Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinese New Year Festival fun…

It was a beautiful day on Saturday, a warm 75 degrees, for the annual Chinese New Year Festival at the Phoenix Cultural Center. It was great to get out and see families from our local FCC who we haven’t seen in quite a while.  Our FCC group here in Phoenix has slowed WAY down over the past few years and it’s membership seems to have hit rock bottom as there are little to no waiting or returning from China families.  The group used to host a Chinese New Year festival all it’s own, but now only has a booth at this Phx festival. 

Here are the two little dance groups that FCC has left…


Here’s Lauren with her BFF, Lily, and twins Jenna and Jadyn.  Aren’t they the cutest in their dance outfits??


They always have Koy for sale at the festival.  Lauren thought they were pretty cool, but very stinky! 


Of course, she had to ride all the kiddie rides.  Here she is trying to be fearless holding her arms up, even though she’s seat belted in AND in a cage!  Oh well, she was definitely having fun. 


She loved the train and her personal favorite, the bounce house…


Then it was onto the glitter tattoos for a sparkly unicorn in blue.  By the way, her favorite color is either blue or green, depending on which way the wind in blowing at the time.  Winking smile


After that, we were off to the Chinese craft booth to make some dragons.  Lily made a Fire Dragon and Lauren’s is a Mountain Dragon, according to the very sweet Chinese women who helped the girls put their craft together. 


At the festival, we also got to meet up with a family from our China travel group who just relocated here from Ohio.  It was SO nice to see them again and I’m so happy to have them close by now!  I think there’s a bit of a special connection between families who go through the China travel experience together.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three years ago today…

…we were handed the most precious baby girl and our lives changed forever in a flash. We went from not being parents to having an almost 2 year old at the blink of an eye. Those two weeks in China watching our new baby girl grieve for everything she’s ever known was the toughest thing ever. Her face in this picture shortly after we got her says it all….


Lauren has come so far in the past three years and we feel so very lucky to be her parents. She’s a cutie on the outside, but it’s her inner beauty that really shines like a bright light. She’s brought incredible joy to our lives in just the few years we’ve been together and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.


Here’s some random facts about my girl (in no particular order)…

  • she will be 5 years old in March and starts kindergarten this year
  • she loves her baths and could play in the tub forever
  • she’s very enthusiastic about learning new things
  • her smile lights up a room and she giggles and laughs all the time
  • she loves her friends and talks about them all the time
  • she melts my heart when she says “I love you”
  • she loves broccoli and will order it as a side with her kid’s meal
  • she always says “excuse me” at the proper times
  • she loves to sit on my lap and snuggle
  • she’s such a happy girl
  • her excitement is contagious
  • she’s constantly pulling up her socks
  • she's a brave girl and not afraid of the dark
  • she sleeps with six “friends” and they need to be lined up just perfectly before she goes to sleep
  • she likes to ride on her daddy’s shoulders
  • she loves chocolate ice cream with sprinkles from Dairy Queen
  • no matter how cold she gets, she won’t wear her robe or slippers
  • she gives the biggest, best hugs
  • she doesn’t like mac & cheese or chicken strips
  • her favorite color was blue, but now it’s green
  • she thinks hot cocoa with marshmallows is the best treat ever
  • she’s like a groupie to her cousin Josh and follows him around everywhere when she’s with them
  • she’s a champ at taking medication when she’s sick
  • she loves preschool and can’t wait to go every morning
  • her favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Yo Gabba Gabba
  • she loves tomato soup and could eat it everyday
  • at bedtime after I read a book she always wants me to tell her a story
  • she must listen to her music in the car and knows exactly which song she wants to hear at any given time
  • if she thinks I’m not paying attention she says “mom, you need to focus”…too funny!
  • she’s not really into crayons and coloring books
  • she’s a grandma’s girl
  • she likes tacos with plenty of salsa
  • her favorite store is Target (imagine that) and she loves to go there and cruise the toy aisles
  • she’s full of joy and has an inner light all her own

Monday, January 2, 2012

And the New Year’s cleaning starts…

Okay, I’ve earned some major relaxation time with my laptop tonight.  I’ve been in the toy room ALL  AFTERNOON doing a major clean-out.  I don’t have a “before” picture, but imagine a scene from that Hoarders show and you might have some idea of the original condition.  It started out me and Joe tackling the room together, but he had to leave a few hours in to go to work (poor thing) leaving me to finish up.

My motivation for finally getting this done after months of procrastination was wanting to get all the new toys from Christmas out of the living and family room, especially the huge Barbie house that had taken us residence on our living room coffee table. 

Ahhhh…it’s like a breath of fresh air.  We can actually walk into the room with out risking a broken ankle or worse! 


Here’s her adorable little kitchen from last Christmas that she NEVER plays with unless maybe there is a friend over to play.  I thought about selling it, but think I’ll keep it another year and if she still doesn’t touch it I’ll sell it before Christmas next year.  Joe just hung the orange net thing from IKEA today and Lauren put a baby doll in each level…cute.  It took me forever just to go through her books.  This case was packed and I had a big overflow basket.  I’m so proud that I cleaned it out to just these books and we have a big box for the next garage sale. 


I like how the flower and ladybug lights glow cast a neat glow when the room is dark…they are great nightlights. 


Here’s the aftermath minus the big box of books Joe already put in the garage.  We pulled out two bags of junk for the garbage pile and four bags of toys to put aside for the next garage sale.  Plus, I emptied those two big baskets…one had random junk (game and puzzle pieces, etc. ) and one was filled with books. 


I feels VERY rewarding to finally get this done, but I’m totally exhausted and Lauren has asked me to play with her about 4 times just while typing this post!  Paper dolls, here I come…