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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

So. Halloween.

As you can tell from the pictures I posted earlier I really planned out the costumes that Ava and Merry would be wearing. Ava agreed to the Little Miss Muffet and her spider concept (even though she wanted to be the spider) and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on the two costumes. I figured they would get several wearings out of them since Merry had a daycare event, Ava had a school event, we had photographs taken (thanks to a cheap Groupon) and finally culminating in the big event – trick or treating.

We had the photographs taken on the Saturday prior to Halloween. This was also the Saturday prior to Hurricane Sandy potentially flooding our area beginning Saturday night. The Saturday we had to meet with our social worker for our second post-placement visit at the last minute since we were scheduled for Sunday AM, by which time we knew we would be flooding. This was also the Saturday that Merry suddenly – after all of that and seemingly out of nowhere – didn’t eat dinner (unheard of for her) and spiked a 103.6 fever.

I’ll spare you the long story of the miserable weekend and Monday that we were basically flooded into our house while my child’s fever raged on and just say that there was an ER visit, a chest x-ray, and a diagnosis of we’re not going to call this pneumonia but it is and that’s what we’re treating her for – which all means that Merry didn’t get to go trick-or-treating because she was pretty darn sick.

I was sad. I had to miss taking Ava trick-or-treating. I had to miss taking Merry out to see all the neighbors. I had to miss parading them around in those ridiculously expensive yet totally awesome costumes. And it’s not like I could send Ava out dressed like that without a spider (well, and it was super muddy thanks to all the rain so yeah, no). So after all that planning she went as Batgirl – in a cheap polyester costume I picked up at 90% off from last year’s Target clearance sale.

(Look – she still had all her teeth!)

This is when I asked her to look fierce. (Maybe she thought I said mental.)

And J kindly snapped a picture of her by our neighbor’s fence where we take a picture every year.

She had fun. J dressed up with her and off they went to hunt and gather some Dots (at which they failed miserably) before coming home to hand out candy at our house. Honestly, I think she enjoyed that as much as she did trick-or-treating. Our neighbors were delighted to see Ava, disappointed to not see Merry, and kindly sent home candy for me her so she wouldn’t miss out on anything. We have about 10 Frosty certificates to use and Ava ate herself silly on Skittles while Merry sorted the candy. She spent ages moving it into piles and dumping and replacing it in the pumpkin.

(Our Halloween rules: Ava can eat all the candy she wants on Halloween night. All Dots and Almond Joys belong to Mama and Tootsie Rolls go to Daddy. The candy is out and fully accessible to Ava for about 3 days at which time the rationing begins – although honestly, she’s mostly lost interest by then anyway.)

P.S. She’s getting wise to us. She hid the pumpkin from us the second night. I think she noticed the decrease in Reese’s and Kit-Kats.

CCAI, our fabulous adoption agency, ran a fun little Halloween costume contest on Facebook today and guess who won?

Yeah, that’s right. LIttle Miss Muffet and the spider who sat down beside her.

Thanks to all my friends and family who voted and shared the photo on FB. We won a signed copy of the book written by Lily – one of the co-founders of the agency – and have requested a special inscription for Merry. Lily and Josh met Merry at her SWI just a day or two before our Gotcha Day so I’m hoping they might have a little memory of her or of their trip to share with us. We also won a gift pack from CCAI but I have no idea what that might include.

And here’s another just because I think they are beautiful.

Oh, and yeah. Neither of these costumes were worn for trick or treating.

In honor of the Year of the Dragon I asked Ava a few questions about dragons so she could clear up any misconceptions I (or you) might have about them.

Here’s what she dictated for me to transcribe:

Description: They are red or green. Maybe gray. Dragons eat gas, chips, cornbread, grass, ham, and fruit snacks. They have wings like butterflies and they flap their wings to fly somewhere to get food. They are so cute. I like dragons, especially Figment. At Chinese New Year, people fit under dragons. (Editor’s note: She’s talking about the dragon dance.)

Where dragons live: Dragons live in China. Not where my sister lives but far, far away. Dragons live in trees.

Size: So big!

Life span: Dragons never die.

Habitat: Cold, rainy sometimes. They live with their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and their dog.

Diet: (See above)

How do they behave? They don’t listen <insert a grrr and a foot stomp here for full effect>!

So now you know! Hope you enjoyed Ava’s take on the mythical dragon since it turns out he’s apparently not so scary after all.

We wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Xin Nian Kuai Le!

We officially started our holiday season today with Thanksgiving dinner #1 with my family. (Oh my word, I’m still stuffed HOURS later.)

We haven’t visited my folks in a while and since we have J’s folks coming to our house for the actual holiday we decided to make a quick (quick being relative since it’s a 5+ hour drive) trip up before the holiday. Fortunately my family was game with moving the holiday up to accommodate us so we spent the whole day doing nothing but cooking, socializing, and eating. And make no mistake, we definitely ate. A lot.

My whole entire immediate family (+ an uncle) was here which is always cool. I know these days can’t last forever so it’s especially nice when we can make it happen. Most of the grandkids were also here so Ava had cousins upon cousins to play with. And to be clear, by play with I really mean boss around. She’s the youngest so she tends to be a tad bit spoiled (by everyone) sometimes.

What I really love about these days is that I can relax a bit with Ava. It’s so nice to know that I don’t have to eagle eye her every minute because I know that my mom and my sisters and her cousins are watching her too. On top of that, it warms my heart to know that all of this running about and playing with her cousins are building these lifetime memories for her. I remember all of the holidays with my grandparents/aunts & uncles/cousins and I so want her to have at least a taste of the same. It’s harder, of course, since we don’t live close enough to make it an everyday thing but we’re doing what we can with what we’ve got.

Also nice is making that last minute trip to the grocery store (that’s a Thanksgiving tradition too, isn’t it?) and running into an old childhood friend that you haven’t seen in years and years and years. That can only ever happen in your hometown and you realize how much you miss stuff like that after you’ve moved on and moved away. I mean, running into people we know happens at (now) home but these are people I’ve known for 12 years or less. The gal I ran into today has known me almost my whole life. Even though we don’t often talk there’s just a comfort level with people you’ve known and been friends with forever that you don’t have with anyone else.

You know what I don’t miss about my hometown, though? Trains. Stupid whistle-blowing at all hours of the night gets old fast…

Heading back home tomorrow and will jump right back into the hectic rat race and all of the stress that awaits me in my real life.  But today was a really, really nice day and gave both J and I a desperately needed break. The rare opportunity to relax a bit today made the whole drive worth every minute.

To Mamaw and Papaw’s house we go for an early kickoff to our Thanksgiving celebrations.

We have at least a 5 hour drive and we’re leaving at rush hour with nothing prepared in advance. This means throw some clothes in a bag, the kid in the carseat, the dogs in the kennels and hope for the best.

Wish us luck.

Updated: We made it. 6+ hours later with a detour by Wal-Mart for cough medicine for the husband and kid including an impulse purchase of a toddler cheerleader uniform that was strategically placed by the door as I walked into Wal-Mart. Hey, we are in Hokie country now. How could I resist?