Monday, December 31, 2007

Another architectural masterpiece

For Christmas, Kenzie asked Santa to bring her a "pretty castle".

Well by the time Santa got his marching orders - there wasn't a pre-made "pretty castle" to be had. So Santa had to start looking at alternatives.

Luckily Santa found a nice elf online who makes these beautiful wooden blocks so children can make their own pretty castles. The really neat thing is that these blocks are so versatile... and Kenzie can create to her heart's content. Too bad we don't have a doubled set.

So - I have here her latest masterpiece.

I can understand how Kenzie is - she's not really tomboy-ish at all. She's very girly and feminine in her own way - but what interests her isn't the strictly girly things - she simply has her own interests - and we are not going to do anything to squelch her desire and drive to be creative in her own way. I was always more interested in what was at one time considered "boys' toys" - microscopes, minerology sets, pup tents, cameras, etc.... they were far more fun to play with than any number and kind of dolls. I never understood how anyone could get a big kick out of arranging furniture in a doll house - but that was just me. I preferred every time we took a trip to look for new rocks to add to my rock collection. Kenzie has been talking about going somewhere to look for rocks to create a collection as well.... and she wants to give me "pretty rocks".

I think she's a lot like me - and it's not just because she lives with us... this is just who she is. With adoption, you always wonder how much is nature and how much is nurture. But there are times when you know 100% that it is just who the child is and not from any undue influence of the parents on the child - other than allowing the child to pursue her/his own interests.

And to be sure - gotta love that cocky little smile. So sure of herself. I hope she stays that way even in her teenage years.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Have a rockin' good Christmas!

What to do with blurry Christmas pictures?

Make a video! Enjoy - and may you have a joy-filled Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mama's little architect

Kenzie loves to build. The best toy she could have would be blocks. Any kind - any shapes... if she has them, she puts them together.

I have seen her take toys that can be interlocked together or just plain cardboard blocks and build some of the most interesting structures. I never had that in me... I didn't ever have the patience or imagination for that. But this kid... her understanding of spatial relationships and her grasp of what makes something work and other things not work... couple that with her ability to concentrate for long periods of time if necessary - and she sometimes amazes me. I am going to start taking pictures of her creations so I can show her styles. She never makes the same thing twice, even if she has the same number and size of blocks... she always creates new stuff.

Below is one of her recent creations she made while at daycare. She calls it a restaurant.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is this the beginning of my downfall?

The other night, Kenzie and I had visited my mother at rehab. When we left, I got Kenzie in the car and just began buckling her in - it was COLD outside and I wanted to get inside the car and go home.

Kenzie began yelling and pumping her fist up and down, saying, "You ruined everything! I wanted to do it!"

OK, now I know what I'm going to be in for when she's a teenager. She'll get mad at me about something and then start yelling, "You ruined my life!" (We all know how teenagers tend to exaggerate a bit, right?)

I guess from now on I have to ask permission to buckle her up...

or not.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

With a Rebel yell, she cried More! More! More!

OK, maybe I got your attention... but this was on purpose.

I have always been the kind of person who loved photography but always went for the easy point and shoot cameras. Until now....

I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XTi... and I am in LOVE! I'm learning what to do with it still, but even novices who aren't all that experienced with cameras can get started on this camera fairly easy (DO read the directions first!) and even if you aren't a pro - some of the features will have you feeling like one in no time. I love the AI Servo feature, where the focus focuses on the subject all the time, so you can capture action. No more posing - just let her go do what she wants to and take pics. If my dad were alive he'd be in heaven with this camera.

My only problem now will be choosing which ones I make pictures out of and which ones to ignore. When you have a kid as cute as mine and a camera that does what this one does - that make the job even harder!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My little supermodel

The dress and leggings were a gift from my husband's cousin. Made for an adorable get-up. Kenzie loves the dress. Just had fun this morning snapping pics, and letting Kenzie be herself. Kenzie has watched some older episodes of America's Next Top Model and she thinks the show is really cool... although she also thinks some of the models are big babies. She's right.

She'll never be tall enough to make a top model - but she's awfully cute!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The brothers are at it again....

If one is unfamiliar with what is going on in our family, please refer to this post and this post. It will catch you up with today's latest update.

My brother Richard has been calling mom on a regular basis (as regular as you can get for Richard). He's playing the "good son" by calling... not that he is really listening to anything she has to say... until the last phone call.

Mom has been having panic attacks, and the doctor has prescribed medication for them... and we've been trying to get her to use an anti-depressant. She's been in constant pain from her shoulders hurting - she has no cartilege where the bone enters the shoulder socket - so it is just bone against bone and it is playing hell with the nerves in her arms. We should be able to take her to a surgeon and possibly schedule the surgery that she was originally supposed to have back in April, when they found out she had a heart problem. If she can get some relief from this, it will be a blessing!

When Richard heard that she was having panic attacks (mom actually got a word in edge-wise) he said she should have someone come live with her and take care of her. Now, that wouldn't be a bad idea - however, Richard suggested that she let Bill and his wife Erica move in with her.

Sorry - this is where gales of laughter come streaming out of EVERYONE'S mouths.

Now someone tell me that Richard is reaaaaaallllly mad at Bill and is reaaaaaallllly sorry that he hurt mom's feelings! It sounds to me that they are still neck deep in their little conspiracy. Richard isn't mad at Bill - they are just trying a new tact to get at mom.

Bill.... the one who wanted to charge her for every little thing he and his wife was doing to "help" her when she got out of rehab. The one who lied to her about me, and then with Richard's help schemed to cut me out of the will and wanted to have her make him Power of Attorney. Bill - whose house is being foreclosed upon, and has filed bankruptcy 3 times in his 42 years of existence.

And this coming from Richard - who called the Department of Children's Services on me with unsupported allegations against us. Richard, who thinks he's smarter than the average Hostess Ding-Dong... well, maybe just slightly smarter than the Ding-Dong.

My mother was great - she said NO WAY! She was NOT going to let them come and stay in her home... I am glad she has her wits about her and knows that Bill will only take advantage of her. And he hasn't called mom or made any effort to contact her after he had spoken to her the last time. That spoke volumes to her that the only thing he cared about was her money - not her as his mother.

I know this is so hard for mom... and I wish we lived closer together (I'm grateful it's only 25 miles away and not 250!) I am only asking for prayers that she be able to have the surgery and that it will help the pain she is going through every day right now. And perhaps that will help her to get relief from the panic attacks.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Navy Pier and Pics from both days

Today was Navy Pier day. Of the two places (Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier) I like Navy Pier best. But it was scorching hot today... and there really wasn't much of a breeze off of Lake Michigan.

It's a good thing Kenzie is only 4 and doesn't need expensive entertainment to have a good time right now. Just being with her family is enough... and anything else is just that much extra fun.

Last year, Kenzie had a SpongeBob Ice Cream Bar and was wild about it. (I had tried a taste and thought it was gawd-awful!) But this year, she insisted that she have another one. Yuck!

Of course, there were other things to do at the zoo... but she mostly spent it either walking on the metal fencing or taking her own pics. Plus, I drove her nuts trying to take her picture... poor kid - she's going to end up with a phobia about cameras because of me.

At Navy Pier, they have a marvelous Children's Museum. Mondays, children get in free. Kenzie likes the area where you can pretend to make food items and sell it. Last year she especially liked the cash register... but this year, all she wanted to do was "make pizza".

The one thing I liked most about Navy Pier is the view. It's a really nice view of the city and Lake Michigan. I think next year we'd like to take one of the boat tours to see downtown Chicago's architecture. Kenzie was really wanting to go on a boat. When one of the tour boats blasted its horn before departure, she just had to watch it leave the dock close up.

I think the last picture says it all. Family is what is important. We come up to this area to visit Roy's mom, and Kenzie loves her Grandma Geri so much! We absolutely love coming to see her and spend time with her... and I think kids seem to know innately what we as grownups tend to forget: spending time with family is all that really matters when it comes to having a good time. Hopefully, the pictures and video I've taken with her and her Grandma Geri will help preserve that love and the memories we are building with Kenzie.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hello from Chicago!

Yup... came to Chicago this weekend. Last night, we ate at a place in Des Plaines called The Omega. LOVE it - their prices are reasonable and the food is great - and you get so much one of these meals could feed my mother, Kenzie and me. Kenzie loves their matzo ball soup. A Chinese girl eating Jewish food. Who'd a thunk it!

We met Roy's brother's girlfriend, Jane, and Roy's cousin, Elaine. Elaine gave Kenzie an Etch-a-Sketch and a child's learning laptop (not an expensive item - just a toy) and a really beautiful dress. (When we got back to the hotel from the restaurant, all Kenzie wanted to do was play with the computer toy!)

And Kenzie really took to Jane. She must be really good with kids... Kenzie wanted Jane to come back to the hotel with us, and was really upset when she found out we wouldn't be seeing her until probably next year. She began to cry. Yeah, I think I can safely say Kenzie really thought the world of her.

I have pictures and a little video to post. Here are some pics that Kenzie took with her little camera over today and yesterday.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dance lessons

Last Tuesday night was Kenzie's first dance lesson. Although I have five videos on YouTube for the entire night (each around 3 minutes or so) I thought I'd post my two favorites here. She was so excited to be learning how to dance... and she also got to participate in some gymnastics, which she absolutely LOVED. So, I am including my favorites from the Gymnastics session.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Questions about heaven from a 4 year old

Kenzie insisted that I read a book to her last night. It was about the first Easter... and told of Jesus and how he died on the cross. She couldn't understand why God would want Jesus to die, why they put nails in his hands and feet, why the broke the bones of the other criminals who were crucified, why they wrapped Jesus up in cloth and put him in a cave, how the angel moved the big stone from the cave, how did Jesus get to heaven, and on and on and on.

She also wanted to know why there was so much fighting in Israel. Another one that I don't have enough information to answer....

Heck, half the time, I don't understand all of this, either. But I was trying to answer her questions as best I could. Man - Kids ask the hardest questions! I never thought I'd have to know so much to be a mommy...

She was pondering how the soul leaves the body. I told her I didn't know how it happened, that perhaps, it was somehow connected to our bodies while we are alive, but when the body dies, it is freed to just leave the body and fly away.

She then wondered how the soul would fly up to heaven. I told her I didn't know... since I had never done it.

Her reply, "Perhaps it has to get on an airplane and fly to Israel..."

As good a reply as any others out there.

I love her innocence. I love her being so inquisitive. I love the fact that she insists on answers that make sense to her. And I love it that her mind is working to figure out the how and why of everything around her. She is not as accepting of information as I was... she wants an acceptable, plausible answer. And it appears to me she knows when an answer is plausible and when it is not.

Which makes my job harder. But watching her mind at work is marvelous and fascinating!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let me rethink that....

Last night, as I was giving Kenzie her bath, relayed to me what her daycare teacher told her. Here was our conversation....

K: You know what Miss Vanda said mommy? Miss Vanda said that if we kids ate our cereal bars all up then we would get big like her. (Note: Miss Vanda isn't a small woman, and I don't mean she is tall....)

M: Do you want to be big like Vanda?

K: (furrows her brows as she gives it a little thought - then her eyes open wide as she realizes what the answer would be.) NO! I don't want to be big like her! (then she starts laughing.)


And then the other night, when her daddy was telling her a bedtime story - she all of a sudden says, "Wait a minute!"

She sat on her daddy's chest, leaned her butt to his face, and FARTED!

OH, she thought this was hilariously funny. So did daddy. Unfortunately, so did I. I guess there goes our ability to teach her any kind of etiquette or respect for her parents.

She doesn't do it to me.... yet.

If I had done that to my dad, it would have been the kiss of death.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Adoption Agency Reunion Picnic - July 28

Our adoption agency has a picnic event once a year in July, and I have taken Kenzie three times in the last four picnics they've had. The first picnic I might have attended with her, in 2004, was just too soon after returning from China, and I was still suffering from jet lag still.

This year was the best one ever. We got to see one of our facilitators from China - Genie! We absolutely love her still... and she is one of the most outstanding people we've met in our lives. We truly hope that if we get to go back to China, we can hire her to take us around to places we want to see and go... she would be an awesome guide. And for us, it would be a dream come true.

We also got to see three of our friends who adopted in our travel group. All the kids were from Hunan - the three little girls were from Yongzhou, and our daughter is from Changsha #2.

I have pics below from the picnic. Not many, because my Nikon 8700 BROKE after taking the pics of the four kids together. AAAAAAGHH! I purchased a 5 year warranty with it... and hopefully that will cover what went wrong. (I have tears in my eyes... I wanted to take more pics!)

I also have two short videos - one with Kenzie and Genie! Hugs and Kisses to you Genie!