Sunday, November 23, 2008

So much to little time

So far our trip to the Garden State has been a whirlwind of social activity with literally no end in sight. Yesterday morning we attended Marc's cousin, Rachel's Bat Mitzvah. Rachel is the third of four children that are spaced exactly two years apart, so every other year we have been up here for a special family event. We have one more to go which is Pierce, their caboose :) We also got to see Marc's brother Barry, Wife, Robin and our nephew, Joshua. We do not get to see them a great deal so this was a treat.

We're ready to party Mom and Dad!

Dancing with my lil guy

Marc's bro and family

Marc's cousin Nina telling Katie a story

more story fun

OK, now we are getting into our story in a big way!!

Ethan and cousin Josh

Our little Red Riding Hood

Getting three cousins to look at the camera at the same time is virtually impossible!

Our Starr is dancing

Katie enjoying her dessert (ice cream in a cone cup) a bit too much

We had a wonderful time at the party and then we went on to the family's home for the after party. All of the kids in the family are just so amazing with the DD and they had lots of other kiddos back to the house, so our children were in Heaven as they ran around the house playing and just having a ball with their cousins. The kids must have been up and down the stairs about a hundred times and I am not embellishing that number. It is no wonder our children do not have any weight issues. At the end of the evening, Katie was sitting on the landing of the stairs with a nine year old by the name of Devon. We were all sitting around and then we hear her say to her new friend..."Let's get married!" You have never seen so many surprised adults turn their heads at once and ask whether they had heard what they thought that they had heard. Devon's Dad jokingly responded that we would have to offer up our financials for our daughter to marry their son and of course I responded, "I am in the Real Estate Business, so there are no financials!" ROFL!

Cousin's and friends

Here is the groom to be Devon being told what to do by his future wife (smirk)

Before the evening ended there was a minor mishap with our rental car where it was sideswiped in the driveway. The car was badly damaged but thankfully no one was hurt which is the ONLY thing that matters.

We got home VERY late and the DD were utterly exhausted. They had caught a nap in the car between the affair and the after party but then there had been several additional hours of non stop partying to induce their "coma like" sleep.

The next morning dawned much too quickly and we were off again. This time to share brunch with Marc's cousins and then to try to resolve our auto accident issue. That became a little complicated so we decided that it would have to wait for later as we had plans to go see Marc's Aunt Shirley. All of "Stress is the New Black's" regular readers know Aunt Shirley but for any new readers to my blog, I will fill you in by saying that she is the DD's honorary grandmother. She is Marc's father's sister and she adores our children. She knits for them, sends them presents, shows off their pictures to anyone and every one that will look at them and she comes to Florida to visit them. She follows this blog religiously as does her daughter Mindy and her friends as well, some of which I met today.

First I got to meet her friend Wei. Wei is from China and Shirley befriended her about 18 years ago just before she had her first child, a beautiful girl by the name of Po Ling. Fifteen months later she had a wonderful son by the name of Keven. I was able to meet all three of them today at Shirley's. What a treat!! They have forged an amazing friendship with Shirley and her husband Paul that began all of those years ago when they frequented her restaurant and they helped her with her children while Wei built her business. Wei feels very close to them and asked them to go with her to China about 6 weeks ago for a 10 day vacation that was precipitated by Wei's 20 year college reunion in Fujian Province. It was a first class vacation all the way and she took care of it all! It was a dream come true for them and the trip of a lifetime. They filled us in a bit on their adventures while we were there. When I mentioned earlier that Aunt Shirley shows the DD's pictures to anyone and everyone, I must mentioned that she also showed them to everyone that she met in China. That made me laugh. I am sure that the people in China see many Chinese Children every day; they are probably not too interested in ours..hehe!

It was very special for Wei and her children to meet our children. They fell in love with them and marveled at how much stamina that we need to keep up with them. I am sure once we all left their was a collective sigh of relief as the tornado's were gone. The DD had scaled their steps another 100 times and the teens as well as Mindy were nice enough to try to entertain them while we talked.

Then, Shirley's friend Rose arrived and as she walked in she yelled out. "Oh my goodness, you are even more beautiful in person!" I was taken aback by Rose's kindness and then she went on the talk about her love of my blog, writing and the DD's antics. She graced me with words of praise about our parenting abilities and how much she respects how we are raising our children. I was very touched to say the least by her kind words as well as the kind words of Wei and her family. It also tickled my funny bone that everyone who came in called them the DD just like we do!

We left their home after a scrumptious lunch spent around the kitchen table in their warm kitchen that was made even warmer by the friendship that was felt between all of us. We were very thankful for all of the kindness that they showered upon us today.

Po Ling with Aunt Shirley

Around the kitchen table

Katie telling Wei all about something!

Somehow we all ended up on the stairs...huh?

Aunt Shirley with her honorary grandchildren

As a last hilarious moment to cap off the day, we were all in the front foyer getting our coats on and Katie started jumping up and down with excitement about something she was happy about. The next thing you know her skirt slipped off of those thin hips that I posted about this past week and landed around her ankles. We all fell out in hysterics!! Take a look ;0)


As soon as we put the kiddos in the car they fell asleep and we returned our damaged rental car for a new one. This new one was not as nice as the damaged one but at this point we were just happy to get in and get out. Now we were off to see one of the families that we met online during our wait to adopt our Starr. JoAnn and I are part of two national DTC groups of families from all around the world that were waiting at the same time. We know each other from April 05 (April Pandas) group and the May 05 (Mei Dreamers) group. I was a member of both and actually run the May group because even though our dossier went to China in April 05 it was not logged in to the CCAA until May 05. There is nothing like waiting for your children together that fosters life long bonds with people. I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few of them; some even on the Great Wall of China which Marc teases me about to this day.

JoAnn, her hubby Kurt and her adorable daughter Kelsey met us at Chucky Cheese so the kiddos could play and the parents could talk. We had a wonderful time meeting this great family. JoAnn was just as I thought she would be; warm, friendly, smart and fun and her husband was such a nice man. Their daughter personifies the word "adorable" and she is such a sweet child. Kelsey was nice enough to bring a "Welcome to NJ" welcome gift bag full of coloring books, crayons and books...lovely! After a couple of hours of fun we took our exhausted children home for a bath to wash the kajillion or so real and imagined Chucky Cheese germs off of them and put them to bed. As I type this they are still gabbing away excitedly.

At Chucky Cheese, Marc and Ethan were posing for the camera

there they are!

Katie playing air hockey

with sweet Kelsey

and the mischief man

Let's play this game

and this one...

and ride this one

and look we can ride with Barney!

Daddy getting into the act!

here we are on a virtual kiddy rollercoaster

Here is my friend JoAnn and her precious Kelsey

Love that look Marky Marc!

Kelsey and Katie Starr pretending to be Mermaids

Today was supposed to be another whirlwind day but since our plans are not written in stone, I decided to make it a free day and see where the wind takes us before we head off on Tuesday for our drive down to Virgina to see my sister.

Goodbye from New Jersey and I will post again soon....


Tammie said...

Holy cow! After seeing the car, I'm happy to know that you guys weren't hurt!

Steps are an oddity to our children. Face it, where we live, 3 steps is the norm. And now you let them lose in homes up North with tons of steps. You're lucky the DD didn't make you & Marc run up & down them.

Love reading about your vacation! Enjoy the free time & try to rest up. I know that you & your sister are gonna be gabbing the whole time you're together. I'm thinking you're not going to get much sleep.

Kelley said...

WOW! You're going to need a vacation from your vacation! Looks like the kids are having all kinds of fun...I love that first picture of them all dressed up. GORGEOUS!!

Gail said...

Love the pictures, you're having a whirlwind of a vacation. Y'all look like you're having an amazing time! Aunt Shirley is so sweet. :)

Teresa said...

I can't believe you even had time to blog! Wow, I am impressed!

Only those with children can tolerate, uh appreciate Chuck E Cheeses. The first time I ever went, we didn't have children and I left with such a migrane that I told Rick that we're going to tell our children that Chuck E died. Now we go with our children. Sigh.

I LOVED the story of Katie and Devon. Had me laughing out loud.

Keep on a-bloggin!

Teresa said...

And I'm glad everyone is safe! Owie!

Vivian M said...

I am exhausted just reading this! Glad no one was hurt but the car, how scary!
It looks like your kids have a love affair with stairs. You can now come visit me, we have lots of those!
Being with family is so important, I am glad you are spending quality time with all the important people in your life.
Have fun on your free day!

Carol and Taylor said...

Good lord, so glad you're all safe and sound. On a happier note, though...What is it about little boys in their dress up suits that just make me smile? And as per usual, your Starr continues to shine her beautiful light.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and safe journeys home.

JoAnn in NJ said...

I am SO HAPPY to finally get to meet you, Marc and the DD! We had the best time and Kurt really enjoyed talking to both of you as well!

I wish you lived closer! The DD are just as adorable in person as they are on the blog. Loved their party outfits!

We had the best time!

Candy said...

Your days are packed with excitement. I think you're going to all need a vacation after your vacation.