Thursday, August 30, 2007

2nd Annual Reunion!

Here is about half of the folks we traveled to China with and this is a photo from our 2nd annual reunion. We gathered together in Redondo Beach, CA for two days of non-stop fun. First we played at the beach, then we all met a church for Chinese food and play (see tumbling video below) and then we finished the event at a park the following day. It's so wonderful for the girls (and one boy!) to reconnect and be reminded of their special shared history. And it's great for the parents to socialize and see how these girls are thriving. Next year we plan to have the reunion up in Northern California and perhaps one year, we'll all meet in China again! Here we are, holding up the t-shirt our friend Wes designed for the reunion. All the kids got one and some of the parents, too.

Orphanage Mates

Norah, Jemma and Kianna were together in the Gaoyou orphanage. Here they are, two years later and more beautiful than ever.

And A-Wei We Go!

Norah's nickname is Wei Wei (Way Way) because her Chinese name is AnWei and Jemma's nickname was Cui Cui (Swee Swee) because her Chinese name is AnCui, but as soon as we had her in our arms we started calling her Bug and that was that! These orphanage mates had a wonderful connection at the reunion. Just like old times when they hooked up in China. Jemma kept asking about Norah after the reunion so we'll have to make time to drive up to Northern California - looks like Jemma and Norah are already on their Wei!


Here are some of the mommas who helped make our reunion special - Marilyn, with her daughter, Emilia - Anna with Norah - and Nicki with Michayla.


Before running off to the park for the final leg of our reunion, we took time to jump on the bed in the hotel room and romp with Jemma's favorite doll, Babycakes, handmade with love by Mommy's dear friend, Kathy.

Mmmmm, cuppy cakes!


Beach Babes!

We began our 2nd annual reunion at Redondo Beach for some fun in the sun. The kids loved playing with the water and the sand, but what made it extra special for Jemma was wearing a bikini.

Future Olympians?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Idyllwild, Idyllwild!

We had a wonderful weekend in Idyllwild with Adam, Tina, Anna and their Bichon, Watson, soaking up the fresh mountain air. The adults called it the Mountain House, but Anna & Jemma referred it as "Jemma's Mountain House" or "Anna's Mountain House," respectively. No matter what you call our lovely cottage, we all had a blast, eating and playing non-stop... oh, and soaking up the fresh mountain air.

Mountain Dogs

Watson, Ollie and Rua - truly the best travel dogs around.

Double Water Trouble

Anna and Jemma had a blast taking their baths together. But I think the Daddy's had more fun taking pictures of them!

Baby Cousin Dance!

Anna's new cousin was born while we were at the mountain house, and it was great cause for celebration. The girls broke out into the "Baby Cousin Dance" along with Tina, and we are certain this dance will soon sweep the nation!

Curtain Up!

Why bring toys to the mountain house when you can make toys out of the house?! Anna and Jemma delighted in playing with the curtains and hiding in the big, empty closet. But the most fun of all happened when Anna & Jemma got into the first aid kit and decided to have a little "glove love!" Who knew surgical gloves would be so entertaining? These two little girls are extremely minxy together - it's a joy!

Spago with the Kellers!

Jemma and Mommy seized the chance to grab a quick lunch at Spago with Aunt Shirley, Uncle Lou, Cousins Todd, Laurie and their son, Brett. Jemma was very shy during the meal - even when Wolfgang himself paid a visit to our table! Laurie figured out that Jemma was into her cell phone and eventually, Aunt Shirley called Jemma up on the phone and that opened her up. But ultimately, it was the banana Uncle Lou pulled out of his pocket that really got the party started! And then it was time to say goodbye and send them all back east, where we won't see them again till Christmukah!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Durango, Durango!

We spend a few fun days in Durango, Colorado and met up with Jemma's Aunt Sharon, Uncle Tom, cousins Tommy & Stevie. We toured Mesa Verde National Park where the ancient Puebloans built cliffside dwellings. They were remarkable to see and tricky to hike, but Jemma did great. She scaled the rocks and climbed the 7 ladders up the cliffs all by herself, with a little help from Mom & Dad, and picked up sand and pebbles at every oppportunity. The Ranger was a little long-winded with his history and the littlest hiker would burst out with commentary every so often, charming the crowd.


Jemma couldn't quite wrap her head around the idea of a Bed & Breakfast so we settled on calling it a hotel. She loved sleeping in the room with us on her little bed on the floor. "No crib!" (We're waiting as long as we can to transition into a big bed, for our sake.) Jemma loved taking her baths there and refused to get out, so we showered on top of her and she lapped it up!