Saturday, August 31, 2013

School Supplies

Chloe is officially registered in the new school district and last week we got to tour her new elementary school. It's a well-maintained school and it has lots of open space. It is LARGE though, 900 kids!! This will be a big change for Chloe and we are hoping that she adjusts well and makes friends quickly. She will also be riding a school bus for the first time.

The school called us the day after we officially registered and toured the school to tell us who Chloe's teacher will be. We also got a list of school supplies the teacher requires. So far, we have done half the school supply shopping. It seems the youngest two don't enjoy shopping for pencils and rulers as much as Chloe and I.

I took Chloe to a children's store to purchase and outfit for the first day of school--one that doesn't consist of anything with a "swoosh" logo on it. She managed to find one item--ONE--that she liked. It was a plaid shirt. I think it may be time to hold a plaid intervention again.

Chloe and Oliver were super-excited to on-line shop for new school shoes. Easiest shopping experience with children ever. Thank you Z**APPOS!! The kids couldn't wait for the shoes to arrive and kept opening the door the following day waiting for the UPS man to bring them.

Are you surprised by Chloe's selection. Only shocker is that they aren't N*ike. She went out on a limb and picked the most obnoxious high-top in stock. It was an A*di*das.
Chloe with her bright teal and orange high-top shoes.

Oliver was more thrilled with his soccer cleats. We signed him up for a soccer team this year. He wants to wear these everywhere, which makes it hard to explain to a four year-old that you can't go into every place wearing cleats. He did get a cute pair of sneakers--bright red--his choice. Of course, he prefers the cleats.


A close up of Chloe's shoes.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Track Weekend

Now that we are moved and somewhat settled, we all headed to the track for the two-day club race. 

It was Emma Claire's debut. Apparently she's been expected with much anticipation as people I didn't know came up to ask if this was our new addition. 

Oliver, Emma and I didn't stay at the track all weekend. We shuttled between the townhouse and the track both days, allowing Emma Claire to get her morning nap in. Matt and Chloe stayed overnight. 

Saturday's race proved unlucky for Chloe. She was hit from behind at the start of a qualifying and her axle was broken.  During the final she was stuck behind two slower karts. 

Sunday was a great day of racing for Chloe. She was competitive and made it a race between two others and herself after a collision at the start of the finals. She made a great pass to grab second place not wanting to repeat Saturday's race and get stuck behind slower karters.

We were very proud of her prowess. 

Some photos from Sunday--
Happy Emma in her stroller.

Matt and Chloe preparing for the final race of the day.

Oliver playing on the iPad with some track pals while enjoying TWO lollipops at once.

Helping Dad carry the race equipment by wearing it.

Emma Claire asleep during all the race excitement.

Chloe had a great race, holding off her closest competitor for a 2nd place finish.

Oliver congratulating big sis after her final race.

Proud Dad giving Chloe a hug after her awesome pass.

Oliver only likes the race accessories at this point.








Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Home" Less

There is a good reason for my blog silence, we've moved. We no longer reside in New Jersey and are somewhat settled in New York. 

The last month has been a whirlwind.

Emma Claire has been "officially" ours in the eyes of China for one month. We had our first post-placement visit on Monday the 19th on the front steps of our New Jersey house while Matt hauled the last of the boxes and random effects from the basement.

Its been pure chaos.
Emma Claire in a packing box. NO, I did not pack her.
Luckily, Emma Claire is going with the flow. She is adaptable and so laid-back. Ninety-nine percent of the time she is easy-going. I have only had one day where she was a challenge. She is sleeping through the night (knock on wood) and is no longer doing the waking up every 45 minutes to 1 hour that she was doing every night. I take this as a sign that she is feeling more comfortable and is trusting that we are there and no longer needs to seek the assurance that we are still there with her. However, I do have to remain in the room beside her and sometimes pat her while she goes to sleep. Her crib is beside our bed and we hope to be able to transition her into her own room in the next two months. 
Emma Claire giving me the look that she is NOT going to take a nap.
Emma Claire is also starting to say words. She can say, "Momma", but it is usually when she is very upset and she demands I come assist her or pick her up. She also says, "Emma" and "GeGe" (big brother in Mandarin) and "Ow" and is making the sounds for dog and Daddy. Chloe and Oliver are also convinced that she is saying "Up" when she wants to be held. I am less convinced because I don't hear it and Chloe and Oliver want me to pick her up everytime she makes a whimper or noise. They are being concerned older siblings, but a lot of it is more to keep the peace (and quiet).

Emma Claire also had her first visit to the pediatrician. They did the standard bloodwork and everything turned out fine. No concerns. Emma Claire is currently 28 inches tall, 19 lbs., 7.1 ounces. He was pleased with how healthy she looked and recommended that we not take her to our international pediatrician for follow-up as he thinks she would just refer us to Early Childhood Intervention to get her caught up on some of the typical gross motor skill delays.

We closed on our New Jersey house on Thursday the 22nd. We are no longer home owners, at least for the next two months. We are renting a townhouse in the same town where our new home is and in the same school district.

The entire house-selling, home-buying process has been exhausting and full of drama. The original plan was to be in our new house in NY before we closed on our old house. But, the best laid plans were completely foiled by what could best be described as total ineptitude on the part of the listing agent and bank that owns the home we are buying. They forgot about the 4000 sq. foot giant red barn which has been refurbished but doesn't meet code (it needs sheetrock) and because of this the town won't issue a certificate of occupancy and we can't move in and more importantly, we can't close. When this was brought to their attention, it took the bank three weeks to decide what to do when there was really only one option--sheetrock the barn to get the certificate of occupancy. After they decided to make the repairs, they informed us that they were installing new software and it would be another 2 weeks before the repairs could be entered and processed. Basically, it has been delay after delay costing us lots of time and money. We were supposed to close in August but the most hopeful estimate now is October 1 (but we are not holding our breath).

This meant that we have to move twice. We stored the majority of our belongings and furniture and made a mad scramble to find someplace that would take a family of 5 and 2 dogs for 2+ months in Chloe's new school district. Of the 12 rental properties in the school district, only one was willing. Luckily, the unit is in a nice community and is clean and provides us all to be together. It is not the most ideal, especially since we don't have a yard and with two large-breed dogs, not always the easiest in loading up three kids and taking the dogs for a walk so they can do their "business". 
A view from the communal space from our master bedroom balcony in the townhome. Townhouse living is NOT for me.

Matt put a stake in the ground so we could let the dogs sit outside on the patio a little bit each day. Its hard work walking a 108 lb. dog with a one year old in tow every time he needs to go out. I am certain that we will be told that this breaks one of the 7000 community rules but I am only on page 36 of the 76 page rule book. We were already informed by the neighbor that we were breaking a rule by parking the trailer we used to move overnight in the community.

Oliver in the living area with Lizzie at the townhouse. He is playing on the iPad while Emma Claire naps. It keeps him relatively still and quiet so he doesn't wake her.

We are trying our best to get back on a schedule for the kids. All of the things we need for the next few months are unpacked with the exception of pots and pans and my makeup (the last is the key item I am searching for).

School starts September 9th and we have an appointment next week to register Chloe in the new district and Oliver is enrolled in a new pre-school. I wrote out the calendar this morning for the next few weeks and was pleased to see the back to school/back to a schedule activities on it.

I am looking forward to finding our new normal.

I meant to post these photos last week, but the move and lack of wifi got in the way. The kids and I escaped packing one day to go to the park and get some fresh air. Of course, they complained that they wanted to go swimming instead.
Chloe playing basketball.


Chloe and Oliver on the swings.


Emma Claire slept through most of the time at the park.

But, she did wake up in time to go on the swing.
And, just for cuteness....

Yogurt is good.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Kids Photos

I took the kids to have their photos taken today. I purchased the outfits on the day we received our referral for Emma Claire.

We had to wait 25 minutes past our reservation time because the studio was booked and they only had two people working. By the time we got into the studio, all three kids were hungry, whiny and bored. Emma Claire dislikes the flash on cameras, so she wasn't happy and it was time for a bottle and she became fussy. Oliver just wanted popcorn and wanted the whole thing to be over, which translated to mad faces and strained smiles for the photos. Chloe was a trooper as always, except she kept asking if she could change out of the clothes and into her high tops and basketball shorts every 5 minutes.
We got some good photos. We got more outtakes though---I am sharing one that is SO Oliver....



Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Emma Claire!!

I am not sure how to tell if I am still dealing with jet lag or if I am tired from parenting three kids. Could be a bit of both.

The kids at breakfast.
Emma Claire seems to be settling in and slept through the night the last two nights. She is such an easy-going baby. I know I keep repeating it, but it is true. She wakes up with a smile, even if she is woken up early from a nap. She hasn't made a fuss about her car seat (and she has already clocked a few miles in it) and she seems content in her stroller.

Two things she has picked up since coming home---she throws kisses (usually at whomever and for whatever reason) and at night she likes to have me sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". She requests it by opening and shutting her hand like a twinkling star. It's really cute. She also likes to blow raspberries. A LOT. Chloe and Oliver think this is hysterical and encourage it. We had a 15 minutes raspberry blowing session tonight at dinner until I finally had to call it quits much to the children's displeasure--but the "spray"/spit was getting to be a bit much.

All three kids blowing raspberries.
Blowing raspberries---an Emma Claire favorite.
Today was Emma Claire's 1st birthday and we are so happy that she could be home so we could celebrate as a family.

The kids and I went to the toy store this morning and Chloe and Oliver selected gifts for Emma Claire. There was a lengthy discussion that she would not want a monster truck at 12 months old, but other than that sidetrack, we had a successful outing.

We also went to the park and Emma Claire got to go in the swings, which she appeared to really love as she giggled and giggled.

Tonight we had cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to Emma Claire. Nothing elaborate, just the five of us together.

Checking out the pink icing on her hand.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Coming Home

Our hotel in HK booked an airport shuttle bus for us and we left the hotel for the airport around 8:00 a.m. With traffic, we arrived at the airport with just enough time to check baggage, make it through security and board the plane for our 10:25 a.m. flight.

We had the direct flight from HK to Newark which was 15 hours. United gave us the bulk heads seats with a bassinet for Emma Claire. The bassinet turned out to be useful for diaper storage and formula storage as Emma Claire was quite vocal that she wasn't going to sleep in the bassinet.

We sat with a very nice young Chinese boy (probably 12 years old) who was flying to Boston alone to visit a boarding school he will be attending next year.

Emma Claire did as expected on the flight. There was a lot for her to look at  and she fought sleep. She did manage a few short sleeps.

We landed a little early in Newark, went through customs and handed off the brown envelope to the immigration officer, which will begin the U.S. processing her citizenship.

We arrived to quite the fanfare of our friend Maria and her two sons and Matt and the kids. There were signs and balloons and many people also waiting at the terminal told us they got to hear all about Emma Claire from the kids.

The Family United.

Emma Claire didn't make a fuss going in to the car seat and was asleep in the car in about 2 minutes.

When we got home, we put Emma Claire to bed and she slept for about 4 hours until I accidentally woke her up! She managed to go back down around 9 p.m. and she slept until 3:00 a.m. when she woke for a bottle. She was back to sleep by 3:45 a.m. and woke around 6:15 a.m.

I feel pretty rested, not 100% but able to function and take on the task of mothering 3 kids!! Fingers crossed that we can get Emma Claire on a schedule quickly.
 
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