Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow Day!

It's been about 30 odd years since I've had a snow day, so today was a wonderful day off. I vividly remember sitting on my parents' bed with my brother Sean listening to the clock radio for school closures and then jumping for joy when we heard our school. Some things never change, and grownups jump for joy as well! We took Sojo out into the snow, but she was very disinterested and didn't even want to touch it. Currently, she says, "Hah" in quite a dramatic way every time she touches something that is either hot or cold, so we thought she'd like it, but she shook her head no when we tried to put her hand on it. After about one minute, she raised her hands and said, "bup" meaning "up." And it will probably be another 30 years before she has a snow day as neither Dale nor I care for the cold weather much. We'll show her pictures...

p.s. Jeanie Bean, you can actually see the snow in these, but it's still nothing like our NY youth and those awesome forts we built.

Is it obvious we have no snow clothes? She looks a bit like a clamdigger or a longshoreman.
Um, no thanks.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tons of Fun

We had such a fun weekend as a family, and the joy seemed to come through in these pictures of Sojo. It is simply a blast watching her explore the world around her, but coincidentally that exploring of hers leaves a trail of destruction behind her. She discovered that dipping pieces of watermelon in maple syrup and watching the syrup drip off is very fun, and we spent some serious quality time doing that at our favorite breakfast restaurant. Thankfully, we are the only wackos up and eating when they open, so we usually have the place to ourselves, and Sojo has them all wrapped around her finger, so they don't complain about our mess.

Sojo has also taken to "asking" (point and grunt really) to brush her teeth at night, which is a great habit. Only problem is she doesn't want to stop brushing them, and so there is generally screaming when the brush is taken away. Sigh...

Wonder if my mom noticed right away that Sojo is actually wearing a plastic silver necklace. I admit I snuck that on her (she wouldn't leave the bracelet on) because it added a splash of funkiness to the outfit. Kinda fun to do that!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shanghai Snow

We got a treat yesterday and had a rare snowy day in Shanghai! Decided to take a walk with Sojo to the shopping complex across from our house (she walks up and down, has a good time and gets us out of the house) so she could have a look at the snow. Truth be known, she was pretty non-plussed for all but the dirty puddles, but she did get excited about the Year of the Rat decorations we bought her to put on her door. She wound up carrying them home with her and kept dragging them in the slush. They are now at eye level and she can practice her new favorite activity of pointing to her eyes and the rat's eyes, her nose and the rat's nose...Add a cozy nap in the green tent and it was a fabulous Saturday. To top it off, Dale played music at the local Irish pub and was a smashing success!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weekly Cuteness

We're getting creative with our indoor activities since winter is really here. Sojo loves to have all of her barrettes that Popo made her in her hair at the same time, and today we added her awesome ladybug rainboots to the outfit. They are way too big still, but she is becoming quite the boot lover, so she wore them for a bit.
Also bought a small indoor tent to play with--tons of peek-a-boo fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fishing With The Cats

That's Sojo and Yiqi (ee chee), our cat, playing the fishing game the other night. Dale has this cat toy attached to a fishing pole that is tons of fun for the cats. Sadly, the cats have not played that game since, um, let's see, since Sojo joined our family! We took it out the other night, and Sojo thought it was a hoot. She went to her own chair to try and play the game herself.

Sidenote #1--wonderful to be home. So wonderful, in fact, that I didn't care that Sojo woke up at 3 a.m. and didn't go back to bed until 5 a.m. We had a great time hanging out, and the lucky cat was a big hit. However, it was soon broken as she couldn't stop fiddling with the waving arm. I've promised Dale that I will take all the mornings until Monday, and then we're back on the every other day routine.

Sidenote #2--I've been thinking about those gifts my dad brought home from trips. The ones that stick out in my head are the ones from faraway lands--laquered chopsticks from Japan, and a pair of tiny porcelain shoes from Holland.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lucky Cat

I've been in Bangkok for 3 days now at a library conference, and even though exploring our future city is a ton of fun, I'm missing the family like mad. I barely knew what to do on the flight over with just a small carryon and no child to take care of, and halfway through the flight I found myself waxing nostalgic for Sojo when I heard a kid who wouldn't stop crying! As many of us do, I have fond memories of my dad coming home from business trips as a kid and bringing gifts from wherever he traveled. So my present to Sojo is a Chinese lucky cat, something that is brought out at Chinese New Year time. The cat's paw waves to you, and Sojo has been enamored with one of these in a shop window we pass by, so now she'll have her very own. Only one more wake-up until I see the family!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Droolfest 2008

Poor Sojo! She has 6 teeth already and never shed a single drop of drool when she cut them, and she didn't get super cranky like I hear sometimes happens. However, yesterday, she just was off a bit and not her normal self. We attributed the funkiness as teething as she had a slight fever as well. However, today, our ayi called at school to say that Sojo had been crying for two hours straight, and she wouldn't stop. I came home early to find her in the living room with her mouth literally hanging open and what seemed like buckets of drool coming out. Our guess was that closing her mouth hurt, but every now and then she would take a break from being sad to lean over and watch the drool come out in a line and fall onto the floor! Our hearts just broke for her because she was obviously in a lot of pain, so much so that she didn't eat anything but yogurt the whole night--not even her beloved Cheerios. She kept shaking her head NO when we offered even the bottle. So, we spent the night watching a bunch of baby Einsteins and trying to distract her with a trip to get ice cream, a bath and some of her favorite puppets. We are hoping the worst will have passed for her by the time she wakes up... when I think about how horrible it must be to literally have teeth bursting through your gums--yikes!

Seriously, this was the position of her mouth most of the afternoon and evening.

finally crashing on baba...not sure she'll sleep throught the night tonight

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just Hanging Around

A still moment in Sojo's life reading one of her favorite books the other day...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cold Winter Days

What does one do with an active toddler when it's freezing outside and she can't go to the playground anymore?? Well, we're lucky enough here to have a place called Activity Box where you pay about 8 US dollars to go to an indoor play area that has a ton of cute stuff--a play kitchen, push cars, shopping carts, and all kept very clean so the germs don't freak you out. So, on Sunday, when winter really set in, we jumped in a taxi and headed there for some good ol' kid fun. We've only been once before, right when Sojo learned to walk, so this time was super fun because she was all over the place. One of the things that is very "Sojo" is to always have something in both hands, whether it be food or anything else--it's all about symmetry in her mind, and she will insist upon having both hands full. Luckily, no other little kid wanted the shopping carts because she had them both and wound up walking back and forth filling each one up with food. She then tried to maneuver the two of them all around, which was tough but didn't stop her in any way. Incredibly amusing to watch her having so much fun.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And We Thought Feeding Herself Was Bad...

The cutie is not a fan of the sippy cup, even though we have tried a bunch of different ones in an attempt to find the magic one that she loves, but we discovered today that she is a fan of just skipping that step altogether and going right for the 'big girl' way of drinking. I will give credit to Dale for the milk on the floor that he spilled (no, he didn't have trouble with a 'big boy' cup!), but she just chugged that milk down and had it everywhere. She took too much in and she kept sputtering, and once she even threw up a little bit on herself but STILL kept on drinking. Lovin' the persistence and the calcium intake!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Musings on Adoption

I just love this picture that my brother Sean took of me and Sojo at the zoo. Her eyes are so dark you can't even see the pupils.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I feel to have a daughter who was born in China and also having the opportunity to be living with her in China. A unique situation, and one that we feel very grateful for in that Sojo has the chance to experience her country of birth for a while. She understands Chinese (and maybe speaks it but it's hard enough to figure out what she's trying to say in English let alone Chinese--the ayi swears she can say the number 3 and TV in Chinese), eats and loves Chinese food and even squats in the same way the Chinese do. The Chinese are very curious in general of foreigners--a true story is that once I had people digging through my grocery cart looking at what I was buying...AND I was pushing the cart at the time!--but the curious looks get even more intense with Sojo around. That being said, people have always been incredibly gracious and respectful and just do a double-take when they see our faces. Sometimes I read adoption blogs where people tell stories of strange comments made about adopted kids, but we have not had that experience. The only thing slightly weird thing was a couple in Hawaii who asked if Sojo would grow up "speaking American?" Um, yea, I didn't have the heart to tell them that "American" is not a language...

Leaving China was a big decision for us in regards to Sojo and her connection here. Our thought is that we will take Sojo back to her hometown of Kunming in the spring before we leave China and then always have it in the back of our heads that if she wants to move back to China to get in touch with more of her heritage, then we'll pack our bags. It's a great benefit of being international teachers that we can move around and have lots of options. On the other hand, I also have a beautiful vision of a girl born in China to American parents who might grow up in Arab and Buddhist countries speaking various languages, and being born in China is just one part of the myriad of experiences in her life.


Sojo has reached this age where she is understanding what being silly means, and we are having a blast indulging her silliness. Last night, she decided to climb on the two of us for the first time and got a kick out of that as we slithered around the floor. She's also walking backwards and cracking herself up and does her own hilarious sign for 'monkey' and 'flower' by curling up her lips. Sign language is giving her such an ability to communicate, which is great for everyone. And this was a monumental day in our household--at our breakfast hangout this morning, Sojo played with her Little People (lovin' these things!) all by herself at the table while mama and baba simultaneously drank coffee that was still hot! Of course, we could have been using that time to read a newspaper or chat, but we kept peeking at her the whole time watching how cute she was putting them in the pink purse and saying 'bye bye' to each one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pics From Thailand

Now that we are settled back into working and the gray winter skies of Shanghai, I'll post a few pics of the Thailand trip.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Arizona Recap

Our trip to Arizona was one of the best trips we've ever taken. Here is a slideshow of just a few of the highlights. We'll share the memories with Sojo for years to come.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Beach Vaca Comes to a Close

We finally had some sunshine today and got Sojo into the pool and the ocean again. Even with cabin fever and our first time having to do "time-outs" (more on that later) with Sojo due to some cheeky behavior, we had a great time in Koh Samui. Looking forward to getting back to our routine in Shanghai, and I know that Sojo is anxious to get back to her toys at home. Once we get home, we'll do a proper slideshow of highlights of the Arizona trip and the Thailand trip.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cabin Fever Cured

After our day of some serious cabin fever, it finally cleared up yesterday in the late afternoon and we headed down to the beach to watch the rough seas from afar and to play in the sand. Our friend Sue gave her this fuzzy pink purse that she loves and is now taking with her just about everywhere (it's so cute to see her toddling around with it!), and she uses it to keep her Little People that the Poirier family and my parents gave her for Christmas. Thanks a million for those gifts! And since I always talk about sleep, or lack thereof, Sojo finally slept through the night again on her normal schedule for the first time in two weeks. Hurrah!

Sand doesn't taste so great, but she couldn't resist at least trying it.
It's unbelieveable how much she is being a big girl in the last few weeks.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Aaaa...The Tropics

After returning from Arizona, we flew to our favorite vacation place of Koh Samui, Thailand. We both miss the tropics so much and are excited to be moving back to a hot climate next year--tropical showers, fresh fruit, and green everywhere. Sojo is equally loving the weather and is lounging around in her diaper only whenever possible. And strangely enough, we are discovering that her hair is actually a bit curly, which is not very common among Chinese. She's cute and sweaty here in Thailand, but we realized that our days of chillin' on lounge chairs reading magazines and ordering from the pool bar are done for a while--it's sitting in tidepools and getting covered with sand now for us. Only bummer so far is that it's been cloudy and rainy for 2 days and that makes it very difficult to entertain a toddler without a beach visit to take up a few hours of the day. Crossing our fingers for sunshine tomorrow.