Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sophie's new 'do

I couldn't take it anymore. Sophie's hair was a bit scraggly in the back. The bangs aren't growing too quickly at all, but the back was getting long and hot on her neck. We decided it was time for her very first haircut! We had it trimmed up short in the back so that it can start to grow into a bob. I'm going to try to let the bangs grow in and clip them back as they come in.

Miss Sophie wasn't exactly sure about the fabulous Miss S, who cuts both EJ's and my hair. She would NOT sit in the kiddy chair by herself, so they outfitted me with a cape (do I look stunning in zebra stripes or what?) and Sophie sat on my lap. She was a bit nervous at first, but then we kept her busy looking at photos of Miss S's dog, Lola.

The finished product, taken in the mirror:

Bye Bye Manny

I'll miss his goofy smiles and antics, but I won't miss the prima donna attitude. Bye Manny.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sophie earns a sticker

When I got to daycare today to pick up Sophie and EJ, Sophie was playing with a sticker that she had stuck to her toes. The teacher asked Sophie to "Tell Mommy why you have a sticker," and she answered "Potty!" Apparently, several of the kids in her room are in training, and Sophie's been watching them. When they went to change her diaper, it was dry and the teacher asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty. She said yes, and as luck would have it, it was successful! Woohoo!!!! We have the little potties out at home so she starts to get familiar with them, so perhaps it's about that time.

K trained EJ using the Potty Training in a Day book. It was more like a weekend (a weekend when I happened to be out of town with friends!), and it was such a treat to have all the training done in just a few days...and only a few accidents over the next six months or so. Let's hope we're that lucky with Sophie!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friends in the right places...

We had a busy weekend. It started a bit early on Friday afternoon, when we went to K's company's summer outing - a nice pool party and barbecue at the house of a co-worker. EJ had the best time in the pool and chasing down wildlife - tree frogs and salamanders. She found this cute red one and brought him home. Unfortunately, he (she?) didn't really like our home that much and appeared to be a bit "stiff" when EJ let him loose on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, we headed for Rhode Island, the only New England state we haven't spent any time in! Actually, we did get re-routed to the Providence airport once and had to rent a car to get home. And we had intentions of visiting Newport just before EJ was born, but then I was put on bed rest and it never happened.

Anyway, one of K's good friends from growing up just took a job in Newport and is living in Jamestown. We went down and spent the day (and night) with L and her daughter G (Dad, D, will be arriving in a few weeks after getting their old house on the market). I didn't realize it until I looked at the map the other night that they live on an island! (See little red dot, bottom center - just west of Newport.)

It's really a pretty easy drive for us to get there. We arrived around lunchtime on Saturday and walked down to the village to have a nice outdoor lunch. EJ and G rode their bikes all over the island (well, really, just within about a 1/2 mile radius, but it made EJ feel like an adventurer). After lunch, we walked back to the house and got little Sophie down for a much-needed late nap. While she was snoozing, L and I took the girls to a local beach on a cove. I could not believe just how WARM the water was! I mean, here in upper New England, the water is lucky to hit 65 in the late summer, but this water had to be at least 75! EJ and G had fun boogie-boarding (despite the seaweed that ended up in EJ's suit, and hair, and...). After some much-needed showering, we picked up some lobsters and introduced G to this fine New England delicacy.

Sophie had a great time playing with G:

We finished off the evening with a drive south to the tip of the island to a place called Beavertail park, where we watched the surf on the rocks and saw the lighthouse. It was a beautiful evening.

I gotta tell ya...I haven't spent a whole lot of time on the cape, but I'd take this little coastal RI town on an island any day over the traffic and congestion of the cape. It reminded me very much of Maine, but without as much coastal traffic on this beautiful summer weekend.'s good to have great friends in great places! We can't wait for G to visit us and to introduce her to some of our favorite sites in Boston. Hopefully, we'll be able to arrange schedules to visit each other often.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

T minus 17: Olympics preparations continue

The Boston Globe had this nice photo collection today of the Olympic preparations in Beijing.

And, for all you Name That Tune fans...what's "na na na na, ooo moo ick me"? That's how Sophie sings "You are the Music in Me" from High School Musical 2. It's one of the songs I sing to her when she's not happy and we're rocking in her room. She's started singing along. Poor baby. I used to sing Billy Joel to EJ, and now I've resorted to singing tweeny bopper songs. Sigh. I'm sure the HSM3 soundtrack will be out in another month or two since they've started playing at least one song from it on Radio Disney.

This weekend, we're heading to Rhode Island to visit one of K's friends, L and her daughter G. L just took a job there and they are now official New Englanders!!! Hubby D is still back in the 'burgh wrapping up the house-selling list, so we're going down to hang out for the weekend. EJ is so excited, as she and G usually have a good time together.

Monday, July 21, 2008

T minus 18: Reunion and American Idol

Yesterday, we had a fabulous time at a travel reunion for the families who traveled to China with us. We had a cookout at one of the family's house. It was so nice to see all the girls together! We had a group photo, but whew - it's tough getting a bunch of girls in the 24 month age range to sit still, even when their big brothers and sisters are holding onto them!

Tonight, EJ participated in the local Idol competition at the town library. This is the 3rd year for it...she didn't sing last year, but jumped back in this year. She sang "Seven Things" by none other than Miley Cyrus. (I'm sure you're shocked by that...and thanks to a weekend of listening to the song, I now know all the words too!) Miley/Hannah Montana was almost a theme this year with most of the older girls singing her selections. EJ did a great job, although in the videotape, you'll probably just hear Sophie saying her sister's name over and over again!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

T minus 19: Heat wave

It has been SO hot here the last few days. Guess that's normal for this time of year. In fact on the day we were married 20 years ago, it was 105 degrees in southwestern PA and the church was very small, very packed, and had NO air conditioning! That's why we look like we're ready to melt in the photo!

EJ has been having a good summer - lots of swimming at day camp. She goes there three days a week and then stays home two days each week on days when K is working from home. Yesterday, he took a break at lunch and went and picked up one of her friends to come over for the afternoon while he worked. The girls had a great time.

On Saturday evening, Miss S, one of the summer teachers at daycare, came over to babysit so that K and I could have a belated anniversary dinner. We did go out to dinner on Wednesday with the girls in tow, but we decided to have a nice dinner in the North End of Boston last night. We knew we were in good hands when Sophie spied Miss S coming in the door and went running over to give her a big hug. Ten minutes later, she was waving bye-bye to us with a big smile on her face...a definite clue that we don't get out enough! EJ was the same way when she was younger - one night she even ran to the closet to get our coats for us!

Anyway, K and I decided to just wander around the North End to find a restaurant...not a problem since there are a dozen in each block. We were torn between an old favorite and something new. We opted for the something new, a wonderful little spot called Trattoria di Monica on Prince Street. This "cozy" little place only had seating for 28 and the waitresses have to wait to clear a path to get to the tables, but the food was great. K had gnocchis in a tomato sauce with a splash of cream (gnocchis are his way of measuring Italian restaurants), and I had shrimp in a wine butter sauce over the finest angel hair pasta I've ever eaten. It was delicious!

After that, we walked over to Cafe Vittoria, our favorite coffee and dessert place in the North End. It was a bit warm for coffee, but we enjoyed some gelato there. Unfortunately, the A/Cs in all these places, while running, could not keep up with the opening of the door and the crowds of people. After dessert we walked around a bit. By the time we got back to the car, we were roasting. The temp display on the car said it was still 88 degrees out! Blech.

Speaking of cooling down, check out this story about the busiest Chinese pool!

Today, we're going to a picnic to see some of our adoption travelmates!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

T minus 22: Olympic Architecture in Beijing

Only 22 more days until the opening ceremonies. This is a link to a fantastic article in the New York Times about some of the new architecture in Beijing for the Olympics. Be sure to click on the multimedia presentation in the left column of the article to see how some of these amazing structures were built.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who will it be?!?!

In the next 2-3 weeks, we will have the 20,000th visitor to Two Pearls! Who will it be? Thanks to the Site Meter counter, I can see the location of each visitor to the site. I don't know who you are, but sometimes I can guess based on the location. Won't it be fun to see who visits us that day?

China Week on the Travel Channel

Do you get the Travel Channel? If so, they are having China Week the week of July 27th. Click on this link, and then click on China Week under TV Events in the column on the left for a complete schedule. Sigh...I'm ready to go back already! I can hardly wait for the Olympics to start just so I can see all those great human interest stories they do about the country.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Uncle V

Late last week, my Great Uncle V died. He's been ill for quite some time following a stroke several years ago. He's been living with his sister D and her husband R for many years now, and they did such a great job taking care of him. His wife, my great Aunt L (sister of my maternal grandmother), died about 16-17 years ago. They were always some of my favorite relatives to visit as a kid because they spoiled us! They took us on vacation with them, treated us to meals out, and even let us eat TV dinners when we stayed over at their place!

We last saw Uncle V last summer when we visited PA, and he did get to meet Sophie, although she wasn't too happy to sit on his lap.

Matching Gals

Oooo...I love these coordinated dresses! These were another find from the Wooden Soldier's tent sale last summer. Actually EJ already had her dress and I was able to find one in Sophie's size to match.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh say, can you see... (in honor of Independence Day weekend)

Oh say, can you see...what's living in the woodpile at the end of our driveway? A snake! Or a sssssssnnnaaaaaayyyy as Sophie calls it. It's your typical green garden-variety snake. He likes to sun himself on the rocks behind the woodpile. And K just said he needed to clean that up, because we didn't have many fires last winter and the wood is rotting out there.

Oh say, can you see EJ in the bike parade? This is one of her favorite holiday activities at the lake. The kids have craft time under the big top in the morning and they decorate their bikes with crepe paper, flags, and balloons. Then, armed with kazoos, they parade around the campground and lodge, serenading everyone with patriotic songs.

Oh say, can you see who's wearing those Foster Grants? It's Sophie, enjoying the brass band concert on the 4th.

Oh say can you see little Sophie sleeping in the next morning? She and I hung out in the camper and she slept right through all the booms of the fireworks the night before. She did wake up a little early, so she came in bed with us and went back to sleep. EJ and I got our showers, and I thought this was a cute shot of EJ staring at the little sleeping beauty.

Oh say, can you see the Atlantic Ocean from the top of New England? My dad was here visiting last week. Okay, he was really working as our babysitter while daycare was closed. And then we treated him to a little vacation in the mountains. On Saturday, we took him up the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the highest peak in the northeast, 6288 feet above sea level. It was a great day for the drive. We'd done this once before when EJ was a baby, and it was very foggy at the top. Mt. Washington holds the record for the highest wind speed ever recorded, and hurricane-force winds are recorded one out of every three days at the peak. The drive is a bit scary with the curves and the narrow road, but worth every penny for the view once you're there. Just go on a sunny clear day! It was 78 at the base of the mountain and 56 at the top, where you're above the tree line.

Sophie and Pap Pap became fast friends. He walked in the door the previous weekend and said "Hey Sophie, come give me a big hug!" And she did. And she kissed him. She gives the two-cheeks kind of kisses. And then they were buddies all week, except at naptime, where she wanted Mama to lay her down. They didn't work too well since I was working. But she did let "Sistuh" lay her down. Anyway, my dad became reacquainted with the joy of changing dirty diapers about 40 years after he changed his last one! Thanks, Pap Pap!

Here's a family shot taken at the very peak:

So, now we're officially on the summer schedule. EJ goes to Sophie's daycare 3 or 4 days a week (she's still deciding), and there is an inground pool there. When I picked the girls up yesterday, they were both still in the pool and Sophie was having the best time splashing around. When I got home tonight, Sophie looked up at me and shouted "SIM!!" It took me a few minutes to figure out that it was "swim!". She's just stringing so many words together that it's adorable. Yesterday, there was a little painting in her cubby at school. I put it in her bag to bring home and she immediately pulled it right back out and announced "I make it! I make it!" She was SO proud of that painting.