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8 posts from August 2009

August 27, 2009

I hope this means she'll be good at math

Good at math blog

Aside from those first day jitters (and tears), school as been really going well all week long. Each morning, the girls are excited to go to school and they're all smiles when I pick them up in the afternoon.  They're also REALLY tired! 

I thought naps might be phased out but we seem to have renewed interest in them.  When I announce that it's nap time, they trip over one another trying to get to the TV to turn it off.  Then they put themselves in their room and close their door and climb into bed.  An hour later, I wake them up.

Today, I was greeted with an especially interesting sight when I walked into Gwen's room.  She was sound asleep with a calculator tied to her head!  Naturally, I had to grab the camera.   I snapped this photo then crawled into her bed to snuggle her awake and discovered that she had a ruler tied to one foot and a pedometer tied to the other!  Really, I'm not even sure what the heck to make of any of this.   I guess my girl likes numbers!  

August 25, 2009

She cried (and so did I)

First day of kindergarten landscape

The big day finally arrived!  We took a bunch of photos in our brand new FDOS clothes, grabbed a bite of early lunch then piled into the van for the 1 mile drive to school (we'll eventually walk this together each morning).

When we arrived, the kids were super excited.  Gwen ran all over the place, making friends and greeting teachers while Maddy, as usual, happily followed her sister's lead.  When it was time to line up, Gwen found her spot and Maddy filed in beside her.  I reminded her that she had her own class and they had their own line and that's when Maddy wrapped her arms and legs around me and buried her face in my hip and started to sob.  

The teachers told the kids to wave goodbye to their parents and the classes were starting to file inside.  I looked for Gwen so I could blow her a kiss but she was already in her class room.

But there was no way Maddy was going into hers. 

I picked her up and tried to reassure her but she hugged me tighter and wouldn't let me put her down.  Parents weren't encouraged to go inside the class room but I couldn't get her to let go of me and I wasn't going to pry her off and shove her through the door and run away and just leave her there.  

After all of the other kids were inside, I carried her in and Maddy's teacher saw that she was having some problems saying goodbye to Mommy so she asked her classroom assistant to help me.  Everyone (except Maddy), understood that the best way to deal with this was for me to leave as quickly and unceremoniously as possible so I unwrapped my velcro daughter from me while the other woman worked fast to catch each limb to keep her from latching back on.  Then I quickly kissed her wet cheek, reminded her that I'd be back real soon and hurried away.  The sound of her frantic screams overwhelmed my senses and made my heart ache.  This is the little girl who didn't cry on Gotcha Day.  I knew she knew I'd be back in a few hours but it still broke my heart to have to leave her like that. 

Today was the first day of Kindergarten and the 3rd anniversary of Maddy's adoption.  We've come so far and I'm so proud of my brave little girl!

When school let out, I met the kids outside their classroom.  In spite of the rocky start, it looks like Maddy had a fun first day.  Here she is:

kindergarten pickup 010

And here comes Gwen:

kindergarten pickup 007

Crossing our fingers for a good 2nd day! 

August 19, 2009

The week before school

I've been playing around with hairstyle ideas since both of my soon-to-be Kindergartners have long hair now and I've got to do something with it each  morning.

Today was the first day Maddy's hair seemed long enough to french braid so I gave it a shot and I think it came out pretty cute.   I had to use a ton of hairspray though! 

It's been 8 months since she took the scissors to her own hair and cut it all the way down to the scalp.  I don't know who cried more when she did that but she's enjoying having long hair now so I think we're finally out of the self imposed haircut stage.  Phew, that's one childhood rite of passage that I'm happy to have avoided with my two other kids and thrilled to finally be putting behind us with Madeline!


French braids two photos blog

Of course, we all know Gwen and Maddy are not real twins in the conventional sense but they're only one month different in age and they've been together for their entire life (as they remember it) so I often think of them as twins.  Can you believe I've actually gotten nasty emails from parents of 'real' twins who think we're encroaching on their sacred turf when we loosely apply the term "twin" to our virtual twins?  Geesh.... I think someone needs a nap!

Anyway, when we traveled to China in summer of 2006 to adopt Maddy, they had just turned two and they were quite physically similar and everyone thought they were twins and would constantly ask us about it.  We always told the truth even though it sometimes seemed like it was too much personal information to share with strangers.  Much has changed in three years and people don't make that mistake now so we hardly ever get the question.

Very different twins blog

Maddy looks so tiny next to her sister but she's actually in the 50th percentile for height and weight on the Chinese charts so she's the 'normal' one.   Gwen is way off the top of the charts but healthy and well proportioned so who cares!    Just for fun, here are some comparisons:

Maddy is 41 inches tall and weighs 31 pounds.
Gwen is 45 inches tall and weighs 54 pounds.

Maddy wears a size 8 shoe.
Gwen wears a size 12 shoe.

Maddy wears a size 4 (slim).
Gwen wears a size 6 (regular).

Maddy LOVES to embellish her look with anything flashy or gaudy.  Sequins anyone?
Gwen tolerates girly stuff but absolutely refuses to wear buttons.  (hmmm... why???)

Maddy will eat just about anything and everything - but always in small quantities.
Gwen will only eat carbs and dairy products (to our dismay) - and always wants more.

Maddy is cautious and contemplative.
Gwen is a fearless risk-taker but very capable and that seems to keep her safe.

Maddy is highly artistic but very self critical.
Gwen is carefree and easy going but not very self-disciplined.

Maddy is the stereotypical "Princess"
Gwen is the stereotypical "Tom Boy"

Both are exquisitely beautiful, incredibly smart and hysterically funny and a day doesn't pass that I don't thank God for blessing me with this family.  And that includes the wonderful men in my life:  Our talented son, Michael, and my best friend and father to all my kids; my amazing husband, Andrew.

August 13, 2009


I've been trying to pay more attention to reflections so I staged this photo shoot on a bright sunny day against a freshly polished minivan window.   This might just be the cleanest that window has ever been! Then I dragged out a small ladder to get my super cute subject a bit closer to the reflective surface and tossed in a chocolate bribe just to get the smiles popping!

As you might expect, it worked!

Here's Gwen, clearly thrilled with the prospect of Godiva chocolate melting on her tongue.

Reflections of a (sideways) happy girl!

Maddy's face was equally ecstatic but I loved this closeup of her delicate little hand. This photo is almost Straight Out of The Camera (SOTC) but I cropped the photo and enhanced her hand a little bit because it was overexposed.  Isn't it stunning!?

Reflections of a happy girl

I I captured so many other super sweet photos during this shoot!  Really it was impossible to pick just these two so visit our flickr "reflection" photo album to see the others or click any of the thumbnails below.


August 12, 2009

Goats and Tortoises and Red Crested Screamers, OH MY!

Our favorite little amusement park has a super cool petting zoo now.  It's just a temporary thing but it's quickly become one of our favorite spots.  The kids never get tired of touching and feeding the sweet baby animals.

Isn't Maddy cute?  She's such a big girl now that she's five.  She wears sun glasses and carries a purse and listens to her ipod (just like mommy!).  She's such a little darlin'! 

Gilroy Gardens petting zoo blog
Gilroy Gardens is so beautiful.  The Circus Trees, of course are just amazing but everything is manicured and lush and colorful.  Here's a little collage of some of the roses. 

Gilroy Gardens flowers Aug 2009 blog  

I hope the park can survive.  It's never busy and I worry each year that this one might be the last.  What a shame that would be because it's really a hidden gem.   Maybe I'll go grab the kids from preschool a little bit early and we'll head down there now!  :)

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