Monday, November 28, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Here's Jemma on the outdoor table, soaking in the cool air under the hot sun. Lila, Oscar & Carla's schnauzer, was very curious and Jemma seemed to enjoy their meeting. Because it was so cold, Jemma lived in her lucky Chinese hat, a gift from her orphanage sister, AnWei. Thanks, Wei Wei!
For Jemma's first Thanksgiving we rented a small cabin in Wrightwood, a quaint town in the Angeles National Forest known for a small ski resort called Mountain High. Our friends Oscar and Carla joined us and we ate delicous Thanksgiving food two nights in a row. We also went hiking, played games by the fire, played horshoes in the yard, threw balls for dogs (Rua) and when we weren't inhaling the smoke from the fire, we breathed clean air into our lungs. Jemma loved it--except the going to bed part. Jemma's in such a great routine at home, but change one thing and the sleep goes haywire. In fairness to her, it was cold in our room and even two layers of pajamas, a hat and two blankets couldn't warm her bones. Her poor little hands were freezing and she cried and cried. Luckily, she's a happy baby even sleep deprived. The adults on the other hand...
We had a wonderful day with our friends Mary Frances and Grace Li Qi at the zoo. We saw giraffes, an elephant, lions, zebras, chimpanzees, flamingos, antelopes, kangaroos... We saw a baby kanga jump out of his mommy's pouch, bounce around and then jump right back into his mama's pouch - it took our breath away.
MeeMa helped give Jemma a bath every night. She also helped on that special night when Jemma decided to go boom boom in the bath--another milestone for Jemma! Jemma loved MeeMa's painted red nails and she especially liked MeeMa's diamond bracelet, but MeeMa didn't want to give that up yet--good try, Jemma! However, MeeMa parted with her jade bracelet, the one she bought in China twenty years ago. Jemma clutches this bracelet--perhaps because part of her name, the "Cui" of AnCui, refers to the color jade green. Too bad Jemma's name didn't translate to diamond...
Ellen's mom and dad, MeeMa and PopPop, kept singing a made-up Yiddish song to Jemma, "Potchki, Potchki, Kicchela", something to do with clapping hands. Jemma loved hearing them sing it. And she loved them. Among many gifts they gave her is a dog that plays, "Singing In The Rain" and taps his feet and shuffles with an umbrella. MeeMa and PopPop played that dog so much, even when Jemma woke in the middle of the night when they were babysitting-- oops. P.S.--after someone read this blog, we learned that this is not a made-up song at all. In fact, there's a second verse, "Poppa Kaifen Schechela". So the song translates to "Clap hands, clap hands, daddy's buying shoes." Definitely a song from the depression era, but nonetheless, we can't stop singing it. "Potchki, Potchki, Kicchela, Poppa Kaifen Schechela..."
Jemma's friends came to play but kept getting swept up by their adoring parents. On top is Stella with Mama MaryAnne, then there's Michayla with Mark & Nicki and Rosie, getting the biggest smooch of all, with Wayne. These babies are so damn kissable.
Jemma loved the orchards, or so we think. We were won over by the antique Arkansas Black Apples--big, black, plumb, super crisp apples. We bought a few bags at Ye Olde Apple Shoppe along with apple cobbler, apple butter, apple pie... When we got home, we made baked apples for weeks.
What would fall be without a trip to the country for apple picking. Our dear friends, Clara, Shannon and their daughter Franny, caravanned with us to Oak Glen to visit the orchards. We stayed put at Riley's Orchard 'cause they had a jamboree going down and they were smoking ribs and tri-tip. We enjoyed a good bbq meal out on a picnic bench in the cool mountain air. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Jemma's eating up a storm, gobbling each new food we introduce to her. She's putting on the pounds and weighed in at 17lbs,4oz. the other day. Wow! Still only in the 10th percentile on the American charts, but we like to think of her as a perfect 10. It's just so nice to prepare food for her and watch her explore the new textures and tastes. Jemma loves her toasted brown rice bread in the morning and she's wild about the pineapple. Last week we introduced tofu, tahini and asparagus, next week - caviar!
Jemma's real aunties, Sharon and Debbie, and great aunties, Tina and Shirley and Joan and Sandy and Pearly and Dorothy and numerous others, are all on the east coast. So, she's had to improvise out here in La La land and lucky for her, Jemma has a doting Aunt Sophie (who promised to pay for dance lessons and her first pair of Jimmy Choo's).