Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Sing

Natalie gave a fantastic performance during her last Spring Sing at Children's Growing Center. Next year it's off to first grade. We are sad. But also quite happy because Natalie is a big girl now and Spring Sing is a kind of a drag.

It's a fundraising thing that involves an hours long auction and drawing. Normally we sit through this and get more and more agitated. But this year we were smart. We dropped Natalie off at her classroom and then met Natalie's dad at a neighborhood bar, arriving back at school for the tail end of the auction and Natalie's class performing "Wild Thing."

Natalie sang and danced and she was super cute in her zebra print skirt. My friend Jennifer said it was her Swan Sing.

Great job, Natalie!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Photos courtesy of the delightful and talented Katie Gardner.

We have Natalie's spring pageant this afternoon, the plumbers are tearing apart the walls, and we leave for Kauai tomorrow morning, so ... more later! Oh and I need to ice my back. Fell flat on it yesterday in what could have been described as the worst day ever - until we got married. Then everything was perfect.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who's that?

Every morning I scan the TV news Web sites for any stories that mention the County of San Diego. Not the geographical locale, but the government entity - you know, my employer.

Yesterday I landed on KUSI and its lead story, which featured a still of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Tony Young.

But I was interested in someone else. The guy in the back to the left. Who's that?

I looked closer and realized ...

It's my boyfriend!

Well how do you like that? Reminds me of a time when I was meeting Tony for lunch and I drove by the restaurant to see a man sitting outside. I craned to get a better look. He was cute. I looked again. He was my BF!

Yes, I look. Don't we all? My coworker Tammy says: It's like a cute handbag. How can you not look at it?

But isn't it awesome that the cute guy is him?

Wild Thing

For their marquee performance, Natalie and her classmates will sing and dance to "Wild Thing."

Handily, we have the music at home, in a card that Tony gave me for my birthday. Here Natalie shows me her moves.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A good friend of mine

So for this year's Spring Sing, Natalie's class will be singing "Wild Thing." And then "Joy to the World."

But you'll notice that the school changed the line about helping Jeremiah the Bullfrog drink his wine to the more kindergarten-friendly helping him catch his flies. Here Natalie gives us a peek at Spring Sing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We have a match

Five years ago today the adoption agency called Natalie's Daddy at work to tell him we had a daughter. Matt paged me, and I called him back from a payphone at the mall, where I was having lunch with a coworker. My heart beat so hard I was sure my shirt was fluttering.

He was elated; I didn’t know what to think. I said nothing to my coworker when I hung up, and didn’t hear a word he said as we walked back to the office.

By the time I returned to my desk, an email from Matt was waiting for me. He had researched her town and the meaning of the baby’s Chinese name.

So here's everything I know,” he wrote.
“Her name is Ling Wan Hui. Ling is the equivalent of a surname, usually given to the babies by the orphanage. Wan Hui is her first name. Wan means gentle/gracious, Hui means bright/intelligent. I think it's pronounced sort of like "won hway".
Her birthday, or the estimate at least, is May 17. She's from the city of Shangrao, in Jiangxi Province. Basically southeastern China. I believe that's just a little inland from Guangzhao, which is where we'll go to get everything finalized at the US Consulate. I looked online and saw there's an orphanage in Shangrao; that's probably what they mean when they say that's where she's from.

We will receive all the info and the photo on Saturday; they are sending it without requiring a signature, so we'll get it even if we step out for a while.
They hope to get our travel dates confirmed in two or three weeks; right now they're estimating we'll go by the middle of May (if so, it would be just in time for a birthday party).

I know you were hoping she'd be a little younger, but the lady at Holt said she is "very beautiful." My guess is that's why that's why they matched her to you. Combine that with gentle, gracious, bright and intelligent... it sure sounds like your daughter to me!"
Two days later her photos came by Federal Express, along with her medical records, which we scrutinized for an afternoon on the couch, the dog asleep at our feet.

She was healthy, happy, and developing normally, it said. (We later found that not much of that was true.) She responded to her name being called, played with toys and laughed. And she was in foster care, which meant she was with a family, receiving much more contact and stimulation -- and most importantly, bonding -- than she would in an orphanage.

The photos clearly were months old. She had to be younger than six months. She was bundled up, in the Chinese way of layering on children’s clothes to ward off the cold – even in warm weather. She looked like a tiny Michelin Man, immobilized by the layers that made her arms stick out straight. She had big, brown eyes and a little rosebud mouth, rosy cheeks and a delicate nose.

Matt was in love. I was still waiting. I’d read that this was supposed to be The Moment, when the love for your new child just washes over you. At least that’s what it said on the adoption message boards that I checked every day. “I’m head over heels!” these soon-to-be parents would gush.

But to me, it was just a picture. I kept thinking she’s just some kid. Some other woman’s child on the other side of the planet, who some faceless bureaucrat decided, for God knows what reason, would be my daughter. It seemed so random. And I was just supposed to go along with it.

This whole process, begun a year before, had been a long lesson is relinquishing control. Inviting strangers into our personal lives, our finances, our medical records, allowing ourselves to be judged, and ultimately, approved for parenthood.

I stared at the pictures. One, and then the other, and then back to the first.

“She’s just some kid,” I said to Matt. “How do you feel?”

He smiled. “I feel great. She’s beautiful. I love her.”

I slid lower on the couch. “It’s ok, Lizzie” he said, gently taking the pictures from me. “There’s no script we have to follow.”

Two months later, we were in China, and Natalie was finally in my arms, her sweaty little head on my chest. She'd stare into my eyes as I gave her a bottle, wrapping her fingers around my thumb. And she watched my every move from her crib.

And then, like Matt, I was in love, too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A lot of teeth

Natalie lost her first tooth the other day. Daddy had asked to check on the loose tooth and in Natalie's emphatic refusals, her tongue popped it right out.

The Tooth Fairy left Natalie a gold dollar for the tooth, which Daddy says is so small it looks like a grain of rice. Natalie dropped the coin into her piggy bank, but she may decide to spend it.

Yesterday on the way to school, she discussed her options with me.

"Little princess dolls cost three dollars. Big dolls cost 12 dollars. And a princess dress costs 20 dollars."

Yes, I told her, 20 dollars.

She looked out the window.

"I need a lot of teeth come out to buy princess dress."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring cleaning

I wish I were as happy as Bugs with his carrot.

But I am grouchy. Why? Because I am depriving myself of all the things that make me happy. Well, not all. But they are important! And they give me such joy. Coffee, alcohol, wheat, dairy - and for the next 6 days all animal products. (#$@^%$!) This is very difficult to fathom for a girl who comes from the Land of the Butter Burger.

For some reason, Tony and I thought it would be a good idea to do a cleanse. It may be that we are getting married this month and so this is an out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new thing. Or maybe we want to look good when we check into the Love Shack on Kauai. We are being assisted by the lovely Jutta Kuhn, who was my acupuncturist/herbalist for some time and is now my delightful friend.

Last night I made pistachio chicken for dinner. The other night I made salmon with garlic and cilantro.

They were excellent meals. Though they would have been even better with wine and a brownie for dessert.

The thing about the cleanse is that I feel great. I'm sleeping well. I have energy. Tony says how pretty I look (I think that is just a motivating tactic, but I like it anyway). But I am spending an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about this:

Image via ComeUndone on Flickr

Warm, crusty sourdough bread with salty butter. I love you so.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

BFFs, the next generation

My best friend in the whole world is Laura. I call her Laursie. We met waaay back in graduate school in Washington D.C. Back then I called her Boobs Bruno, because Bruno is her maiden name and she's a bit chesty.

Boobs Bruno and I used to be quite a pair. By day we were studious aspiring journalists. At night we danced on the bar.

What I remember best is how we hit it off immediately, and we were inseparable. Like a couple falling in love, we made plans for our future, like how one day we'd push our strollers together through the park.

But then I moved to California, and she to New Jersey. And that's where each of us has stayed.

But we are still dear friends. And now we both have daughters. They met last weekend. And guess what? They immediately hit it off.

What do you know, they both love princesses.

Natalie was happy to share her dress and Amelie was happy to be Natalie's living doll. Except when Natalie hugged her so hard and Amelie would say: "Don't pick up Amelie!" But Natalie can't help it. She loves Amelie just like I love her mama.

It was pretty wonderful seeing our girls together. I want them to be just like us. But maybe not the dancing on the bar.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Like mother, like daughter

Check out Natalie and BMA. They match!

Marshall's, 16 bucks for the set!

Trouble is, now that dress is all Natalie wants to wear.