Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Our little ladybug.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More from the pumpkin patch

Ting Ting with Lauren, Candace and Brandon.

And again with Candace

Lauren and Casey.

And finally, something I like to call "Chinese-American Gothic."

This photo cracks me up every single time I look at it. I can't decide what's funnier -- the hair across Lance's forehead that looks almost like a comb-over because of the baldness of the rest of the painted head, or Ting Ting's wild hair, suggesting we interrupted her while she was beating rugs outside.

Then and now -- Pumpkin Patch edition

Ting Ting at the pumpkin patch (in abstentia) two years ago:

And now, with her family:

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Last night when I was getting dinner ready, Ting Ting kept telling me she saw a spider.

"SPIDER, Mommy. There's a spider! It's a SPIDER," she said (and repeated it, oh, a hundred times).

"Yes, honey," I kept saying.

"I'm scarey, Mama," she would say (meaning that SHE was afraid of the spider).

"He won't hurt you," I said, a bit distracted, "You're bigger than he is."

When that failed to calm her, I went over to try to find it.

"He's right DERE," she kept insisting.



I never saw the spider.

Lance came to the table, and she repeated the story for him.

"SPIDER, Daddy. Over dere. I'm scarey of him."

But once we started eating she seemed to forget all about it. We chatted about other things for a few minutes, then Lance casually said, "Oh, there's the spider."

It was teeny tiny. Itty bitty. Scrambling cutely across the floor.

Ting Ting shrieked. She ran over to me and jumped into my lap, attaching herself to my body with all her might.

"THE SPIDER!" she yelled. "I'm scarey."

So Lance slew the spider. Ground him up under his foot until there was nothing much left but a teeny tiny damp spot.

"Spider's gone!" he announced with some satisfaction, proud of how he had protected his little girl.

We resumed our pre-massacre conversation. A couple of minutes went by.

Then, out of the blue, Ting Ting said, quite calmly, "Mommy, I want my spider back."

Lance and I shot each other terrified looks.

"You want your spider back?" I repeated, trying to stall while I figured out what to say.

Finally, I punted.

"Daddy," I said, struggling to keep a straight face, "Ting Ting wants her spider back."

Lance had one of those deer-in-the-headlights looks.

"You want your spider back?" he said in a weak voice.

"Oh, he's my little baby!" Ting Ting cooed. "I want to make a bed for him."

By this time my stomach is hurting from suppressing my laughter. Of course, I had a right to laugh -- I was the parent who recently spent 10 minutes trapping a wasp in our kitchen with a cup and a paper plate so I could open the door and let him go, "to be with all his friends." (Oh, yes, I did.)

Lance, the parent who had killed Ting Ting's "little baby" on the kitchen floor, began to tear up.

So Mama moved into Operation Distraction.

"That's so nice, Ting Ting," I said. "You're good to all your friends. Did you show Daddy how you arranged the chairs so your bear could sit by you while you watched Dora?"

She happily went on to other things, forgetting all about how she wanted to make a bed for her "little baby."

But I don't think Lance is over it yet.

Sunday morning

A Sunday morning photo taken by Ting Ting's Papa during their recent visit.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I won't say anything else about a certain football team if you promise not to bring it up, either, mmmkay?

Friday, October 24, 2008

In other news

Ting Ting went to a pumpkin patch last Sunday and rode a camel with her cousin, Candace.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Look who came to visit!

Papa and Lao Lao came to visit for a few days! Ting Ting knew they were coming, but I didn't tell her that they were going to be here early enough to pick her up at day care, so that was a great surprise.

This photo doesn't have all of Lao Lao's head in it, but I still like the expressions.

Ting Ting was "sooooo happy" to see her grandparents and introduce them to her teacher and some of her friends.

They also looked at her photo book to see some of the things she has done and what she has learned since she moved to the 2-year-old class.

We had a great time visiting for three days (well, at least when we weren't watching the Vandy game). Dr. Ting Ting checked out both Papa and Lao Lao several times, so we know they're in good health. Lao Lao and Ting Ting read books together and also "hid" from the rest of us over and over (and over and over). Papa would "color" with Ting Ting and help her trace her hands (over and over). And while she napped, the rest of us got some things done in preparation for a very special occasion coming up soon -- Papa and Lao Lao's 50th wedding anniversary!

Dec. 21, 1958: If they only knew . . .

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Politically correct tattle tale

SCENE: Sunday, early afternoon. Brandon and Ting Ting are in the computer room playing while Mom is in the kitchen putting together lunch. All of a sudden, Ting Ting marches into the kitchen and puts her hands on her hips.

TING TING: Mom! Banden's not making good choices!

(For the record, Brandon was printing a copy of a page they had just made with her favorite cartoon characters -- seemed like an excellent choice to me.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008


We interrupt the usual programming of The Rachel Chronicles to bring you this special sports message:


Oh, and one more thing:


Thank you. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One Hundred Good Wishes -- Granted!

When we arrived at my parents' house for our last visit, I found this waiting for me:

It's our One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt, all finished!

The picture really doesn't do it justice. My mother was able to stitch together all those very different colors, shapes and types of fabric into one unique gift of love. It turned out even more beautiful than I imagined it would be -- very colorful and warm and full of happiness. I love to point out the squares and tell Ting Ting who they came from or what they represent. I also have a scrapbook of all the quilt fabrics and good wishes so she can match them up herself some day.

Her quilt contains:
-- logos of three institutions of higher learning: Vanderbilt University, Notre Dame and Stephens College.
-- part of a Brownie uniform skirt.
-- three different pockets: a large cargo pocket with a velcro closure; a jeans pocket sewn on another piece of fabric and a big ladybug pocket on a piece of a little girl's dress.
-- two newspaper logos, from the first stop on my professional career (thanks, Steve) and the other from my current employer.
-- a piece of cloth from Nigeria (the first contribution).
-- the Chinese character for Joy, written by one neighbor for another neighbor to have silk screened.
-- pieces of several onesies worn by other babies, including one on which yours truly cross-stitched a design nearly 17 years ago (the baby who wore it just got his driver's license).
-- pieces of several beloved baby blankets.
-- part of a shirt that my late grandfather once wore that features the logo of the small town in Tennessee where he was mayor for 16 years.
-- A piece of my late grandmother's clothing embroidered with the name her grandchildren called her.
-- Pieces of the clothing Lance and I wore on the 4th of July in 2003, the night before our wedding.
-- Other fabrics that represent our friends and family in beautiful ways, from the blue-on-blue from my friend Debi to the cow fabric from my sister Kay to the musical notes from two travel mates who teach music.

See what I mean? It's beautiful! Some of the fabrics are even from people I never met in real life, but who accompanied us on this journey in one way or another.

No matter what twists and turns Ting Ting's life might take, she will always be able to look at the scrapbook and touch the quilt and know just how much she was wanted and loved before we even knew her name.

What a beautiful gift. Thank you all for contributing. And thank you, Mom, for putting it together so wonderfully.