Friday, June 16, 2006

Waiting at the Finish Line

It was a long wait for Daddy to make it to the finish line - Jemma conked out from all the anticipation. But after swimming a mile in the ocean, biking 26 miles and running 6 more miles after that, Daddy finally made it back to his girls, who were very relieved to see him in such good spirits.

First Love

Jemma quickly made friends with a little boy named Tomo - they got to hang out quite a bit and as a result, a real bond formed. We didn't have the camera handy when they were hugging but we were there for the hand holding. We've just gotten a taste of what it'll be like when she's a teenager!

Splish Splash!

The best part about the hotel we stayed at was the children's pool. It had a huge slide with fountains and steps to climb - Jemma couldn't get enough of it. Plus, it was a great spot to meet new friends.

On the other side of the pool was a sandy beach area where we built gloppy castles and knocked them down over and over again.

Breakfast of Champions

We flew down to Maui for John's triathlon in memory of his dad, Jack Lawler. He raised over $8000 dollars for Leukemia - thank you to all who contributed to the cause! Hawaii was great - although very expensive. So we bought some hardboiled eggs, yogurt and packaged oatmeal from the general store and ate breakfast on our patio every morning. We had a beautiful room overlooking the ocean and Jemma thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. She was a celebrity on the trip, making friends with people everywhere we went. She loved the plane and charmed just about every passenger in economy class. Her favorite activity, though, was playing with the Verizon phone in the seat back. Now we know why so many of those phones are broken!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Welcome Anna!

Our dear friends, Adam and Tina, have finally brought home their daughter, Anna, after a very long wait. She's a real beauty and we can't wait to watch her flourish under their capable, loving hands.

Dear Jemma...

Since we’re treating this blog as a kind of scrapbook, we thought you’d enjoy looking back on it one day and reading about all the things you can do now, at 17 months and 2 weeks old. In China, you hardly slept, at home you average 11-12 hours a night with 1-2 naps totaling 2-3 hours a day. You even get your blanket and you tell us when you want to nap or go “night night” as you are fond of saying.
You are now and have always been, a terrific eater. You’re open to trying new things and most often embrace the new flavor or texture by shouting, “More!” You eat way more than Mommy and Daddy combined. On a typical morning you start with avocado, then a big bowl of steel cut oats with raisins and almonds, then a veggie omelet and after that, some fruit. You also like to eat rocks, and this has been a challenge...

And no more high chair for you. You insisted on a table and chairs and boy, do you love them. You run to pull out your stool and you plop right down at your table. Sometimes you try to climb on your table but we don’t let you. You love to climb everything, the coffee table, the couch, our bed, your parents... You have amazing upper body strength - you even climb into your car seat by yourself and if you could snap in the buckles, you would - you certainly try every time.

You used to hate the car seat and riding in the car but now, you have all sorts of little games you play. You like to unvelcro and revelcro your shoes, you like to sing - you used to sing only “la, la, la” but now you’ve added “bum, bah, bum” to your repertoire. You like to spread your legs out over each side of the car seat and throw them up in the air and whenever we hit a particularly bumpy patch, you’ve figured out that by saying “ahhhhhhh” you can hear the vibrations and the bounce in your voice. You seem to have the concept of family worked out as you often repeat “Mommy, Daddy, Rua, Ollie” over and over again.

You have loved taking baths from the very first day -- you are such a water bug! Now, you scream out “bubbles!” when we fill a bath. You still fit in our very large kitchen sink, which seems to suit you just fine. You are obsessed with water. You seek out puddles to splash in, pools to swim in and everyday we still have to race you to the dogs' water bowl. Half the time you beat us to it and splash Ollie & Rua’s water all over. You started swimming lessons and you can’t get enough of the water.
You LOVE your daycare, or “school” as we call it. You yelp with joy when we pull up and you jump right into playing with all your friends, who shout, "Jemma!" the second we walk through the gate. At school you paint and draw and play in the sand (and eat it, too) and see animals and bugs and all sorts of exciting things. You are running everywhere now at full speed, and you insist on walking up our big stairway and down the street to our car. You hardly fall down anymore but when you do, it’s with incredible bravery – you always pick yourself up and continue on your way. You are talking now – you have a lot of words now but you’re most fond of saying the word “mine.” You love looking in the mirror - it always amuses you to see yourself.
You are so helpful and cooperative with getting dressed and you’ve even started to pick out your outfits when we give you a choice, you say, “this!” You love the laundry machine, probably because you can see the water splashing around inside, and you always help us put the clothes in the washer. Thank you, we hope it leads to full loads of laundry one day because since you've come into our lives we seem to always be doing laundry.
You brush your teeth every day, sometimes twice a day, and what a lot of teeth you have! Sixteen in all and we're just waiting for the last big molars to cut - they should be pretty painful.

Everyday you come up with something new or say a new word, but several things remain constant: you are exceedingly curious and determined to figure things out - you can screw almost any top off of a bottle (we so appreciate the childproof ones), you are sturdy and strong and you are grounded. You know your home, your family, your friends, your routines, your things and you seem very content with the world around you. We so enjoy observing your growth – it is an honor and a privilege, thank you for sharing yourself with us - we think you're the best and we love you so much. Mommy & Daddy