9421 Words

Has it really been 7 weeks since I last updated the blog. Eeek. Time really gets away from you when you have a two year old.

Hannah continues to love all things animals. She loves singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with various animals being on the bus ("the cows on the bus go moo moo moo..."). We met Aunt Marf at the zoo in October which was a lot of fun.


The last week of October also brought snow to Virginia. Because, why not? It was enough snow to stick a little on the grass, freeze our pumpkins so that they couldn't be carved for jack-o-lanterns, and provide a lot of entertainment for Hannah. The wet snow also made it so that Hannah had her first cup of hot chocolate. She's a fan. We felt a little bad when she woke up the next morning asking to play in the snow again, and having to tell her it could be a couple of months before it snows again.

Just two days after the snow was Halloween. Hannah was thrilled to be a flying fairy again this year. There was a Halloween parade at school, and then we trick-or-treated with Emily.

How much did Hannah like Halloween? Well, she has worn her wings and tutu nearly every day since the holiday. I have to give it to her - a tutu and wings DO make chores more fun...

(yes, she's also wearing her hat and 2 different mittens. Isn't this how everyone mops?)

The first week of November was Bubbie's birthday. Check out the cake that Hannah expertly decorated.

Hannah continues to LOVE school. She talks about Mrs. B and Miss Mary ALL the time and would go 7 days a week if she could. I spent the day with her (she goes to a co-op) and I can see why she has so much fun.

We've also been rocking out at the kids concert series in Fairfax City. We've seen Mr. Skip a few times and this week met a couple of our friends from gymnastics class to see a one man band.

We're in the last few weeks of gymnastics class, or, as Hannah calls it, her monkey class. (because they swing on the bars like monkeys) She is really quite good at it - she walked a few steps on the balance beam this week all by herself, can roll down the mats on her own, and LOVES to warm up by running on the mats

Fall Fun

As much fun as we had at the pool and spray park this summer, I'm pretty happy that fall is here. The weather is starting to get cooler and fall brings with it so many fun fall activities in our area. Every weekend we've had something fun to do - fall festivals, Cox Farms, and apple picking have kept us busy all month. My favorite part? Looking at the pictures of Hannah from each activity last year along with the ones I've just taken. It takes my breath away to see how much she has grown and changed. Sure, last September she was dealing with what we like to call "the unfortunate hair cut." And there were a lot more smiles then the pictures show (she's finally starting to figure out the whole idea of stopping and smiling for the camera). But she's not a baby anymore. She is most certainly 2. (ps - I think that if you click on the collages you can see them much larger)

The first weekend of fall was the Burke Centre festival. Last year Hannah really liked the little kids area; this year the highlight was the puppet show. Hannah LOVES puppets. She still talks about the dog puppet show we saw in June (also known as the worst puppet show Mara has ever seen); she was SO excited to see this one. She sat in the sun for the entire 40 minute show, clapping along and thrilled to be a part of it.The next weekend we went to Cox Farms. This was one of the highlights of our fall last summer, and we had even more fun this year. This year we went on the hayride (which we didn't even try last year) and Hannah was able to go down some of the big slides by herself. She also was able to eat the apples this year - three apples to be exact. It turns out that someone likes apples.

The next weekend we had a first - apple picking! We met up with three of Mara's sorority sisters and their families and had BLAST. Hannah ate FIVE apples and was upset every time we had her put an apple in the bag instead of in her mouth. And there was the wonderfulness of spending time with our friends. This collage is just of this year, though I do have a picture of six of the eight adults on a date in college. :)

This weekend we went to the Fairfax KidsFest. This is a really great festival for young kids at the government center. Last year it was hot - today it was cold and rainy - but we had a great time. Looking back at the pictures, I had forgotten that Hannah really just sat in the stroller last year and looked at everything. This year? She spent a LOT of time on the firetrucks, went into the petting zoo, and made a couple of craft projects (because we clearly do not have enough paper crowns in our house). SO much fun.

First Day of School

After talking about it all summer, Friday was finally Hannah's first day of school. There are approximately 4,000 preschools in our area, all with an application process and waitlist that rivaled getting into college, but we found one that was a perfect fit for our family. (and were thrilled to get off of the wait list in May)She is going 1 morning a week at a parent run co-op that is near our house and has a nice mix of diversity. Hannah has been VERY excited to start school. After all, she watches Abby Caddaby go to Flying Fairy School every day (for those of you who are not so up on Sesame Street, "Abby's Flying Fairy School" is a segment on Sesame Street, and usually Hannah's favorite part of the show) and she wanted her turn too.

How excited was she? She wore her backpack all morning in anticipation. Her panda lunch bag with her snack? Carried around for 45 minutes before we left.

Thankfully, school lived up to all the hype. So much that she didn't want to leave. Her recap of the day? "Potty. Hands. Soap. All Clean. Clean Up." To fill in some gaps, she went to the potty (first time...apparently seeing the other girls go made her want to go too...seriously...), got all clean when she washed her hands with soap, and then she helped clean up. She also explained to me that her panda bag had grapes, apple juice, and cheese in it. And then, after a celebratory lunch of Elmo soup, she took a 3 hour nap. What a great start to the school year.

A Summer of Memories

Today was the first day of Sunday School for me - after a summer of spending Sunday mornings in my pajamas, it was time to go back and greet a new group of sixth graders. And, just like the kids, lots of people stopped me to ask how my summer was and what we did. I had a great summer; REALLY great, actually. But I couldn't answer what we did. Because outside of the four days we spent in Wisconsin, we didn't really do anything at all. Yet, somehow, we managed to stay busy each and every day all summer long. We went to the pool. A lot. And to the new spray park. A LOT. And we took advantage of all of the free concerts and shows for kids that were spread out through the summer. We went to the Jammin' Beach Party at the library, danced with the area's top children's performers, and sat through what I can only describe as the worst puppet show I have ever since. (this, by the way, was one of Hannah's favorite things we did all summer - we saw it in June and she is STILL talking about the dog puppets) Sure, we also took our first family vacation - a quick trip to Wisconsin for Uncle Matthew & Auntie Emily's wedding and much fun with her cousins - and experienced an earthquake, hurricane, and flood all in the span of two weeks. But the lasting memories of the summer will be of kicking in the pool, the "coming water" (random fountains) at the spray park, learning to blow bubbles, and swinging like a monkey.

There are lots of changes coming here. Hannah starts preschool on Friday and with the pool closed (and our twice weekly Borders storytime sadly a thing of the past) we'll be looking for new activities to fill our days. Thank goodness we had enough fun all summer to keep us happy until summer comes again.

iPhone Fun

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I celebrated our anniversary with the traditional present for 11 years - iPhones. We were both using really old phones (so old that Chris's did not have a camera) so this was a huge treat for us. But you know who was the most excited? Hannah. First, she inherited both of our old phones. So now she has TWO phones to make all of her very important calls. Mostly she calls Bubbe & Zaide, but she's on an unlimited calls to Sesame Street plan as well. Even bigger though is her new found fascination with pictures and videos of herself. Lots and lots of videos and pictures of Hannah. She simply can not get enough of Hannah. She is constantly shouting "MORE HANNAH!!". And when we don't move fast enough she just shouts "MORE NAH!!!". Louder and louder until we give her what she wants - more Hannah.

Happy Birthday Hannah!

It's hard to believe that Hannah is two. The year has flown by - it really does seem like just yesterday that we were celebrating her turning one. We didn't have a huge party - just a few friends over for pizza and cupcakes. Hannah talked about the fact that she was having an Elmo party with Elmo cupcakes all week. Thankfully, the cupcakes lived up to all of the hype.

(how cute are all the kiddos sitting in their portable chairs? Picnic on the floor in the chairs will have to happen again before her next birthday)

Hannah was unsure about the whole birthday candle thing. After she tried to touch it and everyone screamed "No! Hot!" she has been talking about the hot two. Every time you ask her how old she is she replies "two...hot...". So there's that. We put a candle in a plain cupcake first, since it seemed odd to stick a candle in Elmo's face. It was quickly switched out for the much anticipated Elmo cupcake. Elmo cupcakes with your best friends is really the perfect way to celebrate. (and yes, I still marvel when I look at her and Henry together - it really was just over a year ago that we were all in China together...wow...)

We celebrated Hannah's actual birthday as a family. Chris made her birthday waffles (after much discussion of what makes a waffle a birthday waffle....a birthday candle...that's it...) and then we headed to the spray park and out to lunch. Then (after a certain birthday girl decided there was too much fun to be had to be bothered with a nap) we had a birthday dinner with Bubbe & Zaide. All Hannah really wanted for her birthday was a Bert doll...the extreme joy when she opened her very own Bert from her cousins was almost too much to take. And what did Hannah want for her birthday dinner? Steak and noodles and zucchini. Yes, really. :)
(love the look on Hannah's face in this picture...pretty clear that we are keeping her from her cupcake...)

Who Wore It Better?

It's a tough call. Hannah is pretty adorable, but Bob is rocking the pink sunglasses.

Why, Hello Summer...

Welcome Back Summer

After what seemed like a never ending winter (ok, it wasn't even that bad, but I don't like cold weather and being stuck inside with a toddler) we're all happy for the return of summer. It got hot fast - it was 90 already today - and Hannah is happy to be outside soaking up the sunshine.
This is what happens when Bubbe & Zaide are over to play the day the ice cream man makes his first appearance of the summer. Somehow when Chris and my dad went to go get ice cream they came back with a frog for Hannah. I tasted it. I would rather lick a real frog. But she liked it.

We went to the Zoo for Mother's Day. It was crowded but lots of fun to say hello to the animals. My favorite part was Hannah looking at the elephants and screaming "HELLLLOOOO!!!!" to them. Also the look on her face when she touched a cow. This is her dancing with her giraffe Reginald - there was an Asian Family Festival at the Zoo while we were there, and Hannah loved the Chinese dancers.

We met up with some other adoptive families at Frying Pan Park last weekend for a playdate. Hannah loved feeding the baby lambs and getting a chance to drive the tractor.

We also found out last weekend how much Hannah loves watermelon. This is at the temple picnic where she ate FOUR pieces. Seriously. Let's just say that four pieces of watermelon is too many...there were some unfortunate side effects the next day.

The last Music Together at the library of the year was yesterday. Shaking the scarves was Hannah's favorite part - at one point she was shaking them so hard that she fell over. She popped right back up and started shaking again, and didn't even seem to notice that Mommy was laughing so hard I cried a little.

Our new favorite activity is our sand and water table. Henry came over to play with her on Monday, and here she is playing in it yesterday with Bubbe and Zaide. It's fun to splash in the water and dig in the sand, and even more fun to get rinsed off with the hose afterwards. Of course, if anyone has a way to get less sand in the house, I would love to hear it. Even after hosing her off, our living room floor is starting to take on a distinctly beach house crunch.

Time Flies

I can't believe that tomorrow is May. The month flew by, which sort of explains why this is the first post to the blog in a month. Turns out that taking care of an extraordinarily active toddler really wears a person out. Thank goodness for coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

So, let's see...what have we been up to...

We finished off March by celebrating our very first Family Day. Chris took the day off of work, and we spent the day doing all of Hannah's favorite things - saying hello to animals (we went to the zoo), watching Elmo, eating noodles, and playing with bubbles. Such a great day.

(roaring at the lions in the zoo)

At the beginning of April we celebrated my birthday. Last year we were in China on my birthday and I was super sick, so it was extra nice to be home and have cake. Turns out that while Hannah usually would rather have fruit instead of dessert, she is a fan of chocolate frosting.

April also brought the start of a new class - art! It's a fun class - they learn about a different artist or style each week and get to make a project that's geared to 2 year olds. Here we're tearing pieces of tissue paper and gluing them down to make a background for a shadow picture. The pat-pat-patting down of the paper was her favorite part.

In the middle of April we celebrated Passover. Technically Hannah celebrated Passover with us last year, but since we were in Kunming, this was her first real celebration of the holiday. We had her first ever seder at Bubbe & Zaide's. The frog was a Passover gift (really, an excuse for Bubbe to sing the Frog Song) and Hannah and Froggy were inseparable for the entire holiday. She wasn't too sure about matzah, but she loved charoset - enough that she ate it for dinner every night of Passover.

The second night of Passover we celebrated with just the three of us. Well, the three of us and Froggy and Moose. Hannah insisted that they come to the seder too.

Hannah did a great job with the holiday and kept Passover the entire time. Of course, she was just as excited as Mommy for the triumphant return of oatmeal, noodles, and bread when it was over. :)

The weather has gotten warm, and we have been spending a lot of time outside. Hannah loves to play outside and go to the playground - we have our favorite parks that we alternate every day. At the end of Passover we went to Burke Lake, and Hannah took her first trip on the Burke Lake Railroad. She wasn't too sure about it at first, but she is still talking about how she went on the train.

We also have been lucky enough to share our love of the playground with Hannah's two best friends, Emily and Henry. Chris calls them her cronies - Hannah loves her two friends so much and they are so cute together.

(sharing a Passover snack with Emily at the park)

(playing animals with Henry)

We finished off the month with Hannah's first Take Your Daughter to Work Day. She went to work with Chris and worked hard with him for the first hour of the day. :)