Maddie Rae Gotcha Day

Monday, February 25, 2008


I couldn't deny it any longer: Maddie Rae was growing a sweet mullet. Standing strong on my words of the past that I would never ever let any child of mine have a baby mullet, I got out the shears tonight during her bath and snipped away so that she is now sporting a cute little bob. I tucked the hair away in an envelope labelled "Maddie Rae's first haircut", and although that may not be completely accurate, I think it's close enough. It's her first haircut by me, and although she has had a head shave at the orphanage, I don't think that counts in the "cut" category.

Another milestone that deserves note is that she now has to duck her head to walk under the dining room table. When we first brought her home 4 months ago, she could walk clear under the table with plenty of clearance and not a worry in sight. Not anymore. I'd say that represents at least a one inch growth spurt and probably a few future head bangs.

And our final first: all three kids are sick together for the first time. This is what happens when you keep three kids who are hacking, sneezing, feverish, and generally miserable locked up in a small flat for 5 solid days:

Cabin fever!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Life with a toddler...again

Wearing mom's slippers around the house (note the mess in the background caused by said toddler)

Taking care of her baby (wearing Jack's orange karate belt)


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sport's Day

A cute little cheerleader.
I love the look on his face here...all that intensity ready to lead his team to victory.

It was the much anticipated "Sport's Day" for Jack on Friday. This kid loves activity, organized games, and gold medals, so this day was made for him. The added bonus was that Daddy even got to come watch. After reading the "break a parent's heart" note that Jack composed the night before, Jon said, "OK. I'm going to sport's day tomorrow." Good thing too because he led his team to victory in the parent's Tug 'O War. And we all's all about the win.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fun Weekend

A new game: Battleship
Movie time with Ellen and Zoe before our Chinese New Year cookout
Kid pile-on
Chinese New Year beauty
Sunday afternoon lunch with friends

Friday, February 8, 2008

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Maddie Rae checking out the chrysanthemums, which are taller than her!

Orange trees and chrysanthemums are the "Christmas trees" and poinsettias of CNY. They decorate homes, buildings, and outdoor areas everywhere. There are huge flower markets that sell them where you can get all of your decorations for the New Year. Everything is chosen because it represents something. For example, the oranges are round and orange, which will supposedly bring you good luck and fortune in the new year. Red is the color of luck, and white is the color of death. So don't get caught wearing white!
Cherry blossoms are also a popular decoration.
Trees also have lai see packets hanging from them. When you go up to someone and wish them "Kung Hei Fat Choy" or "Happy New Year", they hand you a lai see packet with money or candy in it. The boys love this tradition! They make quite a bit of lai see money each year. The rat cartoon is an effort to make the Year of the Rat appealing (at Disney they are calling it the Year of the Mouse).

I am listening to the drums of the dragon dance outside our house right now, and there is a spectacular fireworks display over Victoria Harbour tonight. Due to the crowds and cold, we probably will not haul all three kids out to that. Maddie Rae hated her Chinese New Year tutu outfit. I tried to get a picture of her in it, but she refused to comply and just cried until I exchanged the tutu for jeans. Not even 2, and she already has an opinion about her wardrobe!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Party...HK Style

The fans...
The food...
The cheering section...
The cheering section posing for her paparazzi...
The future receiver...

The 13 hour time difference between the US and HK puts a crimp in our chips and salsa style Super Bowl Parties. No worries. We just change the menu to include Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and bacon so that we're ready for the 7 am kick-off. I staggered to the coffee maker at 6:45 am as the die hard fans staggered over to our Slingbox, and we all had a fine time. It was very convenient that the Super Bowl happened to fall on the week of Chinese New Year, so Jon got to be home for the festivities. Otherwise there would have been no festivities. Although I did really like that Shaq horse racing commercial.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Half the Sky

Those of you in the adoption world have no doubt heard of the wonderful organization, "Half the Sky." This organization has a special place in our hearts because Maddie Rae's orphanage in Shaoguan has Half the Sky trained nannies. The nannies are trained in basic childcare including giving the babies age appropriate activities and toys, such as play time, tummy time, outdoor play, and other activities that help them develop more "normally" than other orphanages where babies are just strapped in cribs.

The winter storms moving throughout China have been devastating for many. Many people simply do not even have heat, and sadly the poor and orphaned suffer greatly during these natural disasters. Half the Sky is starting a fund to help, and I have copied part of the email from Jenny Bowen, the Executive Director, below. Any small amount can help, and this is a wonderful organization that I highly recommend.

. . . But a moment like this really cannot be ignored. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be, its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling. We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage most. I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky’s rules and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse Emergency Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers, quilts, clothing) to any orphanage where children need help. Let’s see how this goes. If people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs in every hard-hit community, and offer assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +1-510-525-3377 or in Asia at +852- 2520-5266 or by visiting us at Once there, you can click on Donate Now” or go here to download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax-deductible in US,Canada and Hong Kong.Please forward this message and tell your friends and family.I will be back with an update very, very soon.

Thank you!
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation