Channeling Mahalia

Sunday, December 23, 2007 1 comment

The Sunday before Christmas, the children of our church put on a Christmas pageant/performance. The middle school/high school kids take an active part in the performance writing the script, acting and singing solos. The younger children dress as angels and shepherds and sing in the choir.

A few Sundays ago, Chloe was sent home with a sheet of 4 songs that we should practice for the pageant. Chloe only wanted to sing one of the songs, "Go Tell it on the Mountain". The fact that Chloe chose to love this song is riotous and ironic as it was mine and my sister's favorite Christmas song of time. During the Christmas season, we would put Mahalia Jackson's version of "Go Tell it on the Mountain" on my parents record player and belt it out with her. It's a favorite memory. So, when Chloe took a liking to the song, I had to find Mahalia Jackson's version for her to practice with. Chloe practiced the song with Mahalia and Aretha Franklin. She knew all the words.

The Sunday morning of the performance, Chloe had to be a church early for a rehearsal. It was during rehearsal that I learned that having Mahalia and Aretha as tutors for your 3 year old probably wasn't the best idea. Chloe was belting it out 10 decibels above the other children. All you could hear was Chloe's version of "Go Tell it on the Mountain". She was bringing it and feeling it. Luckily, the choir director loved her enthusiasm for the song as well as she was the only pre-schooler who knew all the words (along with Aretha's special opening of the number).

Unfortunately, Chloe's jubilation and soulful rendition did not come out during the church service. During the performance, the little girl next to Chloe pushed Chloe and told her to sit down after they finished singing "Away in the Manger". This angered Chloe who then ran down the aisle of the church seeking me out to tell me of the offense. After telling Chloe the little girl was just trying to help her we sent her back up to sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain". Chloe was not pleased to stand next to her new arch nemesis, the little girl, and proceeded to pout and not sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain". She just wasn't feeling Mahalia anymore.

Naughty or Nice?

Thursday, December 20, 2007 No comments

I am placing my dog on Santa's naughty list. She tore through a trash bag last night, eating her way through Chloe's dirty pull ups and spreading coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor. Disguisting. As if that weren't bad enough, one hour later she went outside and got "skunked". Nasty. I do not think I will be able to smell again. My nostrils still burn from the skunk aroma from the dog.

Chloe would like an I-Pod and a guitar for Christmas. It all began when her Fisher-Price kiddie headphones went haywire and died. Chloe loves the dance parties she has with Daddy and helping him download his music and podcasts to his I-Pod. Thus, when her headphones gave out, she wanted an I-Pod like Daddy's. The guitar, well, she's always been mesmerized by them.

So, at dinner tonight I asked Chloe if she thought Santa would bring her the items she wanted. She said yes, she knew Santa would bring her a blue I-Pod (which is a fancier one than Daddy's BTW) and a guitar. I asked her how she knew that and she gave me the basic, expected response of a three year-old...because I have been a good girl.

The Holiday Performance

At Chloe's pre-school on Wednesday was the classes holiday performance. The kids have been rehearsing for some time now with their music director. All the classes were on the stage and sang some Christmas classics like "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".
Chloe was front and center on the stage. The music teacher told me after the performance that it was planned as Chloe had quite the reputation for her cute clothing. Yes, yes, I am one of those moms who get a holiday outfit for EVERY holiday.

I got some good video footage, but I won't bore you with that. I included some photos I took at the performance.

Christmas Bounty

Chloe's last day at pre-school for the holiday break was Wednesday. She had a bounty of gifts for us and for herself. Pre-school is such fun!

Chloe holding a "reindeer candy cane" that she and I made to go in the goody bags for her classmates.

"Reindeer food."

Chloe's ornament/portrait.

Our present Chloe made for us, a candle that she colored and glittered.

The front of the card that Chloe made for us--its a reindeer.

The inside of the card. Chloe had help from her teacher in signing her name.

A Guitar and an I-Pod

When we purchased our Christmas tree, Chloe also visited Santa. It's no secret that Chloe doesn't like Santa, she's only been talking about how much she doesn't like him since last Christmas. After some coaxing, she sat all by herself on Santa's lap. We were so proud. She says she likes him now...or at least she will tolerate him if he brings her a guitar and an I-Pod.

A Cuppa

Monday, December 10, 2007 1 comment

A BIG thanks to Nana (Matt's Mum) for sending the care package of tea all the way from her Majesty's purveyors. Nothing beats having a cuppa of the finest on a cold day.

Getting Festive

We went on Saturday and purchased our tree. Chloe helped me decorate. She did her best, putting about 7 ornaments on one branch. She thought it was beautiful, which it was, but during nap I had to rearrange the ornaments to keep the branch from snapping in two.

More Artwork

Chloe has been busy in pre-school creating all sorts of artwork. I have included the "Family Tree" she created. She insisted that Emma Claire be added to the tree. It's rather sweet. I love the captions about us (we all LOVE to swim). The other shot is of the Christmas tree Chloe decorated. Apparently Chloe is into the "less is more" theory of decorating. She refused to put any more decorations on her tree and barely tolerated the glitter glue tinsel being added.

The car, oh excuse me, the drawing of the Porsche is by Matt and Chloe. Daddy came to co-op at Chloe's pre-school last week and this was his artistic creation with Chloe.


Its still fall, but winter has alread reared its head here in the NE. I snapped some shots of Chloe helping Matt clear off the sidewalks during the last snow fall over a week ago.

(Really, it's all about how cute she looks in her snowsuit.)

Daddy Got A Red Motorcycle!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007 No comments
Chloe trying on Daddy's red motorcycle helmet in anticipation of the scooter's arrival.

Chloe and Matt on his new, red scooter.

While we were in Colorado Matt received a job offer from a financial investment firm to be their Chief Technology Officer. It has been Matt's career goal to be a CTO and we are so proud of him for achieving this success. This means that he will no longer have to travel and will be working exclusively in the city. After receiving the job offer, Matt began looking for a scooter to take him to the train station (you don't have to have a parking pass for a scooter) so that Chloe and I will not have to get up at the crack of dawn to drop him off. He found a red Piaggio scooter that was in mint-condition nearby while searching the internet while we were in Colorado. When we returned home we went to look at the scooter and purchased it on the spot. It was delivered to us Wednesday.
Chloe was so excited when the man arrived to deliver the scooter (which she calls a motorcycle). She kept running around the house yelling, "Daddy got a red motorcyle!". I was talking to my mother on the phone when Chloe came running in, climbed in my lap, grabbed my face to look at her and said, "Daddy got a red motorcycle. It has a compartment to keep his stuff and a seat!". Yes, that seat is a nice feature.

Native American Princess

We left for Colorado early and missed the Thanksgiving feast/re-inactment at Chloe's pre-school. Chloe's teacher sent home Chloe's costume for the party on Monday of this week. Chloe made a necklace of pasta and clay beads, a vest with feathers, a head dress and a placemat. She was so proud of the items she made.

Fall Leaves

It has been a late fall here in the northeast. We have been waiting for the leaves on our trees to fall. Of course, as luck would have it, they all dropped while we were in Colorado. We returned home to a yard that looked like it belonged to a vacant house. Several hours of raking returned us one broken rake, several large piles of leaves and a restored lawn.

Looking out our front door at the walk up to the door. Its covered in leaves

A "before" shot of our front yard.

An "after" shot.

Thanksgiving in Colorado

We spent this Thanksgiving in Colorado this year with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law. Chloe and I flew out on Monday before Thanksgiving and Matt came out on Wednesday.

Monday was a beautiful, warm day in Denver and we enjoyed dinner at Deanna's house alfresco on her lovely patio. By the time Matt arrived on Wednesday the weather had changed dramatically and snow was on the ground.

Other than spending time with family, one of the highlights of the trip was then evening concerts played by Chloe and her Uncle John (my brother-in-law).

Of course, after their concert was over Chloe insisted that we all form a band and handed out instruments for each of us to play. Deanna played the wooden, musical pig (don't ask, I can't explain it), PaPaw played a mean accordian, Chloe was on the guitar, John played the drumsticks on a puzzle box, BeBe played the tambourine with a jangle bracelet and I was on kazoo. It was a feast for one's ears. We could not control our laughter but Chloe took the music very seriously.

On Thanksgiving Chloe and I were in charge of decorations and we made leaves for everyone's glasses. On the leaf, each person wrote what they were most thankful for. Uncle John's leaf won the prize with "Every Day I Wake".

Chloe loved playing seeing BeBe and PaPaw, Aunt Deanna and Uncle John and the snow.

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 10, 2007 No comments
Chloe is old enough now that she gets what holidays are all about. I wanted to teach her the message of Thanksgiving and that we should all be thankful for the abundance and gifts in our lives everyday. I purchased the book below and we read it together. I then asked Chloe what she was thankful for and made a list. I traced her hand on construction paper and then wrote one thing Chloe was thankful for on each hand. We then glued the hands on to a tree that I had made on a poster board. After all the hands were on the tree we hung it on our refrigerator to look at and be thankful for each day.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007 No comments
I have been more than slack in updating this blog. I just didn't have the spirit to update and now I have a month's backlog of details and photos.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that Chloe drew some pictures with our babysitter one evening and insisted that they be titled. As I was cleaning up the other day, I came across the drawing in Chloe's notebook and thought I should post them as they are very funny.
Chloe loves to draw pictures of me and this is me going inside the house.

This is titled "Chloe the Clown".

Happy Halloween

Friday, November 02, 2007 2 comments
Ready to go trick or treat.

I had hoped to have photos of Chloe in Halloween outfit #2, but wouldn't you know it, the outfit I ordered to replace outfit #1 (because I didn't think it would arrive by Halloween) didn't arrive by Halloween--and it was guaranteed to. I don't know how it was mailed, but apparently it was sent via horse and rider as it was mailed on October 24 and as of today has still not arrived. Halloween outfit #2 will be Halloween outfit 2008.

Chloe's cousins sent her a diva pumpkin kit and we decorated our diva pumpkin on Tuesday. After all was decorated, Chloe informed me that the pumpkin looked like me. Thanks.
Chloe and the "diva" pumpkin.

Chloe knew what Halloween was all about this year and was so very excited to go "trick or treating". We headed out about 5:30 p.m. and met the other kids and parents on our street to go door to door. We were out for about 1.5 hours. Chloe's favorite treat was a ring pop.

Daddy and Chloe heading out to get some candy.

"Trick or Treat!"

Chloe and the gang heading to the next house.

On Thursday we loaded up all the candy and left it out on the table for the Halloween Fairy. I got this idea from my sister-in-law and after Chloe had a tantrum Wednesday night when she was cut-off from the candy, we decided we would bring in the Halloween Fairy on Thursday. See, you get to select just a few pieces from your stash and then you leave the rest out for the Halloween Fairy who comes and takes your candy and leaves a present behind. Before nap, Chloe left all her candy, sans some brain gummies from BeBe, on the dining room table for the Fairy. When she woke from nap there was a present on the table. Chloe was so delighted with her present that she hasn't asked for any candy. It's been a delight.

P.S. I almost forgot to add---several people thought Chloe was a Hawaiian hula girl because of the flowers on her crown. Hmmm, yes, I could see how you could miss seeing the wings and the wand she was holding and the outfit's apparent lack of a lei and grass skirt---can you tell I was annoyed a bit? Our loud-mouthed neighbor was the first to shout out that he thought she was a hula girl. I told him she was a fairy and he told me that he thought Chloe "looked" Hawaiian and therefore she was a hula girl. Uh, she's Asian and what he basically said was if she were fair-haired he'd say she was a fairy, otherwise she looked like a hula girl. He's a moron and I didn't want to pummel someone on Halloween in front of Chloe, so I let it slide. Matt and I already sized this neighbor up as a bafoon before so it wasn't a shocker. But, three other neighbors got the stink-eye when they guessed hula girl too. ALL MORONS!

A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Monday, October 29, 2007 1 comment

On Saturday we went to the Newcomer's Halloween Bash. Chloe wore her costume and I had to dress up since I am on the Board. I pulled out a robe and crown I wore in class when I taught U.S. History (yes, I was one of THOSE crazy teachers who dress up and teach class). Chloe had fun seeing her pals and dancing to the melodic tunes of the performer who is a big hit year after year.

After the party, we went to pick up my SUV from the detail center. When we came back from camping this past Monday, there was wet road paint and we unknowingly drove through it. It was all over the driver's side of the Navigator-and I am not talking about little yellow specks of paint, it was thick and coated on the running boards, wheel wells and doors. The car looked like a school bus on the driver's side. The detail center did a fantastic job and only charged us for a regular detail. I wish I would have taken a photo of the Navigator before but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Now, I wish I had.

When we returned home Saturday, we discovered that the garage door opener was fried and we were going to need to replace it. Plus, our garage door is rotting and warped and needs replacing as well. One phone call had the garage door company at our house 2 hours later for measurements and an estimate. Our new door and opener should be installed within the month. Fingers crossed that we don't have to replace anything else on our house for a while!

Matt's friend Bryan came in town Sunday. He is staying with us. Chloe hasn't seen Bryan since Easter, but she warmed to him quickly!
I co-op tomorrow at Chloe's pre-school and I am glad that I will be there. We get a weekly newsletter (which I was suckered volunteered to type) and I froze as I read the curriculum for Chloe's class: "During the next couple weeks, the 3’s will focus on families. We will discuss how we are alike and different. We will be making family trees and preparing for our Thanksgiving feast."

Why should this family tree project bother me? Hmmm, well, I think it concerns most parents who have adopted children. It just never occurred to me that I would have to face this concern this early and it has honestly caught me off-guard. I expected this lame assignment to pop-up in elementary, but not pre-school.

I just don't get WHY the family tree is still taught/discussed in school. Too me it's inappropriate for the classroom. Is Chloe's pre-school teacher going to shed light on understanding all the people in Chloe's family? How can she? She doesn't even know who is in Chloe's family! Chloe is just starting to grasp that BeBe is MY mom and PaPaw is MY father. This whole assignment is just a lesson that should be left to parents. They understand their child's family tree better than the teacher--and as a former teacher, I will happily admit that. Really, are parents of children going to let this family tree lesson slip by that they have to throw it into the school curriculum? "Oh, gosh, we just never got around to teaching Chloe that she calls Aunt Deanna "aunt" because she is MY sister!" It's dumb.

But, that's just my former teacher-self talking. The one who insists that all curriculum be relevant. As an adoptive parent, the concern that will have me speaking to the teacher tomorrow is the line "we will discuss how we are alike and different". I am probably over-reacting here. In fact, I am fairly certain that I am, but this is my child we are talking about, so I think I'm a little entitled. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for teaching tolerance and respect of differences. I know my family is "different" in the sense that Chloe is adopted and she is of Chinese heritage and her parents are not. Most people can take one look at us as a family and get that. I said most people, because Chloe can not. She hasn't come to the realization that she looks different from Mommy & Daddy and what it means that she was born in China and that she has a birthfamily in China. It's certainly not that this has been hidden from her, it hasn't. It's discussed and out in the open, but we are allowing Chloe to discover and question this at her own pace. I know the questions and the understanding of why she doesn't look like us are just around the corner. But, Chloe doesn't comprehend it, yet. I guess this is why I am so worked up. I just don't want her teacher using her as an example of being different from her parents or the other children because she is adopted.

So, before class begins tomorrow I will take the pre-emptive strike and let the teacher know that in no way, shape or form shall she use Chloe being adopted or looking different from her parents as a discussion point that she brings up. If Chloe wants to bring this up fine. But she as the teacher is NOT to point it out to the other kids.

Chloe's adoption story is hers to share. She knows she is adopted from China, she knows lived in an orphanage with her sisters from Qujiang, she knows she was a little baby when she met us and that she wouldn't look at us and tried to do a back-flip out of my arms when her nanny handed her to me. She knows Daddy was born in England and Mommy was born in the U.S. She knows she was in her birthmother's tummy and not my tummy. She can tell you all this and as a 3-year old, this is pretty much the extent of her understanding. So, I guess I just want to set the teacher straight that if Chloe wants to share great, but if the teacher feels compelled to add her two-cents, then she better shut her pie hole and just keep it to herself (I may have to re-word that for tomorrow). Kids are so impressionable at this age (and at any age for that matter) and to have someone who the kids look up to be ill-informed and add their opinion as if it were fact could be detrimental to my child's self-esteem and the way the other childen view her. So, the teacher better put a cork in it.

Of course, I will say this nicely and share with her some resources on what adoption experts say about this assignment. I will also share this with the director and then I will keep it filed away for elementary school.

Am I over-reacting? Probably. But, I guess this is just my wake up call as to what lay ahead. I thought I was prepared for all of this, but perhaps I'm not as ready as I thought.

10/30/07 update: So I did over-react. I spoke with Chloe's pre-school teacher about my concerns and she told me that the "family differences" would be about how each family celebrates Thanksgiving (glad she is not an English or a writing teacher because that's not clear in the statement). She also told me that if they were to discuss adoption that she would let me know beforehand.

Halloween Outfit #1

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 5 comments
Chloe has two Halloween costumes this year and both are similar in style. How did she end up with two?

At the beginning of August, I ordered and payed for a hand-made Halloween costume for Chloe from a seller on E*ay. I thought it would arrive way in advance of Halloween. As September came to a close, I began to panic because the costume had not shown up after nearly 2 months of waiting. I repeatedly emailed the seller to inquire and would on occasion get a response with some excuse why it was taking so long and that it would be mailed out that week, which it never did--well, until today.

In the meantime, I began to panic that the costume I ordered way back in August would not arrive in time for the 3 costume parties Chloe will be attending. To make matters worse, I couldn't just run up to the party/costume shop to purchase a new one because a) it was hand-made/custom and b)Chloe had seen what I ordered and fully expected to be a princess/butterfly/ballerina for Halloween and I didn't think the store would have that costume. OY! So, I got on E*ay, found another seller who had a custom/hand-made butterfly/princess costume that she could get to me the week the parties begin.

See, in actuality the first costume I ordered was a fairy but Chloe was convinced it was a butterfly/princess/ballerina costume because it had lots of tulle for the skirt, wings and a crown of flowers. So, I had to find something similar---a monarch butterfly costume with lots of tulle, wings and a crown of flowers. Now she has two and she's VERY excited.

I had thought of saving one for next Halloween, but both have been sized to fit her current chest and head size. Since I fully expect her to grow in the next year, I don't think that plan will work out. And, in case you think I spent a butt-load of money on two outfits, I didn't. That's why I so love E*ay. At a recent arts & crafts fair there was a vendor selling the hand-made tulle princess/fairy, butterfly costumes for little girls. I got Chloe's two outfits for the price of that vendor's one outfit and people were lined up to buy them! I wanted to shout out go to E*ay but at the time, I didn't have Chloe's outfit yet and was a bit miffed that it was taking so long.

I took some photos of Chloe in her Halloween outfit #1 today to see how it fit. She loves it and informed me that she wanted to wear it the rest of the day. She then told me the outfit was scratchy but she still wanted to leave it on. I will have to put a leotard and tights on her to keep the scratchiness at bay.