Happy Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 1 comment

Be careful what you wish for...I wished for warm weather and my wish came true. The temperature is in the high 80s but the humidity makes it feel like it's 100.

We had a nice long holiday weekend. Matt came home from work early on Friday and we had dinner in town and afterwards we went for ice cream. Chloe was delighted because she got 2 of her favorite foods: ice cream and french fries!

On Sunday Matt fired up the smoker for some Texas BBQ. We enjoyed our brisket and links outside. Chloe discovered the joys of cold watermelon on a hot day. She was covered in watermelon juice. I think it is safe to say that watermelon could be one of her favorite foods now.

On Memorial Day, we participated in the local run. Matt liked the cars on display. The local Lotus dealership had an Elise on display (see photo). We did the 1 mile fun run along with the other families. Chloe got a medal for participating. She wore it all Monday and attempted to wear it to The Little Gym today. We enjoyed our 1st Memorial Day in Jersey. We truly like our little village and find it charming.

Mr. Golden Sun!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 1 comment
I was delighted to have woken up this morning to find sunshine streaming in through the windows. I actually thought we left the front door open as so much light was coming through into the foyer. Could it be possible that spring has sprung here in Jersey? Might we actually be able to turn off the heater in our house and break out the shorts? After all, Memorial Day weekend is coming and June is around the corner!

Yesterday at the Little Gym, I was introduced to the world of nursery school. As a first-time mom all of this is so new to me and I constantly question when I should be putting Chloe in different activities. Apparently nursery school is highly sought and researched among the mothers in the area. I got the low-down all the nursery schools which were all play ("and you don't want that") and steered to the nursery schools that were more academic ("especially since you have a bright child"). Chloe's not even two! I didn't know we were supposed to have her pre-school days mapped out! Apparently we have fallen behind, I was seeing Chloe's future crumble and us having to shell out money to send her to after school tutoring because I failed her in nursery school. Then I came to my senses. She's two. If I wait until she is 3, what is she going to miss out on? Granted, there is a social aspect to nursery school which helps children learn to share and get-along. But, doesn't she get that from her swimming, Little Gym, storytime and music classes? The drama can just suck you in! After giving it some thought (some non-emotional thought), I will revisit the thought in October and stick with my original 2 choices for nursery schools in the area, one which was recommended by our realtor and the other which is a co-operative school and employs the parents as helpers and facilitators (hey, I am a certified teacher). Neither of these two nursery schools made it on the top of the list at yesterday's discussion and they were deemed as "too playful", but hey she's a toddler.

Culture Day

Monday, May 22, 2006 No comments

This past Saturday we attended FCC (Families with Children from China) Greater NY's Culture Day in Jersey City. It was a sunny day but a little windy. Matt thought is was a beautiful day and I thought it was way too cold for the middle of May. It just proves the geographical differences in our upbringing. That was an English summer day to Matt and it was February in Texas to me. My internal thermometer tells me it should be 90+ outside and that I shouldn't be running around in long-sleeves and a fleece in May.

The weather never seems to phase Chloe. She came to party, after she woke up. She was asleep the first 40 minutes we were there and then she awoke with a renewed vigor. In fact, she woke up dancing to the sounds of the Chinese dancers on stage. She was in perfect Chloe form. Even in a crowd of 300+ people, all with children from China, she makes herself stand out. She wore her orange sunglasses the entire time we were there and she wanted to inspect everything. She took some time out to color and then decided she wanted to ride on Daddy's shoulders to inspect the happenings inside the train depot where the vendors were set up. The hightlight of Chloe's day was when she danced on stage in front of the crowd. Of course, there was a Chinese language/dance performance going on at the time, but Chloe felt free to join right in.

We all had a great time. It was a nice family day out and it gave us a glimpse at all the things we could expect Chloe to get involved in as she gets older. It was a pretty amazing site to see the size event that FCC- Greater NY can put on with it's 2000 member families.

The rest of the weekend was spent working around the house. The basement is nearly complete and marks the end of our unpacking of boxes. All of Chloe's toys are now spread out in the basement and she is delighted to have rediscovered them.

In other news, Chloe has now been in timeout twice in the last week. I can't say it seems to phase her. The first time was because she threw here little peep eggs (a toy) all over the floor and threw them at me and then refused to pick them up. The second was when she slammed the kitchen drawers and baby-mumbled/shouted back at me when I wouldn't let her play (mom's definition: pull it all out and make a huge mess) with the plastic baggies and plastic wrap in the kitchen drawer. I can't complain, she is a happy baby and is great the majority of the time. Most of the misbehavior comes when she is tired or hungry.

Chloe was very happy today to get a big box from BeBe full of new books. We have already read them all, except for one and which we are saving for bedtime tonight.

I am now waiting for the DirecTV technician to arrive to re-align our dish from all the wind and rain we have been having of late or to fix the splitter (or just figure out why we aren't getting all of our channels...like the ones we watch). I have been waiting since 8 a.m. He was supposed to be here between 8-12, but now it is 1:30 p.m. and he still hasn't shown or called for that matter. I called to find out if Chloe and I would be captive in our home all day as it looks like it may not rain today and was told that they couldn't get in touch with him but assured me he would be here within the hour (that was the 12-1 p.m. hour). Once again I find myself singing the praises of the customer service in the area. Apparently I need to permanently lower my expectations, though I feel that if I do I will still continue to be disappointed. If I had only subscribed to regular old cable....KNOCK! KNOCK! They're here! I have to go if I ever want TV again.


Monday, May 15, 2006 1 comment

Aunt Deanna and Uncle John came to visit last Wednesday and stayed with us through the weekend. It wasn't the best circumstances which brought them out, John's father passed away, but we enjoyed seeing them.

The weather through their stay was rainy and a little chilly, but we did have one good day of weather, Saturday. We walked into the village and had dinner outside at the local Greek restaurant and had a really great time. We ate like pigs throughout the weekend, and Chloe got to explore some new foods like sushi, which she bummed off Uncle John and she tried fried calamari, which she found to be a little chewy.

Chloe is fast approaching two and she is really coming along. I took her for a haircut today, as her bangs were in her eyes. No one caters to children's hair and I have a bug to start my own Snip-Its franchise though I know nothing about cutting or styling hair. I just can't believe that the closest children's hair salon is in NYC with all the little ones around. I know my child has a lot of hair, but it is really a more pleasant experience taking them to a kiddie hair salon vs. the adult salon. I ended up taking her to a local hair salon and she sat in my lap to get her haircut. Chloe looked confused as to why she was in my lap and why there was no "Baby Einstein" on a tv for her to watch while her hair was being cut. Instead, she settled on trying to look at what the stylist was doing with the scissors and turning her head everytime she went to make a cut. In the end it all turned out ok.

Chloe never ceases to surprise me and last week, while we were playing in the yard, she called out to me..."Shannon!". Isn't she a little young to be using my first name? I thought I would get to wait a couple of years before she figured that one out. I informed her that I was "Mommy". Hopefully it worked, as she hasn't called me by my first name again. I think with all the company and Matt she has figured out who Shannon and Matt are.

We are still finishing up some projects around the house. I went and bought some paint today for the family room, kitchen and the dining room. When I finish with that little project, I will move on to our master bedroom. It is supposed to be cool and wet here for the next few days so I thought I would seize an opportunity to get some things done indoors.

Chloe'a U.S. Passport arrived today. We had it expedited and it only took a week and 2 days! That was fast. It is so cute.


Monday, May 08, 2006 2 comments

Today marks the one year anniversary that Chloe came into our lives. Chloe was unaware of the significance of today as she is too young to comprehend. To celebrate we went to a county park to play. Chloe had a blast until she climbed on a picnic table where a bird had just pooped and got it on her shirt. Actually, Chloe was fine with the bird poop on her shirt. It was me that wasn't ok with it. Chloe didn't quite understand what the fuss was about.

Needless to say, today marks the most important date in our lives, the day Chloe came into it. She has changed so much in this one year. She is a champion eater after refusing solids for the first 5 months we had her, she is now running, jumping and dancing. One of our favorite things Chloe does now is hearing her sing an original Chloe composition. It usually involves whatever is going on around her and it usually involves Mommy and Daddy and the word "sing" is always a part of her tune. She will strike up a song to Daddy's arrival on the train ("sing, daddy ride train, choo choo") or Mommy purchasing a coffee at the local coffee shop ("sing, mommy makin' coffee. Hot.").

Chloe is pure delight and is so laid back and yet she is so friendly. I came out of my spa day Sunday to discover she had participated in giving some random man a pedicure at the Bliss Spa. Matt said she found herself a pupil and she told him all about his toes. I am also amazed at how fast she picks things up. On the train ride into NYC Sunday she saw a poster advertising GEICO Car Insurance and she pointed to it and told me "GEICO, Gecko". And, as we passed a Starbucks today in the car, she told me "makin' coffee". For a child who doesn't even average an hour a week of TV, the Madison Avenue execs who designed those two advertising campaigns sure reached her.

This past year with Chloe has been one of constant change and she has developed into a well-balanced toddler. We couldn't be happier nor could we love another child more. We have to thank Chinese Centre for Adoption Affairs for making us a "forever family".

You Say It's Your Birthday!

Thursday, May 04, 2006 No comments

My birthday was yesterday. In celebration I scrubbed and sealed the kitchen tile. What a party. It was so wild I injured my back being hunched over.

Chloe and I went to the Duck Pond, a county park that suprisingly enough is a pond with ducks and geese. There are walking trails, a dog park and a playground. Chloe and I had a picnic and were accosted by a goose. Chloe then played and we walked around the pond. I had to call it quits when she chased after the ducks and geese and tried to follow them into the pond.

Matt came home early and we went to eat at a local Indian food restaurant. Chloe behaved and managed to slurp down all of Matt's mango drink. The highlight of the meal is when Chloe let loose in her pants and shouted to the other diners "TOOT! TOOT! TOOOOOOOOT!" Matt laughed hysterically, our waiter, who was at the table, grinned and I tried to pretend to ignore the event. Of course, that wasn't good enough for Chloe because she was telling Mommy that she had tooted and wanted my seal of approval.

On Sunday I get to enjoy a day of pampering at the Bliss Spa in NYC. It is a gift from my dear hubby who had to twist some arms to get me an appointment (apparently it is quite a hot spot right now). Matt and Chloe will be enjoying Central Park and FAO Schwarz while I get a massage and facial. Ahhhhh, Bliss!

Chloe's birthday is coming next....the BIG TWO! I Tivo "Martha" (yes, yes, I do) and got my cake idea yesterday. Chloe is getting a monkey cake. I figure if I write it down on the blog then I have to do it.

Included in the photos of our afternoon at the Duck Pond is a photo of Chloe taken by Aunt Deanna during our Easter festivities. I thought it was too good not to put on the blog.

1, 2, 5

Monday, May 01, 2006 No comments
After the weekend the house is back to looking like a disaster area. Matt started on the boxes in the basement and even though he cleared out about 10 boxes, it still looks like we haven't done anything in there. Matt was also able to assemble the new lawn mower and cut the grass/dandelions/wild onions. We don't have the best looking lawn on the street, but we are not digging up the yard and reseeding. No thanks.

We purchased a patio table and chairs and a chimenea for outside. We also went and bought a flat screen tv for the basement. Matt believes it is for the family room and that he can dismantle his 52" giant tv and get it into the basement. When he asked the salesman if he had ever dismantled a 52" freestanding tv, the kids just laughed and laughed and told Matt he was insane. Well, there's your answer honey, we just bought the new tv for the basement. It looks like the giant tv is staying put in the family room.

We also bought some new 2" blinds for the bedrooms as we had some lovely aluminium blinds circa 1985 on the windows. Of course, none of these got put up this weekend as Matt spent his time putting the new tv and all the 5000 components together in the basement.

I got Chloe's room painted. It's pink of course and is beginning to look just like her room in the old house. I guess I don't have an original idea in my head.

After our successful trash pickup we were skipped over again on Friday. Instead of putting it out at the curb you are apparently just supposed to leave it in the backyard and they will go back there and get it. Nice, but that isn't going to work once Lizzie, our nutty English Setter, arrives. I hope they return stray dogs to their yards too.

Chloe has taken to counting the stairs in the house. There are 15 steps going up to the floor with her room. She counts 1, 2, 5, 8, 10....and lets me fill in the gaps. I was shocked to learn that she knows which coins are which. She can pick out a quarter, a dime and a penny. She doesn't seem to care too much for a nickel. She should know these items well because she is always digging through my billfold and change purse. She loves "money". Who knew it would begin at 22 months of age? She is also beginning to put sentences together. For instance, she accused me of putting soap in her eyes during Friday evening's bath ("Momma soap eyes, Chloe cry"). Of course I didn't put soap in her eyes. She helps shampoo her hair and then promptly takes her soapy hands and rubs her eyes. But, I am the mother and I get the blame. I love how all of her first sentences are so accusatory and all aimed at me. Her very first 2-word sentence was one to cherish, "Momma's mean".

In an effort to get so much of the focus off me and to socialize outside the momma and Chloe circle of pals, Chloe begins the Little Gym tomorrow and we begin swim lessons at the local YWCA on Friday. I also joined the Newcomer's Club in our city. We are also getting to meet more of our neighbors as they stop by to introduce themselves. We discovered in this grass-obsessed city that people will come out to see what you are up to when you do any garden or lawn work. Of course, maybe they came out to see if my husband was making a joke at their expense when he found the little orange cones I used to teach a children's golf camp one summer and placed them around the perimeter of our yard.

My aplogies that I have no photos with this post. I will take some of Chloe and publish them with our next posting.