also, if any kid tells my precious daughter that there is no Santa before she turns 6, I will find and neuter that kid.  Seriously.)
The many faces of Abigail as she sees Santa coming down the aisle of the Santa Train!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Is this a good tree?

Abigail was being silly.  She picked out this tree for us to cut down at the
Christmas Tree farm to take home for our tree this year.  She finds herself to
be hilarious.  Larry and I can't disagree.  She cracks us up!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Abigail is thankful for her Grandma Judy.  They have
a constant 24/7 love-fest whenever they are together.

Abigail is thankful for her Yinski, who loves
to play with her, take her outside, call her
"My Little Buddy" and she is thankful
that his "boo boo" is getting better.
Abigail is thankful for parades.

Abigail is thankful that her grandparents
allow her to eat ketchup sandwiches on
the floor while watching TV.
Abigail is thankful for being at the "farm"
and for sleeping with balloons after an
exciting Thanksgiving day!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Trick or Treat!

No, not "wordless" Wednesday.  I can't do it.  I just have to say that Abigail went trick-or-treating with 2.5 year old P.  At every door, the 4 parents prompted the kids "What do you say?" to try to get either Abigail or P to say "Trick or Treat."  But 364 days per year, that four-word prompt has trained our kiddos to reply "Thank you!"  Love it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday

Last year, on Abigail's birthday, Northern Virginia had an unseasonal snow and ice storm.  It was a Saturday and we were going to take her to a town Halloween parade for her walk in and get candy from the main street shops.  Today we are waiting out the far reaches of Hurricane Sandy's arms, hoping we get to keep our power on.  Abigail is happy to get to wear her footsie pajamas all day; this is something she has always wanted to do.  

This weekend her aunts and uncles and my parents showered her with attention (and a few presents).  She received a Spiderman action figure, a wooden tool box set, a Spiderman Hippity Hop, and many books.  Watching her play with her new Spiderman action figure, my brother commented that this is how you raise a little girl to be nerdy and good at math.  Lar and I, of course, don't mind, since we are both math teachers!  And we would rather she play with these sorts of things she received than get "how to be a princess" kits.  We don't push her in either direction, but we love that she is who she is and that is NOT a princess!

Today she has been eye-balling the 3 wrapped gifts on my desk that she knows are for her, asking for each one after she felt enough time had passed.  We gave her a wooden train set that she played with for a large part of the morning, placing her horses on the track and creating table-top excitement.  After she gets up from nap, she'll open her Spiderman pajamas/Halloween costume; I am curious if the footsie pajamas will actually last all day!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Patch and Animal Farm- Sunday Snapshots

Abigail was far more excited about petting and feeding the animals than she was about the pumpkins, but she did enjoy picking out a small one to take home.  

Her favorite part of the day, she said, was seeing Spiderman.  (On the "haunted" hayride, there were large displays of various monsters as well as super heros and comic book characters.  Spidey happened to be one of the last displays hanging from a tree.)

She also got a pony ride, if you can call it that, because it was only ONE time around a tiny circle and took about 40 seconds (for $3.50- meaning that horse could be making $315/hour!).  

This donkey was not actually eating her hand.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Christmas Gift?

Hi Readers, Friends, Family
Please consider buying a calendar from Henan Kids International.
It is a nonprofit organization, mostly of parents and family of kids adopted from Henan Province.
Abigail is from Henan.
Every fall there is a calendar fundraiser that raises a few thousand bucks and sends it to an orphanage in Henan for big projects like cribs, heaters, washing machines or something to make the lives of the waiting kids better.
What is really cool is that you will have a calendar full of pics of adopted kids smiling at you all year long!

Here is the link:
You can buy on the right side of that webpage.

Thanks for buying!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Reflections of a Great Weekend

Tree Climbing All By Herself

Fall Cookout with Yinski
Getting ready to roast a Marshmellow

Stealing M&Ms from Grandma while making Brownies

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: My Kiddo LOVES Horses

After her pony ride, the man tried to get her off and she said "I am not done yet."  So he gave
her another trip around the loop.  She said "thank you."

Fearless around animals, she put this goat into a headlock to try to get him to eat from her hand
and she reached through all of the bars to pet the horses in the pens too.

Abigail just loved the horses, even after her pony ride time was over she just wanted
to be with them.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Still Getting Caught Up on the Fun Stuff... blogging, writing in Abigail's journal, working on Shutterfly books, and spending time with my favorite photo editor site.  Right now I have one kiddo who is napping and one husband who is baking bread (that isn't a euphemism for anything) so I am going to squeeze as much out of this hour as humanly possible!

Near the end of July, Abigail started to babble in some mixed English/ toddler language and for the first time in a long time we didn't always understand what she was saying.  We didn't know if it was the impending move to Virginia or if (as many of our more experienced parent friends had told us) she was about to have another breakthrough in her language development.  As it turned out, it was the latter; her nonsensical babbling segued into more developed sentences and advanced ideas.  Suddenly 12-15 word sentences full of feelings, ideas, empathy, and curiosity about the world started pouring out of her mouth.  For example

  • She noticed a Band-Aid on my thumb and I told her that I wasn't being careful and had cut myself with a knife.  She patted my back and said "Mama I am sorry you cut yourself with a knife by accident." (12 words)
  • I was tucking her into bed one evening and she was thinking about animals. She said "Do Lion Kings live so far away you have to ride an airplane to get there?" (16 words, and Lion Kings are just lions)
  • We have also been hearing a lot of "Mama/ Baba, I have a great idea...." and "Mama/ Baba, can I ask you a question..." and "Mama/ Baba, I want to say something important..."  although all 3 of these have been followed up with a giant "roar!!" when she realized she, in fact, didn't have an idea or question.
There are other new things for Abigail since we have moved.  She has watched her first full-length movie without interruptions or breaking it into parts.  The movie was Shrek and on a particularly hot day we did let her watch it two times through without feeling too guilty.  She would watch it every day if we allowed her.  
Abigail also has become pretty adept with chopsticks.  We taught her how to eat raisins first and she was pretty proud of herself.  
Abigail showing off her raising eating skills with her chopsticks

For a few weeks, Abigail decided that she did not like going to school.  I don't know if she simply preferred to lie on the couch and watch Shrek while Lar and I worked on the house, or if she just really wanted to keep us in her sight because she was still freaked out from the move.  At any rate, after having my crying child pulled from my leg by a daycare teacher while she screamed bloody murder "I WANT MY MAMA", I went to the library for books on separation anxiety in tots.  We hit on Llama Llama Misses Mama and it was a winner.  We read it 5-6 times the first afternoon and she loved it and really related to the story.  The next day before school we read it a few more times and when I dropped her off I said "What does Mama always do?"  and she said "Mama always COMES BACK!!" and that was pretty much it.  We repeat that mantra every morning, but she is okay with getting dropped off.  I love when I pick her up and she yells "Mama!  You came back!"  Now we just need suggestions for a book to help her with her new sleeping anxiety because sleeping in our bed can't be the best solution.  (Leave a comment if you have a good book to recommend!)
Abigail making use of my pillows.

Then there is the little obsession Abigail has with horses.  It has been growing steadily all summer.  My parents' farm is next to a man who boards horses and has his own Belgian draft horse, Dutchess.  The man is a wonderful guy who lets Abigail feed Dutchess all the apples and carrots she wants and sometimes she gets to ride her.  (One day she had a snack bag of apple sticks that she refused to eat because "they are for Dutchess.")  Sometimes Abigail will be sad and we'll ask why, thinking she is worried about global poverty or something, only to hear "I miss my Dutchess".  When we see horses in fields driving around NoVA (which is common), she screams with happiness.  There were 6 or 8 toy horses at Michaels and we told her she could have one; she selected the Belgian draft horse.  
Abigail on 'her' horse, Dutchess

One last story that I love, so stick with me.  One morning, Abigail woke up at 5:something o'clock so Larry took her downstairs and gave her some hot milk (she lives for hot milk- even on 100 degree days, but we have to limit her to 35 oz per day so she will eat other types of calories because it is crack to her).  A little while later I hung out with Monster so Lar could go back to bed (it was still before 7 in the morning).  She and I had this conversation:
  • A:  "Can I have some hot milk?"
  • me: "Did you already have some with Baba?"
  • A:  "Yes."  (and snuggles up against me for a minute)
  • A:  "Mama?  Can I please have some hot milk pleeeeease?"
  • me:  "Not if you already had some.  Thank you for telling me the truth, but I will only give you cold milk now."
  • A:  "But I want hot milk."
  • me:  "I am very sorry.  I will give you cold milk."  (She sighs heavily and throws herself back into the couch against me.  A few minutes pass and she is very quiet.)
  • A:  "Mama?  Can I have cold milk, please?"
  • me:  "Yes.  Let's go into the kitchen."  (We went into the kitchen, she sits on a stool, and I pour a cup of cold milk and give it to her.)
  • A:  "Thank you."  She takes the cold milk, waits a beat, and slides the cup back across the table to me saying "Can you please put this in the microwave for me, please?" 
I was SO proud of her problem solving skills and creativity in that exchange!!  Imagine what she will be like at 12 or 16 if she is like this at 2!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Polka Dot Dress, 32 Years Apart

I found this dress in the attic when I was visiting my parents last weekend.  
Abigail obliged in exchange for 2 fun-sized candy bars.

I was 2 and Abigail is 2 and 3/4.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting Caught Up with Life

It has been a month since my last post and almost a month since we moved from Mt. Pleasant, SC to Stafford, VA.  So this will be an update post with mostly pictures, but not a lot of content.  I will try to post some content within the next week (although I am a teacher and this is the beginning of the school year so I might be overreaching a little bit!).
Abigail and Mary on the day before we moved.  The truck was being loaded behind them.

Abigail's last night in her first house.

Before her first night in her new house, Abigail decorated her room with
some of her favorite characters.

Some of you may have seen a similar pic to this one last year, but
Larry launched her about 12 feet higher.  She still keeps her little arms so straight!!

Abigail was dancing at the Farm (my parents' house) one cool evening in August!!
Abigail next to Mt. Zucchini in our new kitchen.

This is Dutchess, Version 42, in the form of a seahorse
during Abigail's first swim in our pool.
Unwittingly, Abigail performed two-thirds of "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" while getting a ride on
her Yinski's shoulders!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last Week In Charleston: 2 Days to Go

Sorry, but I have no pictures today.
This morning, I took Abigail back to the aquarium to A) get her out of the house, B) get me out of the house, and C) give Larry some time to pack without interruptions.
It wasn't as awesome as Sunday because there were more people (and day camp groups) there, but Abigail did get to pet a baby alligator and 2 snakes.

When we returned home, our family friend Betty was there helping to pack the kitchen.  Abigail was delighted to have her friend Betty there.  She thought that Betty would be moving to Virginia with us.   It reminds me that I am saddest for Abigail than I am for myself to be leaving a place I have lived almost 12 years.

Betty left around 3:30 (after a futile attempt to get Abigail to nap with her) and I went shopping at the Asian food store for Abigail's favorite snacks.  She fell asleep in the car and everyone thought that the sleeping toddler I was lugging around on my shoulder was dear and precious, though no one helped me with my basket!

Finally, we ended the day with a wonderful dinner with our neighbors this evening, eating Lowcountry Boil and tomato pie (Caroline's is to DIE for-- and considering the 12 pounds of cheese in it, you probably will die from eating too much of it!!).   The kids all played together,  while the adults made easy conversation one last time.  I am so sad to be leaving this street, this neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Last Week In Charleston: 3 Days to Go


Today we returned to the beach, this time with family friends. 

This is Abigail sweetly holding hands with Julie

Julie's mom, whom Abigail calls "Shugga' Momma", helped
Abigail play with sea snails, take "Giant Steps" and laugh a LOT!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Last Week In Charleston: 4 Days to Go

Today the packing began on the difficult rooms:  the garage and the bathrooms.
Thank goodness we had Abigail's help for this task!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Last Week in Charleston: 5 Days to Go


This morning I took Abigail to the aquarium as soon as it was open.  (I told her I was taking her somewhere that was a surprise and I gave her 2 hints:  I showed Abigail her Dori toy and her Nemo toy.  She thought about it and said "We're going to the AQUARIUM!!"  I love how she thinks through things.)  

Anyhow, on a Sunday morning, the aquarium is pretty empty for the first hour or so.  For the first time in a while, Abigail was brave and bold and she wasn't shy.  She proudly showed her membership pass at the front, held our tickets and then presented them at the upper entrance, volunteered to pose and smile for the souvenir photo, and didn't want to be carried the whole time.  She smiled and talked to people, went into the lemur exhibit, and spent a lot of time with "her" alligator.  

After about 75 minutes she said "Too many people here.  I want to go home now."  On the way out, she wanted to touch a frog statue that has terrified her in the past and then we played on the Riverwalk before going back to the car.  In the empty parking garage, she discovered the echo effect and had fun yelling and giggling at her sounds.  It was a great morning and I was thrilled at how easily Abigail played and explored the aquarium and came of her shell for awhile.

(A few months ago I never would have though Abigail would be in a "shell"!)

Last Week In Charleston: 6 Days to Go

We took Abigail to the Melton Peter Demetre Park on James Island.  We went at lowest tide, which was a mistake because in Abigail's words "This beach is pee-yoo."  It is much better to arrive just after high tide when the water is going back out, leaving all of the cool shells, but before the smells begin!  

At least I snapped a cute pic with the Cooper River Bridge in the background before we went home.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Virginia Visit, Pool Time, and Doggie Doors

While we took care of some business in Virginia (like putting a contract on our new house :) !!), we stayed at Aunt Steph and Uncle Jim's house for 3 days this past week.  Unfortunately, neither of them could be there (having fun in Italy, Jim?).  

But that didn't stop Abigail from enjoying their pool.

Or from enjoying the ease of use and freedom provided by Huxley's doggie door.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My 100th Post: Life on 'The Farm'

A 100th blog post needs to be special, like a 100th episode in a TV show or something, right?

Well, it has been a special week.  We have spent it on "The Farm" where my parents live after surprising my Dad on Father's Day.  

The most unusual thing about the week was that Abigail suddenly fell in love with her Unicorn Hobby Horse the morning we left home.  It isn't very cuddly, but she wants to be with it all the time, including in bed.  She is so peculiar with what she likes and when she likes it.

Abigail enjoys picking blue berries almost every day at The Farm.  She is actually a very good helper because she holds the bucket for people and only picks the blue ones.  

A trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo was exciting, but very hot.  Abigail loved the animals but she was not interested in walking, which made for a long and hot morning.  

In the evenings, Abigail has enjoyed playing with "sparklers" with Gramma.  

One evening, Abigail was pretty worried at bedtime.  After asking her a few questions, I discovered that the one thing she was worried about was that she missed her old teacher Ms. Sharon and she also was worried that she would never get gum again (since Ms. Sharon gave her gum behind our backs to keep her from napping 2 hours per day!)  So Abigail got her first pack of approved gum to chew in the car!

Other fun activities this week have included riding a Belgian draft horse at the neighbor's horse farm, making an outdoor camp fire with Yinski and helping him select the right sticks for the project, and swimming in the pool.

Abigail is never going to want to go home!!