Sunday Snapshot: For The Love of Food

One thing we've never tired of is watching Jake eat. It's like a sport. I mean people could pay good money to watch him eat. He can suck a chicken bone clean and eats off the cartilage and chews the bone. But noodles is his best game yet.  His concentration is intriguing. 

He can slurp with the best of them. He has such a joy while eating. I mean a true joy, people! Jake is ready to eat anything and everything and somehow fits enormous amounts into his tiny body. He has a love affair with food like no other, and he eats the same amount as Eric does most of the time. In his ten months home, he has gained a little over 10 pounds!  He was a 25 pound four year old while we were in China.  Enormous changes for this little guy in so many ways. 

I started this video after I scooped out his second plate full of beef lo mein.  I think you'll love watching him slurp noodles as much as we do. I think our neighbors may even hear his slurping!

Ni Hao Yall


Because Soccer Never Really Ends....














One Smart Kiddo!

Grant woke up early on Friday because it was the big day......CHESS TOURNAMENT DAY! He was anxious, excited, and nervous! However he said he thought he would at least get second place. Self confidence is a good thing, right?   Knowing Grant, he probably just mathematically figured his odds.

He did very well. The principal told me he won one game against an older child in 10 moves within 2 1/2 minutes! It came down to him and a high schooler. Grant must have figured his odds correctly as he came in second place!

I thought it was humorous that one of the 8th graders asked if Grant could stay after school because he wanted to try to beat him. I even heard some of the big kids saying they hoped they didn't have to play him because it's embarrassing to lose to a 2nd grader.

That's my boy! Eric and I both know he is smarter than us; we just don't let him know that!


Shoes are Depressing!

Let's just start right off with a complaint. My feet have been killing me lately. It doesn't matter what shoe I wear. I had my orthotics redone AGAIN, and it still hasn't helped my deformed left foot. Actually, my foot hurts worse when wearing the orthotic! My tendons in my one foot have fallen off where they belong and the joints are no longer moveable.  They unfortunately are stuck in a curled position.  I also have a Rheumatoid nodule on the bottom of the foot just to make me crankier!  I headed back to my foot doc and he said there's nothing left to do but put pins in the toes to hold them correctly.  I've learned from previous surgeries that foot surgery is one of the worst. You have to baby your feet and can't push through the pain since you can't bear weight. Simply put, that causes me to be depressed. SO I'm not ready for that. 

In my quest to find a shoe to wear (I HATE shoe shopping), I went to a New Balance Store to be fitted correctly by a special shoe sales guy. My foot doc even wrote a note regarding my issues for the sales guy! He actually did know what he was doing and what he was looking for.  I left with a shoe that, honestly, I'm not sure is going to work. However, the toe box is quite large which should prevent so much of the friction and skin breakdown. But, get this, the sales person was out of a particular shoe that may also work for me. He told me to wear the ones I purchased out and about and not worry about getting them dirty. Then, next week, come in and try the other ones he ordered for me if these aren't working. He said I could exchange no problem! At least when you overpay for sneakers they give you a good return policy! 

So, to try my trusty new kicks out (that slightly look like old women's shoes), Jake and I meandered about the mall waiting on Allyson.  I saw some cute clothes in Forever 21 and decided to kill time while walking in my large old woman's shoes with my "big" girl jeans and "mommy" top.  No,  my "old" 36 year old body didn't feel the slightest bit odd in there with the young, tiny, cute college girls. Me? Feel out of place???? 

Okay, yes, I did. Isn't that ridiculous? I swear I even saw some other mom's in the food court just staring at me while walking out as if to say, "Girl, You obviously don't belong there!".  You'd think since I'm done with junior high, I'd no longer be self-conscious! 

By the way, anyone with input on any incredibly comfortable sandals that may actually look nice, please let me know where! 


Hodge Podge and Sweet Words

We got tons of projects done today. Pretty much, we Eric put the house back together with some small home improvements and repairs. We worked all day cleaning and repairing and even bought a storm door...finally! We've been looking at those things for awhile now. As luck would have it, we ran into our contractor in the store too. How convenient! Now he can put it on. (We have to add molding due to side windows).  The kids pitched in too helping to clean the baseboards, bathrooms, floors, and ceiling fans! Ahhhhh! I think I'll sleep well tonight! 

By the way,  Jake wanted to give Poppy his birdhouse as a gift. He was super excited and had Eric write "to Poppy, Love Jake."  Then he said, "I gonna tell Poppy thank you; you love me!".   That boy can just melt your heart!

Grant was invited out for dinner with my parents. They have a standing Monday night out and Grant has weaseled his way in to it. He thinks it's pretty cool because they take him to the bookstore to buy more Box Car Children books.  Personally, I think he whizzes through those books just to go on the date! 


Time with Dad

 Jake was the only kiddo that wanted to take a trip to the tool store with Daddy today. So he got to pick out a project to work on. Jake loves tools and, as I mentioned before, he's very good with them as well.  Let's just say, he has taken many a thing apart with the electric screw driver around here!

As you can see, he meant serious business with this project even wearing his tool belt. 

He was most excited about the staining part. 

And..... ta-dah!!!

The boys got a lot of hanging out with Daddy today. Grant got him all to himself to ride scooters with and play soccer while Jake, Ally, and I were at Chinese lessons.  Then the boys went fishing. Actually, I'm sure Eric didn't much fishing in with both boys! 

Allyson did very well at Chinese lessons. Jake, on the other hand, clearly stated that he did not want to speak Chinese anymore and had to be coaxed to even sit with the tutor.  Yes, I bribed him with a lollipop. I'm thinking he'll just have to get used to it though. Since Jake knows the tones and some of the sounds that we do not have in English, he speaks what he is re-learning very well. Allyson is getting it though and has learned how to put basic sentences together as well as recognize a few words to read. I'm really wishing Grant could also be a part of this too. Hmmm....wonder if I can take him out of school every Friday morning???? 


Mismatched Girl

I love the fact that Allyson likes wearing mismatched socks. If everyone would take her lead, laundry would be a lot easier.  If only Eric would get in on the trend. I think my "lonely hearts sock drawer" would not be so full!

I ran across these and thought they were super cute! 



 Jake could not contain his excitement tonight with the birthday candles and cake. The best, however, was as Eric was opening his cards, Jake blurted out,

 "You're my FAVORITE DADDY!"

It took ten months, but Eric has finally made the favorite daddy list. When Jake first came home, nothing could hold a candle to Chinese daddy. Everything Chinese daddy did or had or didn't have was better than what we had. He talked non stop about him. Jake loved his Chinese daddy so very much. I'm so glad he loves Eric just as much!


WordFULL Wednesday: Happy Birthday Eric!

 Happy Birthday, Eric! We love you and think you're a darn fantastic daddy! I love that you're a big kid (most of the time I like that about you), I love that it doesn't seem odd to you in the slightest to go to the ends of the earth to find our kids, I love that nothing seems impossible to you, and I love that I will be the younger woman for the next four months!

Happy Birthday!


First Date?

The kids had a field trip to rollerskate for Valentine's Day today. I told Jake that he would be wearing special shoes with wheels on them so he could roll around on a hard floor. His response? "That's crazy!". Why, yes, it is!  I think he had his doubts at first wondering how badly his bum was going to hurt when he fell. He eyed it all up and then went for it. 

Of course, since his sister ditched him, it was nice that one of the older kids stepped up to help him out. How sweet is that! That is one of the things I appreciate about this school. The older kids are taught early on to help the younger ones.  Jake didn't take long to get it down though. When he was out on the floor holding someones hand, he would attempt to jump up and down.  He was going pretty fast for a first timer too. 

Jake had his first date today on Valentine's Day.  He's always had a crush on this beautiful lady who happens to be a teacher of his.  Today, he only wanted to skate with her, only wanted to sit with her while eating his pretzel and candy, and asked her to come over to his house today. Actually, at first, he whispered in my ear of I would do the asking for him. Guess he gets shy and nervous when he's asking someone out. I think they may have done the couples skate too.  Huh, wonder what it is about 4 year old boys and married women. I remember Grant asking for his speech therapists phone number when he was four too.

Grant sure did have several little girls following him all around. Whenever they would lose him, they come around to me and ask where he was. Then they would spot him and start after him again. Of course, Grant was oblivious to the fact that he indeed is a ladies man after all.

Allyson just needs to skate while jabbering away. She loves skating and has been at it since she took lessons at age 5.  She's such a social bug and talked the whole time.  At least boys weren't following her around. Better yet, she wasn't following any boys!


Happy Valentine's Day!

 Jake wanted to impress you with his muscles!

I'm just impressed that he can gain 9 pounds and I can't even find where he put it!

Thanks to a computer geeky friend (no offense Mr. E), I can now play around with my new presets from Pioneer Woman. Fun stuff. Wish I had more time to fiddle with it! 

Cute sidenote: I was quizzing Grant on his spelling bee words. He was excited to practice. Love that! When I got to the word "family" he said, "I LOVE that word!".  Well, melt my heart why don't ya!


Date Night

My husband says he's not into Valentine's Day. However, I still do manage to eek out a date night. I think we use the day more for an excuse to have some alone time. Really, we don't need an excuse, but we don't have a regular night set for a date. I wish we did. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to carry on a real conversation with each other. I like hanging out with him! 

Eric arranged for a babysitting swap with friends of ours. We are watching their kids today and they watched ours last night. Actually, Eric gets more of the babysitting fun than I do as Jake and I are off for another adventure at Chinese Sunday School.   Eric's employees had given him a gift certificate at Christmas to a nice place down at the beach so off we went! I enjoyed the 45 minute ride there and back without having to turn around once to reprimand someone. 

We had brochette and oysters. Yes, TWO appetizers. We're wild like that when we have a gift card. Then we both chose the barramundi fish.  I had never eaten it; never tried it. 

It was delicious! We were really enjoying it so we wanted to find out more about it. Since my geekiness has finally rubbed off on him after 14 years of marriage, Eric googled it.  Let's just say I feel differently about my fish. Did you all know that this beauty of a fish who comes from down under actually turns into a male a 3 years old and THEN turns into a female at 5 years old???? How weird is that???  God sure does have a sense of humor!

So to Mr. W.,  Thank you for taking me out for a lovely grown up dinner. I had almost forgotten what that was in the midst of my peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles lunches.  Thank you for walking around town with me despite forgetting your coat.  You're a darn good date and it's good to know that I still like dating you!


Some Very Interesting Afternoons

I've had an interesting two days! Yesterday, I met with the Chinese woman in my church as she asked me to come to her home. Okay, more like told me. She was so sweet and very appreciative of the help I gave her with her questions and issues she has been having.  I'm helping her English speaking son out with a few things, and, in return, she will help me out with my Chinese cooking. Anyone up for dumplings? While visiting with her, my tea cup was never empty. EVER! I tried to remember that she'd keep filling it if I drank it all, but that didn't matter. Every time her elderly father walked past me in between his smoking breaks outside, he gave me an adorable toothless smile, poured my tea, and shuffled off. Can't even tell you how cute he was! It was special to find a new friend who is Chinese too. 

Today, Allyson, Jake,  and I visited with the Chinese tutor that I got in touch with from the Chinese church. Boy did I enjoy talking with her about so many things.  My visit was incredibly engaging and she was very insightful. Allyson and Jake will both be taking lessons from her. I don't think Allyson realizes how difficult it will be just yet! The concern I have is that whenever Jake is spoken to in Mandarin by a Chinese person, he will completely ignore and tune out. He turns his back as if the person isn't even there. This is not his normal as he engages with people very, very well.  Hopefully, he'll get past this the more he feels comfortable.   I wish Grant was taking lessons too, but he is in school. And besides, Friday is "chess day" for Grant. He looks forward to chess club ALL WEEK LONG! Love that kid! 

Funny note, when I was speaking with Ayi B, I was telling her that Jake speaks very well. I was telling her that even his Chinese foster mother wrote in two different notes about how well he spoke, and that our Chinese coordinator said she never met a child like Jake since he never stopped talking! What did Ayi B say to that? "I know he speak well because my daughter told me that Jake told all the girls in Chinese Sunday school that he was going to teach them how to speak in Chinese!"
That's my boy! Taking charge even though he won't use or has forgotten his Mandarin. However, he certainly did tell the wrong group of kids. They were all little girls who are fluent in Mandarin and English! I'm sure they have a thing or two to tell him! 


My Thursday Lunch Date.....

.........always looks just like this!

Since Allyson is taking classes on Thursday mornings until lunch, Jake and I have a noodle lunch date. It's always noodles.  Today he asked specifically for Thai, and you know I'm never one to deny a child (or me) Thai food. So we found a new Thai joint around the area we were in. He ate 3 bowls of noodles, broth, and "pig" (his words, not mine).  He then proceded to lift up his shirt to show the employee his belly and to tell her that he is "getting stronger and stronger."

I've mentioned before how skinny and tiny Jake was when we met him in China. It was breathtaking in a bad way. I was shocked. I have a video of him playing in the bathtub that I can't show on the internet for obvious reasons, but I remember watching him thinking what in the world did he eat! He ate his way through our trip to China and continued eating vast amounts once home. He scoured our plates for the food we weren't eating once we were finished. I remember seeing him sneak around to each family members plate taking bites off of our plates so we wouldn't see him. He snuck food once he was home too. One morning, he kept asking for more food and I kept giving it to him. That is, until I realized he had just eaten 6 eggs and a banana! 

Fast forward to 10 months later, and he is still an eating machine. We call him our garbage disposal. When we visit our regular Thai restaurant, he cleans all of our plates for us and even eats the decorations. Of course, the employees love watching him eat too. With every single meal, he still asks if he can have more "when I done this?". The answer hasn't changed. It's always a yes; a reassurance that there is still more food. There is a change however.  He still eats large amounts and really enjoys eating very much, but he doesn't consume 6 eggs and still ask for more. It has slowed down just a notch. But watching Jake eat never gets old. There is just something about the pleasure he gets from stuffing and sucking noodles that is mesmerizing.  I enjoy watching the bottom of the bowl tipped to his mouth on our lunch dates because that is when he's the happiest, most satisfied little boy you'll ever meet. 


Q is for Bai Jia Bei

Jake's preschool is learning the letter Q. So today for show-and-tell, Jake was able to bring in his 100 Good Wishes Quilt that so many of you helped us make. By the way, he uses this quilt all the time. And if someone else is snuggling with it, he is sure to let you know that it is HIS!  

My mom finished the Wishes book and is it BEAUTIFUL!!  I loved looking through it this morning and can't wait till I can look through it all the way re-reading everything. Jake told his teacher that he got the quilt from his new family when he left China.  I am so glad we did this quilt, for sure!

Ann, recognize anything in the above picture? He asked who gave him that and I was able to tell him that another little girl who is from China sent that along with her new family! 

Who needs a teddy bear when you can wrap yourself up in 100 pieces of love from your family and friends!


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