Monday, January 26, 2009

A lazy winter weekend at the cottage...

We don't always get down to the cottage in the winter, but this weekend we had to get down there, to get things ready for next weekend, when we will have visitors for Frances' first birthday.
Suzanne and Frances were exhausted on Friday night, and fell asleep on the couch.

It has been so cold since we got her here, that we realized we'd only taken her outdoors for the sake of being outdoors, once, and that was on the afternoon after Suzanne arrived back home from China. (This is not to say she hasn't left the house, she has technically been outdoors, its just been a matter of moving Frances from the house to the car to the mall or whatever) So on Saturday, I put Frances in her carrier and we took her outdoors, just for the sake of being outdoors. It is bloody cold here. Lots of snow. We have had 89 inches of snow this season, all since Frances arrived in mid-November. A normal winter brings our part of Michigan an average of 72 inches of snow for the whole season, and we're still in January, so I don't doubt that we will break 100 inches of snow for the year before alls said and done. Anyway, these are pictures around the cottage.
You can see here that the snow is up to the bottom of the Obama sign I left out by the dock.
This is walking on the private road leading off the main road to our cottage. We don't have it plowed regularly.
Here we are in front of the cottage.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

some videos...

I brought Flip with me to the baptism and had intended on taking more videos than I did, but by the time the baptism part of the mass came around, I had a squirmy baby in my arms that made me re-prioritize. Anyway, I took two videos the morning of Frances' baptism at church. One is of the procession, and the other is of the recession. In the first video, of the procession (like most Episcopalians, I love a good liturgical procession... let the Evangelical Fundies have their stripped-down, minimalist services, I want pageantry...) Frances, during her last few minutes as a Buddhist, was still awake as the service began, and in this video her godfather, Father Bob from New Jersey, is holding her.

The next time it occured to me to pick up Flip was when they started the closing hymn. By this time, the newly-sacramented baby was sound asleep in her godmother's arms.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baptism

Yesterday morning we got up and dressed Frances in one of the silk outfits her mother bought for her in Guangzhou, and the silver bracelet engraved with her Chinese name, which was given to her by the director of her orphanage, and took her to church to be baptized. Here are pictures of the event:
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Here is Frances with her godfather, Father Bob, who drove all the way to Michigan from his church in New Jersey, through a nasty snowstorm, just to be with us for the baptism.
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They baptized several babies that day, in alphabetical order. Being that we are W's, we were last. It was, of course, nap time, so Frances was very squirmy and didn't much want to be held.
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Like I said, she was very squirmy.
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I eventually handed her off to her mother.
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And her mother handed her off to her godmother Carol, who is a pro at this.
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One minute she was a Buddhist, the next, an Episcopalian. Its interesting how so many things in life change in a fleeting moment...
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When they finally got to us, Frances was not best pleased to have Fr. Zachariah pouring water on her head. She made a grab for this clam shell thingy, but he, having a small child himself, was on to her and got the deed done.
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"There now, its over, was it that bad? Ooh, see the pretty candle? No, you don't get to hold the pretty candle..."
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Here we are with a sleeping, newly-baptized Frances and her godparents.
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And here we are with all the assembled company, including a sleeping Frances, Suzanne and I, Frances's godparents, two uncles, one auntie, one grandmother and two cousins. A grandfather was also present, but he seemed to be off in search of coffee anytime anyone took pictures.
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She got a very brief nap after the baptism, but then she was crabby afterwards, and not very photogenic. She finally fell asleep in the car, on the way to the party. Suzanne sat in the car with her for a half hour, while she slept, just so she could get in one decent nap, she was so overstimulated.
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We had a party later in the afternoon, and here is a picture of the obligatory sheet cake. I was too busy talking to people to take many pictures at the party, where Frances had a good time showing off the pretty pink silk outfit that her Nay-Nay in Virginia sent for Christmas, as well as her newly discovered walking ability to her guests. I think my cousin took some, so I'll have to have a word with her.
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I did have time to get one last shot of us with Father Bob before he ventured back out into this extreme Michigan winter we seem to be having this year. This pink silk outfit Frances is wearing was a Christmas gift from her Nay-Nay in Virginia who understandably didn't want to venture out into the frozen abyss that is Michigan at this time of year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daycare, and some pics from the Christmas photo shoot

Frances did well in daycare today-- much better than her parents did putting her in daycare. We survived--we managed not to call once to find out how she was doing. We dropped her off and got ourselves out of there and grit our teeth and she survived. The daycare ladies say Frances behaved herself well--that she is nice to the other children and shares and is really trying to get the walking thing down. So thats good... I guess. Gosh, the time went by fast. Suzanne goes back to work next Monday.
I realized I never posted pictures from the Christmas photo shoot we had at Meijer Gardens. I had pictures made into Christmas cards, and I think I wanted to wait to post the pictures on the blog until everyone had gotten their Christmas cards. Well... here they are. My friend Dave took many of the pictures. He is a colleague at GV. Here is a picture of Dave holding Frances in the cafe at Meijer Gardens. I think Frances thinks Dave's bottle would taste better than hers and wants to effect a trade...
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Here are two good pictures of Frances in her red Christmas dress:
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I love her sly smile in the above pic. In this next one, she looks more serious.
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Here she is with her mother.
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Here are some pics of her sitting on my shoulders. I was hoping she would crack a smile, but no such luck. She is so inquisitve and intent on studying everything, that she doesn't ham it up as much as other babies...
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Back when I had the time, I used to be in a self-portrait group on flickr, where we posted different pictures that were self portraits. This first one I took in the mirror, but the flowers are camoflauging my camera.
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This one, I think, is very cute. It is my facebook profile picture.
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And here are two pictures of the three of us. The second one was the one we used in our Christmas cards. I don't like the way I look in the first one--I think my face looks anorexic... Suzanne thinks I am being silly. But Suzanne has always seen me through rose colored glasses.
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This was the best of the group shots, and the one that went out in the Christmas cards.
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Frances is being baptized this weekend, so I will probably have some more recent photos next week. This week is the first week of classes at GV, plus she started daycare, so we're taking it easy with the camera, but I am sure pictures will be taken this weekend.

All Christmassed Out



These pictures aren't exactly current, but I think they are cute enough to warrant being blogged anyway. They were taken at our cottage on the day after Christmas. We'd enjoyed round one of Christmas with my relatives, and were gearing up for round two, with an assortment of Suzanne's family coming from Wisconsin. Anyway, the agreement was that I would take Frances on errands so her mother could vacuum and mop floors--and I had her all dressed for going out in the 3' of snow we had covering the ground at that stage of the game. I gave her the bottle in the intent that she could sleep during the 45 minute drive to Wal Mart, where I was heading. Then, I realized I had better use the restroom, and then had to take a phone call, so I set her down on the floor, and Frances proceeded to down the bottle and fall dead asleep... more or less folded in half. Her mother took the first picture, and then gently unfolded her and gave her a pillow.
I must add that the second round of Christmas was thwarted by severe weather. After weeks of nonstop snow and cold, we had a sudden 60 degree warm up with torrential rain, and ALL the accumulated snow melted, in addition to the torrential rain which lasted most of the day. To make a long story short, the whole bottom floor of our cottage flooded. Early the following morning, we packed everything up as the water was coming in, threw the Christmas presents in trash bags, and dispatched Suzanne's family back to Wisconsin and we headed for higher ground, only to come back the next day with pumps and shop vacs, to dry out the cottage. We've gotten far too good at dealing with flooding, I think.
Well, I best be off. Today is Frances' first day in daycare. We're doing half days this week, and then a full schedule next week. We have paid for 12:00-5:00 today, and are going to take full advantage of it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Congratulations to Flora and Megan!

I find this terribly exciting. Normal people don't--but then, normal people don't have these odd circumstances and individuals tied to their children.
Two of the children Frances was photographed with in the orphanage have been adopted by American families. I find this so exciting, because when Frances looks at these pictures of her with other children, we can tell her that her orphanage playmates were also adopted and are now living in this country.
When I first read the blog "Waiting for Flora" and saw Flora's referral picture, I thought Flora looked very much like the child (on the right) in this picture, which was in the collection of pictures we were given by the orphanage. Of course, the children's heads are at odd angles, but still, it looked a lot like Flora. Anyway, I emailed Flora's mother through her blog and sent her the picture, and we've been in contact since, and now Flora has just been adopted by a family in New England.
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The child in this next photo has been a mystery to me since we adopted Frances. This picture is dated on the day Frances was taken into foster care from the orphanage. Frances is shown with her foster mother (on the left), and this other child on the right looked so beautiful, and I always hoped that she had been or was also going to be adopted. She was not adopted in our travel group, and it wasn't until just last week that I happened onto the blog "Gators in China" and saw a referral picture of a familiar looking child. This child's name is now Megan, and she has also been adopted by an American family. I find this so exciting. From what I gathered from the information on the blog, Megan, who is two weeks older than Frances, was taken into foster care on the same day as was Frances.
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I send my best congratulations to Flora and Megan and their families, and wish them lots of joy and happiness. I can hardly believe its been two months since Frances came home. It seems as if she has always been ours. I wish Flora's and Megan's families the same joy that Frances has brought to my wife and I...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tooth Fairy

Frances is now eleven months old. Wow, how time flies.
I am thinking about the tooth fairy. Frances is teething, so its not that she's losing her teeth (though I am sure that will come in good time). But this teething experience has me thinking about the tooth fairy. I think its because I wish the tooth fairy would come and give Frances all her teeth, or at least a big bunch of them, so we could be done with teething for a while.
I remember a time when I lost a tooth while visiting my grandparents in Michigan. (I grew up in New Jersey) It was when my grandfather was alive, and he died when I was eight, so I was probably about six years old when this happened. It was the summer when my mother and I drove out to Michigan without my father. Anyway, when I would visit my grandparents in those days, I would sleep on the couch in their den. The morning after I lost the tooth, I woke up, and there was a $50 bill under my pillow. I was ecstatic, and loudly announced my luck to my grandparents. My grandmother. who was in her bathrobe having her coffee and doughnut, turned to my grandfather and said "I didn't know the tooth fairy gave out fifties..." and my grandfather said "I guess it must have been so dark that the tooth fairy didn't see what he was taking out of his wallet."