Monday, October 31, 2005

Party'n With the Grown Ups

Here's Tenley in the tub modeling the "Queen Amidala" hair-do that Jeff gave her while she scrubbed up before party time.

We made the trek to Granada Hills on Sat. night to see our friends Darrin & Heather and celebrate Heather's big 3-0. As much fun as it was for us to see Darrin & Heather and some extended friends, I think Tenley had an even better time toddling all over their beautiful new hardwood floors, playing with Allie the Dog, and coveting Heather's large shiny birthday balloon boquet. She apparently decided that Heather is a good cook, and scarfed down 5 mini quiches, 4 meatballs, cheese and half a cupcake.

Darrin & Heather had decorated and Tenley had a grand time ignoring the toys we brought for her and instead choosing to beat on the big pumpkin, throw the tiny pumpkins, try to get the cling-on bloody footprints off the floor, beg for food from other party guests, and smile winningly at people so they would pick her up and take her over to play with the balloons. Fortunately, several other guests were also parents and were therefore very understanding. The only bummer was that all the other parents were using this as date night, so we had the only crumb cruncher in attendance.

The party was great, and Ten was really well behaved. She stayed up until 10:30 when we said goodbye, and then fell right to sleep in the car on the long drive home. It was fun to see Darrin again...and I can't believe Heather is 30!!! Hopefully we'll get to see them again before next year!

Date Night

Friday was "date night" to celebrate our anniversary a little early. We left the little fortune cookie with Grandma Susie, along with our condolences, because she had refused to have a nap and was rather cranky.

Jeff and I trotted off to the Pechanga Indain Casino & Resort in Temecula to see 12 Girls Band in concert. We left a little later than we wanted to, and while we had little traffic and no trouble finding Pechanga, it meant that we had no time to have a decent dinner. We ended up having a slice of really bland white cake with strawberries, a very buttery croissant, and 2 diet cokes that cost $11. Ugh.

The good news is that the concert was great, and it wasn't sold out so no one was sitting in front of us and we could see the whole stage. We were some of the few Caucausian people in the audience, and I'm betting that some of the Chinese people there actually knew the some of the girls judging by the fact that several of them seemed to have their own cheering sections. The 12 Girls played some old favourites, and some new songs from their new album "Romantic Energy". There was a huge line of people after the concert waiting to buy the CDs and have the girls sign them.

We skipped the autograph session and headed for home...with a quick stop at Del Taco for some real (?) food. All in all, a good date night!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pumpkin in the Pumpkins

Apparently, if you adopt a little girl from China and you have a blog, you must take her to a pumpkin patch prior to Halloween and then post at least 1 cute pictute from the event. Tenley is merely the last (but certainly not least!) of her China sisters to make a pilgrimage to the local gourd purveoyr.

We were actually supposed to go see the vegetables last weekend, but it was raining and with Ten having an ear infection we decided to hold off. This turned out to be good, because so did the Inland Empire playgroup from Families With Children From China, and we were able to go with them and meet a bunch of the other cuties that live in our neck of the woods.

The Pumpkin Patch of choice is at Live Oak Canyon in Yucaipa, where there are not only an abundance of pumpkins in various sizes and varieties, but also: hay pyramid to climb, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, bounce houses & slides, hayrides, and this ATV train thing that looked like alot of fun. Tenley was really keen on the hay pyramid- she loved the way it felt in her hands and that she could pull it out and throw it around. She was unimpressed with the pumpkins themselves, even after we showed her how they make sounds when you drum on them or that they could be rolled. She kept pointing at the ATV ride, and there were some kids on it that didn't look too much older than Tenley, so I think we'll have pictures of she and daddy on it next year.

All the pumpkins were making Jeff hungry, so we trotted off to Victoria Gardens for a snack and to get a pumpkin bundt mix from Williams Sonoma. The pumpkin bundt mix refused to leave without it's best friends, the pumpkin pecan bread mix and the mulling spices, so we took them all home. We also ended up with some more clothes for Tenley from Osh Kosh (store closing, everything 30-70% off), and I found 2 adorable dresses for Christmas but we couldn't decide which one we liked better so we bought 1 for this year, and 1 for next!

More pictures from the pumpkin patch and Victoria Gardens at Also visit Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch at:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Trick or Treat'n with the Rat

Isn't our little cow udderly adorable???

Tenley's Saturday began with a quick breakfast and then we fetched Grandma Susie and headed to downtown Claremont for the annual Village Venture. It's a fabulous street fair with all kinds of great arts, crafts and gifts as well as food, primo sales in the shops, and a children's area. We didn't even make it through half of the fair, but we did have a great lunch in an Italian restaurant, and we were eventually successful at getting Ten the one thing her heart desired that she continually pointed at from the moment we arrived: a balloon.

We had to leave Claremont far sooner than I would have liked to, but I had to dash back home and get Tenley and I changed so we could rush off to Anaheim and attend Mickey's Halloween Treat at Disney's California Adventure.

We met up with Doug and Tina and Tenley's future husband James (who was cuter than cute in his Eeyore costume), and Carin and Tim and their cutie Hannah (who was a lovely Snow White in a dress her Mommy did a bang up job on!) for dinner at Mari's and then off to the festivities at 7:30.

We made it to all 13 treat stations, and Doug & Tina achieved their goal of scoring enough candy so they wouldn't have to buy any to hand out on Halloween! James nodded off 1 hour into the event, and Hannah passed out with treat bag still in hand at 9. Tenley, on the other hand, had bloodshot eyes but was still wide awake and going strong when the event ended at 10:30. She simply refused to miss anything. We brought a stroller, but she insisted on being carried or holding our fingers and walking...needless to say, Jeff & I 's backs and shoulders are killing us.

We skipped having Tenley's picture taken with Mickey (dressed as Zorro, but looking remarkably like The Hamburgler) because the line was too long; but Mommy insisted on taking her picture with Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House. I think I was more excited about Bear than she was: Bear has got to be one of the coolest things to ever come out of the Henson Workshop - the Muppeteer inside has the ability to make such a huge array of facial expressions, and quite frankly Bear is just cute & cuddly. DCA has 3 real Bear costumes straight from Henson for the Playhouse Disney Live! show, and I was delighted that he was out for pictures. Tenley, on the other hand, was underwhelmed with Bear, but climbing out of our arms to go see Goliath the Lion from Jojo's Circus. I think she's only ever seen Jojo's Circus once, so Goliath must have just had kitty appeal.

The adults had a great time too: the people watching was stellar!! One poor guy, a grown adult I might add, was forced to wear a Donald Duck costume and was walking around looking suitably emasculated. Mrs. Potts has to be the most unflattering costume on anyone. It was nice to see that people found something to do with their Renaissance Faire costumes in the off season. I'm deeply concerned about the pack of Jedi Knights with the $200+ lightsabers (they actually light up and make the sound when you turn them on or swing them around) who were heatedly discussing Anakin's ability/inability with a lightsaber as they waited in line for candy. And I leave you all with this thought: just because a Jessica Rabbit costume comes in your size does not mean you should buy it and wear it!!!!!!!

See more pictures from Mickey's Halloween Treat at just click on "pictures"!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last Flight of the "Busy Bee"

Here’s Tenley modeling the adorable yellow “Busy Bee” pj’s that Susan gave to us in China when it turned out that I only brought 1 item of sleepwear that was going to fit. They were great – just a bit big, and the theme was oh so appropriate. I had Jeff hold her hands so I could get this picture, because it’s probably the last time they will be worn. My little girl is 13 months today, and the once “a bit too big” jammies are now “a bit too small”. As tiny as Tenley is by US growth charts, I’m amazed at how much she’s grown in the 14 weeks since we’ve been home. The day after Gotcha, I put her in a 3-6 month outfit that actually fit her (at 9 months old). Mostly she was a solid 6 month size; many 6-9 month clothes were too big. Now, the 6 months are history, and I’m slowly retiring the 6-9’s in favour of solid 9’s and a few 9-12’s. Sadly, I think she has some precious outfits that will never fit again, and many that never made it on her body!

In other news:

Tenley also has her first cold. Her nose was a little runny and we attributed it to teething, but a couple days later the sneezing began, and now she’s all stuffed up with gobs of disgusting green goo leaking out of her olfactory appendage. It’s sticky, gross, vile and relentless. It also means that my mostly non-drooling child now rivals a St.Bernard because she has temporarily turned into a mouth breather. Sleep has been spotty: sometimes the Benadryl lets her sleep, but she wakes up every time she rolls over and can’t breathe. She tries very hard to go back to sleep, but it’s extremely difficult to suck your thumb and breathe through your mouth, and that makes her angry and then the screaming begins. But, misery loves company, and like any good little germ monger she has shared her nasty cold with Mommy & Daddy. Gee, thanks!

The cold has not stopped her from practicing her new found walking skills. She still has a tendency to lead with her chest, and sometimes you can see her standing there wanting to take a step – but forgetting how to make her feet move! However, if there’s something she wants badly (like say, a blissfully unaware sleeping cat to terrorize) she’ll take off at a trot without thinking twice. She’s also most comfortable walking barefoot (which I’m told is normal), if you put her tennis shoes on she becomes very awkward & clumsy because she can’t bend her feet the same way.

And since she’s got a whopper of a cold, she has suddenly figured out how to give kisses! For the last few weeks if you puckered your lips and made the kissy-kissy sound while you showed her your cheek, and if it was an odd numbered day, the moon was full, and the tide was breaking to the left she would gift you with a toddler kiss that’s really more like getting your cheek licked as she presses her open mouth and tongue against your cheek. This week she has started giving them out spontaneously, and has decided to kiss/lick on the lips. While I treasure every gooey second of them, I wish she had figured this out when she wasn’t sick!

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Yesterday around 3:30 in the afternoon, Tenley & I were hanging out in her corral playing with her ABC ball and watching Blue's Clues....okay I was the one playing with the ABC ball, Ten was "cruising" around the edge of the corral and stopping in front of the TV to point at Blue and dance. Then she turned around and grabbed the edge of the corral from behind so that she was facing me as I sat on the opposite side of the enclosure. I smiled at her, held out my arms and said "Come to Mama!" expecting that she would reach forward and grab my hands so I could help her. But she didn't. Instead, she squealed and walked the 4 steps to my waiting arms all by herself. I was dumbstruck.


I squeezed Ten & told her how great that was and how proud I was of her! She had a huge grin - I think she knew she had just done something pretty swell. First I called Daddy, who was thrilled and immediately asked if I had taken pictures. I had to remind him that I had not sprouted an extra set of arms when I became a mom (which would have been really helpful), so much like feeding the giraffe there was no way to get photos of the momentous event. He had forgotton about the lack of extra arms, but we both agreed it was damn cool to see your kid do this for the first time. Then I called Grandma Suzie, who was also thrilled and immediately asked about pictures. She had to be reminded about the lack of extra arms (but also agrees that they would come in really handy) and that Jeff was at work...which you would think she would remember since they work in the same place!! Then I called Aunty Meg who was flying and left a message on her cell. I couldn't call Grandma Barbara & Grandpa Dave because they're on a cruise.

Tenley happily repeated her new trick and walked straight into Daddy's arms about 5 minutes after he got home. Grandma Suzie called at 9 to find out why there were still no pictures of the milestone posted here. Today, we finally managed to get the picture you see above. The most she's taken is 7 steps, and she's usually way too excited about it and tries to run causing her to crash into whichever parent she was heading towords.

As proud as I am of her accomplishment, inside I'm also groaning: Ten is already extremely busy, and once she's a confident walker I think she'll be running everywhere. I see track shoes, exaustion, and a baby leash in my future. On the plus side, this means I can start putting her into all the cute dresses I have for her, and I should lose about 10 lbs. from chasing her around.

PS: If you haven't visited our website be sure to check it out. Click on Tenley's page and you can see Quick Time movies of Gotcha Day and her 1st Birthday! We'll post one of her walking as soon as we get some footage!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Am Grateful

So there was something that I forgot to mention when I wrote about my trip to Palm Springs with Tenley. I forgot to mention that I am married to a really fabulous guy. He's too good for me. I'm blessed with spending my life with my best friend who makes me laugh so hard it hurts, does nice things for me everyday (like getting up out of bed and bringing me Advil & water because I casually mention that I have a headache), he writes me love letters, puts up with my general craziness and messiness, and works hard so I can stay home and be a Mommy. He's also a great Dad who not only plays with his kid; but feeds her, bathes her, changes diapers, sings lullbyes, and dries tears. I feel compelled to mention how lucky I am to have this man as my partner, because I spent 3 days as a "single mom".

I have always had a certain respect for single moms (and dads!), and I have gained a new level of appreciation for them. I have had the briefest glimpse of how tired they must be after working all day and then coming home to care for one of these little dynamos. I am in awe of their fortitude, self reliance and stamina. I greatly admire those, like my own mother, who carry on and provide a great life for their children all by themselves when, by accident or design, they are left to do the job alone. I kneel in amazement at those who intentionally choose to take on the challenge of raising a child all on their own!

To those of you out there who have done, or are currently doing this parenting job alone - I salute you! You are amazing people, doing the most difficult of all jobs and you have my utmost respect.

To my own mother: thank you- I could not have asked for a finer woman to have raised me, you have been a great mom (and dad) and I am still in awe of all you have done and continue to do for me. I can never repay you, I can only try to do as much for Tenley. And Jeff: I could not ask for a better husband, Tenley could not hope for a more loving Dad. I am so very very lucky to have you here to help me.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Nattie Turns 1

On Saturday, Tenley went to her first friend's birthday party! My friend Tracy (pictured above holding her daughter, the birthday girl) invited us over to see Natalie turn one and demolish a cake.

I can't believe it's been a year already! It seems like just yesterday I was talking to Tracy's belly and we were tossing names around. Now here are our girls already a year old. This was the first chance Tracy had to meet Tenley since she came home, so it was really fun for the girls to meet each other, and for us to compare notes since they're only 3 weeks apart in age. Natalie is already walking and says several words - of course she has the advantage of both her adoring mom and fabulous older sister Taylor to help her learn all those new skills!! She's also much bigger than Tenley- Ten is just starting to outgrow size 6 month clothes, and Nattie is already in 18 months! However, Tenley has more teeth and has more hair (finally) and has ditched the 2am bottle...which Nattie refuses to give up much to her mother's chagrin. But both girls are happy and healthy - and they'll get more teeth & hair and decide to walk and talk when it's their time.

The party was great: Tracy had yummy BBQ Beef (which Tenley devoured), lots of fruit coleslaw, chips and Tracy2 made cold gazpatcho soup which was all kinds of good. Nattie had a 2 tier green polka dot cake with Tinkerbell on it, and a mini version of it to destroy. There was the pool and the bounce house with a slide that all the kids couldn't get enough of.

Tracy & I threw the big kids out of the bounce house for a few minutes so we could take Ten & Nattie in. Nattie crawled around and finally went over to the mesh windows and mugged for the video camera. Tenley seemed really unsure of the whole thing. I held her and jumped with her, but I could tell by the way she was clinging to me that she was none too certain of her surroundings. She scratched on the floor and walls, and looked a trifle miffed when the rocking of the floor would knock her over. But I think she got the idea because she stood up and put a death grip on my shoulders and began bouncing up and down. Later the moms threw all the kids out and got in there and bounced around ourselves - that was fun...I haven't done that in a long time.

Anyway, we had a great time! I was glad that Tracy invited us, and Nattie & Tenley seemed to like each other - Nattie even shared her toys! I hope we get the girls together again soon, and I'm looking forward to many many more birthday parties (and bounce houses)!