Monday, February 18, 2008

Our Valentine

Our Valentine's gift from Ting Ting -- a beautiful portrait in a handmade frame with a magnet on back to aid in its display in a prominent place in our home.

(Yes, I'm sure her teacher helped a little bit with the execution, but I just know the concept was all hers.)

"This Little Piggy Went to the Market"

As told by Ting Ting:

"Piggy home, Piggy home, Piggy home, Piggy home, Piggy weeeeeeeeeeeee! home."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Kai-Lan!

Thursday is New Year's Day in China, but it's also the eagerly anticipated launch of "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan," a new children's show about a little Chinese girl. The show is supposed to teach kids about Chinese traditions, culture and beliefs as well as some basic Mandarin words.

We've seen some commercials for it on Noggin already, and Ting Ting always watches them intently. We're setting the DVR so we won't miss any episodes.

I haven't seen the show yet, but I'm hopeful that it will be good quality, interesting and that Ting Ting might like Kai-Lan even as much as Dora the Explorer. Already, she seems to be learning some Chinese from the commercials -- Lance and I each caught her saying what sounded like "Ni Hao." When we repeated it to her, she immediately said, "Hi!" which is the English translation. It could be coincidence, but she's done it at least twice.

Sunday we'll be back at Sunny Ridge's Chinese New Year celebration. It'll be our fourth year in a row, the second time we've had Ting Ting in tow. This will be the year of the rat, which makes it a good year. Both Lance and I were born in the year of the rat, which means that this year we'll turn . . . ummm . . . some multiple of 12 years old.

Our princess

January was a blur -- we had Ting Ting's birthday (celebrated in three states!) and a trip to Brentwood together, then Ting Ting and I visited my friend Debi in Washington and Lance went to Germany for a week. And we hosted a family party and a Super Bowl event. That followed December with Ting Ting's family day anniversary and Christmas, so we're about partied out.

We also seem to be camera-challenged at the moment: Lance's still camera was broken last fall, and we haven't replaced it. He takes stills with his video camera, but I'm still waiting for him to get me photos from Christmas and Ting Ting's birthday. I have a camera, but the last photos I took with it were dark and blurry. Plus, I keep forgetting to take the camera with me! Fortunately, we're getting by with a little help from our friends.

Ting Ting was invited to our friend Grace's fifth birthday in mid-January, and another friend was trying out her new camera and so kindly used our daughter as a model and then sent me her photos.

The party was a "princess" party. The guests all arrived at this little shop and picked out a princess dress to wear. They got to pick out all the accoutrements and practice granting wishes. They played games and did crafts, then had "tea" and cake before Grace opened her presents.

Most of the guests were about the same age as Grace, but after hanging back and observing a little bit, Ting Ting partied along with the big girls.

She decorated the lovely crown she's wearing here.

And she was a pro at drinking tea (I cropped the other girls out of the photo for blogging purposes, but it was a really cute shot of her table).

All in all, it was a beautiful party and a fun day.

Thanks for the photos, Karen! We hope you're back in Chicago soon.

And I'll post Christmas and birthday photos before . . . oh, Valentine's day. Really.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

This time, it's all about me

I've been tagged by Beverly of Motherhood and Other Ramblings to reveal seven weird things about myself and then tag 7 more bloggers to play, too.

Well, since she asked . . .

1. I was born on my grandmother's birthday. She still refers to me as her best birthday gift because I was her first grandchild. A couple of years ago, I discovered it's my boss' birthday, too.

2. I'm a journalist who is good at math, which anyone in the business will tell you is weird enough, but I take it a step further -- I enjoy doing algebra. Last weekend Lauren needed help with her homework, and I had so much fun working through the problems with her that I insisted we do a few extra. I told her it was so I could be sure she understood the concepts, but, truthfully, I was having fun. I'd still be doing them if she hadn't taken the book home with her.

3. I enjoy working puzzles of all kinds, from jigsaws to acrostics to Sudoku (I consider algebra a type of puzzle, too). A couple of years ago, I entered a Sudoku contest at work and won the $50 top prize. (My version of trash talk was telling the guy running the contest -- in front of the other contestants -- that I didn't need a pencil because I usually worked them in pen).

4. All through college and throughout my 20s and 30s, I had a crush on Billy Joel. It finally ebbed in my 40s, but now I'm finding myself developing an even bigger crush on this guy:

That's Moose A. Moose to you.

If you had a 2-year-old at home, you'd love him, too. What a voice!

5. I met my husband online.

6. I have lived in eight states, six of them as an adult. Only one of those six was a repeat of a state that I lived in as a child. Since leaving home for college, I have never lived in the same state as my parents. (I said that's a weird thing, not a good thing).

7. A week and a half ago, I taught myself to draw a monkey. I did it so I didn't have to keep drawing the cat over and over. Now I hear, "Mama, color monkey" almost as often as I used to hear "Color Sigh-zhah (Cyrus)."

The hardest part of this exercise was figuring out who to tag . . . I read a lot of blogs, but I'm mostly a "lurker" -- someone who reads but doesn't comment. Tagging the bloggers means revealing myself! I guess it's time to come out of the closet, though, so I tag:

Kids Special Needs
Michelle (even if you don't have time to check out her blog, you should look at this special slideshow)
and my friend Adrienne, who'll have to participate even though I'm not publishing a link because her blog is private. It's one of my favorites, though!