We're going to be without a computer for the week so I'm wishing you all a Happy Halloween right now and I'll be back with pictures of us celebrating later! Adeline is going to be Kwazii from the Octonauts for Halloween (if I get the costume finished...), but she was invited to a party this weekend and had to come up with a costume from our dress-up box. Here she is as a rough-and-tough-and-ready-for-action pirate fairy!
That girl loves any costume that involves a sword, eye shadow and yelling. Vivi is going to be a princess. Is the princess born right in, perhaps? I've always wondered. Adeline never got very into princesses (although she is a new convert to the cult of Frozen) and while she enjoys dressing up and looking pretty and she's really into fancy hair lately, when it's time to play she'd always rather be fighting off dragons or rescuing animals than swooning in a tower. Vivian said a great big NO to every costume I suggested to her and was downright terrified of a few of them. But then I put the big poofy pink princess dress and a crown on her and she scooted right over to the mirror to admire herself. She patted herself and said "dress pretty" over and over again and she kept that dress on all afternoon, despite it getting in the way of her doing just about everything. She does make a very beautiful princess - I'll be sure to share some pictures soon.
Without a computer for a week...yikes...but then back with a brand new one, which I'm really looking forward to!
And not just because I get to bring my scarves back out... I love the crisp sunny days, the leaves crackling underfoot, that fall smell which has nothing to do with anything "pumpkin spice", and the knowledge that any day the rain will come to stay so we'd best play while we can.
Vivi loves to be outside in any weather and our unraked (and likely to stay unraked) garden is a great place to explore this time of year!
Vivian isn't just walking now, she's running and it makes her super happy. She especially loves to chase Adeline! The two of them just laugh and laugh as they run!
I just realized that if you know us in real life, there's very little chance you've seen Vivian smile or heard her say a single word, even though she grins and giggles all day long and she has a huge vocabulary and is super chatty and she talks and sings continually. Even with people we see daily like the Kindergarten Moms or neighbours or friends we see quite often, Vivi is very quiet and still and gives off a very serious "back off" vibe to go along with the scowl she wears if anyone but her family is making eye contact with her. If someone gets too close or talks to her for too long, the siren goes off and she yells and cries REALLY REALLY loudly and it takes quite a bit to calm her down. I do hope Vivi can get to a place soon where she knows in her heart that family is forever so she can be more comfortable with people outside her circle, but for now I'm happy that she knows who her special people are and that she's willing to fight not to lose us. Vivi obviously loves and adores her family, now she just needs to know that no one is ever going to take her from us or us from her. I do think she'll remain a cautious and probably shy child, but who knows? Right now I do feel a little bad for all the nice folks who try to smile and chat with Vivi and get back howling in return!
Perfect hot and sunny weather (Vivian kept trying to get someone to help her take her shirt off), happy sisters laughing together and running through the pumpkins, no mud for once...wonderful.
Adeline is VERY into hair accessories lately - she added the clips and the big bow to the ponies I'd given her. It's actually a very restrained look as lately there are days when you can barely see her hair for all the bows, headbands and clips. Vivi, who of course wants to do everything like her sister, now insists on a "bootay" (a pretty) for her hair as soon as she wakes up. She may not have much hair yet, but she already wants it to be fancy, so we're trying out all sorts of tiny antennae pony tails and little clips and headbands. Amazingly Vivi keeps them in and she insists that everyone compliment her on her "bootay" many times a day.
I have so much to be thankful for this holiday weekend. My life is good, and I should appreciate it more. Here is an alphabet of things I am thankful for today and every day.
A is for adoption. I am so thankful that when my girls needed a family that adoption was possible for them and that we were chosen to be brought together as a family.
B is for books. We love books at our house and are thankful to own so many and to have access to thousands more at the library.
C is for cats. Oh those cats. Despite all their throwing up (Zephyr) and hissing (Musette) and their general shedding and furniture destroying and the fact we just found out David is highly allergic to them, I really love our furry family members. Maybe I'm appreciating them even more now because they will be our last cats, because of David's allergies.
D is for daughters, of course!
E is for elephant! Adeline's lovey elephant has seen her through so much and gives her so much comfort. Elephant really feels like a part of the family. I'm also thankful that Vivian seems to be developing just as close a bond with her cat stuffie.
F is for family! And friends - both in life and online.
G is for good food. I am thankful that without having to think about where we're going to get the money or the food that I am able to make healthy and tasty meals for my family every day.
H is for home. I am so thankful to have a safe and comfortable home. Knock on wood, I am especially thankful that this fall it doesn't leak.
I is for ice cream. Especially the mocha cheesecake, dulce de leche and key lime pie from the artisan ice cream place we discovered this summer. They're almost closed for the season and I'll be counting down until they open again in spring!
J is for jokes. Our family loves to laugh and laugh and laugh and I love all our family jokes.
K is for kindergarten. If I was Queen of Kindergarten I would do things differently, but I'm not, and I will admit that Adeline is loving it. Every day she tells me her day was "Terrific!" or "The best day ever!". I am especially thankful for kindergarten teachers who obviously love their jobs and are delighted to spend their days with five year olds.
L is for laundry. I am often shocked by how much laundry four people can generate and I seem to spend a lot of evenings folding it, but I am thankful to have a washer and dryer and an unlimited supply of clean water right in my house to make keeping my families clothes clean such a simple task.
M is for Mom. I am so thankful to still have my Mom and to have her living so close by is wonderful.
N is for noise! Our house used to be very quiet, but now it's filled all day long with the sounds of running feet, little girl giggles and dance parties! Yes, there's some whining and crying too, but today I'll even appreciate those noises!
O is for orange! Pink isn't every five year old girls favourite colour and I'm glad of it!
P is for Pinterest. There is nothing more soothing after a busy, stressful day than just scrolling past endless pretty pictures. Want to check out the sorts of things I look at? Here's me on Pinterest.
Q is for quiet. Yes, I love all the noise that little ones bring to my life, but I am always thankful for those small moments of quiet that come as well.
R is for my rockin' awesome husband! I love that man so much!
S is for sleep. I am thankful to have a comfortable and warm bed and I am thankful that Adeline is such a deep and easy sleeper. I am thankful that I remember that Adeline didn't sleep at all for two years (or at least it felt like that) so I know that someday Vivi will sleep too.
T is for tea. I get so much comfort from my daily cups of hot tea.
U is for "uh oh". I'm thankful that Vivian has passed that stage where she likes to pitch everything off the side of the high chair and gleefully exclaim "Uh OH!".
V is for violin. I am thankful that Adeline discovered the violin and insisted that she start playing it. She seems to have a talent for it and I am impressed by the hard work and dedication she shows. I think she's learning lots of good life lessons far beyond how to play an instrument.
W is for work. Both for David's job that he works very hard at and is rewarded well for and for the fact that because of choices and sacrifices we've made I don't have to go to work while my girls are little.
X is for no x-rays. Last year at this time I was so sick for so long and so scared because I didn't know what was wrong with me. There were two trips to the hospital where I did every test they had, including x-rays. Turns out it was no big deal and I eventually got better with no intervention, but it really made me appreciate my health and the health of everyone I love and how easy it is for us to access medical care.
Y is for yes! I always appreciate how my circumstances in life have given me so many choices and I can say yes or no or maybe and mold my life as I choose. I know for so many people in the world there are no choices, only survival.
Z is for our old ginger cat, Zephyr. Yes, he's a puker, but he is so sweet and patient with Adeline and Vivian that all is forgiven.
If you've been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend then I hope yours was wonderful, and if you're not celebrating I hope you're still thankful today for the sweetness in your life.
Well, we never did get to connect with Adeline's teacher, her classroom was locked by the time we arrived, they were out of hot dogs and the cupcake walk had devolved into "eat as many cupcakes as you can, sorry there's no food"- all an hour and a half before the event was supposed to end, but Adeline did discover a passion for floor hockey...
Even in her fancy dress she picked up a stick and got right in there and she LOVED IT. No one who knows David and I will be surprised that this was her first hockey experience. Adeline hadn't played hockey or even watched it before now (I hope no one will try and revoke our Canadian citizenship), but luckily one of the Dads who was supervising the game showed her how to hold the stick and told her to keep it on the ground and she was off! She was HOPELESS at first, but after playing about 20 minutes she was really starting to get the hang of it and was managing to take the ball from other players (every one of which was male, head and shoulders taller and 20 pounds heavier than Adeline and VERY SERIOUS about hockey even though they were all kindergarteners and Grade Ones) and she even scored a legitimate goal. She played about 40 minutes straight and was panting and sweating and grinning for all of it. David and I were both gym class dreaders and avoiders, but Adeline is talking a lot about all the sports she's going to do in school and how excited she is about it...
We did get to see the bulletin boards outside Adeline's class and check out some of her projects, which was nice, and parent/teacher conferences are coming up in two weeks so we'll see her room and talk to her teacher then.
I made my first cupcakes of my life as "Mom to a school-kid". I wonder how many I will make between now and...(pause for math)...2030. Seriously? Vivi will be the class of 2030? That is a totally futuristic flying-cars and robot-maids kind of date. Wowza. I am seriously kind of in shock by that date.
I think I need to eat a cupcake and lie down while I contemplate the next 17 years...
When I start getting those emails that say "Is everything okay? You've been quiet..." I know it's time for me to make a post. Sure - everything's okay. Except...and I hate to even say this out loud...I hate kindergarten. I hate EVERYTHING about kindergarten. Adeline is fine with it, although as the week goes on she is increasingly difficult to get moving in the morning and she says almost every day that she wishes it was a preschool day, but really, she's doing great and some days she even says that her day was "TERRIFIC". It's me that's having the most issues with the change. Now I'm not saying that we're going to DO anything about kindergarten as I know it's where Adeline needs to be and I know this is about me and not her, and it's only the second week and I'm not saying Adeline's kindergarten is bad as I would bet that it's better than many and her teacher is (from every parent I've talked to)"the best kindy teacher ever" and she responded quickly and professionally to a concern I had and she was friendly and made me feel welcome to talk to her anytime, so that's all good. BUT... Here's a list of all the things about kindergarten I hate...No, wait. It's just a partial list. There are way too many of them for a complete list.
There's more but I'll stop there.
I just needed to have a whine.
I'll be better soon.
And because I just can't leave a post without a picture, here's Adeline in her classroom on her first day of school. I was happy to see a basket of stuffies in the book area. Adeline still needs stuffies in her life.
Adeline had her first day of kindergarten today. She was jumping for joy this morning to finally be on her way and she said that her teacher was super nice and she had a good time and she told me about the fun adventure they had looking all around the school for "Chester" the little racoon from the book "The Kissing Hand". She was only there for an hour today, but it felt like long enough to her and she was tired for the rest of the day. I worry about Thursday when she starts her six hours a day every day schedule. It just seems like too much for such little ones. I was happy to know that her teacher is the one that everyone says is THE BEST KINDERGARTEN TEACHER EVER and to see that her classroom was big and bright and it looked like there were going to be a lot of opportunities for play on those long days. Despite how excited she was to go and how happy she was at the end of her time at kindergarten, she did say on the way home that "I wish I could be three again"... Sometimes I wish she could be three again too - I'm going to miss spending my days with my amazing, exuberant, curious, creative, thoughtful, smart, beautiful, sweet and spunky big girl. I'm just plain going to miss her. It seems like most of our time together will be spent trying to hurry her up to get ready in the morning or trying to hurry her up to get ready for bed at night. Our brief afternoons and weekends are going to become so precious to me.
Okay, I wasn't sniffly before, but now I'm getting teary eyed... I'm just going to miss Adeline so much and I don't feel ready to have her out there in the world without me all week long.
I knew it was coming, but I'm not ready.
Last night, I heard The New Pornographers and Death Cab For Cutie perform at an outdoor music festival that's held at a park not too far away from our house. I say I "heard" them and not "saw" them because I listened to their distant, muffled songs, almost-but-not-quite able to identify them by name, as Adeline and I laid side-by-side in our little tent in our last Daddy/Daughter Backyard Campout of the year. We laughed and joked and made shadow puppets and she ate Pop Rocks for the first time ever.
So I had a great night last night, but I didn't go to the rock concert that I would have, were I a single man without small children. And I also had a great Labour Day weekend but I didn't go to the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle and see beloved bands like the reunited Replacements and Dream Syndicate, and another dozen bands and comedians I like. Like I would have, were I a single man without small children.
I'm not bitter (despite the tone of the previous paragraph). I'm really OK with it. Life is all about limited choices and compromises and trade-offs. I'm getting far more than I'm giving up. But I do have to acknowledge that part of my old life is gone. There's a cool new part to replace it though, as proven by the fact I did actually did go to a rock concert yesterday. Yep, Adeline and I saw Imagination Movers as they opened their Canadian tour in our city.
It was a treat to accompany my daughter to her first true rock concert. The Movers are a real band, and had been for years prior to getting a Monkees-styled TV show on Disney Junior. And yes, a reference to The Monkees indicates I'm pretty old. So I can appreciate the Movers' well-crafted original songs and their genuine love of popular music, and feel hip that I pick up all the musical references and in-jokes related to bands ranging from Tears For Fears to Rage Against The Machine and the Movers' largest influence, The Beastie Boys.
More than anything, a Movers concert is inspirational, because the band makes playing music seem like the most fun and cool thing in the world, and they closed the show with only one piece of advice: "Pick an instrument and learn how to play it and you'll thank us some day." I'm proud of Adeline that she's so dedicated to her violin and she genuinely loves playing music.
There was also a toilet paper-dispensing leaf blower contraption, a confetti cannon, and high-fives for Adeline from three of the Movers as they ran around the theatre. Adeline spent most of the show dancing in the aisle (I knew getting aisle seats was a good idea!).
I bought Adeline her first concert t-shirt too, over-priced as every concert t-shirt is. Because taking home a souvenir of the concert used to be important to me, I wanted to introduce the concept to her. Maybe it'll be her first of many, or maybe she won't care about that sort of thing. I'm OK with it either way. As much as I think she's ready for a mix-tape (yes, a mix-tape. You got a problem with that?) of all my favorite, catchiest, most-rocking' tunes, my happiness is not based on her liking the same pop-culture things I do.
I am pleased, however, that she really, really liked the Pop Rocks.
Don't worry - you haven't missed part one - I'm still just very behind on blogging all the fun we've been having lately. Our Autumn Moon Festival had two celebrations this year - a big fun party and outdoor lantern festival on Saturday and a quiet family celebration on Monday. After a Vietnamese supper at home we took our lanterns and our moon gazing picnic to the beach and watched the moon rise over the water, we ate some moon-shaped but non-mooncake treats (next year I'm making my own - hold me to that!), we went for walks, I told the story of the lady in the moon, we talked about the moon shining all over the world, including on Vivian and Adeline's birth parents, who we sent messages to, we sang some moon songs and we made our wishes. Finally we enjoyed some sparklers and then headed home a bit later than a tired baby would have liked and a lot earlier than a big girl would have liked, but it was a magical evening and I loved every minute of it.
Last year at the beach I remember looking up at the full moon and imagining it shining bright all over Vietnam. I secretly wished that the moon was shining on the little person that would be our son or daughter and that we would hear word of a match soon. I pictured their little dark head asleep on a reed mat and wished them peace and health and promised that they would be loved beyond measure. It was the first holiday where I really felt like someone was missing and one of the first times that I really believed that completing our family with a second child was really going to happen.
This year...my heart is so full I could barely think of a wish.
David took the week after Labour Day off so that he could walk his big girl to school and see her off on her new adventure, but as it turns out there is no kindergarten just yet, so we made the best of it and while I shudder to use the word "staycation", that's what we ended up doing. The weather was GORGEOUS and the crowds are starting to pack up and go home, so we thought it was a good time to introduce Vivi to Butchart Gardens. We were hoping to get a really good "sister" picture, with many hilarious results and a few sweet ones. Adeline picked both their outfits - she wanted them to go together and I think she did a fabulous job. Really she wanted them to have totally matching outfits as that's an idea that really appeals to her. I should probably make that happen for her...must admit I find the idea pretty cute myself.
Vivian is a full time walker now and she just wants to GO GO GO so most of the pictures were taken quickly before Vivi disappeared from the frame. She is curious about everything and she just wanted to explore!
Adeline was excited to revisit all her favourites - climbing up on Annabelle for a picture and riding the carousel.
The gardens were actually fairly busy, but no one was riding the carousel with Adeline, so she had her pick of animals. She isn't tall enough to ride alone yet, which is just as well as she's still quite nervous, not that you'd know it from this gleeful picture.
It was a warm day and in the italian garden there is tasty gelato which they serve in huge Canadian-sized portions...
Vivian seriously LOVED her first ice cream cone and ate a good portion of both mine and David's and Adeline polished off a huge cone of her own. We had sort of forgotten to give anyone lunch, so they really appreciated the gelato. Yep, I'm sure my "parent of the year" nomination is in the mail. Vivi used to really detest sweets and would make yuck faces and cry if you tried to give her fruit or anything sweet and while she still says a very firm NO to most fruit, she has started to develop a real taste for sugar. Uh oh.
It was a great day with my great family. I'm a lucky, lucky woman.
I don't want to jinx anything, but have you noticed anything? Yep - Adeline has decided after more than two years of refusing to look at the camera, that maybe having your picture taken is fun, and she is not only looking in my direction, she is often posing or thinking about what would make a good photograph. Shhh! I'm sure if I mention it to her she'll remember that she's supposed to be awkward and surly when the camera is out, so I'm just not saying anything about it...
...but until the teacher's strike is resolved it's enless summer at our place. Even though I know I'm in the minority, since I'm at home anyway and Adeline is only starting kindergarten, I don't mind at all! We've been taking advantage of the gorgeous end-of-summer weather and David having some time off and no school to have a lot of fun and that and our ongoing computer issues are what has kept me from blogging.
Hope all the little ones who did head back to school are having wonderful experiences! Adeline is READY and EXCITED for kindergarten, but I'm happy to have my girl home with me for a little while yet before she begins her grand adventure.
There are so many blog posts that I really need to write... End of summer fun. Getting ready for our first back-to-school. Vivian learns to walk. Adeline gets a BIG haircut. Asking for opinions on what I should do with Vivian's hair (I know the answer is "leave it alone" but I'm just itching to trim it).Who Adeline is and what's important to her at five. Vivian's new words. Vivi's room. Where everyone is sleeping and how it might change. Our trip to the fair.
So so many posts. Good, fun posts with pictures and videos and growing and changing girls!
And so little time.
They will all get done, but to keep chronologically consistent I will be going back and putting them where they belong on the calendar rather than dating them when they are written. Right? Right. The blog is my "baby book" so I want the dates on the posts to be as accurate as possible, even though I might be a month late writing about some of these important milestones.