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11 posts from December 2005

December 09, 2005

Internet Privacy: Hiding in Plain Sight

Some of my friends have asked if I feel creepy having so many strangers looking at our blog.

I thought about this question as Gwen and I walked through the mall this morning. Several hundred people probably saw us. Most just kept walking but some smiled and a few actually said "Hello". This isn't unlike the people who see our blog (we've averaged about 170 hits per day since we started the blog).

We share some pretty personal stuff here but we don't share *everything*. For example, we don't mention our last name or our address or our phone number. We don't link to our private home website or the personal websites of our friends. We know this might seem over-cautious to some people but we like this level of privacy and we feel like it's sufficient to protect us.

Blogging is a wonderful way to reach through cyber space and embrace other people who are experiencing a similar journey but let's be honest -- This is a very filtered view of our life. Yes, strangers can see us but it's more private than being at the mall where strangers can see us in person. Or, even worse, being in our own front yard where strangers can not only see who we are but can also see where we live and could (I suppose) figure out a way to hurt us if they really wanted to. And, unlike the folks who see us when we're at Safeway squeezing cantaloupe, the vast majority of people who visit this blog are those who find it because of searches related to adoption. Yes, some of those people have turned out to be pretty weird but we still feel safe here.

Blogger has millions of blogs and even though we're in plain sight, we're much like the pebbles on the beach because we're visible to anyone who knows, specifically, where to look for us but pretty much invisible to everyone else. I've thought about moving to another blog service and putting a password up but I'm comfortable here and I feel like I'm among friends.

I've heard Blogger may soon offer a low fee premium service with optional password gate but I don't think I would use it. Would you?

How many Research Scientists does it take to teach a baby to count to five?

Tonight, our friends Kevin and Jan came bearing gifts of Gourmet Mandarin Cuisine from the Mandarin Gourmet. We ate until we couldn't manage another bite and then we threw in a slab of German chocolate cake just to prove that we're not wimps.

While Jan and I chatted, Gwendolyn entertained the men with her newest toy, the Leapfrog Learning Playground. Through touch and sound, it teaches the letters of the alphabet, numbers 1 through 5, and colors and shapes. It does some other stuff too and she's pretty impressed with it!

In the picture, above, she's pointing out to Kevin and Daddy where the "O" is. Even though there are twenty six letters to choose from, she likes that letter the best and shows her loyalty by ignoring all of the others. We've been serenaded for hours by her toy enthusiastically announcing "O -- O -- O O -- O -- O O O" in a lovely melodic monotone female voice. It would have been unbearable were it not for her big brother's selfless effort to introduces some variety by coming along, periodically, and spelling out P O O P.

As if we don't already have enough of *that* around this place!

December 07, 2005


When it's bath time, we pull off all of Gwen's clothes and she runs around for a few minutes pretending to be cold even though it's nice and toasty upstairs in our house.

In this picture, she's saying "Brrrrr!" and clenching her teeth and faking a darn good shiver! She does this every time we mention the word "cold" or when she sees her bath towel or her coat. She's done this almost since the day we got her and it's pretty cute but it makes me wonder what bath time was like at her orphanage. Judging from how much she loves baths, I'd have to assume it was a happy time!

She's splashing like crazy and I had to stand on the other side of the bathroom to avoid the shower of water that was flying everywhere!

We soap her up and wash her hair and then we play with bath toys for about 15 minutes. She has a bunch of toys in the tub and she can identify all of them: The blue ball, the frog, the flower, the duck, the ladybug, the cup, and the fish.

Bed time is pretty easy.

Daddy comes home from work right around the time Gwen gets out of her bath so they play together for an hour or so. Then we make a bottle and Mommy takes her upstairs. After the bottle, she crawls into her crib and grabs her lovey and about 10 minutes later, she's fast asleep.

Then she wakes up at about 4:30 am and Mommy better be there - pronto - or she is one unhappy little munchkin! It's the only time she ever cries so I'm happy to be able to be there for her when she needs me. Her big brother didn't sleep through the night until he was 12 so it's not really a big deal that Gwen wakes me up and wants to snuggle. Usually we can both get back to sleep in just a few minutes. Gwenny always looks good but Momma needs her beauty sleep! :)

December 05, 2005

Pine cones

Today is the three month anniversary of Gwenny's Gotcha day. To celebrate, we took a walk outside in the cool December sunshine, crunched through the fallen leaves and collected pine cones. Then we came inside and shared a pudding snack.

She's 17.5 months old and about 24 pounds. She wears size 18 month tops and size 12 month pants. Her shoe size is a 5.

We've had some exciting developments this past month. Gwen is becoming more verbal and recently started responding to our questions with "yes" and "no". This is a giant communication milestone! She's still not very talkative but in addition to Yes and No (and the appropriate head nod for each), she can say "again" and "on". For example, she'll bring me her shoe and say "on". She likes it when I sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and she'll say "again" every time we come to the end. She's also started repeating something that sounds very much like "uppa buv the" as in Up above the world so high....

She's very social and greets everyone (and every thing!) with a big smile and a very enthusiastic "Hi!". She understands just about everything we say and will cheerfully comply with simple requests but doesn't show much interest in calling things or people by their names.

I'm predicting that we'll see her verbal skills improve tenfold in the next month.

December 03, 2005

Developmental milestones

(Andrew posting) There are a lot of firsts in a young girl's life, but I think anybody's list of the top five would include first steps, first words, and first bite of marmite. Gwendolyn completed her triple crown today, eating a tiny bite of Daddy's marmite sandwich and coming back several times for more.

(Donna posting) Many people are asking what the heck Marmite is so I’ll do my best to explain and hopefully not offend any of my in-laws in the process. Andrew was born in England and Marmite is a savory treat Brits are trained to enjoy by being forced to ingest it as small children. It’s a concentrated paste of yeast, carrot, salt and onion. It looks like tar and smells like bullion with a vitamin smashed into it. You’re supposed to spread it very thinly on toast or dissolve it in hot water and drink it. Personally, I think it’s pretty nasty. Andrew considers peanut butter to be the American equivalent of Marmite and won’t go near the stuff. Naturally, I wasted no time introducing Gwen to the many joys of a PB&J sandwich so he had to whip out the Marmite just to keep everything equal.

So far, she loves peanut butter AND she loves Marmite. The perfect blend of everyone’s culture! That’s our girl!

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