Saturday, January 24, 2009

Then and now -- mother and child edition

Ting Ting and Mama, Christmas 2007

and Christmas 2008

50 years of celebration

Another photo of Ting Ting eating cake? Yes, but it's a different kind of cake.

It's an anniversary cake!

Ting Ting's Papa and Lao Lao celebrated their 50th anniversary just before Christmas, and we were all there.

The happy couple.

Aunt Beth and Uncle Bud, Sam and Nick.

Aunt Kay and Chad.

And, of course, us!

Ting Ting got to visit with a lot of her cousins,

young and old

and cool.

Big sister Lauren posed for a photo.

Here's Lao Lao with her brother and sisters -- all of them were in the wedding 50 years ago.

Papa's friend Jim was a groomsman. He brought Ting Ting a necklace he made for her. She loved it!

The members of the wedding party who were in attendance.

Papa and Lao Lao and their three little girls

and they lived happily ever after!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Roomba, Roomba, ROOM-BA!

I received a Roomba for Christmas. What a great gift! He's been hard at work here all year, mostly in our kitchen.

The first day Ting Ting saw it, she asked, "what's that?"
"It's a robot," I said. "He cleans our floors for us."
"Oh," she said, then put her head down to peer under the table. "Thank you!" she called out.

Yesterday morning she dropped some Cheerios on the floor.

"Uh oh," she said. "You'd better get the robot."

The floor was messy in other places, too, so I set Roomba to work. The phone distracted me for a minute while Ting Ting followed the robot around. Then I heard the door to the powder room slide shut. Thinking Ting Ting had gone to the bathroom on her own, I came around the corner to see if she needed any help.

Nope. She was standing outside the closed door giggling, her ear pressed to it. She had trapped Roomba inside, and he was merrily bouncing around from wall to wall to wall in the tiny room.

Working to keep a stern expression on my face, I explained that Roomba was meant to run free. She opened the door so he could zoom out and get to work under the kitchen chairs.

It kind of reminds me of her early days with Cyrus. But this pet doesn't have claws or teeth, and he cleans up after himself. We definitely need to encourage this friendship.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More celebration

Well, OK, no one is going to confuse me with a world-class cake decorator . . . but she asked for a pink cake with pink candles and Diego and Baby Jaguar on it, and Mama delivered.

I think the birthday girl was pleased.

In addition to the strawberry cake, I made a chocolate because we had a dozen family members coming over to share and I wanted to have enough.

But the Ting Ting special was surprisingly popular.

We enjoyed Chinese food for dinner.

One of the dishes we ordered was Hunan Beef, in honor of our spicy girl's home province.

She opened more presents, which included many new books.

So she asked Cousin Todd if he would read one to her.

The audience quickly grew.

Ting Ting loves playing with her cousin Candace.

They're not really behind bars, but sometimes I think they ought to be!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ting Ting is 3!

Things are still absolutely insane around here, but I wanted to share just a few photos. Saturday was Ting Ting's third birthday!

In the morning, she opened some presents from my family.

Someone gave her 3 crisp new dollar bills in a birthday card. Being a generous child, she gave one to Daddy, one to Mommy . . .

and one to Cyrus.

I have a lot of other photos -- including photos of her special-ordered cake (pink, with pink candles and Diego and Baby Jaguar on it) -- and I'll share them soon. Also, I have photos from my parents' 50th wedding anniversary! So stay tuned.

Things HAVE to slow down at work soon (don't they?)

Inauguration Day

Here's a special video, just for Papa, in honor of Inauguration Day:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tiny dancer

The day we met her, Ting Ting could stand if she was holding on to something. Whenever she did, she would bounce a little bit as if dancing. She still loves to dance, as I captured Saturday (on my new camera!)

The first video shows her talking to her older sister, who was playing the music ("You call me Squidget, Alla?")

Yes, she's wearing a sleeveless summer dress. In Chicago. In January.

Later she changed into one of her princess outfits:

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Inside her head

Scene: Mama is helping Ting Ting pull on her socks and shoes.

TING TING: Mama, I need to call my piggies.

MAMA (Thinking perhaps "piggies" refers to her toes): Your piggies? You want me to count them?

TING TING: No, I need to call the piggies on my pig farm.

MAMA: Oh. Well, how do you do that?

TING TING: I say, "PIGS! Come on over here!"

MAMA: You mean you don't say, "Sooey! SOOOO-EEEY!"

TING TING (looking at Mama as if she's from Mars): Umm, no. I say, "PIGS! Get on over here right now!"

No, I don't know where she gets this stuff.

15 minutes later, in the car

TING TING: Mama, I want to be a mermaid.

MAMA: A mermaid? Why?

TING TING: I want to live under the water and eat jellyfish.


Guess who got a camera for Christmas?

Yep, me!

(This is Ting Ting with her cousin Sarah at our family celebration.)

I'm sure you know what this means.

First of all, Lance will be in more of the photos (here he is with Lauren).

And, secondly, I don't have to wait for him to get photos to me for posting, so I can post them more quickly . . . well, theoretically, anyway.

(Lots of cousins).

Actually, Ting Ting got a camera for Christmas, too, so I hope to share some of her photos with you, too. And I will have to get some photos from Lance of events leading up to Christmas day -- including my parents' 50th anniversary celebration.

So stay tuned!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bring on 2009!

Yesterday at work, our boss wished us all a happy new year.

"What a year it was!" he said, and we all agreed, thinking about the ups and downs: New ownership for our company, several rounds of layoffs and buyouts, a complete redesign of the paper, a bankruptcy filing. And, of course, we covered an amazing string of news stories: The shooting deaths of five NIU students, a murderous rampage by a western Illinois man, a helicopter crash that killed a medical crew and their tiny patient, the rise of our senator to the presidency, the indictment of our governor.

"Yes, quite a year," he said, then laughingly added: "Good riddance!"

Indeed, as far as my job goes, I don't care if I never have another year like 2008. The loss of TWO tires in ONE pothole as I drove to a meeting downtown Monday afternoon just seemed to put an exclamation point on the whole thing.

But then I thought about all the other things I experienced this year. Lance and I marked five years of marriage, and my parents celebrated 50. We lost my grandmother this year, but we celebrated 96 wonderful years of having her on this earth. Lauren conquered algebra and is becoming an amazing young woman. Brandon is in honors classes at school and confirmation class at church. One nephew got his driver's license, and another graduated from college. A niece and her husband moved into a beautiful new home. Lance and I held on to our jobs and home in a tumultuous economy and hosted our annual Thanksgiving dinner here with much love and laughter.

Our little Ting Ting has traded in her crib for a big girl bed. She hasn't worn diapers in ages, and she can dress herself. She's talking nonstop and showing great imagination, passion and poise. I've had to say goodbye to my little baby, but I've gained a delightful little girl.

And, after all, what's important? Is it the long hours at the office that make for a good life, or is it the time I spend reading books to my daughter or posing as a patient at her medical clinic? No matter how badly things go during the day, she can wipe it all away in an instant by throwing her arms around me and exclaiming, "Mommy! I love you so much!"

Yes, upon reflection, 2008 was the best year yet -- but something tells me 2009 is going to give it a run for its money.

Happy new year, everyone! May you all experience true peace and contentment.

Go see the baby

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about how mature Holly was when she and husband Chip missed the cutoff for referrals by one day. Well, guess what? It's their turn! Go take a gander at baby Lola An Heng.

Unlike our precious Ting Ting, this little one has some hair! And she's beautiful, of course.

Congratulations, Holly and Chip! May your wait for travel be very short.