Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Snapshots

Saturday morning the kids made
Ninja-bread cookies in honor of Abigail's
green belt test the night before.

Messy but having a blast.

Abigail is showing off her chopsticks skills with
Light Saber chopsticks.

We took the kids to the Air and Space Museum for
the first time.  (Yes, I know I know.  We live so
close to DC that the kids didn't finish a 48
minute Christmas DVD in the car and we
really should make the trip more, blah blah blah,
but I really do hate DC but I would if DC
were NYC)  Anyhow, both kids LOVED
the Zero.  It was the fav plane of the day.

Joseph now stands for a pic for a microsecond
before running to see the image on the
camera screen and pointing to himself
and shrieking.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Snapshot(s)

It has been a while since I have done one of these blog entries. Enjoy the pics.

A student of mine had our family over for
an Asian feast this week.  Her mother
had gifts for the kids to keep them occupied
while we were there.  Abigail LOVES her
new Princess Castle Tent.

Joseph (and new-found love, Stuffy "Murphy") enjoyed
making Christmas decorations for an hour this afternoon.

Kids LOVE glue.

Working on Joseph's chopstick skills.  These are skills he
probably would have had if he were an almost 2 year old
living with a family in China.

Leaf raking this weekend and Joseph really enjoyed himself.

This is just the sort of situation for a Cozy Coupe

Siblings modeling their Moose Hats while we raked.

Lar and I laugh all of the time that we are
raising an old Chinese Man.  Joseph has so
many "old" habits.  Here he is, tired of
playing, he grabbed a wicker chair from the
house, dragged it to the yard, and watched
us finish the leaves while also waving
at cars driving by.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Joseph's First Halloween

Abigail wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween ever since we watched the original trilogy with her this past summer. A former AP Computer Science student of mine knitted Abigail a Yoda costume when she was a baby, so we had the perfect outfit sitting around for Joseph to complement his big sister.

They were an adorable duo, to be sure.  The evening was cool, probably low 50s or high 40s, and we started a bit late since it was also the weekend of the fall time change.  We left the house at 6:30 Old Time/ 5:30 New Time.  After about 10 houses, Abigail was tired and grouchy and begging to go home to drink hot milk and sleep (kindergarten is so exhausting for her and she has been doing 11 hours of sleep per night all fall). Since we had only done 2 cul-de-sac loops right behind our house, she was 1 house away from our home and all of the bribing and cajoling in the world could not convince her to continue on down the street in the other direction.  Larry took our exhausted Darth Vader home while I continued with Joseph, figuring that without his favorite big sister around, we'd be following them home within a house or two.  

Nope.  :)

Joseph's strength flowed from the Force that night.  Not only did he walk an extra mile (measured on the streets- not counting the distances from the street up and back down everyone's driveways), he would not let me carry him, his light saber, or his bucket!  Even as the bucket grew heavier, Joseph proved that size matters not as he grunted and lugged his bucket up hills, across yards, and up onto stoops.  On the last 3/10 of a mile, he dragged the bucket along the street, scraping along the way, but keeping it totally within his control.  Sometimes on difficult terrain, he would jam his light saber into his bucket and take my hand in his until the ground was less steep or he got a 2nd, 5th, or 11th wind.  

We never explained it to him, but he seemed to intuitively know to avoid the dark houses, lest the dark side forever dominate his destiny.  But if I would try to walk him past a lit up house, he would protest by peeling away from me, up through the yard and rap on the door with his light saber.  

One house had a fire pit on the driveway and an older couple sitting behind it.  Joseph lugged his bucket up to the fire pit, jammed his light saber into his bucket, set the bucket down on the driveway, and went up to the fire, kneeled down a little while first rubbing his hands together and then holding them out to the fire.  He repeated "hot" about forty times, charming the pants off of the couple, who were confused that Joseph rebuffed their attempts to give him candy and only wanted a warm spot to fight off some of the chill for a few minutes.

Another couple had a giant blow-up pumpkin on their yard.  All Joseph wanted to do was flirt with that pumpkin.  Forget the candy at that house!  Did you see the size of that pumpkin?!?  Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

Joseph charmed pretty much everyone he saw, often times getting double or triple doses of candy once he grinned his cute Yoda grin at them and waved and finished with his famous "blow a kiss" technique.  

But the most fun was at the end of the last cul-de-sac I was going to take him.  End of the line; we were about to turn around and head home.  Joseph lugged his bucket (grunting the whole time) up a very steep yard, greeted a 120 pound shaggy dog named Chase, and arrived at the porch where a woman of probably her mid-50s sat.  She fished in her bucket for some M&Ms, asked how old he was, and smiled as Joseph petted Chase. Then Joseph put his light saber in the bucket (your weapons, you will not need them), and the bucket on the step next to her, and walked around a bush, bending and searching, running back again, looking for something.  The lady asked what he was doing, and I replied that I thought he was looking for the source of her music, which was playing softly out of a cell phone next to her.  She held it up for Joseph just as "Thriller" started playing.  At that, Joseph gave the woman a full 5 minute dance show.  Then he danced to 2 more songs.  She *Loved* it.  We talked about how this is his first Halloween, she asked about Chinese adoption, commented that it is so exciting that we'll soon have his first birthday and first Christmas together, and said how lucky we were to be able to adopt him.  (Finally, a stranger who didn't think he was the sole lucky one!)  All told, we were there for about 15 minutes and the lady said Joseph was the highlight of her week. Then we hit Old Time 8:10/ New Time 7:10 and I decided it was time to head home. I allowed Joseph to go rap his light saber on the lady's neighbor's door.  He got a treat, and then Chase came running across the yards to see him again.  The next thing I knew (I was down on the sidewalk at the bottom of the hill), Joseph was in full sprint, bucket and all, across the top of the yards and up onto the lady's porch again as I heard a delighted, drawn-out "Joe-seph's Back!!" exclamation! 
There's candy in this bucket!
All those people gave me candy!

It took some carrying on my part (and kicking and noisy protest on Joseph's part) to get him back to the street and on our way again.  I tried to walk home on the same side of the street that we went out on, but somehow Joseph figured out that if he ran across the street in front of a car (well, as fast as a 30-inch Jedi master can run while dragging a bucket), there was a whole line of new houses he hadn't been to yet! So we hit all of those on the way back.  (On many long journeys have I gone.)

Another thing that amused me about the night was that it wasn't until we were at Chase's house that Joseph even noticed that his bucket was full of CANDY!!  He hadn't even noticed what people were giving him all evening until Chase's owner gave him "M's" as he calls them.

It was hands-down the best night I think I have ever had as a parent since the night that we took 2 year old Abigail to Palmetto Islands County Park for Christmas lights and Santa. 

A have "M's"!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Abigail Update, for her 5th Birthday

I frequently laugh at the irony that, before I had kids, I had so much free time to blog, scrap book, edit photos and make beautiful photo albums, paint, do crafts, etc.  Now that I actually have little people to be the subjects of my hobbies, I have no time to do them.  

Abigail's birthday has come and gone.  She turned 5.  In the meantime, fall came and went for our little 4-year-old and I never could find a chance to give her the update she deserves.  

Abigail kicking white belt butt!
Tae Kwon Do:
Abigail love-love-loves TKD.  When we walk through a grocery store, she practices her forms up and down the aisles.  When she is waiting for us to make her a snack or get her a drink in the kitchen, she does her 1-step-sparring moves for her shadows being made on the wall from the soft fall sun coming in the south windows.  I know she is a little kid and not perfect, but she certainly is pretty graceful and confident when she practices her moves.  I have said for years, I love watching that kid move; she is athletic and lythe and just beautiful to observe.  In July, she tested for her yellow belt and there were only 3 kids in that rank test.  Abigail and 2 older boys.  For the sparring portion of the test, the Master made Abigail spar both boys at the same time and it was adorable and awesome to watch:  she would move toward one and then to the other and back again.  Back and forth, back and forth, she had so much confidence and just blew us away.  
The boards used for older people
are in Abigail's right hand, the boards
used for little kids are in her left.
In preparing for her green stripe test 2 months later, she broke the older kid/ adult sized board with her kick.  Master even mentioned this feat at the belt test, saying that "this little girl" had broken the thick board in practice. Abigail is really enjoying the smaller, more focused and disciplined class she has been in since she graduated out of the white class.

Ah, I remember this night.
I wish they went to bed this
easily EVERY night!
Big Sister:
After Joseph was sick in July and then had surgery, Abigail has really grown into her role as the Big Sister.  She has a 6th sense about what he needs and also about what Larry and I need.  It isn't uncommon for her to notice we are at our wit's end with him hanging onto our legs screaming because we can get dinner ready fast enough or something and she expertly distracts him and plays with him.  She is amazing.  We are not making her into a pseudo-parent or babysitter for Joseph (we know people who have done that it is isn't fair to the older kids to deprive them of childhood by making them responsible for younger siblings: Abigail still needs and deserves her own attention, to be a little kid).  But it sure is nice when she gives us a 5 or 10 minute sanity break.  She also really and truly loves him.  In the morning, it is hugs all around. She recently said that Joseph will be her first boyfriend. (Interesting note, however, is that Joseph has started getting jealous of Abigail!  If we hold her in our lap he will fly into a jealous fury.)

First Day of Kindergarten
Starting Kindergarten:
Abigail is 9 weeks into kindergarten without even a mention on this blog!  After her first day, we asked how it was.  She said "Great.  We had grapes."  But when she found out that she had to go back, she was surprised in a bad way.  She thought kindergarten was a one-and-done kinda' thing.  We have a 1st day of school pic, but there is apparently a reason that there are no "2nd day of school" pics.  It breaks our hearts when she says that she doesn't like learning, which she says on some days, but we enjoy hearing her stories about the "hard but fun" math that they do.

Star Wars:
Since we watched Star Wars episodes 4, 5, and 6, with Abigail this summer, she has been into all things Star Wars and wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween.

Turning 5:
Abigail got her Darth Vader costume, a kit to make your own mummy, a wooden version of connect 4 and a yellow toy car from Lar, me, and Joseph.  Her aunts and uncles bought her several Star Wars action figures, a Star Wars wall decoration, storm trooper pjs.  All of her grandparents gave her some money, a fishing rod, and a Star Wars pillow.  She had a few friends over from school for a play-date sort of party.  Reflecting on 4, Abigail said her favorite parts were riding a horse, starting karate, and going to China.  This made me realize that it is true what I hear about kids:  they want experiences, not stuff.
Our big 5 year old!
Abigail and her bestie, making spiders
for her birthday/ Halloween.