Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas, everybody

OH, SH . . . e finally made it clear what she meant

Ting Ting is talking -- a lot -- and we can actually have conversations with her now in which we understand her as well as she understands us. But for a couple of months, she had us a little worried.

She'd stub her toe and say, "oh, sh--." She'd drop her doll and say it again.

One day, excited at seeing Lauren and Brandon come into the daycare with Dad, she raced across the common area to greet them, tripped and fell, shouting "oh, sh--" right in front of several staff members.


Now, neither my husband nor I would swear we never swear, but neither one of us says that phrase anywhere close to routinely, even when we're NOT trying to be careful in front of little ears. And we're certain that that word doesn't ring out in the halls of the early childhood development center to which we entrust her daily.

But it sure did seem like she was using the phrase appropriately -- that is, in instances you might use that phrase if you were to routinely use that kind of language, if you know what I mean. Lance and I would wonder about it privately, but it was pretty hard to keep ignoring it when she said it in the hallway at church or when my mother, visiting at Thanksgiving, asked, "what is she saying? Because it sounds like . . . "

Yes, Mom, we know. We were hoping YOU didn't hear it that way, too.

Finally, one morning Ting Ting was sitting on our bed and decided to climb up on the pillows to reach the lamp -- she loves to turn it on and off. I saw her slip a little bit and bump her head on the headboard.

"Ouchy," I said without thinking.

"Ouchy," she responded rubbing her head.

Except she pronounced it more like "OH Shee."

Or, perhaps, "Oh, Sh--."

"OH," said her Daddy and I at the exact same time, bursting into laughter.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Our little chow hound is 23 months old today

So enjoy some photos of her Thanksgiving warmup:

Hmmm, anything else in here?

They make me use a sippy cup when we have company so it'll look like I'm all nice and neat.

Of course, if that's their goal, they shouldn't feed me the blue yogurt, should they?

Monday, December 03, 2007


The morning of Dec. 4, 2006, a precious little bundle was placed in my arms.

That day was the beginning of the most amazing, incredible, joyous ride of my life.

We love you, Rachel Shu-Ting.

You want photos?

My Dad said I need to give credit to my blog's photographer.

He's right, of course.

So, here are some more photos taken by my Dad.

Oh, come on -- you could see that one coming.

Nice work, Papa! Thanks.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Here's why WE'RE thankful

We be thankful

Ting Ting's teacher made a chart listing why each kid in her day care group is thankful. I saw the chart on the wall the other day and had to take a photo (with my cell phone, and I didn't bother to move the dangly thing out of the way, so it's not the best quality shot, but I digress).

Most of the kids said they were thankful for their mommies or daddies. One was thankful for dance class, another for "black bridge." One said "Mommy's at work." I'm thinking she didn't understand the question.

Our kid definitely understood the question, though:

Yes, Ting Ting is grateful for her cat.

Of course, we already knew that she thanks the good Lord above for him.

It hardly seems possible

One year ago today, we were enjoying our second day of sightseeing in Beijing. We saw Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Starbuck's at the Forbidden City, we climbed a drum tower, toured a neighborhood, ate a duck dinner . . . and more. It was quite a day. We would do more touring before our trip ended, but we never again did it without little Ting Ting.

You can probably tell I'm thinking a lot about what we were doing a year ago. It hardly seems possible that we're coming up on the first anniversary of Ting Ting's family day. If you'd like to remember along with me, just look in the archives for December 2006.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chef Ting Ting

She had the kitchen, she had the plastic food, and now Ting Squared has the proper clothes.

The hat was a bit big, but she loved it anyway.

Thank you, Papa and Lao Lao!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Getting all nostalgic

I had lunch today with one of my China travel-mates, and we spent much of our time remembering the excitement we were feeling one year ago as we prepared to leave for China in mere days.

We talked about the entire process -- all the little aggravations in gathering our dossier documents, the frustrations of the lengthening wait, our fears that something would go wrong. We remembered the fortune cookie I opened at that very same restaurant as we waited for our travel approval. We talked about the excitement of those last few weeks and the giddiness of the day we finally were to leave -- going to O'Hare extra early, finding each other near the meeting spot, hardly believing it was finally happening.

We also talked about some of the more painful moments of those first few days of motherhood as we tried to comfort these grieving babies who, in many cases, didn't want anything to do with these strange people.

And guess what -- she's ready to do it all again. And although Lance and I have no plans to add any more to our family, I found myself a little envious -- and very excited for her.

I've spent a lot of time the last few weeks re-reading my blog entries from a year ago and feeling nostalgic for that excitement and joy. It's fun to look back and remember.

But guess what? It's just gotten better and better. And I'm even more excited about what lies ahead.

First official hair cut

I'd love to share some photos of Ting Ting getting her first professional haircut.

Unfortunately, I don't have any -- I was too busy holding her in my lap while the deed was done. I do have some photos of her enjoying one of the clever little kiddie chairs after her haircut, though.

It's hard to believe that a little girl who looked like this less than a year ago would have hair hanging way into her eyes now, but she did. And although her Mama -- who is NOT a professional cosmetologist -- had given her a couple of trims to get by, it was time to let a professional do the job. Because of a previous unsuccessful trip to the nearest discount hair cutter, I swallowed hard and ponied up the full price for a cut at a kid-friendly place.

Ting Ting was grumpy when we left for the salon; she was just up from a nap and unhappy about being strapped into her car seat so soon. But when we walked in and she saw all the little cars and horses and animals that kids can sit in while their hair is cut, she stopped and said, "Ooooooohhhh!"

She was thrilled about choosing her own seat; she opted for a fire engine. All was well until the woman cutting her hair tried to put a cape around her -- Ting Ting left her fire engine faster than a firefighter responding to a 911 call. We could not get her back in it, either. The woman asked if I would be willing to try holding Ting Ting as she got her cut. I looked a bit nervously at that little fire engine seat, but they quickly swapped it with a regular chair and I sat down with my daughter in my lap.

They played a video to entertain Ting Ting during her trim, but it lasted longer than the hair cut. So she moved from my lap to the little motorcycle next door and I was able to get some photos as she watched the ending. Oh, and what was the video that had her so transfixed?

Well, Dora, of course!

The place had only one other customer because it was nearly quitting time. I wish I had gotten her there earlier because they also had a little indoor play area.

I let her play a few minutes, but soon we had to go so the nice ladies could close the shop.

And, yes, you guessed it -- she didn't want to leave.

So she cried on the way home, too. But at least this time she looked mah-velous.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen With Ting Ting

Ting Ting is still enjoying playing in her new kitchen. Big sister Lauren likes it, too -- one night recently they made a special meal together.

When will it be ready?

This looks really good.

Moe, Alla?

Mmm, mmmm.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

A couple of weeks ago we were saying nightly prayers with the older kids. Ting Ting was still up so we were having her practice folding her hands and closing her eyes. After the kids had each said their prayers, Lauren said Ting Ting needed to say one. We were laughing about how she should thank God for her doll or for Cyrus. Lance told her to fold her hands again, and she sweetly chimed in with this prayer:

"Chain Chu" (thank you)
"Sigh-zhah" (for Cyrus)
"Bye-bye" (Amen).

Pretty good, don't you think? Bye-bye, sister!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Where's Rachel?

Yes, we still call her "Ting Ting."

We started off calling her that because it was her Chinese nickname, and we figured that would be easier for her. Because we kept her Chinese name as her middle name, it still was a shortened form of her name, anyway.

When she started daycare, they asked us what we wanted them to call her. We said, "Ting Ting." It's easy for the other little kids to say, so they like it. The whole staff (and most of the other families) calls her that, too.

Besides, it just seems to fit her.

I figure we'll eventually need to switch to the beautiful name we originally wanted to call her, though. I'm guessing she won't want to be called Ting Ting in middle school . . . of course, she might not like being called Rachel, either. We'll have to see.

In the meantime, I figured I should start calling her Rachel from time to time just to be sure she knows that's her. Sometimes I use "Rachel Shu-Ting" in conversations with her, but I don't want it to be something she's called just when she's in trouble.

So I had a great idea to incorporate it into play time. One of the games we play sometimes is that she'll point to her nose and say, "nose." I'll say, "that's Ting Ting's nose. Where's Mama's nose?" and she'll point to mine. If Daddy is there, we point out his nose as well. And, of course, Cyrus' nose is identified often. Then we'll move on to eyes, mouth, other things. One day I slyly asked where Rachel's nose was. She pointed to her own. Woo hoo!

We also play peek-a-boo. That usually consists of her slapping her hands over her eyes and me asking, alarmed, "where's Ting Ting? Where's Ting Ting?" until she reveals herself to much laughter.

So the other day we played a couple of rounds of this game and I decided to mix it up a bit. "Where's Rachel?" I asked. "Where's Rachel? Where's Rachel?"

She kept her hands firmly over her eyes, but apparently she felt sorry for her inept mama.

"Teen Teen," she corrected.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Monkeying around

The kids at Ting Ting's daycare all wore their costumes yesterday. She and I got there just in time for her to participate in the parade. The costumes were great!

We tried to personalize Ting Ting's costume a little by having her wear her favorite hot pink cowboy boots (thanks, Aunt Beth), so she could pretend to be Boots, the monkey sidekick of Dora the Explorer.

I know, too subtle. She did enjoy wearing the boots, though.

Why, it's a monkey riding a rocking fish, of course.

After she got home, Ting Ting helped me answer the door a few times. She hated giving away the chocolate, though! (Where does she get that?)

Here she is enjoying a Hershey bar. Notice who's standing inside the house -- Cyrus the anti-Halloween cat (white as the driven snow).

The little monkey needed some dinner.

Then she played in her kitchen.

And, of course, she had to make a call. Right after I took this photo, our phone rang and I answered almost the identical model of phone in our own kitchen. Ting Ting saw me on the big phone while she was on her little one, and she thought that was hysterical. I think she thought that she had actually called me.

If you'd like to see more costume silliness, check out the Rumor Queen today for a list of links.

Happy November!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I reject your terms . . .

A couple of weeks ago, Ting Ting had cold symptoms and a fever. I was worried that she might have an ear infection (turns out she didn't), so I took her in to see the doctor.

The doctor, quite sensibly, wanted to look at her ears. Ting Ting was quite determined not to let her. After a couple of attempts to get a look as I tried in vain to hold that wiggling, screaming toddler still, the doctor had an idea.

"Do you want a sticker?" she asked Ting Ting. She pulled a stack out of her pocked and rifled through them, pulling out one with a familiar red face. "How about Elmo? Do you like Elmo?"

A big grin lit up Ting Ting's face, and the crying stopped immediately.

"Elmo!" she shrieked happily, gazing at her prize. She looked up at me and pointed happily to the sticker.

"Elmo! Elmo! ELMO!"

So the doctor made another attempt at the ear.

Screaming. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth.

"Do you like the sticker?" the doctor asked. "You need to be still so I can look in your ear."

Then she upped the ante.

"I tell you what -- if you let me look in the other ear, too, I'll give you another one. How about that? Two ears, two stickers!"

Ting Ting looked at the Elmo sticker. Then she looked at the instrument the doctor was trying to use on her ear. She looked at the sticker again.

Then she handed the Elmo sticker back to the doctor.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How 'bout them Dores?

My family hosts a tailgate party before every home Vanderbilt football game. Ting Ting had a new outfit to wear (of course) when we were there in September.

Papa wants to start me out right.

This is my cousin Nick (not to be confused with my cousin Nik).

With my cousin Chad.

Aunt Kay provided a bubble gun, so my big brother was happy to entertain me.

Mom let me have a treat -- a swig of Sprite. (And, no, she was NOT happy with that hair cut -- it looked a little better in a couple of weeks.)

In the meantime, Brandon and Lauren helped her Go Gold.

You can put the lobster over there.

With Uncle Bud and Aunt Beth.

My goofy sister Lauren.

A shot of the crowd.

(And now, a note from Mom: I'm sorry to report that Lance's camera suffered a fatal blow shortly after these photos were taken. We had the video camera, which could take stills, for the rest of the weekend, but it wasn't the same. I've been trying to keep up with my own camera, but let's face it, Lance is a better photographer. I'll keep trying.)