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15 posts from October 2008

October 13, 2008

Weekend with Vicki

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Vicki came to visit this weekend.  She arrived late Thursday night and our busy weekend started the very next morning:

Friday: 

We dropped the girls off at preschool and unknowingly cheated fate by leaving our purses and cameras sitting right out in plain sight on the seat of our unlocked van while, a few feet away, a theft was occurring in another similarly (and temporarily) unoccupied van.  Geeeeesh!   I'm so sorry happened at all but I'm wiping beads of sweat off my brow and thanking my lucky stars that it didn't happen to us because, quite frankly, we just got lucky.    Now we get to benefit from a very hard lesson of a friend without having to actually call a single credit card company.  It doesn't seem fair that we're off the hook and she's shouldering 100% of the burden.  For certain, we'll have our van locked up tight from now on!  No exceptions!

We killed two very fun (childless) hours at Toys-R-Us before picking up the kids at school.  Then we took them to a local park/farm where they played with the chickens and the grumpy geese until it was time for nap.  After nap, Michael came over and Andrew came home from work early and we all loaded into the van for the quick trip to the babysitter (AKA "Movie Night"), where we dropped off our super enthusiastic little girls.   Then the adults went to a very nice dinner.  Michael is 20 now and I can vividly remember what he looked like in his Batman PJ's so it is bittersweet when I look across the table and see him sitting at an "adult" gathering.  But I'm incredibly proud too because he's such an interesting person and I'm proud to have contributed something towards the man he's become.   

After dinner, we came home and tucked the girls into bed then watched an episode of Gilmore Girls (from Netflix) then slogged off to bed.

Saturday:

As usual, we woke up the girls up at 7:15 AM but this day they both ran straight to Aunt Vicki's room to make sure she was up too!  (Sorry, Aunt Vicki!)  Then we bathed and showered and dressed and played in the face paint then headed to breakfast at Holders where we enjoyed chocolate pancakes and a full side order of bacon in honor of our friends Rose and Marie (who love bacon nearly as much as we do) who are having a birthday party tomorrow.  Then we drove to Gilroy Gardens to show Aunt Vicki all our favorite stuff:  The Tubs-O-Fun and Goldfish Ride, the Carousel and Rainbow Garden Round Boat Ride, the Timber Twister roller coaster (our first time on this!) and the Sky Trail Monorail.   We even made it to the 1:30 Singing Vegetable Show and various Autumn themed attractions involving pumpkins, scarecrows and and large stalks of corn before it was time to leave!  If time would have permitted, we'd have also shown her the train and the firetruck and race car rides and Claudia's Garden and South County Back roads and a bunch of other stuff.  Oh well, there's always next time!

When we came home, we saw that there was an open house on our street so we shamelessly ripped off our shoes and went snooping (nosy neighbors like me are exactly why I would NEVER want to have an open house if I was selling).  But, to our defense, we were actually quite interested in this particular house because it happened to be the exact same house as ours (plus or minus a few improvements).  As it turned out, it was a "short sale" and the bank's representative said there were several more in our neighborhood (yikes!).  The house was listed for sale at 20% less than we paid for ours just two years ago.  It'll be interesting to see what it finally sells for.

Once home, the girls happily headed off to nap and Vicki and I worked on her new blog (that I hounded her into creating) while Andrew went to Barnes and Nobel to kill some time.    We set up Vicki's blog on www.blogger.com (it's free) and even designed a fun header/banner!  She's clever so she won't have any problem keeping it up and she has a REALLY exciting life so she'll have no trouble finding interesting things to blog about!

 
After nap, we changed into nice clothes and, at 7:30 PM, we were all sitting on row 20 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts watching "My Dream".    It was a really good show but not quite as professional as the $60 per person ticket might have led us to believe.  The performance was good but the hosting agency decided to put on a really cheesy award just after intermission.  It was very self-serving and lasted much too long.     Most of the program was top-notch but someone decided to fill some of the time with Karaoke quality performances of Elvis and Linda Ronstadt tunes.   It was painful!

We wouldn't see it again but we have no regrets that we saw it once.  And we won't really recommend it to anyone else because of the cheesy aspects and the high ticket price.   We were originally scheduled to attend the 1:30 show but they cancelled it so we had to switch to the 7:30 show and it conflicted with our girls' bed time.   The kids had fun but it was after 10:00 PM when we returned home and they were pretty cranky. And so were the adults! 

Sunday:

We had a pretty comfortable morning snuggling in bed and watching Curious George on PBS.  Then we donned some comfortable clothes (that we could BOUNCE in!), slapped on some more cute face paint and headed to Marie Calendars for their super yummy Sunday Brunch Buffet.  With biscuits and gravy still heavy in our belly, we drove straight to Rose and Marie's birthday party at Pump It Up.   Oh my gosh, what fun that was!  Even for the adults!   We got to see many of our best China Adoption Community friends and meet some fun new people too.  It seemed like an amazingly easy way to do a birthday party!  The next day, my girls were begging to go back there so I'm totally sold.  We'll use them for their 5th birthday party for sure!

We came home for naps then Daddy showed up with Indian food from our favorite Indian restaurant (Rangoli).  There's a review for this place that actually says that the Tikka Masala is so good that you should bring home the left-over sauce (even if the chicken is all gone) for no reason other than to smear it on your chest!    We laughed when we read that then we realized that it was true!  No, we've not smeared it on our chest but, yes, it's THAT good!

We over-ate then played with the girls then put them to bed and watched another episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix before diving into bed and falling into coma-like sleep.    Jumping around in those bounce thingies at Pump It Up sure can suck the energy right out of you!  It was the perfect end to the perfect day!


Monday:

Andrew headed to work early (6:00 AM) and everyone else slept until 7:15 AM (the usual).  It was a holiday (Columbus Day) so, sadly, preschool is closed while most others (including Daddy) still have to work.  We did our usual morning snuggle while watching Curious George then showered and dressed and headed out to breakfast.  Today, the gourmet breakfast choice was Carl's Jr (mostly because they have a really cool playground!)  but the playground was sopping wet so we threw our food into a paper sack and went to a local park instead.   Three hours later, playtime was over and it was time to take Aunt Vicki to the airport.  Maddy begged all the way there to go home with Aunt Vicki.  Gwen begged for a skeleton key from Aunt Vicki but didn't want to go home with her to retrieve it.  We'll have to explain Gwen's obsession with keys in a later post. 

After hugs and kisses curbside at the departure area of the airport, we said our good-byes and tearfully headed for home where we soothed our sad soul by munching Crunchy Cheetos and watching Shrek 3 on DVD.    At 3:00, it was nap time so Mommy tucked the girls into their bed then sat at her computer to try to put the events of the weekend into some kind of order and post them on the blog. 

So there you have it!  Our action packed weekend!  Gosh, it was SO MUCH FUN!  The only complaint is that it was much too short!

October 09, 2008

A letter to Maddy

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Sweet Madeline, please believe that Mommy would never lock you out of the house.   NeverNot-in-a-million-years EVER.

The door was not locked (you just thought it was) and Mommy is so sorry that she didn't hear you crying.  When I finally figured out what happened, you were so distraught and I'll never forget the look on your precious face when I think back on all of this*.  Really, I'm so incredibly sorry about that.  Trust me, my baby, that I'd never do anything to hurt you and I'm so sorry you were so upset.

Here's the whole story:  Our washing machine died this morning with a huge, soggy, load inside only 1/4 finished.  We checked the Owner's Manual and learned that our problem would require a visit from a RLSP (Real Live Service Person) so I completed the necessary information online on the LG Website and waited to hear back from the service department.

When I picked you and Gwenny up from Preschool and came home to wait to hear from the technician, I noticed that I had an email with some instructions to troubleshoot the problem with the washing machine.    At the same time, you asked to go outside into the backyard to play so I opened the sliding-glass door for you.  Then I shut it (like I have many times before) because I thought you could easily pull it open again.  But I guess Gwenny is usually with you and she was probably the one who opened the door for you.  But she was inside today (watching Curious George on TV).  I really didn't know you'd be stuck out there in the hot sun and unable to open the door to come back into the house.  You must have thought that I did this on purpose but, please trust me my Sweet Darling Girl that I didn't.  I never thought for even one single second that you couldn't get back in.

When your brother was about 3 years old, we were looking at new houses and he accidentally wandered into the back yard and found himself unable to get back in.  A few minutes later, I found him with his teary face pressed against the glass door and it's an image I've never been able to shake out of my head.  Even 17 years later I see that wet face on the door.  Today, it was your teary face pressed against the glass and my heart split totally in two pieces when I saw you.

There will be pain and disappointment in your future but I promise that none of that will ever intentionally come from your family.  Even though you might have thought you were locked out on purpose, you will NEVER be cut off from the people who love you.  This I promise from the very bottom of my broken heart.

Love,

Mommy

*This picture wasn't taken today.  Maddy was much too upset for cameras and such things.  The picture you see was from 9/18 and it was a photo that I loved even though she looked so sad.  As usual, her sad face was just a quick and fleeting thing that day.

October 07, 2008

And I always thought "U" was for Umbrella.

We bought a pack of ABC flashcards while we were in China a few months ago.  They were the usual format ie. "A" is for Apple, "B" is for Boy, etc.  But we totally cracked up when we got to "U": 

U is for UglyAnd just in case you weren't sure what that looks like, there's a nice illustration.  There ya go.  Any questions?

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Honestly, our girls don't even know that word since we're careful not to teach them labels they can embarrass us with in public.  It's bad enough that Gwen wastes no time telling me that my bottom is big.  Imagine where my self-esteem would be if she had more adjectives in her vocabulary?

Oh, and X is for Xmas.  Uh huh.
Hee hee.... Not surprisingly, "P" wasn't for Political Correctness. 

October 06, 2008

Ahhhh! That was fun!

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Even with a 60% chance of rain, we headed to San Francisco for the weekend and we're so glad we did because it was beautiful!  We took the ferry to Sausalito where we dined on pizza and ice cream while basking in some of the most perfect Bay Area weather we've ever seen! 

Three hours later, we took the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed more of the local culture and fried food snacks.  Gwen and Maddy loved the Sea Lions on Pier 39 and thought they should be called Sea Dogs because they bark so much!

We were amazed to see an incredibly large yacht sailing around the bay.  The Maltese Falcon is a clipper sailing luxury yacht owned by American venture capitalist Tom Perkins. It is one of the largest privately-owned sailing yachts in the world at almost 290 feet!  Believe it or not, it's possible for just one person to control the yacht.  Amazing.  The girls really could have cared less but we were impressed!

More photos from the weekend here: 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/donna-andrew/sets/72157607805142252/

October 01, 2008

My Dream

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One of the most memorable parts of our trip to China this summer (our 3rd trip) was attending live performances in many of the cities we visited.  We saw the Acrobat Show and the Kung Fu Show in Beijing and several dance shows in Xian and Shanghai and nearly every other city on our itinerary. 

At first, we didn't hold out much hope that our girls (almost age 4) would care at all for these performances but it was immediately apparent that both of them loved the shows so we were sure to include one in each of the cities we visited whenever it was possible.  Even though most shows encroached upon nap or bed time, both of our kids sat in a nearly hypnotic state and hardly blinked for the entire performance!  That's how much they love shows! 

Today, they also enjoy movies but they're quick to distinguish between the two by saying that they want a "show with hands".  This is a direct reference to the type of show they love -- the type with colorful dancers and their hands (like the picture on the left). 

We're always on the lookout for new theatrical performances so we were thrilled to learn that the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe would be in our city in October.  This looks like a very impressive show and we're really excited to have tickets to this event and happy to advertise it on our blog. 

I hope we'll see you there!

OCTOBER 11, 2008
EXCLUSIVE LIMITED ENGAGEMENT!


My Dream
An extraordinary performing art presented by
China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe

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