Sunday, May 31, 2009


We had a great weekend at Storyland...the weather, despite the forecast, was beautiful--mid 60s and sunny. We left early on Saturday morning and arrived at Storyland around 9:45 AM. It's about a 2 hour ride (in the off season). We were there until the park closed at 5, and then we checked in at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, NH. We've never been there, but it's a stunning historic hotel in a beautiful location. Not quite as fabulous at the Mount Washington Hotel, but much quieter...and MUCH cheaper! We had a fabulous dinner in the dining room and took a little walk around the property. Much to EJ's dismay, the outdoor heated pool wasn't open (it would take too much propane to heat it just yet). But she and Sophie had fun in the gameroom. We had a great breakfast this morning and then drove down the road a little to the Jackson Falls to take a few photos.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Family Day 2009

Today, we celebrate Family Day 2009! Two years ago today, shy and curious little Long Li Lei, now Sophie LiLei, was placed in our arms in the first floor conference room at the Gloria Hotel in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. It was a calm moment, not nearly as crazy as I expected it to be. Sophie was quiet, just studying us intently, unaware of the dramatic changes yet to unfold in her young life. We took her to our room and changed her, and she took a long peaceful nap. She wimpered a little when she woke up, wondering why everything around her was so new and different. EJ had her smiling and giggling in no time, and we've been head-over-heels in love ever since.

Today, she can tell you her story...that Mommy, Daddy, and EJ came to China to meet her, while she waited for us. And that the anis (nannies) took good care of her while she waited. She loves looking at photos, videos, and blogs of other families with stories like hers, and proudly says, "She's from China too, just like me!"

To read the blog posts while we were in China, click here. To read my one-year-later posts, where I recapped the trip and explained most of the photos, click here. At the bottom of each post, you can click Newer Post to follow it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

EJ's 10th birthday!

EJ celebrated her 10th birthday this weekend. My brother's family came for the weekend, and we had a great time. My niece went to school with EJ on Friday, and then EJ celebrated with her cousin and friends on Friday afternoon.

But first, her birthday gift. She couldn't decide what she wanted this year. One day, she happened to mention that she wished her room was painted aqua. It was just painted about 4-5 years ago in a nice lavender and I wasn't willing to undo that just yet. But I told her we could look for an aqua and purple comforter...and that kind of evolved into a room makeover for her gift. We rearranged the furniture, so it really does feel like a new room when you walk in!

Grandma and Grandpap H sent the cool "bendy" lamp, which EJ has wanted for a long time.

We even found a matching aqua area rug that's very shaggy for her "reading area" at the foot of her bed:

And these sheer aqua curtains make the room glow in the evening:

EJ found these cool curtain rods and matching tiebacks:

The view from her bed:

On Friday afternoon, she had a party at a local movie theater that has table service. We went to see Night at the Museum 2.

On Saturday (her real birthday), we went with the whole clan to southern Maine to have a lobster lunch (my niece wanted to have a whole lobster!). After that we walked around Portsmouth NH for a while. It was a beautiful day. That evening, my cousin and her daughter came for dinner, and EJ blew out the candles a second time on the leftover cake!

The three cousins snuggled up on the couch with their sock monkeys (thanks Uncle T!) and watched Paul Blart, Mall Cop:

Can you believe she's into double digits already? I can't! Happy Birthday sweetie!

Another unbelievable might remember that we left on EJ's 8th birthday to go to China, so it's been two years already since we traveled to meet Sophie. We'll be celebrating our 2nd Family Day this Thursday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

EJ's Field Trip

EJ loves politics and American history. You might remember from this post about one of EJ's favorite books, that she became very knowledgeable about how we elect Presidents. Then, she wrote a letter to President Bush and got a letter in return! Today, she went on a field trip that she really enjoyed, a visit to the NH State House in Concord, NH. She took her camera and came home with some great photos - I thought we'd share them with you!

She really liked this display of campaign buttons:

And then, she saw this photo of President Obama standing in front of the very same display, so she took a photo of that photo...

...followed by a photo of THE VERY SPOT where President Obama must have been standing when that photo was taken. I thought this was quite amusing, and just had to put it here! :)

She also found a photo of Hillary standing in front of the display. You might remember that she was torn about Hillary's candidacy...she liked the idea of a female president, but I think she was kind of hoping that she would someday be the first female! There's still a chance, babe!

Then, they met THE GOVERNOR! Here's Governor John Lynch:

They also met our local state senator and a local state representative (who is also the grandfather of one of her friends).

The kids also got to tour the formal legislative chambers and even sit in their chairs!

I wouldn't be surprised if this girl ended up in some sort of public service role someday...!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

EJ's First Communion

EJ received her First Communion today. There was a large class of kids this year, so they split them into two groups and did two services so that everyone and their families would fit into the church!

Each year, the kids make a banner. And every year for the First Communion service, they hang all the banners from the previous years around the church. The kids on the first banner are graduating from college this year! Here's EJ with this year's banner:

And here she is with Pastor Jon:

And here's the family shot:

After the service, we went to the house of EJ's friend C, who also received his First Communion today. EJ and C have been buddies for nearly 10 years now - EJ was born three days before C!

Here's C attacking the cake!

C's dog, Teak, gave Sophie lots of lovin' while we were there!

We didn't get home until after 10, and both girls crashed in the car. EJ had a long day, as she had a few hours of dance photos into early afternoon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Which way to the beach?

Grandma H sent a box the other day that had this cute little swimsuit in it for Sophie. She tried it on tonight and it fit perfectly! There were lots of cute shorts for EJ, but she hasn't tried them all on yet.
The busy season continues. This past weekend, we did the mulch in the yard. Well, I should say that K did the mulch in the yard - he did 99% of the work! I got another area of the basement cleaned out. The blinds for the family room are on order. The porch project resumes tomorrow. Ah...progress!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Sorry, no cute pictures this week! :)

Phew...these end of the year activities are keeping us busy! EJ has only one more First Communion class next week. First Communion is on Saturday the 16th, right after a full morning of dance photos, complete with four costume changes and hair and makeup. Yeehaw! Dance wraps up the first weekend in June with a recital on K's birthday! But the Friday night before will be busy with dress rehearsal for a few hours. And the following week will be the piano recital that EJ's been practicing hard for!

Add into this mix a birthday party for EJ in a few weeks, which coincides with a visit from her cousin H and Aunt P and Uncle T (who Sophie says does "nag, nag, nag" compliments of Aunt P!). That will make for a fun Memorial Day weekend.

And then there are the house projects - pressure washing the house (done), painting the porch (scheduled for next week), and measurements for new custom wooden blinds in the family room (TBD this week). I'm very sad about my porch. It had a lovely knotty-pine cathedral ceiling in it that became overtaken by mildew in the past few years. Scrubbing and bleaching didn't do the trick, nor did a good sanding, so instead of being stained and poly'ed (yes, I made up this "word"), the paint guy will be back next week to paint it white. Bummer. But I'm very excited about the idea of new window treatments in the family room - and they're even on sale for the next few weeks!!!! YEAH! This has been on my project list for at least two years. Of course, while we were looking at samples Saturday evening, I spied some REALLY nice custom wooden shutters that would look fabulous in my bedroom. The nice sales lady said they'd be on sale in another week or two, but I think there are other projects higher on the priority list.

And finally, I need some sleep. These darn sports teams are keeping me up too late at night. Red Sox vs. Yankees early this week, Bruins playoffs, Celtics vs. Magic in the playoffs (boo, they just lost the first game).