Monday, December 12, 2005
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."
Sunday, December 11, 2005
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.
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!
Monday, October 31, 2005
Click on the photo for more pictures of the peekaboo game
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Some words are a little hard to understand, at least without context. The dogs, known to us as Zima and Iris, are called Mimi and Aiiii (eye). And her good friends Ch'aska (age 6 1/2) and Callum (4 1/2) are Dada and Mum! (hmm, I thought that was us?).
Our current favorite, though (and the reason I chose this photo to illustrate the blog) is her word for Hug, which sounds just like Oak! She likes this word so much now that she is forever going around asking for an Oak! So cute we have a hard time not laughing. We have even tossed around the idea of faking her out and pretending that really is the way to pronounce it, so that she won't change, but figured that would mark us as "bad parents," so we won't (probably).
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Silver Lake with Thunder Mountain in the Background
Originally uploaded by Isabella Youlan.
Isabella had sooo much fun on this vacation! We had a housekeeping cabin right by the lake, and Jeff's parents and brother had another a few hundred meters away. So the day consisted of walking over to Grandma's and eating, then walking home and changing and going to the beach and playing in the water, then changing again and walking back to Grandma's and eating, then a hike or maybe more beach, and then walking back (she was having great fun practicing walking at this point, since it had only been about 2 or 3 weeks) for an extended eating period in the evening, and then early bed. And parents focused just on her, with no pesky phones or computers. And lots of birds and squirrels to watch. The only thing missing was her doggies, but otherwise this was heaven!
We really had a good time too! Jeff's family first rented one of these cabins 42 years ago (see photo in the album by clicking on the picture above) and have come most years since then. This year was pretty different from previous years--not nearly as much hiking or long paddles, but we got some very nice hikes in and had so much fun watching Bella having fun! And the sunsets were beautiful, and there was a really cool sun dog that we had to take lots of pictures of as well. Click on the photo to see all of the above and more.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Saturday, August 27th, 3pm to 8pm
Potluck—bring whatever you like! (Bella says to bring fruit!) (and you know there will be wine)
Bring wishes for Isabella for her scrapbook – there will be paper to write them on here, or you can use your own.
Bring kids—Bella loves older kids! (and of course younger ones are also welcome)
Need directions? Other questions? Email or call us.
Can’t make it, but want to meet her? Give us a call!
Best wishes, love and hugs to all of you, and we hope to see you there!
Andrea, Jeff and Isabella Youlan the MaoMaoChong
Red Egg and Ginger links:
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Oh, and the ball she's using was given to her by Janus Blume, and was on the altar to celebrate Solstice, so maybe it had some magic in it!
(click on the photo for more walking shots, including one great one where she seems to be invoking her superpowers--more magic!)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
We weren't sure how to handle sleeping arrangements, and even considered renting an RV till we saw how much that would cost. We ended up putting all our stuff in the tent and sleeping in our station wagon, with us in the back and MaoMaoChong in a special nest of pillows in the passenger seat. Everyone slept well, but the first morning after Bella woke up she cried for about 20 minutes. We imagined her thinking: "Is this my new house? It seems awfully small. I liked the last one better!" She cheered up after that, though. The howling pictures from the photo album are taken in the car the second morning.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Click on the photo for more present opening pictures. Most of these were from one big session of present opening where we had a camera ready. So many adorable moments don't get captured, but it's hard to play with her and photograph too!
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Walking!!! (okay, with a little help…)
Bella’s kooky auntie Carolyn was sooo much fun and so encouraging that she got Bella very excited to walk!! She is now asking constantly to go walking (when she isn’t eating, that is!). She still needs to hold onto Andrea’s hands, though, and it does HAVE to be Andrea’s hands, so mama is getting a bit of a backache, but it will be well worth it to build up Bella’s legs so she can walk on her own. We keep pointing out to her all the fun things she can do (and the mischief she can get into) once she can walk by herself—what are we thinking?!?!?!?!
Andrea is trying to get her to crawl more as well, by showing her how much fun it is and saying it is walking like a doggie. Bella thinks this is fun, because she wants to be like a doggie. She enjoys howling as well! (see photo album for pictures, sooo cute!)
She really loves to dance, either sitting, or especially standing. At Danny and Elizabeth’s they put on some rock music and she got very excited and made a special dancing face, with her lower jaw jutted out, seeming very serious and cool. She will wave her arms or bang on the crossbar on her carseat when there is music in the car. She seems to have a real sense of rhythm, too, and react to different types of music differently, but she seems to like all of it, especially tunes with some rhythm.
Isabella is learning lots of words!! Her first English word was while we were still in
She also now signs “Finished” or “All Done/Gone,” “Milk,” “Up” and, somewhat surprisingly, “More.” She didn’t want to use “More” at first, and got frustrated when I showed it to her, because she already said the word and we clearly understood her. After a few weeks, however, I guess she realized that she could sign “More” while she still had her mouth full! Today she signed “More Milk” (after a little questioning from mom). She also does the baby sign (not ASL) for dog, which is panting. She made this one up herself, but it is apparently pretty standard baby sign.
She also loves baby games like Peekaboo, Pattycake, “How big is the baby?” “Soooo Big!!!” and Got your Nose! Especially Got your Nose! Our noses both have a few scratches from having been so frequently gotten. Darn those fingernails grow fast!
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Her very favorite food so far seems to be Sweet Potatoes!!! We ate over at Danny and Elizabeth and Ch’aska and Callum’s house, and whenever her supplies of Sweet Potatoes seemed to be dwindling and someone else appeared to have more (or any!) she would scream and reach for them. Ch’aska carefully scraped out the bowl to get every last bit, and finally after we had demonstrated that there was no more orange substance on the table she stopped screaming for it. I swear she ate a pint, though!
Monday, June 06, 2005
She is so kooky and Bella just loved her! She crawled around on the floor being extremely animated and silly and made Isabella just love to practice walking! She fed Bella Cheerios out of her belly button. She, ahem, taught Isabella how to fake a cough by making fun of her. She managed to get Bella to sleep on her chest also, giving Andrea and her back a break.
We can hardly wait to see her again!!!
Andrea’s parents Dick and Ellie came to visit for 2 weeks from Kansas City, and rented a cabin by the river. Since they were away from their “real” lives while here, they spent a lot of time with Isabella. Grandma Ellie likes to play baby games a lot, and Granddad Dick played “Got your Nose!” They also went on several nature walks, which Isabella really seemed to like, after the initial screaming at leaving her mama. Granddad took tons of pictures, which is why he’s not in so many. Thanks, Dad!
Sunday, June 05, 2005
There were many fabulously dressed people at the parade, but Isabella’s favorite was The guy in the Cheerios t-shirt!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Since the end of the first week she has been sleeping pretty much through the night, with a couple self-soothing awakenings and maybe one or two where Jeff goes to comfort her. She currently goes to sleep to Christine Kane (the last few, quieter songs of >Rain and Mud and Wild and Green<), Kate Rusby, Dee Carstensen, and Gregorian Chants! Any suggestions would be welcome.
She struggles against naps as well, so often we resort to driving around with her, which usually does the trick, but leaves us trapped in the car. Yesterday she fell asleep in her highchair and mama got her into the crib to nap--Hooray!
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Jeff’s parents picked us up at the airport in our station wagon (so we had our carseat and space for all our luggage), and on the way through the airport we saw our plane and had to take a picture. We obviously weren't as together after the flight as some of our other friends who posed themselves in the picture. (click on the photo for our photo album)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
Sunday, May 08, 2005
We are in a group of seven couples going to Jiangxi Province, and we'll all recieve our girls at our hotel in the capital city of Nanchang tomorrow. Tomorrow!!
We took a rickshaw ride through a hutong area then had dinner in a private home. It was a great meal served by a very gracious hostess.
In the afternoon we went to the Lama Temple, the most renowned Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It has a 55 foot high statue of Buddha carved out of a single sandalwood tree trunk and many interesting smaller temples in the complex.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Today we spent the day seeing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The scale of these places is impossible to comprehend until you walk through them. We finished off the day with a dinner of traditional Peking duck, which was quite wonderful.
We've had a very good local guide who calls himself Jason (for the Chinese speaking impared). He knows a lot about Chinese history and presents a surprsingly balanced view of it.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
We’ll be flying out of SFO 1:30 am Monday, May 2nd, returning to SFO the night of May 20th. Direct, non-stop to and from
May 7th in the late afternoon we fly to
May 9th we split up into smaller groups to go to individual provinces and/or orphanages. We go to
May 9th we receive our babies!!
We spend the rest of the week doing local, provincial paperwork for the adoption. We are holding out some hope that we can get to visit the actual town our daughter is from, Tonggu, 3 to 4 hours away from
May 14th we return to
We fly home the evening of May 20th, and arrive a few hours before we left due to crossing the date-line.
Jiangxi: Tonggu in red, Nanchang in blue
Saturday, April 09, 2005
The name given to our daughter by the social welfare institute is Tong Min Mao.
All the children from one orphanage have the same surname, in this case Tong, for the city they are in. In this case the town is Tonggu, and Tong means “copper” because the area is rich in copper mines. All the children from this orphanage also share a generational name of “Min” (which means “of the people”), then a given name, in this case Mao. Because Chinese is a mulit-tonal language we had to wait until we saw the character of her name to know the meaning, as there can be many meanings of Mao. Turns out the meaning of our Mao is “furry” or more commonly, “fluffy”, which in Chinese is a commonly used term for “cute”. So, our daughter’s orphanage name could mean “people (or person) of the fur” (!), which fits us well with our two very hairy dogs and rather furry house. The character Min, “of the People”, or “The People’s” is the same character as in “The People’s Republic of China”, 民. The character for Mao is the same character as in Chairman Mao, though in his case it is a sur-name; 毛. So another interpretation of her name is that the orphanage director is very patriotic!
Her new name will be Isabella Youlan Minmao Emery Webster.
Isabella Webster was Andrea's Great Grandmother. She was born on the 4th of July and lived to 101 years old--so it is a very auspiscious name in our family!
Youlan means mountain orchid, or secluded orchid, and is written 幽蘭. Youlan is also the name of a Chinese song that is by far the world's oldest surviving substantial melody, dating from at least the 6th century CE. At the risk of a rather long name, we decided to keep her orphanage name of Minmao too. If she ever wants it legally tied to her as part of her past then it is there for her to use.
(The Chinese characters in the above posting may not show on all browsers. If you are finding funny characters or question marks, they are really supposed to be Chinese characters.)
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Today was the day we received our pictures of our little girl waiting for us in
I wasn’t about to open the package by myself, so I jumped in the car to take it to Andrea so we could open it together. After having to get gas (!), after dealing with horrible traffic due to pouring rain (!), after dealing with absurd parking machines at the college (!), I finally slogged through the downpour to the library where we opened our package together. We found pictures of a very cute little girl with quite an impressive head of hair. In one of the pictures she is sitting in a dog bed! That’s our girl!