Sunday, October 23, 2005

Taking A Stand

The standing is getting out of control - literally. Jemma took several falls right on her head! But she's a sturdy girl and was not detered to get up and try again. Pulling up on the chair had a special bonus that day - her old pal Rua was lazing around there.

The Prince In His Lair

Ollie does not engage in the frivolous frolicking between Jemma and Rua. It's too messy and well, frankly, active. Additionally, Ollie would like to make it very clear that he is not a dog, but rather, a little boy in a dog suit.

Paw Play

As you can see, we can't get enough of Jemma and Rua's floor play. Rua grunts with joy and Jemma howls with laughter - they are the most delightful sounds.

Pulling Her Leg

Crawling isn't good enough for Jemma. No, she has to go and start pulling herself up on things. As you can see, she's very proud of her accomplishment.

Can You Say Buffet?

Jemma has been requesting "finger foods" so we made a delicious plate of organic cooked zucchini, avocado (big favorite!) and pears. She grabs a handful of tiny morsels and is lucky if a few get into her mouth - but she's persistent. We have a play mirror set up 'cause she loves to watch herself eat. And Ollie has learned that by sitting under her chair he will reap the benefits of manna from heaven.

If You're Happy And You Know It...

Jemma started clapping her hands last week. Thank goodness, 'cause we need an audience...

The Lawler Crawler

For some time now, Jemma has been crawling "combat style" using elbows and inner thighs to propel her forward. But this week, on her 10 month birthday to be exact, she did the real regulation crawl on all fours and has been moving all over the house ever since. The days of watching her roll around in a 4ft square area are over. Let the childproofing begin... again.

Along Came A Spider

This little lady crawled into our house the other night - we took off our weatherstripping in order to do another coat of polyurethane thus allowing for a little crawl space under the door. She was HUGE – filling up the threshold and proud of it. We have always thought of spiders as good luck tokens so we thought it wise to blog the bug.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Shower Power

Jemma loves her nightly baths and her favorite part is the sprayer faucet. She sticks her whole face in it just to get a swig of our flouride-laden, LA water. We have a feeling the transition to showers will be very easy for Jemma.

Play Dates

Jemma has already had a few play dates with her Chinese sisters. Here's Grace Li Qi (like the lychee nut), donning her first boo-boo under her nose. Grace and Jemma have also been known to stroll around Echo Park Lake on occasion. And here's Ms. Rosie grabbing the camera lens. Rosie and Jemma had a grand old time tugging on the plastic bowl and portable wipes pack.

Hike The Tyke

Everyday Jemma goes on a hike with Rua - sometimes even two. She, meaning Rua, has got to have at least one long walk a day or she'll FRAP - that's, frenetic running and playing. Hikes are good 'cause it gets us all out of the house and into the fresh Los Angeles air. Jemma loves hikes - she stares at the trees and the flowers and the mountains - and then she usually falls asleep. Here, she's wearing her famous "bug" hat.

Dress Up

Uh-oh. We're becoming those people who dress their little girls in cutesy costumes. Well, we got so many adorable clothes as gifts from friends and family and we can't resist how precious she looks when she's all dolled up. And she actually likes wearing hats so it makes it even more tempting. Just wait till she fits into that leopard print faux fur vest with the hood!

Above It All

Ollie can't be bothered by playing with Jemma and Rua and frankly, who can blame him. He musn't muss his powdered wig - it takes a long time to get it just right. And besides, he's a lap dog, put on this earth to be primped and petted.

The Rua Chronicles

Jemma and Rua are great friends and have a roll around session at least once a day. We're a little worried though that Rua thinks Jemma is a puppy and that Jemma thinks she's being raised by dogs.


Jemma has taken the concept of nesting a little too literally - here she is finding shelter under our nesting tables. We have been home for one month now and things are falling into place. Jemma's sleep schedule is very consistent - down by 8pm, up again around 2am for a quickie bottle, then up again by 6:38am. Seriously, at 6:38am every day she begins making her morning noises, which are a far cry from her middle of the night noises, which sound like a far cry. Morning sounds are happy babbles and grunts. Jemma always has a big smile on when we greet her and start our day.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Everything AND The Kitchen Sink

Jemma has graduated from taking baths in her blow-up ducky tub to taking them in the new gourmet kitchen sink. She absolutely loves it there - especially the shower-like faucet. We couldn't get our little fish to finish her bath - even after draining all the water out and throwing the towel in on her, she still wanted to stay.

Oh, The Glow

We love our house and we especially love the beautiful sunrises each morning. Now that we've gotten through our jet lag we couldn't wait to share one with Jemma, who was utterly fascinated by the gorgeous orange glow.


It was exciting to see that Jemma immediately recognized her home when we returned from San Francisco. Jemma was especially giggly upon greeting the dogs. Is it wrong that we let Ollie and Rua just maul her? She seems to like it...!

New Friends, Old Orphanage Mates

On our way to the airport, we made a quick stop at the Buckeye Smokehouse to reunite with Norah, Jemma's fellow measle and orphanage mate, as well as her folks, Anna and Steve. It was a super short visit but we were all so glad to break bread together (and not noodles) and confirm that our experience in China was actually real. Anna and Steve are extremely sweet people and we really enjoy sharing this journey with them.

Grandma Joan

Jemma was thrilled to meet her paternal Grandma Joan - what a pretty lady! Grandma Joan was very happy to meet Jemma as well though a little disappointed that Jemma won't be baptized. Dont feel bad, Grandma Joan, Jemma won't be Bat-Mitvahed either!


There's John's nephew, Chris, who is so good with kids. Jemma just loved him. That's his daughter, Skylar, in the background. Ain't she a cutie?

Grandpa Jack

Grandpa Jack finally got to meet his one and only grandchild and boy was he happy. Jemma didn't know what to make of all of his love. And she especially liked Grandpa's suspenders.

Mirror, Mirror

We stayed at the Flamingo Resort Hotel, which used to be THE place to stay in Santa Rosa. The best thing about this place was the floor to ceiling mirrors on one side of the room. Jemma couldn't believe her luck. She spent forever in front of the mirrors, simply fascinated with her every gesture.

In The Kissah!

This photo was taken on the plane up to San Francisco. The grandparents up north were anxious to meet Jemma and we were anxious to show her off. Here Jemma is playing her kissing game - she's a great imitator and tries to mimick everything we do. She makes a great new pucker sound with her lips and though she can't quite snap her fingers yet, it sure is cute watching her little hands dancing in the air.

Having A Ball

Nothing makes Rua happier than fetching the tennis ball (tennis runs in Ellen's family - she can't play but her dog can.) We are proud to say that we haven't totally neglected the dogs since Jemma's arrival and snug with Ollie every night after 8pm and play at least one long round of fetch daily with Rua. Luckily, Jemma is mesmerized by Rua's champion ball catching.

Franny, Frankie and Jemma

Jemma was visited by two wonderful new friends, Franny, a fellow adoptee from China, and Frankie, a mommy in the making. Frankie thought Jemma was awesome and so cool and couldn't wait till she turned 13 to babysit her - she could carry her now and everything! And Franny loved that they had something very special in common. The girls insisted on entertaining Jemma in her room while the adults played outside. After awhile, Jemma got tired and insisted on going to sleep. Thank heaven for little girls who like to go to sleep. Since we've been home, Jemma has become a dream when it comes to bedtime - quite the opposite from her China hotel persona, Bride of Chucky.

What's Up Doc?

Tuesday, Jemma had her first visit with Dr. Mink, the pediatric specialist in international adoptions. We love Dr. Mink, and so did Jemma, until she got two shots in each thigh - ouch! Jemma is in the 5th percentile for her age, which is pretty small, but on the charts nonetheless. She gained 2 whole pounds since we've had her - yay! Dr. Mink gave us a clean bill of health, save for a referral with a pediatric neurosurgeon to examine the flat side of her head. It's just a precaution as Dr. Mink was thrilled and impressed with Jemma's development. She said Jemma was exactly where she should be for nine months and that it's rare to see that kind of development from an orphanage baby. We know that all the kids catch up quickly but we were excited to hear that Jemma was on track. This was confirmed when we took her to her first RIE class - a parenting class focusing on respect and gentleness. Jemma was smaller and thinner than the other 9 month olds, but she interacted and babbled and crawled around combat style just like the other kids. But man, those breast-fed babies are beefy! What's in that stuff anyway?