Monday, December 31, 2007

Temper tantrums are fun!

Esther had here first major temper tantrum the other night. Full blown. She didn't want to stop playing when it was time to, and got mad at me when it was time for a bath. After a 2 minute time-out, I went to get her from her room and she had thrown herself on the ground and was rolling around crying. I told her time-out was done so she followed me upstairs while still crying. She threw herself down on the ground again and continued crying. Esther kept standing up and then throwing herself down again. I ignored her and Gene tried to distract her (which usually works when she gets mad). But she would have none of it. She wouldn't let me near her, she was very mad at Mommy. We tried the bath but she just splashed around which made her even more upset. Bubbles didn't even distract her. Bathtime was very short. I managed to get her in her PJs somehow, all the while she cried on. She would not take milk from Gene or let him rock her which is our nightly routine. So I decided I was going to hold her until she calmed down. I held her and talked to her for awhile and finally she let herself relax. When I put her to bed she was back to her old self. All-in-all she cried for an hour. Phew!! She's almost two and this could be a nice introduction to our future.

Here's our little angel wearing Daddy's coat which is about 8 sizes too big. She wandered around the living room for a while in her "cape."

We spent Saturday and Sunday with Gene's parents at their home. Sunday was Gene's mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Nana Marilyn! Esther enjoyed her grandparents and got some new toys to play with.

"Ah, Daddy's face makes a nice leg rest."
The grandparents had gotten her her own couch and laptop.

She had the best time with cousin John.
She kept him busy chasing her and being chased.

Nana and Esther got some good dancing in. Nana taught Esther the "Hockey-pockey" and Esther wanted her to show it to her again and again and again. Very funny!

"Why is everyone staring at me?"
(there's cousin Mandy and Aunt Tammy)

For some reason this trip, Esther was afraid of Cousin Chrissy. I don't know if it was because she is so tall or because Esther was in awe of her but she wouldn't let Chrissy get too close. Dad was trying to show Esther how fun Chrissy is but she never was too sure of her.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We're officially a family...again.

Isn't this redundantly redundant? Yes, yes and yes. It still doesn't make total sense to me and I have a hard time explaining re-adoption but it basically means that Esther has been officially adopted by us in the US court system. And now she gets a Washington State birth certificate. All said and done it was a somewhat painless process though I've had to visit King County Courthouse too many times in the last few months. But we've had to deal with red tape before so it's just a matter of wading through it.
Our hearing in front of the judge was today and we could tell right away that he was a very kind man. He was genuinely pleased to sign our Adoption Decree. Like my stepmother said adoption proceedings are the best parts of a judges day.
We had to wake Esther up really early this morning. She is definitely my daughter and is not a morning person. Her usual wake up time is 10-10:30 AM so 7 came way too early! It took her about an hour and 45 minutes to completely wake up. But once she's fully awake, man is she ready to go. Here's a picture of her running the hallway before our court hearing:

The "legal" family and the nice judge:
As soon as we got home from the proceedings, we all took a two hour nap. We are a wild and crazy family!

And now for some cute Esther photos from Christmas Day. We had some snow, albeit wet, mushy flakes, but snow nonetheless. As you can see, E quite enjoyed trying to catch some:

Daddy tried to teach her to catch some snowflakes with her tongue but I don't think she was too successful. It makes an adorable photo though:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Our first Christmas at home with Esther was rather uneventful, but relaxing. We didn't travel anywhere or have a big shindig, just the three of us.

Meet the newest blogger:

Christmas Eve was a beautiful sunny (and cold) day. So we headed to the park a block from our house. Of course Esther had to partake of her favorite playground activity: swinging.

Esther got to drive Daddy around for a change:

"Look, Dad, I'm not even watching the road."

Investigating the bare tree branches.

Whose turtle is the fastest?
I think it's a dead heat.

Introducing her new toys to each other:

Check out E's new shoes (Daddy was ordered to wear her other pair):

"Come on, Dad, get up and walk around with me."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tis the season for celebrations and parties.

For Esther Day we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant, where among other things we had the "po po platter" complete with flame. Fun trying to keep a small child from hot dishes and fire. In this pic, Dad's trying to perfect his Myspace photo taking skills...not sure what I was thinking though. Wow! This is one of the only posts where you see more of me than Gene.
Me and my girl:

Esther loves meaning to the word "bubble-bath."

She likes to pop them with her mouth. Hopefully she's not ingesting too much soap.

Esther has been really aware of noises lately. If she hears a plane overhead or a loud vehicle she says "no, no, no" and needs to be held. So I've been getting some good cuddling in. Gotta take it when I can get it.

Loose Cannon's Christmas party was this weekend. It was held at one of the bosses' houses and Esther and I made a short appearance then left Gene to enjoy the festivities unencumbered. We dressed E in her red Chinese outfit (below) and she won over the crowd. She lounged on the settee while eating a cookie. What a little princess. She doesn't know how to sit lady-like, which hasn't changed in a year (see photo following this one).

She enjoyed stacking Dev and Karin's chess set on a coaster.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh, what a day!

It's a pretty emotional day for me's our first Esther Day anniversary! It started last night when I was revisiting my blog posts from China; still makes me teary seeing our first meeting. What a fantastic year it has been and I have so much to be thankful for! God has blessed us with such a wonderful daughter.

Take a look at how much Esther's grown:

First day with Pan Pan: Six months together:
Today (her "gotcha day" outfit finally fits):

Things Gene and I have learned in the last year:
  1. Our apartment is only tidy two times a day...before E wakes up and after she goes to bed.

  2. I was a better parent before I had a child.

  3. We've come to appreciate and even love Elmo.

  4. I still like watching Sesame Street after all these years.

  5. Esther's bodily functions have become a daily discussion.

  6. There is no such thing as "child-proofing"...the measures to keep Esther safe only seem to bring them to her attention. And they create an interesting challenge for her.

  7. Our favorite past-time of going out to a movie is a thing of the past, thank goodness for Netflix.

  8. Gene has a great imagination when it comes to envisioning horrible injuries that could befall our girl.

  9. Some days Esther and I butt heads because we're both very stubborn. Poor Gene.

  10. Hearing our daughter laugh is the best sound in the world.

  11. Esther is awesome.

Here's Esther and Daddy playing under the Christmas tree. We decided on a tiny tree this year so E wouldn't get into too much trouble. "Nothin'"

Daddy is a fun toy:


Friday, December 14, 2007

happy holidays!!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Yay! Finally some of snow.

Esther had her first dental exam this past week. She was fine until the dentist wanted to look in her mouth. Of course Gene had me hold Esther during the exam because he's a wimp when it comes to holding her down. She cried wholeheartedly but that meant her mouth was wide open, so the dentist was able to see inside fairly well. So far, so good. Her teeth are healthy. The visit took all of 15 minutes. As we were getting ready to leave, Esther was feeling much better about the whole experience and suddenly blurts out to the dentist, "tank ewe" (thank you) while signing it. This is the first time she used this ever so her Dad and I were very surprised and pleased. What a polite little girl we have. Needless to say she charmed the dentist and his staff. Here's Esther demonstrating the proper way to brush (didn't seem to bother her that Elmo has no teeth).
My sister is moving to Alaska, like tomorrow. So this weekend we made a quick visit to Sequim to visit her for the last time until summer. We had a great visit with Heidi, her fiance Tom, my mom her husband and the kids. Esther is sure going to miss her cousin Bela, he makes her laugh with glee.
At mom's house Esther found a magnifying possible occupation? -a detective.

Last time it snowed we didn't get to frolic in it so when it snowed in Sequim we took full advantage. Of course, I didn't think of bringing Esther's snow boots, so I improvised with baggies and rubber bands. I don't think she was too sure about the snow at first.

But she soon "warmed" up to it.

Uh oh, here comes Tessy:

Trying to make her first snowball:

OK, that was fun, let's go inside and warm up:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

"Oivay! More pictures, Mom?" In actuality Esther is doing "peek-a-boo" but since her right hand is otherwise occupied, she's doing it one-handed. She loves her new coloring book (thanks Nana & Papa B).
E is very enthralled by the colors and "markings" on her new stool from Nana Marilyn. Esther's name means "star" & I think the Chinese character means star...right Marilyn?

Look at my lazy family:

We went to a free trial class at Gymboree on Thursday, which was entertaining. Esther is cautious in new situations and did a lot of watching, but she definitely was engaged with the goings-on. I think she would benefit from structured play like this, however Gymboree is bloody expensive. We're going to check out the Kirkland Community Center drop-in playtime after the new year. It's much more affordable but I'm not too sure how structured it is. Here's Esther enjoying some free play before class started...we didn't teach her to dunk. I guess it's just intuitive to put a ball through a hoop.
Today it snowed...huge gigantic flakes. Beautiful!! (This former Alaskan loves her some snow!) Esther called it "no." We were planning to go out and frolic in it but after lunch it had started raining and the snow turned to slush. Tomorrow it's supposed to snow again, and we're planning to go to a tree farm to find our Christmas tree. I hope to get E out in it to really enjoy the white stuff. We'll be sure to bring our camera.

As some of you are aware, Esther is a shoe girl. And now a "bot" (for boot) girl.
Here she is in her happy place:

Dad and Esther's Myspace photo:

Enjoying Mom's snow boots: