Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Water Water Everywhere!!

Water Part 1

Ethan began survival swimming classes today. I put Katie in them last summer and they were just awesome. I will be putting her in as soon as preschool is done as she goes Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and that is when the lessons are. They are 10 minutes a session and the instructor works with the child on becoming comfortable with the water and survival skills in case of emergency. Katie's first week last summer was pretty much what the teacher told us to expect; which was loads of crying and screaming but then she became comfortable and had a wonderful summer by the pool. Today, I did not know what to expect from Ethan as he is very adventurous but the teacher said that most kiddos are upset the first few times. Not Mr. E!! He loved every part of his lesson and wanted to stay for more. The children before and after him were screaming so hard that I thought the teacher's ear drum would rupture from the decibel level. She and I were so amazed and obviously thrilled! Here is a short video of our fish in training.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Water Part 2

The water that I will be discussing in this part of the post is pee pee or for you adults who do not need to do kid speak ~ urine. As you know, Katie has been resistant to potty training even though the peer pressure from her younger brother already being trained is her daily example. She has never pee pee'd in the potty; that is until tonight! We had just gotten the dynamic duo out of the bath and they were in their room standing on an area rug while I was dressing them. Katie was waiting while I dressed Ethan and she was standing there naked as a jaybird. All of the sudden, she said "Mommy, that is wet!" while she pointed to a very tiny spot on the rug. I asked her if she had pee pee'd and she told me yes. I asked her if she wanted to go on the potty and she said yes and ran to the bathroom where Marc was still cleaning up. She proceeded to do her thing and was more than thrilled about it. We had told her that we would give her two M&M's if she did it so she asked for them and we happily supplied them. Then, about 45 minutes later she went on the potty again and received another two M&M's. About 15 minutes later she went into our home office where Marc was and told him that she had to go again. He asked her if she really had to go and she said yes. Then he asked her if she had to go because she wanted the candy and she said yes so he decided not to take her. One minute later she was standing next to him in a puddle. Men!!! I explained to him that indeed it is a game in the beginning until they connect the dots in their little heads; that is why Ethan asks us to go every time we are in a new place. The novelty for them is awesome and they want to see if they have the power to get a response!

I am pretty sure that he will take her seriously next time..hehehe!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Aunt Shirley is Here!!

Katie and Ethan's Great Aunt Shirley and Great Uncle Paul are here for a visit and their main mission for this trip was to see the Dynamic Duo. As we always say, Aunt Shirley is their honorary third grandmother and she is very special to them as well as to us. She always showers them with her beautifully knit presents as well as loving attention.

They are staying a little north of us by Marc's folks so as soon as they came in from New Jersey we went up to see them for dinner. We had an awesome time and of course it all centered around the children. They charmed the table and all of the surrounding tables as well. At one point, Shirley and Paul gave the children each a dollar bill as did Grandma and Grandpa. All of the sudden a couple sitting near us asked them to come over and they wanted to give them a dollar. We were caught between the cuteness of the situation and not really wanting them to accept their money but the couple was just so enchanted by them that we felt it would be insulting if we said no. All of the sudden they each had $2.00 in their hands and somehow when we left they had a total of $10.00 between the two of them. Other people were talking to them and trying to give them the hard candy that the restaurant gives out as you leave. The cuteness factor really seemed to be lucrative today...LOL

I am ashamed to say that I did not get even one picture as we left the camera at home. This weekend we will have a barbecue here at the house so be prepared for lots of pictures.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It was a very happy birthday

Marc threw me a wonderful party!

He hired a caterer to cook and serve for us and 6 other couples throughout the evening. He did this for my birthday about 4 or 5 years ago and we had such a blast that I asked him to do it again as my birthday gift. It is such a gift to be able to not do anything while hosting a party other than spend time and create memories with friends. This really is right up Marc's alley as a gift anyhow as he entertains for a living and he is very creative. He set to work on Friday morning to create an elaborate experience from beginning to end. It started out poolside with drinks and hordouvers and then after about an hour we were led into our transformed living room which was now our dining room (we needed a large dining area. ) Marc had draped it off from the rest of the house and had decorated it beautifully; from the beautiful table cloth and linens to the chair covers and draped pillars as well as flowers, candles, and pictures of me throughout my adult life everywhere. Even though I have seen him do things like this before it always takes my breath away. We started our 4 course dinner and between the food and the conversation we had a wonderful time. After dinner we ended up on the patio again where we began to regale each other with hilarious stories about our past and then finally I had Marc bring out a game called catch phrase which is kinda like a cross between the $10,000.00 pyramid and hot potato. This game has always been a hoot to play but last night was totally over the top and we laughed and played until almost 1:00 am.

My parents kept the dynamic duo for us overnight so we could really enjoy our evening. It was the first time that they have spent the evening without us and sleeping elsewhere. They did just awesome. They love both sets of grandparents and are very comfortable with them.

We went to bed at 2 am and I still woke up at 6:40 am (the time I usually get up). I did get back to sleep for an hour and then called my folks who told me everything was great; what time are you coming?? Too funny!! I think my folks were totally worn out by the experience which was made a bit more challenging by their very excitable and very sweet dog (Precious). Taking care of the dynamic duo is not for the faint of heart. They are VERY busy; most especially Ethan. You have to keep your eye on him constantly lest he get into something that he should not. All in all though it was a wonderful experience for all four of them :)

Thank you Marc for a wonderful and unforgettable evening. Thank you Mom and Pop for taking care of the children so beautifully so that I could really enjoy my celebration!

There were only a few photos that came out so this will give you a little feel for the evening...

Marc standing to by me at the table

Part of the top of the table

Yummy birthday cake

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One down and one to go

About a week ago we took Ethan out of his pull ups and went to underwear. He is doing awesome. He has only had 2 accidents at nap time and that is because he sleeps so deeply during the day. He is even staying dry at night but for awhile we will keep him in diapers at night as we do not want to give him access to walk around the house yet as his maturity level in other areas is still a bit behind. The teachers at his preschool are so thrilled and say that he is doing great there as well.

Our little Boy amazes me. He still has many challenges to overcome and yet he is such a big guy when it comes to his personal habits. The other day I found him and Katie brushing their teeth all by themselves. He loves to try and dress himself and can do most of it with no problem including his shoes and socks. He loves to say "I do that" and he looks very proud of himself.

Katie shows no interest and it will take potty boot camp to get her where she needs to go. The first available weekend that we have "Private Katie Starr" will have to report to her potty station and give us a specimen. Katie is a complex little girl and she over thinks most everything so please send some positive vibes my way for our next potty trainer :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Have a Heart :)

The "Born In My Heart" Art Auction begins tomorrow, April 24th - April 29th (Beginning the 24th @ 9:00am PDT)

In nearly every orphanage in China, children in need of heart surgery wait to be healed. In an effort to help as many of these orphaned children as possible, Love Without Boundaries began the "Born In My Heart" art auction five years ago. This is an annual event that serves as a special tribute to the miracle of adoption, and also as a fundraiser to help provide these essential operations to children who need emergency heart surgery. You can help to save the life of a child by taking part from April 24-29. Every penny raised will help to heal precious children and give them the opportunity to grow and thrive, and perhaps even find a family of their very own. So please bid often and bid generously!

Auction items will begin to launch at 9am (Pacific) on Thursday, April 24th. Nearly 300 items will be added throughout the day, and the auction will close Tuesday, April 29th (again, with items closing throughout the course of the day). They will have some absolutely incredible items this year, all donated by LWB's fabulous supporters! Just a few of the items you won't want to miss are: "Jia: Portrait of Hope" by Leila Ashton: an original oil painting of one of our LWB heart babies, a life-size replica jade burial suit, two giclee prints of "Qi Pan" by Zhao Kailin, personalized digital lifebooks, the most beautiful collection of quilts imaginable (including several "100 Good Wishes" quilts), beautiful paintings (both originals and giclee prints), calligraphy, custom adoption videos, amazing photography, embroidery, gift baskets, jewelery, clothing, heritage items and so much more!

You will be able to access the auction from the Love Without Boundaries website homepage at: beginning April 24th.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will begin bidding on Jia: Portrait of Hope as a present to myself. You can read about this amazing little girl at:

LWB is the most amazing organization. They sponsored Ethan's life saving heart surgery and he is a healthy boy today because of their good work.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and have cared about our son and our family then please consider bidding on an item and saving a child.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With love,


Monday, April 21, 2008

Catch up Monday

I kinda feel like I am always trying to catch up so this title fits nicely. This weekend was no exception to the busy pace of our life with the dynamic duo. Marc and I have always been an "on the go" couple but these two have brought our crazy schedule up a few notches.

Friday evening was my good friend Shannon's birthday. She invited us to dinner with her extended family for a lovely celebration at a local Italian Restaurant. We had a private room that allowed all of the kiddos to get up between courses and work off a little energy. We had a wonderful time....Happy Birthday Chach!!

Saturday was a day full of errands and seeing my folks for lunch. Then, in the late afternoon we used our pool for the first time since last fall as it is finally getting warm enough to use...kinda. It actually was a bit cooler than we initially thought but the children had such great time. It was Ethan's first time in and he was so adventurous it was amazing!

Sunday was VERY busy as unfortunately a close friends father passed away and we attended his viewing. We went from there to pick up Marc's mom so that she could accompany us to a family Passover Seder which was about 75 miles south of her and she is about 40 miles north of us. We all went down and had a wonderful time with Marc's cousin and family.

Funny story from the Seder.: Part of the Seder discusses the 10 plagues brought upon Egypt. Marc's cousin Jeff did a good job at making the Seder "kid friendly" and when it came to the plagues, Jeff used props. He used rubber frogs, plastic locusts, Styrofoam hail etc. He kept throwing them to the children. After we moved on from that and were eating from our Seder plates, Katie hands me bits of Styrofoam from her mouth as she blurted out "this hail does not taste good" Bwahahahaha!!! All of us just burst out in hysterical laughter. Jeff exclaimed "Katie, you ate my hail??" Oh, we had such fun with it for the rest of the evening.
Jeff and his wife Kathy had a passover birthday cake for Katie and I that was quite delicious and of course Katie enjoyed blowing out more birthday candles and being sung to again.
After dinner when we were just hanging out and talking, Jeff and Kathy's daughter, Brittany played with the kiddos and took them into her room. They loved that; especially Katie who loves older children. Brittany is not a child (she is 15) but Katie loved being with her. They were listening to music in the room and playing with flashlights in the dark. I walked into the room and Katie is laying on the bed with her flashlight and she looks at me and says "close the door mom!" Oh my goodness; I can see what lies ahead. it was like the 3 year old thought she was 13...too funny!
We got home quite late; it was quite a day.

Today we went to get pictures taken of the DD and the first place we went to was not open and the second place was but after a very challenging photo session ( I am being kind) their computer program went on the fritz and we left empty handed. I only hope that the pics were not lost forever. The last thing we need is an encore of the production.

Stay tuned and here are some pics from the weekend into Monday.
Katie, Mia and Ryan

Singing to Aunty Shannon


Katie hugging her little bro before swimming

They adore each other and hate to be apart

Happy girl in her bathing suit

Daddy and Mr. E

Daddy and Miss Starr

Birthday girls blowing out the candles

Mouths full of food

Cookie Monster

Cousin Jeff giving rides

Cousin Brittany with Mr. E (She commented to her mom that she will wait a long time to have children as they are a lot of work..LOL tell me about it!!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Katie's 3 year Checkup

Our girl has come a long way when it comes to so many things and this includes visits to the Doctor. We got our first taste of Katie's distaste for anyone in the medical field when we adopted her in China. She was very ill and we had to take her to the International Clinic in Guangzhou. She needed to have a thorough checkup and had to be cleared to fly home. This was after receiving two nebulizer treatments. It took our guide, two nurses and myself to hold our 13 month old, 17 lb. Katie Starr down for her examination and treatment. We were all perspiring profusely after that feat. Our baby seemed to have super human strength when she was determined or afraid or both!

When we first arrived home and had to go to the doctor and then have blood work it was more of the same. We dreaded any medical visits with our sweet girl who turned into the incredible hulk at the sight of someone with medical training.

Things did gradually improve and today at her third year check up she was absolutely awesome!

I was so proud of her. We had discussed it before hand and one thing that I think has helped is that we are always honest with her as to what she should expect whether it be nothing painful all the way up to this may hurt. Today was an easy visit other than the fact that they had to remove impacted ear wax from her ears. Her pediatrician is Chinese and tells us that Chinese people have huge issues with building up ear wax and Miss Starr is no exception. I told her that this would be a little uncomfortable and she said OK and handled it without a whimper and even joked with the doctor who was telling her that Goofy must have left something in her ear and wait till she saw it...yuck!! Katie loved that..LOL

Katie's pediatrician is awesome. She is well known in this area as having many internationally adopted kiddos in her practice and her bedside manner is amazing. She actually spent about one half hour with us as I had some questions for her and she had many questions about Katie and her progress.

Katie is now 28 lbs and 36.75 inches so she is 25% percentile for weight (I should be so lucky) and 50% percentile for height so the doctor felt that she would be around 5' 5" to 5' 6" when she reaches adulthood. The doctor was thrilled with her development both physically as well as in all other areas. She was flabbergasted at her language skills as well as reasoning abilities. She actually said to us that she is advanced in all areas and that she was so happy to see how well she is doing. The doctor cracked up after she asked Katie what her first name was and Katie started rattling off her four given names as well as her brother's 4 given names as well as the rest of her families names. Then she asked me about her imagination as Katie was looking through a Dr. Seuss book that I had brought to keep her occupied. All of the sudden Katie started turning the pages of the book and making up the story based on the pictures. The Dr. and I were tickled pink.

It totally gratifies my heart that this child has come so far in her trust and her overall development. I find it so amazing that our internationally adopted children lose their mother language (in Katie's case at 13 months) and then somehow by three years of age is already ahead of the game.

I have some more pics from her party to post as well as some others taken in the last couple of days.

The Dynamic Duo during the relay race at the birthday party

squeezing her ball full of water at the relay

This is fun!!

Kim and Lori having waaay too much fun

Do you think they want to get in the bath?

Look at those eyes!

our bathing beauty

Happy girl

mmmmm...this milkshake is good!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

How much happiness can one mother take?

Today was an absolutely wonderful day for my children; all three of them and of course for their parents as well.

Today was Katie Starr's 3rd birthday. It started out really cute when Justin wished Katie a happy birthday; how old are you Katie?...and she responded "I am 3 today; mommy told me so!

It was a wonderful day spent with family and friends at a party in the park. After the party we went home with Marc's folks and after the dynamic duo's nap my folks as well as Justin's girlfriend, Judy and her family joined us at the house. We sat around and opened Katie's gifts, ate dinner and then served birthday cake. Here is where the story gets even better.....

Justin took the opportunity to have his whole family together as well as Judy's family to pop the question right after we sang to Katie!! I knew it was coming as he had asked me to accompany him almost a month ago to pick out the ring but today was not planned so it was all very exciting!! He capitalized on a wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by his loved ones. We all celebrated with cake, champagne and lots of excited conversation. Katie even yelled Cheers!! once we told her what had happened..LOL

One funny moment following the proposal was that after about 5-10 minutes of excitement after the proposal we all looked over at Katie and Ethan who were still waiting for their birthday cake. Katie looked completely dismayed as she held her cake plate in her hand...too funny!!

Here are a few pictures and I will post a few more tomorrow as I am worn out from all of the excitement :)

Ethan hanging out by the chip bowl

Having fun in the toddler bounce house (Justin got in with her as she was hesitant at first)
having a ball!
Mia and Katie doing spin art together

Relay race
wowee mom; look at all of this!
Katie's new camera (future blogger)
Newly engaged!!


Judy's folks and our future in-laws

young love

Monday, April 07, 2008

Elmo Strikes Again

Yesterday we attended Our children's friend, Jaci Lu's Birthday party. A good time was had by most as Katie's beloved Elmo was the entertainment and as we found out at her birthday party last year, she does not like her characters supersized. As soon as he made his grand entrance she flew into Daddy's arms and she was either in his or mine for most of the party.

Now you know that there will be no characters making appearances at Katie's 3rd birthday party next week!

The Birthday Girl, Jaci Lu

Ethan with his back to camera partying with the big man himself

Having a "ball"

After Elmo left all was right with the world again

Have you ever seen such a sad face ? Click on it to get the full effect

Saturday, April 05, 2008

An Evening Honoring Royalty

Disney Royalty that is...

Last evening two princesses (Katie Starr and Mia) went with their mother's; Queens Lori and Shannon to see Disney Princesses on Ice. Two Queen mothers went as well (Mia's Nana Pattie and Nana Carol). Now I am not usually much for princesses and for the whole happily ever after thing. I am of the mind that no one is responsible for my happily ever after except me but somehow I could not resist taking my only daughter (dressed as Snow White) along with her BFF Mia (dressed as Cinderella) to watch this fantasy on ice. I am glad that we went as it was a wonderful time had by all and the stuff that dreams are made of. The girls were mesmerized and so were we while we were enjoying watching them. Shannon and I could not help but get choked up as we always take time to breathe in the happiness that are our children.

This evening Marc and I took the dynamic duo to "Worldfest", a festival highlighting the cultural diversity in the area that we live in. It was a very small and actually quite lame event but we enjoyed just walking around with them in their wagon and then ending our visit with some fun on a tremendous inflatable slide. I did not have my camera with me but the kiddos had a blast and I was utterly amazed at the strength Ethan has developed. It was a steep climb up the inflatable and he did it four times. Each one was a bit slower than the last but our tenacious child did not give up and he was rewarded with a exhilarating free fall down the slide. Both of them squealed with glee and were just so adorable.

Here are some pics of our princesses and the dynamic duo in the bath this evening.