One of my favorite Scrapbooking Freebie Bloggers, Angie, is hosting a fun challenge this week. The requirement is that you creat a scrapbooking page about a "First". You must have a large title, you must have a bright background and you must use something from Gina's "Playing with Wire" collection. All the details are here: <The Meadow Challenge>
(Gina's stuff is AWESOME but you don't have to buy anything. You can get a freebie here: <click> and still play along.)
I stopped doing the FFFF challenge because it was just too time consuming but I couldn't resist participating in this particular "challenge" since the prize is so sweet! (Angie gives you that just for attempting the challenge!). I have to post this on the public blog to qualify but you've all seen this pic before anyway. :)
So, here's my entry. This gave me a chance to try out my new China Theme digital papers and elements that I recently purchased from Scrap and Tell
Gwen is a thief of hearts. She's sweeter than sweet and super smart. She turned 3 at the end of June and knows all of her ABC's and phonics for each letter and can count to 20 (we've not really tried to go beyond 20 yet). She can hardly wait to go to school and begs to be taken there every time we get in the van to go somewhere else. We're making it a priority to find a good program that she can attend part time with Maddy.
Today, one of our friends (Jaime and Eric) saw their baby girl's picture for the very first time. They've been waiting for her just about as long as we've had Gwen. For them, the last two years must have felt like ten! But, for those of us who are blessed to have our children home with us, the time passes much too quickly. Just look at my baby! She's growing up much too quickly!
Sorry about the bad pun in the subject line but I just couldn't resist. And, as usual, if you can't read the text in the photo, below, just click on it to see a larger size image.
When we got Gwen's referral, it was obvious that her head was recently shaved completely bald. We can surely appreciate that this would be much more comfortable (and hygienic) in the miserable Southern China summer heat!
Something we'll always remember about our time in Guangzhou was how we proudly carried our gorgeous new daughter around and so many Chinese people approached us and seemed absolutely sure that she was really a boy (even though she was dressed from head to toe in pink hearts and flowers). But it didn't phase us a bit. We knew her hair was just one of many styles she'd wear over the years and we knew that hair styles are temporary and hair (almost always) grows back.
But could we have imagined that it would happen this fast!? It's not even been two full years and just look at all that thick gorgeous hair!
I have to do "something" with all that hair each morning after bath so our ritual is for me to have Gwenny sit on the bathroom counter (facing the mirror). This keeps her at a comfortable height and discourages her from getting away from me before my work is done.
She seems to have accepted that Mommy's going to fix her hair each day but she's really picky about what she'll let me put in it. We're lucky that she doesn't seem to object to any number of pony tails so, this morning, she got SIX! It was the first time we've tried this and it wasn't what you'd call quick. Still, she was a good sport through all of it and she even helped me pick out the colors of hair bands to use and handed them to me when I requested them. Don't try to sneak a hair ribbon or barrette or clip in there though! And ix-nay on the ewelry-jay too!
Maddy's a totally different story. I'll post some precious photos of her and talk about her sense of "style" in a day or two so stayed tuned!
About a year ago, Gwen started playing pretend. At first, she was a kitty and would crawl around meowing. Pretending to be a dog was her next charming trick. The first time she did it, we were walking through one of our large local malls and using an elastic hand-strap thingy to connect her wrist to ours. We got plenty of curious looks from strangers who seemed to wonder why two white people were walking around with a cute little Chinese toddler on a leash. Imagine everyone's shock and horror when Gwen dropped to all fours and started barking! When people would make angry eye contact with us, Andrew would tell them "we make her walk like that" and then we'd do our best not to break into hysterical laughter before they were out of earshot.
When we play pretend, we always ask Gwen and Maddy what they want to be. Maddy loves to be a kitty and a frequent response from Gwen is "I be firetruck!" She doesn't want to be the Firefighter. Nope, she wants to be the big red noisy fire truck!
When Michael was about the same age, he loved fire trucks too. In fact, he loved everything about the fire station and wanted to dress up like a firefighter for halloween that year. Just before halloween, a brand new firestation opened in our town and they held an open house for the community. These are some of my favorite pictures from Michael's childhood. As always, click either image to see a larger view.
For the last week, Gwen has been taking naps in the Big Girl bed in her room. "Compliance" isn't high on the list of Gwen's skills but she seems to be consistently staying in bed and not getting up and roaming around. I wouldn't have betted this would happen but we seem to be lucking out.
Last night, we put her to bed in her crib and she was happy but she was still awake at 10:00. When I went into her room, she jumped up and announced "I not tired". So I lifted her out of her crib and held her in my arms for a few extremely satisfying minutes. She was quiet and content to just be held and rocked.
I finally asked her if she wanted to sleep in her Big Girl bed and she dove out of my arms onto the mattress. I got her pillow and blanket and kitty and told her that she must stay in bed and not get up and she said "I good girl. I no get out of bed. I tired. Nite nite, Mommy. I love you."
I'm so in love with this little girl! She melts my heart!
Every time the cat made a noise last night, I bolted upright in bed! I was really primed to be listening for any hint that Gwenny was out of bed and roaming around. But she stayed in bed all night! At 7:30 AM, we went into her room and got her up!
She's napping right now - in her big girl bed!
(PS: we moved Maddy's crib into the Blue Room since it was bigger than the port-a-crib she was sleeping in. She prefers her own room and is quite happy to be in there. It works better to have the girls sleep in different rooms since Gwen loves to snooze and Maddy loves to blab! I hope they'll want to share a room later though.)
I feel kinda dumb for not noticing this before but if you look closely, you'll see that in between her lower canines, Gwen has only three teeth. She seems to be missing one of her lower incisors.
I've done some online research and found that this is rare (fewer then 2% of children) but it's pretty harmless. There is, however, a 60% chance that she'll also be missing the corresponding permanent tooth. But she has very pretty, white, healthy, teeth! And she loves to brush them!
I couldn't resist sharing a few more pictures from three days ago when Gwen turned three. She's such a little darling! She's really proud of herself that she can hold down her pinky with her thumb show three fingers. She's been practicing and practicing this and now she's a champ at it!
In the last week, she's decided not to call me Mama anymore. Now, I'm officially MOMMY. She likes the sound of it too and will even correct herself if she slips and says Mama. Let me just say that my heart almost bursts with love and adoration for this child when I hear her precious little voice say Mommy. I really don't think any child has ever sounded cuter. She's got a personality to go with that sweet little voice too.
When I give her a snack or bring her a cup of juice or find her Lovey and hand it to her, she always says "Oh! Thank you, Mommy!" Yeah, you can read that and think, yeah - that's cute, but you would have to HEAR it to get the full impact. It's so incredibly sweet that it makes my teeth ache!
Since the girls are just 36 days apart in age, we decided to combine their birthdays and throw them a big party. So we'll do presents and cake and sing the birthday song on July 14th.
Gwenny is such a smart little girl but she's not reading the blog yet. So, I think it's probably safe for Mommy to say this here:
Happy Birthday, Gwendolyn Claire! I love you my sweet Birthday Princess!