Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Falloween!

No, that's not a typo. That's how Casey says, "Happy Halloween!" (Falloween rhymes with Halloween in this scenario.)

This year we went trick-or-treating for real. For over an hour! It was a blast. I had class, but I booked out of there as soon as it ended at 6:45pm and was home around 7:15pm, as Jason pulled the last little ladybug bootie on Marcie's foot.

Jason's parents generously offered to come hand out candy at our house so we could both take the kids trick-or-treating. Jason's sister Tiffany came with us, and we brought along her dog Barley, too. We started by going a little up the hill from our house-- we live almost at the top, so we don't get many trick-or-treaters. If you go to the bottom of our hill, there is a long stretch of neighborhood that is relatively flat, and it's like a mall on Halloween. It's crazy! I can't imagine how much candy those houses go through. But because we live in an area that is only lightly travelled, the kiddos scored full sized candy bars! This is especially a treat for me and Jason because Marcie is too young for candy bars and Casey is so picky, he really only eats MnMs and Tootsie Rolls! My parents sent the kids Halloween cards and glow necklaces ("How cool!" according to Casey.), which we used while traversing the neighborhood.

Anyway, we stayed on our block, then went down a long, windy hill to our friends' house. They recently remodeled the interior (it's beautiful) and we hadn't seen it yet. So it was fun to poke around. And Casey was an amazingly well-mannered Buzz Lightyear. When the door opened, he called out "Trick or treat." And once he got the candy he said, "Thank you so much" or "Thank you very much." Never just thanks. It was so grown-up and so cute. Then, he'd call out "Happy Falloween!" as we left. Every once in a while, when he got something he liked, he'd say, "Look at that, Mommy." It was very cute. When we got home, he asked to tear into the Cars candy he got-- fruit snacks in the shape of the Cars movie characters. He took two bites out of the Chick piece, and he hated it. But he was so polite about it! He said, "I want spit out, Mommy," with this look of terror on his face. Of course we let him spit it out--we were just delighted he was willing to try something new!

I still haven't found my camera, but I promise to update this post when I get the photos Jason's dad snapped for us. I'm so grateful they came over to help out-- it really was a treat to take the kiddos trick-or-treating together.

The rest of the night was less stellar, unfortunately. Both kids have a cold. Marcie was up basically every two hours. The first time she was wet and the other two times she was hungry. The last time, she would fall asleep on my chest, but when I'd lay her in her crib, she'd wake right up and begin shrieking. Some time around 4:30am, my angel-of-a-husband rolled over (as Marcie's shrieking began after I put her in bed) and said, "I'll get her." It was awesome. For me. It was pretty sucky for him.

This morning, Marcie has experienced two total diaper blow-outs. Both kids have whined more in the am hours than in the past month, and I'm running on a low gas tank from sleeping in 1 1/2 to 2 hour intervals. We'll sleep them with their humidifiers tonight. Having two sick children is hard, but at the moment I'm counting my blessings that I'm not sick too-- otherwise it would be a nightmare to try and care for them (knock on wood here).

Despite the lack of sleep, Halloweed was fun-- beautiful weather, polite children-- I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening!

Things You Aren't Supposed to Write About

This morning while I was trying to go to the bathroom, I had the funniest thing happen. Actually, I wasn't trying to go to the bathroom-- I was going to the bathroom. And that is why this post is something you aren't supposed to write about. Anyone who's spent any time with a child alone at home-- a mobile child who likes to get into trouble-- knows that you can't just leave the child roaming the house when nature calls. You have to bring the baby with you. So I did. I left her right outside the bathroom door, with a toy. And the door to the bathroom open so I could see her at all times.

But she doesn't like to sit still. So Marcie crawled over to me. Then the dog came bounding into the room-- I'm not sure how he got around the baby gate that was supposd to keep him in the family room, but he did. So here is the image:

There I was sitting on toilet with my pants pulled down roughly to my knees. Marcie had crawled in and was trying to pull herself up to a standing position, using my pants. Instead, she ended up back on her bottom, her hands on my pants, which were then tangled around my ankles. And there was our dog Pugasus-- sniffing Marcie's butt.

I totally laughed out loud at the picture. If I could find my camera and it weren't me on the toilet, I would have tried to snap a photo. Gotta love kids. And dogs. They sure do make life amusing.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Don't Exist?

I clicked a link to a website that tells you how many people have the same name as you in the U.S. I thought it'd be cool to see how many people share my exact name. First, I typed in my maiden name. 14 people have my maiden name (first and last). Next, I typed in the name I use when I am out and about with my family. This is not technically my married name, because my legal name is my maiden surname and my husband's surname, with no hyphen-- just a space between the two. Anyway, I entered in my first name and my family's surname and it told me there are 2 people who have this name. Interesting. . .

So I wondered if anyone else has my exact, legal name. Does anyone else share the name Karen H_____ S_____? Here is the result that I got back:

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Yeah. That was the result. Seriously. ZERO. That totally sucks. It means that someone, somewhere has not entered my real name into whatever database this website is using correctly. I know my social security card has my correct name. I know we file our taxes with my legal name every year. Heck, all my fingerprint files and our adoption paperwork used my legal name, so what gives?

Sigh. So apparently I don't exist. . . Oh well.

So I thought I'd look up my kids' names to see how many of them there are. This is what the screen says for both of them:
  • There are 0 people in the U.S. named Casey (or Marcie) S______.
  • While both names you entered were found in our database, neither was common enough to make it likely that someone in the U.S. has that name.

Aha! They aren't searching a database at all. They are just doing a statistical analysis! When I looked closer, this is what it said about my (legal) last name:

  • One or both of the names you entered were not found in our database.

So apparently the probability of my kids' names existing is virtually zero, but my name really does not exist. Go figure.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It Finally Happened

Today was like any typical Saturday in quiet, idyllic suburbia. . . Ok. Let's try that again. Today was like any typical Saturday in . . . suburbia. I took Marcie to her Little Gym class at 8:15am. Jason took Casey to soccer at 9:00am. We met at home around 10:30am, and we decided it was time to get Casey a pair of dark shoes because he's been asking for his old (and too small) dark-colored shoes. We headed over to our local Target shopping center, where there is a Famous Footwear. Silly me, I said, "Hey! Look at these Cars shoes!" What an idiot-- Casey wouldn't even consider the black Sketchers a little further down the aisle. We told him they didn't have the Cars shoes in his size (which wasn't actually true), but he began insisting that he try them all on to see if they were too small. So we gave it. That's not to say Jason was too pleased with it-- but there you have it.

Next we wandered over to Target for an air purifier for Marcie's room. Normally I'd check out the Home Depot selection, but we have a whole lotta gift card money at Target. They didn't have the real hepa-filter we wanted, so we decided to head back home. . . Sort of.

Before getting in the car, Jason suggested lunch at Chicken Pie Diner-- a 50s place that stole our babysitter away from us. Not really. Well, kind of. Our babysitter Audie had been watching Casey for an entire school year every Wednesday night like clockwork-- with the occasional Friday or Saturday night gig. We paid around $9 per hour. But when summer came, she longed for a more regular job, and so she took a position as a hostess at the Chicken Pie Diner. We joked that she was better off working for us once or twice a week at $9/hour than at the Diner for minimum wage-- but we never said anything to her. Nothing wrong with a girl having some work ethic, you know. And she really wanted that job. We were sad to lose her, but we understood. Anyway, that's where we went for lunch, and she was there! Casey was thrilled to see her, and she got to meet Marcie, which was nice.

We swung back by the house to give Marcie a bottle and to change her clothes, then took the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a few hours so we could go on a date. By the time we left, it was around 1:10 pm, and we had massage appointments for 2:15pm. It worked out just about perfectly. Post (glorious) massage, we retrieved the kids, changed them into their Halloween costumes and went off to a Halloween party/carnival with them.

That's when it finally happened. Walking through the parking lot, Casey in his Buzz Lightyear costume from last year (which he wore most of the day today) and Marcie in her ladybug outfit, Jason was trying to get me to answer a question. I don't even know what the question was, actually. All I know is that I turned back to look down at Casey's feet and at Jason to see what he was asking me about, and when I turned back around, it was too late. Bonk! I walked into the side door mirror of a very old, very large pickup truck. Fortunately there was a car parked right next to it for me to lean against, because I felt suddenly very dizzy and like crying. I didn't want to upset Casey, who as I fell against the car instantly began repeatedly asking, "Mommy okay? Mommy okay?" I am okay as it happens. But I do have a nice, bruised lump on my forehead. Thank goodness for bangs!

After the party we took the kids to Red Robin for dinner and then headed back home. I am supposed to be studying, but I had to stop and write because I just bent over to pick something up off the floor, and when the blood rushed to my forehead, it began throbbing. I had to chuckle at what a klutz I am. Seriously, who walks into the side mirror of a car and nearly knocks themself out? Apparently me.

In good news, today Daylight Savings is over! Now when Casey comes to wake me up at 6:00am, I won't be able to tell him, "Casey- it's pitch black out and the middle of the night. Go back to bed!"

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Great Diaper Explosion-- Times Six? (I lost count. . .)

So remember that gross stomach bug Casey had last week? The one that resulted in numerous loads of laundry and gagging by someone not easily phased by poop? Well guess who else has it! From the title of this post, hopefully you surmised that the answer is not me. . . poor Marcie. My usually good-natured little girl has turned into super whiny kid. The first explosion, around 10am this morning, resulted in a bath for Marcie. Explosions two and three were mere minutes apart (thank goodness I got a clean diaper on her in between!). The scent rivals the sewagy smells that accompaneied Marcie's first poops in China-- the ones she pushed through with the help of the suppositories. It's pretty gross. But it doesn't seem to have stifled her appetite any-- at least not yet!

I posted that post around, oh, I'd say 1:15pm. It's now 4:30pm. I think I've changed six diapers since then. And thrown three shirts and a pair of shorts in the laundry (two of the shirts were Marcie's; the other one was mine). And after the fourth poop episode, Marcie barfed. All over me. Fortunately I was wearing shorts, so it was relatively easy to clean. And bless her hear, she managed not to get the carpet with it! And so I took her temperature. It's 99.7 in her ear. I know that doesn't sound like much, but her normal temperature is in the 97-degree range, not even the standard 98.6. So I think she might have the flu, poor kid.

I did the teaspoon of pedialyte, and she threw up within the first 10 minutes. I waited 30 more minutes and did another teaspoon about 5 minutes ago-- so far, so good. Except that she pooped again-- but the timing was too close together for it to be related.

The nurse told me no solid foods for the rest of the day. . . uh . . . have you met my daughter? The one who eats and eats and eats? The one who gets fussy if she has to wait more than three hours for food? Yes, yes-- they know it will suck, and so maybe some cheerios or noodles or crackers-- a little bit. But definitely no bottles until she doesn't vomit for 8 hours straight. And then lactose free stuff. . .

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pretty in Pink

I love this little outfit my brother and sister's family sent us. I suspect Karin picked it out, not Bob . . . It was too hot for tights yesterday, but she's wearing the socks that match:

Not for the faint of heart

Seriously, this post will gross you out if you can't handle a poop conversation. And a gross one at that. . . So you've been warned.

We have this sort-of rule at our home. I do the poop and Jason does the vomit. I don't like the poop, but I don't feel like pooping just because I'm cleaning up poop (how many times can a girl use the word poop in a single sentence?!?). I can't say the same thing for vomit. I don't like human or dog vomit, and I'm likely to go get Jason out of bed if the dog throws up in the house in the early morning hours, rather than clean it myself (which, come to think of it, means that Jason owes me because last weekend, the dog did throw up in the house twice and I cleaned it up both times!).

Anyway, it's been a bit poopy around our house. On Friday morning, Casey woke me up telling me he had to poop. And poop he did. Gross, stinky, light brown diarrhea -- into the toilet (thankfully). Unfortunately, his pajama top was on the long-ish side, which meant it didn't fair to well. And so I cleaned it up. Casey tried to make it to the bathroom the second time he had to go-- I actually think he thought he was just going to pass gas, but it turned out to be something more. So underwear and shorts had to have a good scrub-down, too. I took him to his OT, which was only 30 minutes. But he needed to go again as soon as he was done with the therapist. The elementary school has a strict rule prohibiting any adults from being in any of the kids' bathrooms. I didn't have time to walk Casey to the other side of the school and use the adult bathroom because I knew he wouldn't hold it. So I sent him into the boys' restroom at the school to fend for himself. I don't know what I was thinking. Of course he was going to need help wiping. In fact, I saw him waddle out of the stall, pants around his ankles, asking for help-- standing in the middle of the bathroom. I wasn't about to leave him standing there, so in I went-- into the boys' bathroom. On my knees, I helped wipe in down, step out of his Thomas underwear (which hadn't escaped some yuck), and snuck out. But not before another little boy came in and used a urinal. Guess he wasn't too concerned about me being there. And no, I didn't see anything.

Needless to say, we kept Casey home from school on Friday. My parents came into town, and he seemed to be doing better. I chalked it up to something he'd eaten. He was fine all day Saturday, though he didn't eat much-- and he turned down chocolate cake.

But then, in the middle of the night, I guess around 3am, he woke up my parents with his crying. He had crapped in his diaper some time in the middle of the night-- and then it got caked in. Until he moved, which is when it rubbed onto all his clothes and maybe the comforter. My mom cleaned him up and put him to bed-- and all this happened without me hearing a thing! When I went in the following morning, he had my parents' comforter over him and a change of clothes.

Sunday was much like Friday. He had no appetite. He didn't even want the pizza at Red Robin, which is his very favorite food. Sunday around midnight, when I checked on him, he stank. I woke him up and wiped him down. I changed his clothes. And I put him back to bed. In the morning I called doctor. Apparently there is a bug going around that usually starts with a day to a day and a half of vomitting. And the diarrhea is supposed to be the end of the virus-- the time when it moves out of the system. It sure did linger with Casey. Finally yesterday (Tuesday) he seemed better.

And this morning he was back to his old antics. You know, refusing to pick out clothes. Telling me no when I said it was time to brush his teeth. And asking for two bowls of cereal for breakfast (consecutively, not at the same time!).

But while he's been home-- and babied-- he sure got used to it. Lately he has been insisting that there are two babies in our home-- Marcie and Casey. He wants to do everything she does. He asks for a bottle, asks to play in her pack n play and her crib, and wants a "turn" in the stroller and the high chair. Yesterday morning, when I went to change my clothes, I heard a strange noise in the other room, like someone bouncing in the Jumperoo. But Marcie was with me. When I went into the family room, this is what I saw:

Later in the morning, I heard Casey yelping for help. He'd gotten one leg into Marcie's exer-saucer before getting stuck. Then, he insisted on trying on all of Marcie's robeez slippers-- pink butterfly ones and all. He knows they are too small, but he still wants them.

Then today Casey all of a sudden didn't want to go to school. When we went into the classroom, and he wouldn't let go of my leg, I told him he needed to go sit in the circle, or he would have to go home. Boy, was that a mistake. He looked me right in the eyes and said, "I want go home." Oops. Eventually he agreed to sit on the yellow square next to the volunteer reading the class a story. It amazes me how quickly you can undo a routine, though-- it takes weeks and weeks and weeks to set it up. Then one minor stomach bug and BAM! You have to start all over again.

I guess that's one thing about being a parent-- you've got a be willing to do the same thing over and over again-- whether it's cleaning up poop in the middle of the night, multiple nights in a row, or re-establishing a routine. You just have to stick to it . . .

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What happens in Vegas . . .

So each October since I started law school two of my good friends have gone to Vegas without me. It's not that I'm not invited; it's just that I cannot go because of one thing or another. I have managed to head on over to Vegas two springs-- once with both of them and once with one of them, but the three of us haven't made it to Vegas together since May of 2004.

They are there now. Or maybe they return today. They called yesterday on their way to a show, after an amazing dinner and shots that either started before or during dinner (their voicemail/ answering machine messages were not clear on this point).

I admit it. I'm a little jealous. I'm happy for them to be there. I just wish I could be, too. And truth be told, I probably could have gone-- but I'm just not quite ready to be away from the kiddos overnight just yet. And it's just as well since Casey's been home sick.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my friends -- hopefully it won't take them too long to recover from the trip. I'll never know all that they are recovering from because, of course, what happens in Vegas . . . stays in Vegas.

Welcome Marcie Shindig

I honestly don't remember that much from the Welcome Marcie party. It was all kind of a blur of people coming and going. Fortunately, my father in law snapped some photos of the event.

Marcie did really well with a house full of strangers (to her). The weather was gorgeous and warm. The boys got to run around and play on the straw bales in the backyard. There was plenty of food. Casey came to me at 2pm and said he was ready for his nap, which was amazing. Marcie also napped at her usual times. We got to see Lisa and Tito, who were LID to China January 1st of this year. I'm glad they could come meet Marcie. The wait has really dragged on for them, and it took them about a year to do the paperchase, so it must feel like it's really taking forever.

My parents were in town for the baptism and welcome Marcie party, which was really nice of them. We aren't planning on a big shindig for her first birthday, since it'll be in less than a month. We will do our own cake and ice cream, but I'm all partied out for now.

To view a slideshow of the shindig, select any of the photos below. This will take you outside blogger, so you'll have to use the back arrow in your browser window to return to the blog. Also, Flickr doesn't show you the captions in slideshow view, so you'll have to see the captions below the photos. Don't forget to return to the post to read about the rest of the weekend!

1. Casey and Cousin Joey running around on the straw bales in the backyard.
2. Casey running through the straw.
3. More straw fun.
4. Slid fun for Cousin Joey (no, we don't call him this-- we just call him Joey).
5. Some folks in the kitchen-- Pam, Ana, Manny, Joann, and Grandma S.
6. Keely & Kate-- Like Mother, Like Daughter-- I hope Keely doesn't kill me for including this one!
7. Patrick and his daughter Eva (I think Mother Maria was sitting right next to them, but just didn't get into this photo-- sorry Maria!).
8. Jason, Ann, and Christian chillin' in the warm weather and shade.
9. Ann, Al, Grandma S., and Tiffany grabbin' some grub.
10. Lisa and Grace chit chat while Matt drinks and Tito looks at photos from the orphanage (Lisa and Tito are LID 1-1-07, so keep them in your thoughts).
11. Marcie-- the girl of the hour.
12. Geoff with Katelyn.
13. Casey and Joey playing with some trains.
14. The cake we forgot to put out-- then forgot to snap a photo of until after we'd cut into it!

After the big welcome party, we hung around the house. My parents watched Casey and Joey while we all went out (gasp!) to a movie. I know-- can you believe it? Jason and I went to dinner on Friday night alone, too-- what a bonanza. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids. But some day they will be out of the house and it will be just me and Jason, and I'd hate to look at him and ask, "Uh. . . who are you again?" So I'm a big fan of grown-up, alone time. At the same time, I've become pretty militant about bedtime routines, which means finding a trustworthy babysitter to get both kids off to bed at our house. So when my parents came to town, we jumped at the chance for some alone time. We joked that our whole married life, we have takled about children. First, about wanting them-- and how we'd make that happen, then about the adoption, then about Casey growing up, then about the adoption and Casey growing up. Now about Casey and Marcie. Strange how that works. We saw The Departed on Saturday night. Totally worth the overpriced movie tickets. Great cast. Interesting plot.

Then, on Sunday we met up with Bryan, Tram and Joey for lunch and took the boys to Red Robin at the mall. They got to run around before we ate. Marcie enjoyed the attention from her Aunt Tram during lunch. She gobbled up her baby food, then kept right on eating the grown up food with the rest of us! What a trooper.

So that about sums up the weekend. There is more to tell, of course-- what with Casey being home from school since FRIDAY. But that will have to wait for another post because Marcie is hungry.

Marcie's Baptism

Marcie was baptized on Saturday, October 21st at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church here in San Diego. Deacon Ron did a fantastic job in a beautiful, private ceremony. Casey ran around the church, yelling to hear the echo of his voice, but it was hard to get mad at such a cute kid-- and it was just our family anyway. Marcie behaved well. She was a bit on the wiggly side, but that was okay. She is not a huge fan of having water poured over her head, even at bath time, so it was no suprise that she wasn't thrilled during the actual baptism portion of the ceremony.

I didn't really take any photos-- I did give my camera to someone to snap, and my sister in law Tram did video tape the whole ceremony, but I haven't looked at either. Instead, I downloaded my father in laws great pictures, and created a slideshow in Flickr. If you have never been to a Catholic baptism and would like to see what it's all about-- or if you have been to a Catholic baptism and you just want to see all the fun, click on any photo below to watch a slide show. The captions are below the photos!

Sorry these captions are here and not in the slide show-- that's one feature that seems to be lacking from Flickr-- but here they are:
1. Marcie before the ceremony, toddling around (while holding Mommy's hands, of course);
2. Marcie appearing anxious as she peers at onlookers;
3. Deacon Ron explains the importance of baptism and why we baptize children so young in the Catholic faith;
4. Marcie and Mommy pay attention to Deacon Ron;
5. Daddy and Marcie listen to Deacon Ron;
6. After trying to eat the book from which Deacon Ron was reading, Marcie decides to just stare at him;
7. Getting ready to pour the Holy Water over Marcie's head;
8. Pouring the Holy Water while blessing Marcie in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
9. Marcie loks a little mad- she's not a big fan of water being poured over her head;
10. Wiping Marcie's head to keep the water from dripping all over her;
11. Deacon Ron blesses Marcie with the Holy Oil;
12. Mommy and Daddy fix Marcie's button (Mommy thought they would do the HolyOil on the chest like they did with Casey, so unbuttoned the top button-- but Deacon Ron did it on her head!);
13. Aunt Jessica and Aunt Tiffany (Marcie's Godmothers) light the Baptism Candle; 14. Aunt Jess and Aunt Tiff listen as Deacon Ron explains that the candle light, like the Light of Christ, can be a beacon even in the darkest of times;
15. Marcie's Godmothers blow the Light of Christ in Marcie's direction;
16. Grandma S. hugging her grandkids-- plus her honorary grandchild, Casey's cousin Joey;
17. Grandma S. and Marcie;
18. Group photo of all those who attended the baptism;
19. Family photo with Deacon Ron (at least Jason is looking in the right place!);
20. Casey looking like he's ready to dive into the Baptismal Font (though he did manage to only use his pointer finger and to sign himself with a backwards cross each time he dipped his finger!);
21. Casey "performing" for us in the church, where he could hear his voice echo loudly;
22. Cousin Joey, Uncle Bryan, and Aunt Tram at the church-- Joey and Uncle Bryan even skipped soccer practice for the ceremony!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Becoming an American Citizen

Those of us born and raised in the United States rarely think about what it means to be an American citizen. Perhaps we contemplated it for a school assignment some time during our lives, but it's not something we think about from day to day. We are the lucky ones, and we don't even know it!

On Saturday I took Marcie with me to the nail salon. The woman helping me was new and so she asked all sorts of questions about Marcie. Here is how our exchange went:

Her: Wow. She is a big girl. Very healthy.
Me: Yes. We are very lucky. She is big. Good eater.
Her: Very lucky-- good eater. That's good. Is your husband a big man?
Me.: Kind of, but not too big. But he's actually not her biological father. She is adopted.
Her: Oh?!? Where from?
Me: China
Her: Oh, was that hard?
Me: Well, there was a lot of paperwork, but it actually went pretty smoothly.
Her: So does she get to become a citizen of the United States?
Me: Actually, she already is. When we passed through customs on September 1st and they stamped her visa, she became an American citizen automatically.
Her: Oh, she is VERY lucky. That is good!

Now, two things strike me about this conversation. First, this is the second or third (or maybe even fourth) time that someone has essentially asked me if Jason is Chinese. Once or twice I've gotten the comment, "She must look like her father." And I've said, "Actually, she does." I think this is a good thing. It means I live in a part of the world where no one bats an eye because a child does not look like her mother. And no one assumes I'm the babysitter because I don't look like my daughter (except the old Asian lady at the park, but I'm not counting her). I like that people don't make assumptions. I think this is a good thing.

Second, I never realized before the value of being an American citizen. It's pretty coveted. And for good reason. There are lots of perks and benefits to being American. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of all the problems in the U.S.-- healthcare and poverty among them. But overall it's not a bad country in which to live. And of which to be a citizen.

Anyway, all this to let you know that Marcie's Certificate of Citizenship arrived in the mail today. I was tempted to scan it and post a photo, but I can't because, as the certificate points out: "It is punishable by U.S. law to copy, print or photograph this certificate, without lawful authority." So you'll just have to take my word that it's cool-looking. This means we can apply for Marcie's social security card and her passport-- and even get the ball rolling on her U.S. adoption, so we can get her an American birth certificate.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Aw . . . NUTS

So fall is probably my favorite time of year. I love the colors of the changing trees, and I think pumpkins make the perfect backdrop for photos. I don't mind the weather cooling down when it's sunny-- and a gray day here or there is fine, as long as it doesn't become habit. Autumn would not be "complete" without our family's annual trip to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center. Their motto is: Where nuts from all over the world come together!

We like to get to the pumpkin patch early in the day so we can get in and get out before too many crowds. This has worked well for us. This year, we started with the petting zoo-- and ended with it, too. We had planned to let Casey go on a pony ride, but the lines were so long, we changed our minds. He didn't seem to care-- he really liked getting down on the ground to spy the pig under his hiding place, and they let him hold a rabbit in his arms-- twice! This year the petting zoo also featured some baby goats, which were trying to "play" by butting heads. It was rather entertaining to watch.

After the petting zoo, Casey led us over to the pumpkins so he could pick one out. We actually didn't end up taking one with us-- not because the selection was poor, but because we were just too darn lazy to carry the pumpkin around with us for the day. We'd planned to go back and get one, but never did. Anyway, one thing we discovered during our foray into the pumpkin zone was that getting a photo with everyone looking at the camera at the same time gets exponentially harder when you have more kids. We never successfully snapped one! That's okay, I guess. . .

Next we hopped on a horse-drawn wagon ride for a tour of the scarecrows and the really big pumpkins (the ones you pay by the pound for), and then we headed over to the hay ride, with "trucks" pulled by a tractor. Casey recognized them as "trucks" from the Thomas story. We disembarked the hay ride to giant bales of hay with tunnels, and Casey had a grand time crawling around. He even lost his shoe in one of the tunnels, but someone recovered it for us.

Before departing, we decided it was time for a snack-- yummy sweet corn! Jason had the salsa one with cilantro and lime, and I had the special corn-- with cream, margarine and parmesian cheese. I only wish I'd had a plaquer with me. I usually cut my corn off the cobb-- but it was delicious nonetheless. Then Casey did something he's never done before. He asked to eat . . . popcorn! They only had kettle corn, but he actually ate it! His bites were measured-- only one piece at a time, and I think it'd be safe to say I ate more of his kettle corn than he did, but still, I was so impressed! Casey never tries anything new, so this was a very big deal!

We let Casey go back into the petting corral before we left again, and then noted how many people had arrived in the two hours we were there. As we drove off, the long line of cars waiting to turn into the pumpkin patch even convinced Jason it was worth getting up early to go! The only thing we didn't do that Casey expressed an interest in was the bouncy house, but he did that yesterday at the Fire Station Open House, so we didn't feel too badly about it.

Every fall our local fire department holds an open house at one of the stations for the public to come get a tour. They have a bouncy house and fire truck rides. They have safety information and demonstrations, puppet shows, booths, and the like. I always go-- I think of it as my tax dollars at work. Plus, I think it's good for Casey to learn about fire safety. Yesterday we met up with our friends the Goulds, and we toured the station with them, rode a fire truck, and let the boys jump in the bouncy. We were only there for about an hour-- just long enough for a dry spell to pass through the area (it was rainy yesterday). While we were in line at the bouncy house, a woman named Deborah approached me and asked how long we'd been back from China (she saw Marcie in the backpack on my back). You see, she had just returned from Chongqing of all places with her second child in May! How cool is that?

By the way, I didn't mention much about Marcie in this post, but she is just as cute as can be-- and very patient in the backpack. Here is my favorite photo from this weekend:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

New Family Photo

I'll be changing our family photo to the right, seeing as how it's not really our family. That was one thing that was very strange to me in China-- they kept having us take "family pictures," and I kept muttering, "But this isn't my family!" Anyway, now we have a real family photo. Note that neither Casey nor Marcie is paying attention. That's pretty much par for the course, isn't it? I don't have an excuse for Casey-- but in Marcie's defense, she was looking at me because I told her to look at the camera. I still like it-- it's definitely us!

Tide Pools

My sister Megan was in town this week for a vacation. One of her good friends from college-- Sarah-- joined her. They did the "mellow San Diego" tour. On Friday, Casey had the day off from preschool. So we packed the kids in the sedan and we headed off to the tide pools in Pt. Loma-- the ones by Cabrillo National Monument. We hadn't been there since June 2005, and I was aiming to arrive at low tide, but I didn't exactly hit the mark! Instead, we go there around noon and saw what we could. This included a dead fish-- torn into its various parts of head (complete with teeth still in tact, though without any meat), a lobster whose head and tail had been separated, a crab, and a muscle. Megan, being environmentally conscious as she is, wanted to return the muscle to the exact spot where she'd located him. And just as she accomplished this mission, a huge wave rolled up and crashed over most of her and some of Sarah. Megan borrowed a cardigan from Sarah to wear as a skirt, and that's what she rode home in. I didn't snap a photo of her modified attire, but I did get some photos at the tide pools:

This is Megan and Sarah at the tide pools before they got blasted with the delicious salt water. Megan is on the right.

This is Megan showing Casey the crab she spotted in one of the tide pools.

This is Megan and Sarah retreating from the cold salt water after struck by the wave in their efforts to place the muscle back in its original location.

This is me with Casey and Marcie on our way back to the car from the tide pools.

After we got home, I decided I'd better try out Marcie's Halloween costume to make sure it actually fits. The girl is huge! This morning I put a pair of 18-month pants on her, which I had to roll up. I pulled them off her not 10 minutes later b/c they were way too tight on her thights and her bottom. Poor kid. Guess we're going to have to stick to soft (and flexible) cotton for now!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Baby Girl News

Our friends and neighbors were on vacation with us in Florida when we got word to head for Ohio for Casey's birth. They welcomed their son J.T. a mere 3.5 months later (the boys love causing trouble at soccer together). We returned from China with Marcie on September 2nd/3rd, and they have now welcomed their daughter, Reese into the world today-- a mere six weeks later. She is gorgeous-- you can check her out on their blog:



Train Song and Halloween Bonanza

Last Wednesday, Casey's class went on a field trip to a nearby pumpkin patch. Here are a couple photos:

Last weekend my parents were in town. This was fun for me. I hope it was fun for them. They weren't actually here to see me (or Marcie or Casey), but that's okay. They were here to stay with one of our nephews, Joey. He is cute as a button. My brother turned the big 3-0 last week so off he went to Vegas with his wife for a short weekend.

Anyway, those of you who know me know that I am not much for Mexican food. I go to great lengths to avoid it. I will go almost anywhere with a group and find something on a menu I can eat. But I am never shy about telling everyone, "I HATE Mexican food." It gives me indigestion. I don't like the taste much-- it's too spicy to really enjoy. Yes, I am a weirdo. I'm a picky eater. But that's who I am, and as much as I may want to enjoy salsa, it's just not going to happen. This is why it's so strange that I've been craving cheese enchiladas. But I have. Anyway, when my parents arrived, I suggested lunch at a restaurant in Old Town, which could only mean one thing: Mexican food. My parents were pleasantly shocked and off we went to lunch. Marcie immediately took to my dad like she'd spent every day of her life with him. And she really enjoyed the music, bouncing to it in her high chair. Here they are:

Then on Saturday after soccer, we took the boys to Old Poway Park. We have a real live steam engine there that runs through the park and gives rides for $2 per person. And this weekend they had a festival: Train Song. They had music and story tellers and booths with face painters and trains. The train museum-- with a scaled model of a railroad was open. It was fun. We got in the covered car and a "bank robber" joined us. So we even enjoyed and old-fashioned western-style gun fight. Casey screamed when the first shot was fired and shouted, "Oh no!" He fake-cried when the guy went down on the ground (but couldn't help giggling when his hat fell off). And when everyone stood back up at the end (to show it was just pretend), Casey cheered and clapped. It was all very cute. Marcie, on the other hand, didn't care that we were on a train ride. She took a liking to the nice elderly gentleman sitting next to us and played with his watch the whole time. After the train ride, Casey got a brand new pair of Thomas shoes. They were only half the price of his fire truck shoes. And even though the fire truck shoes are better shoes and they fit Casey better, he has been wearing his Thomas shoes pretty much from the moment he wakes up until he takes his bath before bed. I'm glad he likes them!

In the afternoon, Jason's mom came over to have the kids try on clothes she'd bought them. She brought all sorts of wonderful outfits for both of them. Disappointingly almost none of the clothes fit Marcie. The pants were too big and the shirts were too small. And that was size 24-month! Now, don't get me wrong. Marcie is currently mainly wearing size 18-month clothes (with a spattering of 12-month articles). But I guess some brands run smaller than others and though they fit now, they won't fit when the weather cools down and she needs the warm clothing. Good thing Jason's mom thought to have the kids try stuff on before washing it!

That night, we went to Casey's favorite restaurant for dinner-- Red Robin. At a mall. The boys (Casey and Joey) ran around in the kids play area while we waited for our table. Marcie had her first public "accident." Somebody (read: Jason) put her diaper on crooked and the poop went all down her leg. I used every last wet wipe cleaning it up and dug into the diaper bag to pull out the spare pants-- only to discover I didn't actually bring spare pants. Apparently I grabbed two onesies instead of a onesie and pants. Nice. So Marcie enjoyed the rest of the evening in a pair of Casey's rolled up pants. I didn't have my camera, so this entry is the only evidence I've got of the incident.

Sunday morning Jason cut Casey's hair. He tried to leave in curls, but I thought it looked too much like a mullet, so he appeased me and shortened the back, too. I didn't think to get pictures before and after, so you'll have to just scroll back through photos to compare the two. . .

That about sums up last weekend. The week so far has been (thankfully) uneventful. Casey's Halloween costume arrived on Monday, and he's been wearing it to eat breakfast and before bedtime. May as well get as much use out of it as possible. When he saw it, he told Jason he wanted a Percy costume, too! So funny!
Marcie is going to be a ladybug for Halloween-- come to think of it, I haven't tried the 12-month sized costume on her-- maybe I should to make sure it fits!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It Takes a Village

Today Marcie returned to the doctor to review her immunization record and check in. We had to get it translated to see what was missing. Turns out quite a lot. We did 3shots today. Another 3 or 4 at her 12 month check up in 6 weeks, then a few more 6-8 weeks after that. Poor kid. I had my camera and contemplated taking a host of her crying with the bandaids on her meaty legs, but then my mind got the better of me and I decided it was too mean.

Our last check up was 4 weeks ago-- and since then she has actually grown a little over 1/2 and inch and put on a bit more than a pound! I think this is astounding. Is it normal? No idea-- Casey is only 3 1/2, but I have no recollection of how quickly he gained wait. Guess I could look back. All I remember is that he hit 20 pounds right around 12 months and only gained like 3 or 4 pounds the whole next year. That means Marcie currently weighs about what Casey weighed at age 2. Totally crazy.

Last weekend while Jason was working, I decided to brave the world with the kids in tow. First, on Friday evening, I took them down to the park near our house. I bumped into someone I knew from when I was in the classroom, and it was nice to catch up a bit. Then, with Marcie sitting on my lap, I watched Casey make a crazy, daredevil move. He climbed up the ladder toward the monkey bars and lept for the bar, missing, tangling his leg in the ladder part, and landing on the side of his face, with his next twisted. . . What do you do with the 10 month old on your lap when your three year old is contorted into such a state? Amy to the rescue! I literally interrupted her mid-sentence and handed her Marcie, then sprinted off to pick up Casey, who was sitting up on his bottom by the time I got to him. We washed off all the sand from his eye and his mouth in the drinking fountain, took deep breaths, checked his arms and shoulders for anything dislocated, torn, or broken, and walked back over to the sand. He was fine-- what a tough kid! But I am so grateful Amy was there!

Then on Saturday, the law firm where I will be working after graduation was having their company picnic at Mission Bay, and I thought it would be fun to bring Marcie and Casey to meet everyone. Off we went. Thankfully, there were a lot of helpful hands-- Casey immediately attached himself to a family with kids close in age to him and Marcie and ran into the sand playground, then followed them off to fly a kite. This gave me enough time to eat. But after they left, I had to chase Casey all over the place. Fortunately, there were plenty of hands to help out with Marcie-- and she did amazingly well. Of course, when she saw me, she wanted me immediately-- which is great. Anyway, I don't know how I could have spent those two hours or so without the help of so many people. . .

From the bay we drove up the coast to a princess birthday party. It was at my sister-in-law's sister's house. (How crazy does that sound-- this is my brother's wife's sister whose child was turning three.) We've been fortunate to be included in all the family birthdays, so they know us (and Casey) well, and they were overjoyed to meet Marcie. Of course they had a million questions about her and her adoption, which I dutifully answered to the best of my ability. The nice thing about this party was that even though it was just me with the two kids, it was safe for Casey to run all over because everyone knows who he is and watches out for him. Plus, the yard was fenced in.

Finally, we headed home. On our way up the hill to our house, Casey spotted Sponge Bob walking up the street. Saturday was the day of the neighborhood block party-- and we got a flyer inviting us this year. After I got the kids in the house and fed them, we walked down the street to the party, where Casey met up with his good friend J.T. (of Gould23 blog fame). The two boys ran all around, jumped in the bouncy house, bounced down the slide, and became Sponge Bob's personal sidekick for the evening. We also met a very nice couple who has three foster children through the County, one of whom they are in the process of adopting. How cool! And we saw our neighbors who finally got to ask us all about Marcie. I am so glad we went. It's nice to finally meet some people. We've been living in our house for over three years now, and because I'm never home, I haven't really met anyone (except our next door neighbor who complains that our dog barks too much while we are gone-- hopefully that is resolved now, because no one wants to be the neighbor with the irritating dog!).

What an exhausting weekend! But it was fun, and the kids did great!

Somebody Ate My Dinner

Have you ever purchased and item of food and had your heart on eating it at a given time? You know, you think about it all day. And every time you think about that food waiting, you think, "Ah! I can't wait!"

Today was one of those days. I discovered Lean Pocket Subs-- the pepperonia pizza ones. They are yummy, yummy, yummy. I brought it to school yesterday and stuck it in the freezer. I was going to eat it after class, but then I forgot my books (!) at home and ended up going home because I didn't have anything with me to study. So I thought about that Lean Pocket ALL DAY.

Well, it's 7:27pm. About 30 minutes ago, I wandered down to the refrigerator to heat up my dinner between classes, and it was gone! Yes, I really looked. I took out all the frozen food items searching for it. I mean, who takes someone else's food? You have to know it's not yours!!! How do you make that kind of mistake?

Thankfully I was able to borrow 60 cents from a friend to buy a stupid Lunchable from the vending machine. Three times the calories and three times the fat. And not as tasty either! Sigh. I guess this is just the price I pay to be in law school . . .

In more important news, I want to write out the three parties we went to last weekend, Marcie's doctor's appointment today, and Casey's class trip to the pumpkin patch. But right now my Remedies professor is about to begin lecturing, so you'll have to check back later!