Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summery Days (at last)

We've waited so very long for proper summer weather -- am so glad it's here. We've been doing lots of different things. Visited Wheeler Farm with neighborhood playgroup last week. Emma fed the ducks...
...and rode the tractor (always kinda tricky getting it into 3rd gear).

Her last day at DDI preschool is this week. Above is a picture of Emma's darling teacher, Julie, and some of her pals from school (Logan, Harper and Harrison). DDI has been a wonderful experience for Emma the last 7 months and I'm grateful to my friend Jen (Logan's mom) for telling me about it. Class size was teeny tiny, they had great teachers, and it has really helped Emma's language acquisition. Now we're gonna take a 2-month summer break before she starts preschool at our nearby elementary school.

Went to a Bees game a few weeks ago hosted by a vendor for Joe's work. We got to sit in one of the boxes up top, but Emma was more interested in the food. She ate her weight in Swedish fish and peanut M&Ms.

This past weekend was our adoption agency's summer reunion picnic. Met up with some of our friends who also have adopted children from China. The little girl in the photo below, Brianne, is a sweetie and plays so well with Emma. We're bummed she lives in Provo (with all due respect to's just so dang far). Brianne's mom and I talked about meeting halfway sometime to let the girls play. Maybe Bluffdale?

Our friend Kathy Kaiser (below) is the director of our adoption agency and one of our favorite people. It was her 65th birthday the day of the picnic. She has helped more than 1,000 children find homes...and she still makes you feel like you're her favorite family. She is wonderful!

Emma got together with her new friend Madelyn (below) for a fun playdate last week. Madelyn is 3-1/2 and has been home from China for just three months. She's doing so well and she and Emma had a fab time swimming...

...and having a tea party with pear juice.

Here's Emma at the zoo earlier this week....

...and some cute photos from a few days ago...

Emma's doing great -- talking a blue streak -- and we're enjoying the lazy/crazy/hazy days of summer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's All About the Balloon

Emma and Dane at our friend Brad's birthday party.

Those of you who have been following our missives have noticed Emma's fascination with the balloon, and tonight's post is no exception. Balloons are to her as hamburgers are to Whimpy. We headed out to a birthday party of a friend last week, and Emma had a wonderful time running up and down a hill with a helium-filled balloon gripped tightly in one hand. Above is a shot just after Emma's balloon exits stage-up (click to see forlorn expression and wringing of hands). Anya was kind enough to feel her pain and give up her green balloon to Emma (which she is still nursing along).

For the benefit of the many kids in attendance, there were a couple of piñatas ((one shaped as a "4" (quatro) and another in the shape of a “0” (cero)). It was very amusing as all of these kids took their whacks at the piñatas with an Easton aluminum baseball bat. When the first digit was finally breached and the candy hit the deck, all of the kids stood frozen in place just staring at all of that loot on the floor. Apparently this was the first Latino-inspired candied wack-a-mole experience for all of them. It wasn’t long before all of the parents were yelling to the kids that decorum dictated, nay demanded, that they lunge at the sugary morsels at the expense and peril of all other toddlers. Once the concept was grasped and instinct took over, it was a good old-fashioned frenzy that inspired visions of piranha attacking an unsuspecting yak. It was a thing of beauty. The second piñata was then put into play, and voila!; no encouragement necessary. Emma got some Willy Wonka Nerds that tasted very good. Afterwards she was telling Denny and me that during the melee, somebody “whacked my noggin.”

Well, winter is finally over, and with the exception of a few spurts of hail and rain, it looks like summer weather might actually be around the corner. I spent a few days last week in SoCal at a USPS Forum. There’s a barrel of laughs for the uninitiated. The Anaheim Convention Center is right across the street from Disneyland, and it seems a shame I was unable to have Emma and Denny join me for a couple days of diversion. Perhaps in the future, or as Emma would say, "Not now, maybe later."
Emma’s linguistic skills are improving daily, and she is chatting and singing all of the time. She will even sing herself to sleep at night. What a difference a few months can make.

I cut the back of my hand at work the other day, and when I came home I started cooking some enchiladas with Denny. Emma saw the back of my hand, and ran for the wipes and a band aid. I couldn’t stop the enchilada assembly line, so Emma stood right next to me and wiped off the back of my hand, and expertly put the band aid right over the wound, and then kissed it better to boot. She’s something else (my hand is doing much better). OK then.