Maddie Rae Gotcha Day

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Can't get enough of this...

Blue Sky!! Jon and I are constantly looking up and marvelling at the beautiful sky. I never really paid much attention to the sky unless it was a remarkable sunset or a dark rain cloud. Now after being denied blue sky for 3 years and living in a constant encasement of smog, I just can't get tired of these beautiful nonpolluted skies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living in America

Maddie Rae has adjusted really well to all the recent changes in our lives. She is a busy little girl these days with all sorts of new activities. She is attending a local Mom's Day Out program with her cousin two days a week, and so far she seems to love it. She bops in with her backpack and lunchbox and usually a toy or two from the car, gives me a hug, and gets to playing. On Wednesdays, a speech therapist comes to our house for an hour to do speech therapy with her. Her speech is extremely behind due to her cleft palate, but we are making small gains. She can currently only say the vowel sounds and "m" and "n". The speech therapist has explained that these sounds are all nasal sounds, and that is why it is easy for her to say them. Saying consonant sounds requires a flap in the back of your throat to close off. The therapist is a bit concerned that this flap is not there or else not working right because she can't make any other sounds, but there is a surgery to correct that if needed in the future. We are working on getting her air flow to come out of her mouth rather than her nose by doing things such as blowing party blowers, blowing bubbles, blowing bubbles in milk, and blowing a cotton ball across a table with a straw. Last week she couldn't do the party blower at all at the beginning of the hour. Slowly, we started to see the blower wiggling a little bit, and by the end of the hour she could blow that thing all the way out! The speech therapist could not believe how much determination, will, and attention span she had to keep working on that thing until she could do it. She's a tough little cookie! I have also noticed her trying to repeat words more and saying more sentences, even though most people wouldn't understand her. She came out of Mom's Day Out last week with a duck puppet on her arm saying, "Quack!" (well, really "AAaaaa"), so she's trying! She can say several sentences and many times will repeat the same thing over and over to me, but I won't know what she's saying. Most of the time though, she is really good at communicating her needs either through sign language, body language, or pointing. She understands everything, and we are praying that she will be able to talk soon.
She and I get a lot of one on one time now that the boys are in school. We usually eat our breakfast and drink our coffee and milk watching the Today show together on the couch :) She entertains herself really well at home and usually spends the morning playing or "helping" me with whatever I'm doing. She loves to be out and about and likes to stand on the back of the cart (NOT sit in the seat, thank you very much) while we're shopping. The car puts her right to sleep, so a lot of days she falls asleep in the car and then I transport her inside to her pack n play and she never even stirs. Once the boys are home, it is time to really play. The kids usually spend the afternoons outside playing while I make dinner, and she loves to be outside. She was a little bit scared of our dog, Chloe, at first, but now she loves her and loves to give her treats and make her do tricks.
She still loves her pink crocs, and won't wear any other shoes. The other day when I had her try on some winter shoes in Target, you would have thought I was trying to break her arm. She screamed and screamed. She is already so picky about her clothes and shoes, and I am finding myself already telling her that I'm the mommy and I get to pick out her clothes. I foresee some fun in the future on this one! She is very physically advanced, I think. She has always been able to control her body really well, and she is very muscular. She can do a perfect somersault and loves to tumble through the grass while we all cheer. She can also run FAST, and she always walks out to the car on this little rock wall we have with nearly perfect balance. I think there may be some gymnastics in her future.
And just so you don't think it's ALL sweetness and sugar, here she is throwing a fit. She must cover her eyes and not look at me....
but, she always peeks out just to make sure she has an audience :) She's a cutie!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Here are photos of our "new" home. Just disregard any boxes or unfinished mess...they still abound! I'll put down info on paint and shopping for all you shoppers out there who are like me and like to know where things came from.

(Rug and curtains: West Elm. Table and chairs: Shambala, HK. China cabinet: flea market find. Mirror: Tequila Kola, HK. Paint: Ladyfinger, Benjamin Moore)

Maddie Rae's room. The "artwork" is fabric in embroidery hoops. Super easy and super cute! (paint: Irish Mint, Benjamin Moore. Bed: Custom made in HK, but it's the Anderson from Pottery Barn with trundle. Duvet and pillows: custom)

The view out our front door. 2 things I didn't see in China very sky and the American flag!
Bathroom "after". We ripped out the old shower doors and put in a new pedestal sink. (paint: Gray Owl eggshell, Benjamin Moore. Sink: Kohler Bancroft. Shower curtain and window fabric: Target)
Our bedroom. I originally thought this would be the boy's room, so I painted it this color. Then I changed my mind, and I'm actually glad that this color ended up being our bedroom because I love it. It is the most beautiful paint...sometimes looks blue, sometimes green, sometimes gray. (Gray Cashmere by Benjamin Moore. Bed: Tequila Kola, HK. Lamps: JC Penney. Curtains, duvet, shams: custom. Artwork: LoWu, Shenzhen. Silk throw: Suzhou Silk Factory) Boy's bedroom. (rug and shelves: IKEA. Bunk beds: custom made in HK, but same as Pottery Barn. Paint: Silver Fox, Benjamin Moore)
Not a great photo of the kitchen, but at least you can see some of our progress. Still a lot of work to do... (Appliances: LG. Cabinetry: American Woodmark, Gettysburg White. Handles: Lansa, IKEA. Faucet: Price Pfister. Butcher Block countertop: IKEA. Granite countertop: Blue Sapphire. Paint: Gray Owl eggshell, Benjamin Moore)

Breakfast area. (Pot Rack: Grundtal, IKEA) You can see our back deck through the window. Our entire old kitchen is still out there. Like I said...a lot of work to still do!
Living Room. (Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore. Coffee Table: Stockholm, IKEA. Rug: ApLeiChau, Horizon Plaza street level carpet shop, HK. Can get a similar one from West Elm, "Woodgrain". Curtains: custom. Artwork above mantel: HK Chan Gallery in Stanley, HK. Porcelain lamps and decor: Overjoy Porcelain, HK. Chairs: Rimba Rhyme, HK.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kitchen Remodel

I am now the official owner of a fully functioning kitchen! We don't have all the finishing details done yet, but at least we have countertops, running water, and appliances. I was able to download some pictures this weekend while my dad was here and I could borrow his downloader so that you can see the progress.

The initial "gut" after finding the mouse poop and dead mice under every appliance and cabinet. We not only ripped out the cabinets, but we also ripped up the old linoleum floor and subfloor to reveal the original hardwood underneath. Bonus! This was the day before we moved in.
The breakfast area. We watched the Olympics every night while we worked.
The cabinets arrived and Jon installed them all. by. himself. I know, I was impressed too.
Cabinets in, but still no countertop or sink. Love the new LG appliances!

The breakfast area has now become cabinetry and an island. That light fixture is now gone too.

Eating dinner outside. Thankfully it was summer when this whole thing occured!

This is a tangent, but I had to include this one for my friend Carol. When I was still in HK, I had a bunch of curtains made. I had some cute fabric with embroidered aqua seahorses made into panels for my sunporch windows. When I got them back, I realized that they had sewn the curtains so that the seahorses were lying flat on their backs looking, well, dead. I did find a use for them, though. One of the panels is now over a table in our sunporch concealing the dog kennel underneath.

Jon making the island. I purchased the butcher block countertop from IKEA, and Jon made the base. I stained the base dark brown and we hung a pot rack over it. Jon also used old door hinges to attach the extra butcher block to the end of the island so now we can flip it up if we need extra space.

And this is what Maddie Rae did while Jon was building the island....a yogurt masterpiece.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Max is here!

Max Owen Gyorffy was born at 1:20 am last night weighing in at 9 pounds 8 ounces! He is absolutely adorable, and we are all in love with the little bruiser. Mom and Dad are doing well, and we are taking big sister Mallaney to meet her baby brother today. Raegan is excited that she just lost most of her baby weight by giving birth to a huge baby :) Enjoy!
Mike's parents "Nana and Papa" meeting their new grandson.

What a cutie! He already has chubby cheeks and long fingers.
He was so awake and just looking at Raegan. He already knows his mama and was most content in her arms. So precious.
Mike is most thrilled to have a little boy to wrestle with.
Mammy, my mom, holding her new baby boy.
And another proud Nana!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Furminator

For those of you with rather furry friends leaving their fur all around your house, I have a tip for you that has saved me lots of vacuuming time. It's called the Furminator, and it has to be the best dog brush out there. Chloe, our bassett hound, sheds so much that you would think she should be bald. Everywhere she goes, she leaves a trail of dog hair so thick you practically have to wade through it. If she sits on a pillow or chair, it is soon covered in a layer of fur. But that was before the Furminator. I saw this thing advertised in a magazine with a picture of a Golden Retriever sitting in the middle of a huge pile of fur that had been furminated off of him. Being desperate, I decided to give it a try. It was pricey ($35 for the small size), but I have not regretted it for one instant. I brush her with it for about 15 minutes a day, and it is remarkable! Now where she used to leave chairs, pillows, and sofas coated in hair, I may only find one or two stray hairs here and there. Amazing!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Progress, Settling, and Repatriation

To say the last few months have been hectic would be a major understatement. Fortunately it's been a fun hectic filled with first days of school, new friends, and reconnecting with American life. And oh yeah, gutting our kitchen. I wanted to post pictures tonight, but alas, I have misplaced the download thingy yet again. So the big question lately has been, "Do you feel settled yet?" The answer to that question is a tricky one. I do feel settled in that I feel like I am "home." I'm back in the city I am comfortable with. My sister is right down the road, our church is already a home to us, and we fit right back in with our friends. However, as similar as everything is, it also has a time warp feel to it. Like I've come back to the same life, only I'm different. I've lived in Asia for 3 years, my kids are school age now and the toddler phase is long gone for the boys, and we have a new daughter from China. Some days when I'm driving around with Maddie Rae in the carseat behind me in the same van that we had before we left, I can't help but feel like the boys should be back there causing trouble and making noise as 4 and 2 year olds. It's just weird! Now I'm carting them around to school, soccer, and cub scouts, and I have a little girl accompanying me on my shopping trips. So in a sense I don't feel like I'm living "my life" yet, and I'm having to redefine my life here to a new normal.

As for the house, we are making major progress! Jon and I used to have a joke when we were first married and I wanted to buy some piece of furniture. He would always say, "Don't buy that. I could make it!" I always chuckled and said, "yeah right." I won't chuckle anymore because he CAN make it! He has so far ripped out the bathroom vanity/sink and plumbing and put in a new pedestal sink and new fixtures. He gutted the whole kitchen, ripped up the subfloor (to reveal hardwood floors...yay!), did all the electrical wiring, installed all the cabinets by himself, installed the microwave and dishwasher, and is currently finishing up the island that he built. The granite and sink are coming tomorrow (hallelujah), and after that we will just have all the finishing touches like crown molding, drywalling the soffit, installing the lights, tiling the backsplash, and repairing and refinishing the hardwood floor. I am absolutely and totally in love with this house, and it feels so good to be home.

On the kid front, the transition has been really smooth. The boys really like their new school, and we have been really pleased with their teachers and the atmosphere there. Jonah is in Kindy, but because he is so far ahead from his HK school, his teacher is sending him to a first grade classroom for phonics everyday. She also works one on one with him daily so that he can continue to progress and be challenged. Jack is getting used to US school and has been challenged by having to learn US money. He is doing really well in 2nd grade and is enjoying soccer and cub scouts. Maddie Rae, Chloe (our bassett hound) and I walk the boys to and from school everyday, and we have really enjoyed our daily walks. Maddie Rae started going to a Mom's Day Out program with her cousin twice a week and she loves it. She happily goes in, gives me a hug and a high five, and is on her way to the playdough. She has also started speech therapy once a week for one hour. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our newest cousin due to arrive any day now. I missed the birth of Mallaney, my sister's first daughter, when we moved to HK. It nearly broke my heart at the time, so it is extra exciting for me this time around.

I will end this novel now that we are all caught up, and I promise to get over my blog identity crisis and start posting again! Pictures coming when I find that blasted downloader!