Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

'Tis the day after Lily's
first Christmas at home.
The gifts are unwrapped.
The guests are all gone.

Empty boxes, dirty dishes,
No turtle doves here.
Hope your Christmas was merry!
Have a happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

China Sprout

I just added a new link to the sidebar for anyone who is interested. It's the website for China Sprout, a great resource for all kinds of Chinese cultural and educational products. China Sprout also has a "community" section where other resources are available, including news from China and TV listings of China-related programming.

By the way, you may notice a slightly new layout to the blog. Blogger has a new interface that makes it easier to update and make changes to your blog, including new features such as categorizing posts. I may include categories in the sidebar in the future, but that would mean going back and editing our old posts and adding category labels. We'll see how ambitious I get.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Two News Stories

Checking the morning news online and ran across a story about new adoption rules that China has enacted.

this one was in yesterday's Everett (WA) Herald about another family who has experienced their own "red thread to Marysville"...now twice.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Trusty Assistant

As some of you know, I've been taking violin lessons since February. Lily enjoys listening to me practice and is a very forgiving critic. She applauds after each piece. When she forgets to applaud, I turn to her and bow and say, "Thank you very much," and then she remembers, "Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to clap now," and does. Tonight, however, instead of clapping, she started bowing back to me!

But here is my favorite thing she does now. I'll start my practice session by standing up in front of my music stand. Lily will then disappear from the room to go get one of our folding chairs from the kitchen, and drags the chair to where I am practicing. She will place it carefully in front of me and pat the seat, saying, "Mmmm...mmmm....mmmm....mmm." In Lily language that means, "Sit here, Pop. Take a load off." I do, and she sits down beside me, and the concert continues.

Monday, November 27, 2006

First Snow of the Season...

...and Lily's first snow, too. We got about 8 inches overnight here in Marysville, and the forecast is for 1 to 3 more today and tonight. The whole north Sound up to the border got dumped on. We assume this is the first snow that Lily has ever seen. I doubt if it snowed where she was born in southeast China...not that she would have remembered it anyway.

Here are a few shots of her experiences today. She sort of reacted like she did her first time standing on the sand at the beach. She didn't quite know what to make of it. And don't laugh at her makeshift gloves. We didn't have any waterproof gloves, so Julie improvised with some fleece mittens covered by a plastic sandwich bag and rubber bands.


We celebrated Thanksgiving last Friday at Julie's folks. The whole clan was there, including Julie's sister Sandy and her family from Montana. Here's a shot of Julie's dad Marv holding Lily and her cousin Emmy (Sandy's youngest). Lily and Emmy were born four days apart from each other...not to mention a world away from each other. They enjoyed playing together, although Lily likes to kiss and hug so much that she usually ends up knocking over the small objects of here affection. Emmy didn't escape either, and several times ended up with Lily sitting on top of her on the floor.

Lily's Harvest Festival

Here's Lily as she was dressed up for our church's Harvest Festival back at the end of October. She was a lion...but as Julie and I have tried in the past to dress up with a biblical theme...we also had her holding a lamb (check out Isaiah 65 for this one).

Remember those pumpkins we picked out? Here they are...with our other little pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Take Me Shopping!

Uh oh. I'm in trouble. Just look at that mischievous grin. Lily hasn't gotten into my wallet yet, but it's apparent here what her taste in clothing and shoes is going to be.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pickin' Pumpkins

Today we went to the Pumpkin Patch at the The Plant Farm at Smokey Point. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day, perfect for pickin' out a pumpkin...and for taking pictures.

Lily's Latest Adventures

Lots of things have happened since our last post. Here are some of the highlights of Lily's latest adventures.

Some of Julie's Minnesota family came to visit. Here's Lily with her great-uncle Ed (Julie's dad's brother). Lily took a liking to Uncle Ed's cowboy hat, so he made sure that she got one of her own.

The first week of October we went to a pastor's conference in Long Beach out on the southernmost coast of Washington. On a free afternoon we went to a cranberry farm where we got this great shot.

In mid-September it's time to "Do the Puyallup"...in other words, go to the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA. Here's Lily getting up close and personal with a farm animal. Don't worry...we followed the instructions on the sign in the background (for those of you who don't read Spanish, it's a reminder to wash your hands before you leave).

Yesterday, Lily and mom explored the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

And here's Lily right before her first haircut. The picture doesn't tell the whole story. She actually did quite well, after some initial whimpers.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More Vacation Pics

Here are some more pictures of our trip to California.

We took a drive down to La Jolla to visit the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That's Grandma O holding Lily as she checks out the fish.

Here's Lily taking Grandma O for a walk around the tide pools.

There are the loves of my life at the entrance to the Birch Aquarium.

"I absolutely love my Grandma O!!!"

That's all for now. We took a few days driving back, including a stop to visit Auntie Jan and Uncle Rich outside of Portland, Oregon, finally arriving home a couple of days after Labor Day. It's good to be back home, and I think even Lily feels the same way. She never did quite sleep well on the trip due to a cold, cutting a couple of molars, strange hotel rooms, and a portable crib that isn't very "cushy." Even for babies, there's nothing like getting back to your own bed.

California Vacation

Julie, Lily, and I drove to California the last week of August to visit my mom, otherwise known as Grandma "O." Well, Julie and I drove. Lily rode in her carseat. She slept part of the time. The rest of the time she drove her mother and I crazy with her toy mp3 player that plays nursery rhymes...over and over and over and over again. Here are a few pics from our trip.

This was Lily's first trip to the beach. We went to the Balboa Pier at Newport Beach. That's Julie, Lily, Grandma O, and her friend Marcie.

Lily loved being at Grandma O's house. One of her favorite things to do was to sit down on the steps in the hallway.

This was Lily's first carousel ride at Newport Beach. That was her look the entire ride...not freaked out, yet not particularly amused either.

The beach itself really did freak her out. That look says it all. I took her out to where the waves were breaking on the sand and stuck her feet in the water. She wasn't too crazy about that. Nor was she very comfortable standing on the beach towel on the sand. Every time her feet touched the ground she would climb up on top of me where I was reclining.

One of Lily's more pleasant moments in her carseat during the trip.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beating the Heat

We're overdue for a new post here. I just got back from a youth conference in Colorado where it was in the 90's pretty much every day. I expected to come home to the cool Northwest. Instead, it's even hotter here (at least it feels like it is) than it was in Colorado. And our west-facing house gets like a sauna and doesn't cool off very well on days like these. After a shopping trip today and my violin lesson, we got home and decided to try out Lily's new inflatable pool for the first time. We set it up in the shade in our backyard.

As you can see, she loved it...especially seeing Mommy splash water on Daddy.

The water out of the hose wasn't exactly warm. Even though the air was hot, we still poured some hot water in the pool to adjust the temperature. Still, Lily's first reaction as you can see was, "Man, this water is cold! But I kinda like it!"

Lily stood and sat and splashed and squealed for about a half an hour...and then started to shiver. We pulled her out, but she didn't want to stop playing. She kept reaching for the pool even as we were drying her off. Guess we'll have to be ready to play in the water on our next warm day...which might be tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Lily wore her "Miss Liberty" shirt today, and now she's in her red, white, and blue sleeper snoozing soundly while Marysville is going berzerk. Our town literally explodes every year on July 4th. It's like watching a professional fireworks display on every block. From our elevated vantage point, we can see quite the pyrotechnics display. I guess that's one advantage of living so close to an Indian reservation.

I took Lily outside before bedtime to see a bit of what was going on outside. A few neighbors were already lighting off firecrackers and bottle rockets. I thought she would be afraid, but she took it all in stride. She even clapped for the exceptionally loud and long ones. It would have been nice for her to be able to stay up and see some of the show after dark, but we figured that wasn't going to happen this year.

Our little Miss Liberty is more stable on her feet now. She is walking further between pieces of furniture and the arms of her parents. We're still waiting for her first definite words, although we think that "bird" might be one of them. She spots every bird in the air, loves to look at little books about birds on one of our shelves, and points to one bird picture in particular and says, "buhh!" We kind of hoped we'd hear "ma" or "da" by now, but we'll take "buhhh!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

Final Batch of Trip Photos

I finished uploading the last batch of photos of my trip to China. You can view them by clicking here or by clicking on the link "China Trip Pics" in the sidebar at the right. There is a total of 59 pictures there, but as you probably already surmised, it's a mere sampling of the over 250 pictures that I actually took on the trip! If you really want to see the entire collection, you'll have to come visit someday!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy First Birthday, Lily!

We had about 40 people at the house today celebrating Lily's first birthday (her birthday was the 10th, but our party was this afternoon). Julie served the guests strawberry shortcake, but the Pinger got her own frosted cake to dig into. She was very dainty, picking small pieces of cake up with her fingers and eating them. Needless to say, the frosting got in the way of her otherwise sophisticated etiquette.

"Please tell me you're not going to make me wear this hat all day."

Here's Lily opening up her presents. I'm not sure who the fuzzy white guy is in the picture (I was talking about the bear!).

Monday, June 05, 2006

Just Another Manic (well, not entirely) Monday

Lily was extra active and vocal this evening, so I broke out the camera and snapped a few shots. Here she is in the middle of one of her recent accomplishments...standing up on her own. She first finds a suitable spot to hang on, like the coffee table. Then she gets a very serious, intent look on her face with a hint of anxiety. All of a sudden, she will lightly push off, her fingers curl up, and for the briefest of moments, she is free of her anchor. Afterwards, she either ends up with her belly back against the table or below it on her bum. (I tried to get a shot of her actually not touching the table, but I just couldn't push the button at the right time.)

For the past couple of weeks we've tried to introduce the "sippy cup" concept to Lily. For the longest time, she just wasn't getting it. The cup would hang down in front of her with no water flowing. Julie has been working with the Pinger to get her to put her head back. As you can see above, she is now throwing her head back and sipping with reckless abandon.

Why do we buy so many toys for kids, when boxes, pots, and pans seem to keep their attention a lot longer? Observe Lily's opinion of this white plastic bowl (that's really a happy look on her face, in spite of what you may think at first).

"All in all, I'd say it was a great today," said Lily, as she squealed with delight.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Scootin' & Cruisin'

Lily's first birthday is fast approaching. She's not walking yet, although she has learned to get around the house quite well without mom and dad holding her hands. One of her modes of transportation is what is known in babydom as "cruising." Here she is on one of her trips around the house, hanging on to whatever she can find. She's even skilled enough now to mash herself against a wall and pull herself up.

Her other mode of transportation I call her "Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon" move, or as Julie calls it, "The Scuttlebutt." How to describe it? Well, think of Kung Fu movies, where the martial arts experts fly through the air with one leg straight out and the other one tucked in? That's kind of the way the Pinger scoots across the floor. And this girl can move! Here's a shot of Lily doing her butt-scoot-boogie. Next to her is her friend Madeline, who came to visit this past Saturday.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Many Faces of Lily Ping

Julie's favorite picture of the Pinger.

Lily's super cute hat...out on a recent stroller ride.

Lily has a book that says "Babies are messy eaters." How true.

I was puckering up to Lily one afternoon. She quickly learned how to emulate me.

And finally...the result of Lily tasting her first popsicle. And guess what...mom and dad gave her more tastes after her first one so we could get this picture. Does that make us bad parents?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Equal Time for the Grandmas

Now it's Grandma "H's" turn to stay with us for a while (although she's only an hour away). Here she is with Lily in one of her happier moments today...Lily's, that is, not Grandma's...not to say Grandma wasn't happy today. The Pinger was out of sorts today due to a cold plus getting two vaccinations at the doctor's office. She needed two others that we get here in the US but they don't give in China.

Julie's mom came up to stay for another reason. Julie also has a bad cold, but even more troublesome for a new mother...a bad back. She must have pulled a muscle or two or her sciatic nerve is acting up. Either way, she's in a lot of pain and can't well pick up the baby. I've been back to work at the church but have also tried to be available at home as we get used to the baby routine. But it's been nice having an extra set of hands around here to come to the rescue.

Besides, even mommies need their mommies sometimes.