Sunday, August 31, 2008

Abi di-di

This is what Z's been saying all day. Abi (pronounced "ah-bee") used to mean open, but now seems to have morphed into something like "Hey grown-up, do this thing for me that I can't do by myself." And as far as we can tell, "di-di" means "this." So for instance, today she handed me one of B's water wings and said "abi di-di," meaning she wanted me to put it on her arm. And she handed a book to M and said "abi di-di," meaning "read this to me."

Also new this weekend: milk, book, and blanket. With all three, she saw what she wanted, pointed at it, and said the word. You could've knocked me over with a feather! I think the language thing is about to take off. Go, baby go! Life will get a lot easier for us when this little girl can tell us what she wants instead of screaming, shrieking or whining until we figure it out. Or maybe it'll get harder -- she's a very headstrong child and has some very definite ideas about what she wants. Let's just go with the "easier" theory -- makes me feel better.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pictures from the last few weeks

I just dumped the contents of the digital camera, and found a ton of pictures I've been neglecting to post. Here goes:

A good way to while away an hour on a hot summer morning:

Playing in the sprinkler in our backyard:

This is how Z sleeps:

And this is how she wakes up:

Dog pile!

Dressing up:

B and I go to Heritage Square, a puny and ratty little amusement park that's just about perfect if you're four:

B pouts, and Z throws a fit:

Because he loves me:

And one little story about love: B and I went for an evening hike last week to check out the burned part of the mountain. As always, we ran down the trail to get back to the car (B loves a trail run, and so do I!). Somehow (maybe the margarita I had at dinner?), I tripped and fell HARD when we were almost back to the car. I was pretty banged up -- bruises and scrapes -- and at first was afraid I'd dislocated my elbow again. I was also fairly shaken up. As soon as we got home, B ran downstairs to tell his dad about it. While I sat down on the couch to recover, B ran upstairs, pushed a kitchen chair over to the cupboard, got a cup, filled it with water, and very carefully brought it downstairs to me. As he was coming down the stairs, he said, "Mommy, I'm bringing you this to help you feel better. Know why I picked the pink cup with the hearts on it? Because I love you." You know what? I did feel better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A marriage inside-out

There's a couple that I pass on my way to work many mornings. I think they're Indian (just guessing based on how they're dressed). I see them taking a morning walk in a shady part of east Denver as I zoom by in my car. The reason I always notice them is that the woman always walks 20 feet or so behind the man. They're clearly just out for a stroll -- the man always has his hands clasped behind his back, and they walk slowly. The woman, dressed in a sari, follows along behind, looking at her feet.

It always makes me wonder: what is that marriage like at home? Is this formality just a show for public consumption, or do these roles carry on behind closed doors too? Are they affectionate, or is it just a business relationship? Do they have pet names, or are they Mr. and Mrs. to each other? What must it be like to be a woman in the sort of marriage I imagine it to be?

But my biggest question is: can you really judge ANYTHING about their marriage, or anyone else's, based on what you see during a morning walk down a public street? Maybe they kid around with each other all the time at home, and hold hands when no one's looking.

It just makes me go hmmmmm, that's all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I got this from Alana and it is just too good not to try.

Go to www. urbandictionary. com and type in your answer to each question in the search box, then write the FIRST definition it gives you...

1) Your name? J(abbreviated to protect the more-or-less innocent)

A girl that works in a shop and is very lazy. (Better than the second definition, at least: One who has an extemely large ass.)

2) Your Gender? Girl

The creation of satan. designed to destroy the existence of mankind.

3) One of your friends? Missy

Girls who like to run around naked and throw their clothes into trees (actually, I'm breaking the rules here for my own pleasure -- this is the second definition. The first definition was: Noun, Person, Informal)

4) What should you be doing? Working

A term to describe the tedious and boring indentured servitude that most people are forced to endure to get money. Generally, not a pleasant experience.

5) Favorite color? Purple

Extremely potent marijuana, specifically marijuana buds that have a purple hue to them. Also accompanied by a fragant, usually fruity smell and mad perma-grin.

6) Where were you born? Maryland

The state with the biggest identity crisis in America. Parts of it like DC and Baltimore are extremely ghetto, with two of the top 5 murder rates in the country. Balto is the heroine capital of the world. Suburbs like Potomac are Bethesda are among the richest and most well educated in the country, and populated by lawyers and doctors with preppy rich children who drive Benz's. To the far west, you have the type of hicks that live in West Virginia up in the Appalachian mountains. To the south and the east you have the kind of hicks you might find in Mississippi. In Ocean City you have retired people who decided to go live on the beach. Around the bay area, you have a lot of fisherman. Maryland may be mixed up, but the crabs are damn good.

7) Month you were born? November

The most popular form of rain when getting married to a hot and sexy rockstar.

8) Last person you talked to/texted on the phone? M(abbreviated to protect the not-really-innocent-at-all)

A dirty **** who stinks really ******* bad
(jeez, someone must have dated a person of this name and had it end very badly, because there is a lot of hate in that definition)

9) Your pet's name? Lulu

A character from Final Fantasy X who is borderline goth, uses dolls as weapons, and is as volumptuous as f***.
(Can you spell I-L-L-I-T-E-R-A-T-E? Good, now spell "voluptuous.")

10) Your last name? B(abbreviated...well, you know why)

The famed [creature]-like creature popularized in such video games as [name of a collection of video games]. This is the pre-royalty title of the villian. He lived with his parents until he was 25, brooding on his own inadequacy. When he inherited his rich grandmother's isolated castle located past [??] infested deserts, caves, and mountains, he decided it was time to look for company. His obsession with [fake royalty] eventually led to him meeting [a character] and they instantaneously became rivals for her affection. But we all know it is [another character] who does all the work.
No you suck.
(seriously, that's how this definition ended)

Monday, August 25, 2008

I don't get it

With the DNC in town this week, I can't help but get a little political. Here's the thing I don't get: why are all those Hillary supporters bitter? Sure, the primary was very close, but she lost and he won. What is there to be bitter about?

Is it that they wanted a woman to be the candidate? Me too, but it has to be the right woman. Believe me, I will fall down on my knees and cry the day a woman enters the White House as president. It's something I never used to think would happen in my lifetime, but I now do. I honestly don't believe that her losing had anything to do with her gender. She's just not the person the majority of the country's Democrats (myself included) are looking for right now. We want a breath of fresh air, someone who inspires us and makes us want to believe in ourselves again. Clinton, whether it's right or fair or not, carries too much baggage from her and her husband's past to be that person. She is too much a part of the machine. I know many people didn't see her that way at all; I'm just telling you how I saw her.

Is it that she is somehow entitled to the nomination because of the fact that her name is Clinton and what that means in today's Democratic party? I don't buy that for a second. That would make us just like the Rs, handing out favors to the privileged few.

Or do these people somehow think Obama stole the nomination, that the primaries were rigged, that the nomination is rightfully Clinton's? C'mon now. That's just plain silly.

But the one thing I REALLY don't get is this: how can anyone who calls him or herself a Democrat, liberal, progressive, or whatever you label you want to put on those of us who hold those sorts of views, vote for McCain? That's just sour grapes. It's cutting off your nose to spite your face, as my mom would say. And I apologize in advance here for being blunt and unkind, but it's also stupid. You can't seriously tell me that having a particular individual in the White House is more important than the welfare of our country, can you? I can't believe that anyone who is a true supporter of Hillary Clinton would cast a vote for John McCain. That doesn't make any sense.

If anyone reading is one of those so-called "bitter" Hillary supporters I keep hearing about, please tell me what it's all about. I ask in all seriousness. I want to understand.

Monday, August 18, 2008

6 months!

Then and now:

February 17, 2008

late July, 2008 (photo by B)

[Blogger is in some sort of a snit & won't let me post new photos -- I'll try to replace the July one with a new one tomorrow.]

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of the day we met Z, and today is the six-month anniversary of the day we officially adopted her. It's hard to believe it's been that long! The changes in our daughter have been awe-inspiring though. She is a smart, resilient and charming little girl. Here is a brief summary of how Z has grown and changed in six months:

- She's grown 1.5" and put on 3.5 pounds. She's now somewhere around 65th %ile for both height and weight. When she first came home she was 50th %ile for height and not quite on the charts for weight. So if she has these seemingly normal measurements, why is it that I still have to safety-pin 18-month size pants and skirts to keep them on my almost two year-old's teeny tiny waist?!

- She's gone from not speaking or understanding a word of English to understanding most of what we say and speaking about 30 words. She also uses or understands about ten or so signs. Her favorite words by far are "up" and "more." She loves to be held, and she loves to eat!

- She went from barely being able to sit up by herself in China to walking in a period of about three months.

- She knows who everyone in the family is and can name us all.

- She can point to and name all of her facial features and some body parts.

- She's had about a cold a month since coming home, which is not always fun, but should make for a healthy immunity by the time she starts kindergarten.

- She has always accepted our affection towards her, but now offers up kisses and hugs to us too.

- In a sure sign of trust on her part, she has begun treating us to some truly spectactular toddler hissy fits.

- She may have actually eaten one or two vegetables since she came home! Seriously, she still doesn't have a very healthy diet, but at least she'll eat more than pork, eggs and noodles now.

- She loves music, and loves the water so much we think she might be part fish. Or maybe mermaid.

- She has adjusted beautifully to child care, and adores her teacher Miss Diane. At the end of the day though, she still runs squealing across the room when I come in, arms opened to be picked up.

We can't wait to see what the next six months bring. I'm sure she'll continue to amaze us. We love you, little Z!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vacation slideshow

First stop: Davidsonville, MD (near Annapolis), for my sister's wedding. B was the ringbearer, then was invited to play the maraca in the band, and took both duties very seriously. He did a stellar job at both. He and Z both boogied down after he finished his musical duties. There was a dinner cruise on the West River one night, and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents around. Plus, they live on a horse farm, so there was plenty to entertain both kids.

Next stop: The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum at Dulles, on the way to Woodbridge, VA, where we spent a night with M's aunt & uncle. B was thrilled to see a real space shuttle, while I was a little disappointed that all we could do was look at it (I'd been hoping we could go inside it). He & I rode a thing that simulates a space shuttle trip to the space station though, and that was a blast. I laughed hysterically through the whole thing. The visit with M's aunt & uncle was fun too -- they're fun people to be around, and have a daughter who's a high school senior and a son who's a college junior. Both are just delightful kids. If our kids someday grow up to be that smart, polite and funny, I'll consider our job well done.

Next: Virginia Beach, VA, to stay with M's mom. She had a big family party our first afternoon there, with a whole crew of cousins for B & Z to play with. We also visited the aquarium, had dinner with M's grandma at her nursing home, and went to the beach. M flew home from VA, since he doesn't have a lot of vacation time at his job.

Next: The kids and I drove to Greenville, NC, to visit M's dad. They have a neighborhood pool that both kids enjoyed, and B got to help mow the lawn. And Uncle Richard, who is almost 16, was a lot of fun to play with. There was also a trip to a toy store, where M's step-mom let each kid pick out a new toy, and a rainy afternoon spent at a bounce house. Can you believe they wouldn't let me bounce too?! I actually got kicked out of a bouncer.

Last leg: We drove back to Baltimore, checked into an airport hotel, and flew home the next morning. The flight was pure hell. Only the kindness of a stranger saved me from flinging myself out the emergency exit at 40,000 feet. This kind stranger was a woman named Margaret. She was on the hotel shuttle to the airport with us, then coincidentally (and luckily, at least for us, if not for her) ended up in the third seat in our row. She held Z at least as much as I did, if not more (this probably set us back at least a month on the attachment process, but hey, it was a crisis situation), read books to B and took him to the restroom while I held Z during a hissy fit, and shared her snacks with the kids.

All in all, it a was a nice trip. B hadn't seen his east coast relatives for two years, long enough that he didn't remember most, so he had a blast meeting all those cousins he didn't even know he had. And nobody there had met Z yet, so it was fun to introduce her around.

I learned an important lesson though: Never, and I mean NEVER, travel alone with two kids under five.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Green Moutain fire

Thanks to all of you who have emailed and called to make sure our home is OK. It is. We started getting calls and text messages last Tuesday afternoon, saying that Green Mountain, where we live, was on fire. It turned out to be a pretty bad fire, burning more than 300 acres. A few homes were slightly damaged, but no one was hurt and no homes were lost. It was a little scary being in Virginia and hearing that a big wildfire threatened our neighborhood, I must say. I'm still in North Carolina with the monkeys, but M is home and reports that a significant portion of the moutain is now black, and it's all on my favorite part of the mountain. Oh well. It'll be ugly for the rest of this year, but next summer it should be extra-green and the wildflowers will go crazy.

Here's an article from the Denver Post with some scary, scary pictures if you want to see more.

UPDATE: Here are some more photos on our city's website.

Now that I'm back home and have seen the burn area, it's truly horrifying. I would have been scared to death if we'd been home. I'm going to hike up on the mountain on Friday and will take the digital camera with me.