Sunday, September 23, 2007

The baby sign language Isabella's doing

Today, I noticed that she's signing "eat." This is in addition to a few other signs she can do on her own: "milk," "more," and "sleep." Signing "sleep" is relatively new for her. From what I've observed lately, I believe that her signing those things has cut down on some frustration on her part. As much as I like to believe that I'm a fantastic predictor of her wants and needs, sadly, I must confess, I don't know everything.

I firmly believe that teaching her some basic signs has also helped her pick up some (audible) language more easily.

She's also saying a bit more: "ma ma" (means 'mother' in Chinese); "ba ba" (means 'father' in Chinese), although she also says "ba ba" when she's singing; she says "da da" with a certain intonation to refer to banana (copying the Chinese word for 'banana'); "hi"; "bye." Speaking of which, whenever the door closes at home, she says "bye" with the sweetest soft voice.

Okay, I'm super duper tired and need to go to bed. Nighty-night.

Isabella's 1-year birthday party

Yesterday, Troy and I threw Isabella a "small" birthday party. Well, we kept it as small as we could. I was a bit nervous that Isabella wouldn't cope well with the number of people that would be attending, given the fact that she's been going through stranger anxiety in recent times.

For the most part, it went without a hitch, except for the fact that last night, she woke up screaming every two hours. Don't know whether the party was too much excitement or she was having nightmares.

Anyways, how many people were there? Don't know. . .There was Jeff, Alice, and Andrea Zents; Diana, Monte, and Maritza Bivens; Katia, Jeff, and Naomi Brown, Tom Pearson and (his wife) Jackie Michel; Debbie Johns and Sari (Debbie's daughter) and Elijah Calera. How many is that? Including us, there were 17 people. For a little while, we were quite cozy in the living room & dining room area.

Didn't plan much. Provided some finger food and had a few people bring finger foods. We sat around and ate and chit-chatted. While all the little ones were in good spirits, we took out Isabella's cake and celebrated her birthday.

We opened Isabella's birthday presents after most of the guests were gone. Here are some pictures:

Naomi & Isabella.
Naomi's approximately 3 months older than Isabella.

Andrea (who's 9) & Isabella.

To this day, Isabella still finds Mommy's singing voice very soothing to her.
One of her favorite songs for me to sing to her is "Part of Your World," from The Little Mermaid. So, we thought it was fitting to choose a Little Mermaid theme cake.

Happy birthday, Isabella!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What? Where am I? What's happening?

Seems like so much is going on with our lives that I'm dazed and confused most of the time. Maybe nothing much is going on at all. Troy's teaching five classes, he's coordinating a team for the youth group at church, he's heading the music praise & worship team, we're attending a faculty discussion group on Fridays, Isabella's keeping me busy, I'm preparing an adult Sunday school lesson every week, I'm also attending a women's bible study Wednesday nights, I'm slowing applying for jobs (for the 2008-09 academic year). I'd say we've got a lot going on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Isabella is 1 YEAR OLD!

Isabella's birthday was yesterday - September 19. Can't believe she's already one. I gave birth to her just over a year ago? Where does the time go? I still remember her birth, like it was yesterday.

Isabella's sporting an outfit from friends I knew from my Furman days, Elaine & Tom Cloer.
In front of her is her newest toy, from Manda & Johnny.

Sniff, sniff. Our little one isn't a newborn anymore.
She's a toddler!

The cousins playing together

Allegedly, babies at this age still do not grasp the concept of playing together. They engage in what is called "parallel playing," playing alongside each other. Could have fooled me!

Even if that is true, Isabella & Juliet interact with each other more than they did in May. At first, Juliet was the one who was not only fascinated with Isabella but wanted to touch or pat (hit) her.


Often times, each only wanted what the other was looking at or playing with.

These next few images are so endearing. A proud uncle and father, holding two little ones in his lap and reading a story. Don't let these images deceive you, though. These babies didn't sit for an indefinite period of time.


Usually, Juliet would be the one touching Isabella, but here the older of the two is the instigator.

Tenny got some headbands at Wal-Mart.
Isabella didn't care for having something wrapped around her head for long.

My birthday celebration

My birthday was Sunday, September 16th. My parents, sister (Tenny), brother-in-law (Tim), and niece (Juliet) arrived the day before. Troy and I spent most of Sunday at church. When we went in the evening, everyone else stayed behind to take care of the babies and to make my birthday dinner. Isn't family fantastic?!

Here's adorable Juliet, the cousin of Isabella that is only 9 days younger!

Juliet with her mommy, Tenny.

Juliet with her daddy, Tim.

Tim was the chef, presiding over my birthday dinner, and he made the birthday cupcakes. Isn't he an awesome brother-in-law?

You'd think I had turned super old. Couldn't even blow out the candles, not even SOME of them at first.

Couldn't help laughing at myself. Turns out they didn't buy candles that relight themselves. But, they bought SPARKLY candles.

Several people had to help me blow out my candles. Hey, at least they got blown out before the babies grabbed them!

Isabella's dedication

We had Isabella dedicated on my birthday, September 16th, while my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece were in town. Isabella wasn't in a good mood at this point, because she hadn't had her morning nap, yet.

Pastor Kevin Sheese conducting the dedication.

Already in a touchy mood, as soon as Kevin put his hand on Isabella's back, to pray over her, she got very upset.

To end on a funny note, at least twice during the dedication, the Pastor said my name instead of Isabella's. For instance, people heard him saying that we would bring up Lily in a Christian home . . . The first time I was able to maintain composure, but the second time he did that, I just about cracked up laughing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm so very T-I-R-E-D

Right now, I'm quite tired. I'm going to sleep at 10 to 10:30 pretty regularly. Does that make me really old? What if I say I need my beauty sleep?!

Yesterday, Junko came over for lunch. I don't have a clever name for the dish I made. It contained chicken breast with fresh olives, tomatoes, chickpeas, corn, beans, and peas. Very tasty, she said. Last night, Troy, Isabella, and I went on a family date at Cold Stone, where I redeemed my free Love It signature creation. Yum, yum. Sadly, I only had seven or eight bites, and that was enough. Troy ate the rest.

This afternoon, when Troy was watching Isabella, I read part of an article that I might actually be able to use in writing a philosophical article. For those who are out of the loop, I am desperately reading and scrounging for material to put together an article worthy of publication. Spend much time in frustration, I do. Anyways, this afternoon might count as not so bad.

Then late afternoon / early evening, Katia and I took our daughters to the pool, for some fun. Isabella continues to like the water more and more. Today, though keeping her body really close to mine, I floated her on her back and later on her belly. She didn't seem at all scared; she even smiled.

You know I'm staying at home, when I've lost track what date it actually is. It took reading Manda's blog for me to realize that it's 9/11 today. Hey, it's not to late to put in some prayers for families affected by the tragedy and soldiers who have and continue to fight for us.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Washington, D. C.

We're back folks. That's right. You devotees of my blogs, even ye checkers who never leave comments, we're back, and we have pictures and stories to share. I lugged around that bulky camera to a lot of places in D. C. Carrying a stroller (at times), Isabella, a loaded diaper bag, and a bulky camera wasn't easy.

Isabella & I arrived in the evening of August 30th.

On the 31st, we walked around the mall, not a shopping mall, the mall that's between the Washington Memorial and the White House. My attempts with taking the picture myself (with no tripod) ends up looking really strange with this particular camera.

This is the original Smithsonian.

This trip wasn't the funnest for Isabella. It was so far from anything remotely familiar to her. But, here she is, smiling so sweetly.

When we weren't doing wedding stuff, we spent a lot of time walking and riding the Metro to get from place to place.

Friday night, we got together for dinner at Piola with Haiying (the bride), Karen (the maid of honor and my college roommate of four years), and some of Haiying's friends. Pictured here is Isabella in the left corner, Peggy, and Lucian. Peggy was my roommate for a summer, while we both did political science internships in Washington, D. C.

Abby and Isabella

Still at Piola. Abirami and I were four grade classmates and best friends. We're still quite close. She was kind enough to put Isabella and I up for a WHOLE ENTIRE week!

Isabella & Haiying

This picture was taken on Sat., September 1st, for the wedding rehearsal luncheon, at China Garden.

me, karen
tonya, haiying

Here we are, the three bridesmaids with the bride, at China Garden.

Greg (the groom), Haiying (the bride, of course)
Peggy & Antoine (Peggy's husband & Lucian's daddy)

We, the bridal party, got our hair done at Solarus Salon, in Arlington, on the morning of Sun., September 3, 2007.

Here are some "before" shots:

Here's how we all looked after we got our hair done. Karen & Haiying had updoes. Tonya got her hair styled. I got my cut and styled.

I took this picture of Haiying as she was peeking out of a suite at the Hilton, getting ready for the wedding, up-do and make-up ready to go.

The following pictures were taken outside of Arlington Arts Center, where the wedding took place.

These pictures were taken AFTER the wedding. By this time, Isabella had had enough of being away from me, and she was clinging to me for dear life.

The wedding reception took place at Clarendon Ballroom.

Haiying and Greg were watching a Chinese percussion and dragon dance performance. It was awesome. In hindsight, I should have taken Isabella out of the room. She found the sound from the drums and cymbals a bit overwhelming.

Sweet couple, now wife and husband.

I HAD to take a picture of this sippy cup. I asked our server to fill the sippy cup with ice water. He misunderstood me. I'm guessing English isn't his native tongue.

Haiying and Greg were so elegant and exquisite on the dancing floor!

The next couple pictures were taken on Tues., September 4th, while Isabella and I were around Dupont Circle.

The following pictures were taken on Wed., September 5th, at D.C.'s Botanical Garden:

In hindsight, I wish I had set aside a day to spend at the Botanical Garden. Instead, I had less than 20 minutes to see the place.

On the last night of our stay, Abirami, Isabella, and I went to Chili's, where I took this picture.

I made the ear rings Abby's wearing. It's made of sterling silver and Swarovski crystal. Got the beads and gear from a shop at the Dupont Circle Metro exit, called Beadazzled.

Took these last three pictures on the leg of the flight going from BWI (Baltimore/Washington airport) to DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth airport).