Note that this blog entry is a work in progress. I started it on our adoption anniversary and meant to finish it right up and then post it. But, sigh, 3 weeks have gone by and I haven't finished yet, so I'm going to go ahead and post it and then do updates (yeah, sure). -Andrea
In honor of one year together, here are some of our favorite things from this past year:
Bella's favorite color: Blue!
Bella's favorite animal: Doggies! She loved our doggies from the first and continues to love to watch doggies of all types.
Bella's favorite toy: Mama and Daddy! Doggies! Boxes! Bottles and Jars! Anything Mama or Daddy didn't really want her to find! Okay, her favorite toy that was originally intended as such would have to be either Bubbles, or her Eeyore on wheels. Eeyore was a hand-me-down, and boy were we happy Susie passed it on to us! Before she could walk Bella used Eeyore to become mobile. Once she was walking well we thought she might turn to other things, but she still uses Eeyore several times a week. The velcro tail is a great attraction as well.
Bella's favorite game: Chasing! as in "Chasing Daddy!" "Chasing Mama" "Chasing Zima!" Usually this chasing involves one of us holding her and doing the actual legwork of the chase. Sometimes, though, she will go self-propelled on rolling Eeyore. Zima (dog) thinks this is great fun. Iris runs and hides.
Mama and Daddy's favorite mess avoiders: Doggies! They clean up the floor around Bella's chair pretty much instantly and also often do the intial cleanup of the tray and dishes (the social workers aren't reading this, right?). Long sleeved Bib! This is an amazing thing for catching all the yummy yogurt messes!
Favorite books: A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza. This is the bestest adoption book for wee ones!
The Big Dog and Little Dog books by Dav Pilkey (of Captain Underpants fame). These are sooo funny! And they are the earliest books with plots that a child can understand. It will NOT drive parents crazy to read these a thousand times! Seriously, I read these to my adult friends before I even had kids (okay, so I'm a little weird).
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. This is a classic, and for good reason. The repetition and the monkeys make this oh so fun! Not sure what the monkeys are doing in what is obviously Eastern Europe, but I'll let that pass. Thanks to our friend Richard for this book.
My Friends, by Taro Gomi. "I learned to sing from my friends the birds.... I learned to watch the night sky from my friend the owl... I learned to read from my friends the books. I learned to play from my friends at school.... I learned to love from a friend like you." Awwwww!
A Chair for my mother, by Vera B. Williams. Bella just loves this recently, wants to read it most every night. It is about a family saving their money for a big, soft chair, after everything is destroyed in a fire. The pictures are wonderful and so is the story, but it isn't really meant for a 2 year old. I think maybe it is the fascination with the scary that a lot of kids have (and adults). Not sure. It is a lovely book, though; Vera B. Williams is wonderful!
Belly Button Book! by Sandra Boynton. 'Nuff said!
Snuggle Puppy (a love song), by Sandra Boynton. This is the most wonderful book for professing out and out love! You do have to be able to sing, though. Well, anyway, the whole book is a song. I just made up a tune. We both love it!
Wow! City!by Robert Neubecker.This book has huge, bright, busy pictures of a little girl named Izzy's first trip to The City. Everything is exciting! There are fire engines, subways, dinosaurs (in a museum) and a parade with a huge dragon! And there is a yellow dog to be found somewhere on every page. Highly recommended!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This has been a favorite for many months. She doesn't pick it out as often now, but she did just last night at a friend's house. An "old favorite"!
She can eat with chopsticks! We are so proud! We got special training chopsticks in Chinatown (can't figure out how to do the rubber band trick for attaching them), and Bella works very hard to eat with the chopsticks.
Bella had the most fun dressing up in my beret and gloves one evening during her pre-bed manic phase. There were so many cute moments we missed, but we got a few fun poses anyway. Click on the photo to see more in the photo album.
Both in February and March, Bella got to visit the snow at her grandparent's house up the hill in Bonny Doon.(They have had snow 5 times this year--on the Central California coast! But of course there is no climate change going on...)
Bella had lots of fun playing in the snow, stomping around and hearing it crunch, watching it fall, throwing snowballs, being hit by snowballs, building snowmen (well, given the stickiness of the snow and the thinness of the layer, they were almost half "dirt men" or "redwood duff men", but still they were fun!), and especially KNOCKING SNOWMEN DOWN!!!
This is Bella's current obesession. She converses quite effectively when we are really interacting, but sitting in her carseat or before going to sleep or just toddling around the house she babbles a lot, seeming to work things out for herself. Currently she seems to be working on gender. She repeats the words: "Daddy... Man... Daddy...Man" over and over. Sometimes she talks about Mama being a woman, too, and about other people but mostly it is Daddy. (Actually she was saying "Mama... Man" for awhile yesterday and we went back and forth about this for awhile! I think "man" is just a lot easier to say than "woman"--at least I hope that's it!)
I'm working on introducing the concept of "grownup," so I don't automatically attach a gender to everyone--and heck, with some of our magazines it is pretty much impossible to say for sure! We already are using "kid" and "baby."
Okay, finally getting around to posting Halloween photos. I was happy to find this puppy costume for Isabella, since she likes doggies sooooo much. This picture is from the day before Halloween in Capitola, where they hold an annual costume parade down to the beach. I took several pictures of Bella running around on the beach--where I'm pretty sure dogs are not allowed!
At the parade we ran into Bella's friend Liang, who is also adopted from China and is 2 days older. She was a lobster. Still, despite the species conflict, they seemed to get along very well for 20 month olds.
Click on either of the photo for LOTS more costume pictures and more photos with Liang. -Andrea
Bella and Natalie had a playdate a few weeks back--and the parents got to play, too! We all had fun sliding, eating strawberries, and petting a pekinese in a little red wagon at a local park. Afterwards Natalie, Dana and Lester came over for dinner and a food fight (just kidding! it only seemed like that, but not for long with our lab mix around)
Natalie and Bella also had fun playing at the Accept picnic back in September. They found the best toy--a box!
Bella and Natalie are from the same county: Tonggu, Jiangxi Province, China.
Click on the picture for a link to LOTS more pictures of the two girls playing--and a few of the parents as well!
This is a blog site for the adoption journey of Isabella Youlan Minmao, as written by her parents, Jeff and Andrea. Isabella was adopted from Tonggu, Jiangxi Province in China on May 9th, 2005. She was born February 25th, 2004, and was 14 months old when we met her.
Jeff is owner and winemaker for a small winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (see link below).
Andrea is a reference librarian.