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.

Fall Camping

Chloe and Matt sitting around the campfire on Sunday evening.
Dinner time on Sunday evening. Chloe likes picnic but doesn't like the bugs. Prior to this photo we had just had a trauma over a ladybug who landed nearby.

Our campsite.

Outside Hershey's Chocolate World.

Matt setting up the awning (this was our 1st time opening it) and Chloe supervising in the background.

During this time of year in the northeast most RVs would have been "winterized" and stored until March. But, it has been so nice and warm lately that we decided to take the RV out for a long weekend in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

We left Saturday morning, a little later than planned. We always seem to get a slow start that forces us to rush and get stressed but once we always arrive its smooth sailing. The campground we went to was very family-friendly and when we arrived we found out that they were having a campsite trick or treat that evening. Of course, I didn't have Chloe's Halloween costume but luckily I did have candy. After setting up camp, we joined in on the trick or treating by walking the campsites. Chloe had lots of fun collecting candy.

Later in the evening we watched one of Matt and my favorite cartoons that we just purchased on DVD, The Jungle Book. We were excited to get to watch it with Chloe. I can't say Chloe was as excited as she wanted to rummage through the jack-o-lantern bucket for candy. So, most of the movie was spent telling her to stay away from the candy that she had had enough.

On Sunday morning, we got up early and headed out to Intercourse & Bird-In-Hand,PA to see the Amish country. It truly is the most pristine, beautiful farmland I have seen in the States. As we drove the back-country roads looking on at the acres and acres of farmland and cattle, I kept expecting to turn the corner and see the derelict house with the rusted cars sitting on concrete blocks scattered among the overgrown landscape with the obligatory barking pack of dogs. It never happened. I didn't take any photos out of respect for the Amish who were out in their horse-drawn carriages going to prayer services.

After touring the Amish towns we headed to Hershey to see if the town really smelled like chocolate--it does. We went to the gift store and discovered that the local Porsche club holds their rally in a nearby parking lot. Matt was pleased. We headed back to camp to watch the important and final Formula 1 race of the year to determine the champion and laze away the afternoon.

We spent Sunday evening grilling hamburger and hot dogs and sitting around a campfire. The campground was nice a quiet as most people had headed back to their homes earlier in the day. It was a nice and relaxing evening.

We will definitely head back to Lancaster County to see more sights and to spend a longer amount of time.
***While typing this blog I remembered that Weird Al did a parody of "Gangster's Paradise" about the Amish so I had to search it out and post it. Hey, it's educational--he actually covers a lot of information about what it means to be Amish.***


Thursday, October 18, 2007 No comments
The thermometer may read 78 degrees but it still mid-October and the seasonal hayrides aren't waiting for the fall weather. Today Chloe and I took two hayrides, occassion enough to break out Chloe's festive scarecrow overalls to snap some photos. Chloe had to roll her long-sleeves up as she got warm. Other kids were wearing shorts.

In the morning we went on a hayride with Chloe's pre-school at an unknown farm/nursery about 8 miles north of us. What a find! We went on a hayride with the class and picked a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. After the hayride back we fed the animals at the petting zoo.

Chloe feeding the sheep with her pre-school classmates.

The gratuitous but necessary overall photo.

Chloe searched for the smallest and CLEANEST pumpkin she could find. Uh, they're grown in dirt, they're all dirty. But search and find she did--the girl knows what she wants.

The hay bale maze--as you can tell it didn't take long for the kids to figure out the maze---walk on top of the hay bales and it's easy to get out.

Later in the afternoon we had another hayride at a nearby nursery through our Newcomers' group. This is the same hayride we went on last year. Now that Chloe's a little older, she wasn't scared of the creepy figures/"monsters" and she was all about hanging out with her friends and not hanging on Mommy. So, the photos of Chloe at this event are all of her and her two best buddies (one of which I suspect she has a crush on because if he gets out of her site she begins frantically searching for him---hint: he wears glasses).

Chloe and her buddies on the hayride.

Believe it or not, we didn't set the kids up for this lovely photo spot. They scoped it out on their own while we were enjoying our apple cider and cider donuts and demanded I take a photo of them. Of course, these kids play together at least once a week for the past year so there is no way they would remain serious enough for a good photo. This is my favorite though.

Sous Chef

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 1 comment

Chloe's pre-school has an annual fall festival every October. The event has many, many children's events as well as a bake sale. Each family works a 2.5 hour shift and must bake a large item and some small items for the bake sale. I made a pound cake with lemon icing and some gooey bars. Chloe was my assistant and very proud of her work.

Everyone in the pre-school keeps telling me how sweet Matt was because he went to the bake sale table to buy my pound cake and was upset when it had already been bought.


Sunday afternoon was spent in front of the TV watching the Cowboys lose. I guess Chloe was bored with football as we also watched the Hogs lose on Saturday so she may have been "footballed" out but she wanted to play ball and you had better be on your toes lest a little blue ball came hurling at you with a force far beyond the ability of a three-year-old. That girl has got an arm. So, Matt took it upon himself to save the china cabinet (behind him in the photo) and teach Chloe how to control her throws and not take off someone's head.


The weather is finally starting to feel like fall and Chloe wore a new jacket Saturday which is part of a matching ensemble. She apparently loved the jacket and insisted that it went with the dress she was wearing to church on Sunday. She decided to take it a step further with a belt as an accessory.

Playing With Food

When Chloe came home in May 2005, she wouldn't eat solid food. In fact, she was scared of solid food and would scream at the sight of a spoon (we have some lovely birthday cake photos from her 1st birthday-check our June 2005 archives). After some therapy, Chloe came around and much to my delight eventually kicked the 8-10 bottle habit a day. So, after all that food history, it was delightful to see Chloe start playing with food. I had to snatch the camera to photograph it...Chloe with salami eyes.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007 No comments
I had a doctor's appointment today and Chloe came with me. We were reading a counting book in the waiting room. On one page in the book, there is a drawing of 5 children playing with play-doh and it asks how many hands are working with play-doh. The answer is 9 (one little girl is holding a teddy bear in one hand). I ask Chloe to count the number of hands and she counts 15. I ask her to count the number of children in the picture and she counts 5. I then ask her to recount the number of hands. She counts 19.

Attempting to get her to "think" about how many hands and how many people (2 hands and 5 people would make a maximum of 10 hands) are in the picture, I ask, "Chloe, how many hands do you have?". Chloe's response, "I have enough hands". And, yes, she was being sassy when she said it.

Later that afternoon, Chloe and I went to our playgroup and I retold the story. Their response? She totally got her sassiness from me because it sounded just like something I would say. Well, I guess I have honest friends.

One more Chloe-ism...Chloe asked me how old I was. I told her 34. I could see she was thinking about my response and after a pause, she then looks at me very seriously, points her finger at me and says, "Mommy, are you 3 or are you 4? Which one are you?". Too cute.

The Dress

Thursday, October 04, 2007 4 comments

The Dress, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

I told BeBe that I would post a photo of Chloe in this dress because she got so many compliments on this dress.

The All About Me Book

Chloe completed her "All About Me" book today at pre-school, I've posted photos of each page for your viewing pleasure. She is very proud of it. We read it at dinner tonight, over and over again. Each time the answers changed on the "favorites" page. Chloe apparently likes the colors white, blue and pink. She likes horses and tigers and prefers crackers and broccoli as her favorite foods. She was fairly confident that painting is her favorite school activity and insistent that Jovi was her best friend.

All About Me - Chloe

All About Me - Chloe, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

The cover of Chloe's book.


Self-Portrait, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

Chloe informed me that she is hiding behind her hair. When I asked if she was wearing gloves on her hands she informed me that it was just the color green.


Handprints, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

Apparently Chloe had a great time putting her hands in paint and putting it on the paper because every time she looks at this page it makes her laugh and scream.

The Favorites Page

The Favorites, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

This was the most enlightening page for me. I thought the teacher mixed this paper up with someone else in class. I quizzed Chloe about each of these and the only answer she stuck to was Jovi was her best friend. By the way, I don't know who Jovi is, I guess I need to meet her.


Artwork, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

This is the last page and is Chloe's rendering of thunder and lightning.

Chloe at the Beach

Back in Business

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 3 comments

After a hiatus from the on-line world I am back in business. What a whip it is to exist without internet in today's world. It sounded easy enough - to go a week without internet access until our old ISP would "release" us and the new ISP could install us. Thank goodness for our tax dollars at work and the free interest access provided by our local library. So much in today's world is communicated and transmitted via email and internet that it takes some time away to discover how dependent we have become.
But, I digress. The past week or so has been a whirlwind. BeBe came up for a long weekend and got to spend some quality time with Chloe. Due to the quick nature of the visit the opportunity escaped me to snap some good photographs. The weekend that BeBe was here we attended the birthday party of one of Chloe' s playgroup pals at The Little G*m. Chloe has grown to adore birthdays and is eagerly counting down the days to her 4th birthday. She only has 8 months to wait.

Matt had to be away this past weekend on business so Chloe and I spent our weekend together, exploring. Saturday we went to the China waiting family meeting hosted by Wendi. It was fabulous and had three great speakers full of information. We got to see some other waiting families we have met before and also meet some new families. Wendi thought of everything for the event and she had her sister painting faces and an art table for the children while the parents attended the event. Chloe had such a great time. She had her arm painted with a strawberry, a flower and a lamb before having her face painted as a puppy dog. Chloe was such a card at the event. She randomly handed off her cookie to one of the waiting dads at the event and insisted another waiting dad come with her to the art table to see her make him a bookmark. Can we say she was loving the attention?

Sunday afternoon Chloe and I went to the beach in Connecticut. Chloe hunted sea shells and I played with the rapid fire button on my Nikon. I took so many pictures at the beach of Chloe putting her toes in the water. I have placed the pictures in a slideshow for your viewing pleasure. After we went to the beach we stopped by a cool grocery store on our way home and I managed to snap Chloe's photo in the pumpkin patch (the photo at the top of this entry).