Monday, July 27, 2009

China Friends Summer Outting

Last week Molly’s China Friends gathered for an all day outing. We started out at a local coffee house which hosts a sing along/story time for the kids each week (and lots of caffeine and pastry for the adults). The girls had a great time playing their instruments and singing along with the music.
Molly was amazed that each song that the musician played was a song we sang at home. She kept looking at me wide-eyed shouting, “Mommy, we sing this at home!” I guess all of this time she thought that we were the only people on the planet that sing the Alphabet Song and Old McDonald!
From the coffee house we moved over to the splash park for a picnic and a little fun in the sun. A good time was had by all. I love watching them all play together. We have been gathering for over a year now so the girls are really bonded. And so have the moms. Not only was this the highlight of Molly’s day, it was the highlight of my day, as well!
Here are some fun candids of our day:

Mia blasting Molly with the water cannon.
Molly and Mia-just look at the pure joy on their faces.
Abby and Molly comparing see-food.

Chloe and Molly trying to assess whether jumping from the tower was a good idea. Any guesses on Molly’s assessment?

For some reason picking up little rubber pebbles from the playground was fascinating for the girls.
Molly with her loot.
Gathering the pebbles into one big pile (equally fascinating as collecting them).
Try to get all of the girls facing forward, not blocking each other and smiling…yea, right!
The Three Amigas.
Running down the hill…another one of toddlerhood's greatest pleasures.
Abby and Molly put their heads together.
No good reason for this picture other than to show off my daughter. I love how the profile really defines those kissable lips, cute little button nose and expressive eyes. A take-my-breath-away beauty.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Birthday Party and Monkey Bars

What do birthday parties and monkey bars have in common? Let’s see….hmmm. Molly was excited about both things? She did them both in July? Not buying it?

How about this: I’ve got pictures from both events and don’t feel like making two separate posts? Ahhh, now were getting at the real connection. Let’s all just pretend like these two events flow together seamlessly, shall we?

First, the birthday party.....


Molly and I were fortunate enough to make some new friends at the pool this summer. Molly met Sophie and I met Sophie's mom, Crystal. Here they are!

It has been such a blessing to have this wonderful family enter our lives. Molly loves spending time with Sophie and her brothers, Caleb and Levi. And Crystal and I hit it off immediately.

Last weekend was Sophie’s third birthday and Molly was very excited about the prospect of another birthday party this summer. Friends, cake and goody bags. What more could a girl want?

Here's the birthday girl blowing out her candles:

Here’s Molly daintily eating her cupcake with a fork…what a little lady. I tried to tell her that you are suppose to eat cupcakes with your hands, but she was having none of that!

Sophie and Dora. Which one is which? Kind of hard to tell!

A group shot of the party girls.

Now on to the monkey bars……

Molly just learned how to cross the monkey bars all by herself. Once she got it, she mastered it quickly. Last week she could do two or three bars before dropping, today she did the whole circle: 12 monkey bar rungs without stopping. Good Golly Miss Molly!



The numerous photos you are about to view appear to almost identical, but look closely--the background changes ever so slightly from picture to picture giving evidence of Molly’s progress around the full set of rungs. I am sure I could have included only a few shots and you would have gotten the idea, but hey, my kid made it around all 12 rungs! I’m proud and I am gonna post Molly in all of her glory. (I won’t be upset if you get bored and scroll past most of them).

'At this point, I am sure that the only people still reading this are my parents, so this is for you Mom and Dad….


If all of this monkey business was not riveting enough for you, Molly took her swinging expertise one step further. She transferred her new found skills to the swinging rings. And yes, once again you get the stop action photography of her progress. Enjoy, Mom and Dad, enjoy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just Keep Swimming, Swimming

Molly is a fish. She love, love, loves the water. On any given day, you will find us at the pool. And I do mean any given day. Last week we were there 6 out of 7 days. Yep, swimming is our life this summer, and that’s fine with me. You know how much I love the sunshine and warm weather. I am more than happy to spend my summer recreating outdoors.

Since we are at the pool anyway, I decided to sign Molly up for swim lessons. And I must say she really improved her skills. The swim vest is now a thing of the past. Molly can hold her own in the water. She can swim! Really. Seriously. She swims. Who’d a thunk it?
Not only does she swim, but she also dives to the bottom of the pool to retrieve toys and has a variety of Ester Williams-esque jumps executed from the pool’s edge.

Here’s some pics of the little guppy in action at her swim lessons.
Here's Molly doing "the bob."

And here she is going under the water (See that wavy blackish blob in the foreground? That's Molly!)

Molly swimming....And coming up from the bottom of the pool with a toy.

Learning to float on her back:

She even does the backstroke by herself:

Scaling the wall:

Molly also got to ride on the big water slide. She was thrilled beyond belief. Here she is at the top of the tower:Coming down the slide at breakneck speed (She loved this):Entering the water. Give her a 10 for this...very little splash:
Surfacing with a smile. You're gonna have to trust me on the smile thing. All I got a picture of was the back of her head.
Lest you think that swim lessons went, well, swimmingly, let me assure you that they did not. Here’s a picture of Molly that could have been taken on 7 out of the 8 days of swim lessons.
Molly has no fear of water or swimming, but come to find she does have a fear of swim instructors. For the first several days of lessons, we had to work through some attachment issues. Molly REALLY needed to know that I was not leaving her while she was in the pool.

We practiced swim lessons at home using our sunken living room as the pool and a variety of dolls as swim instructors. We practiced swim lessons during our free time at the pool. We came up with coping strategies. We implemented said strategies at the lessons.

During the lessons, I sat on the pool’s edge with my feet in the water. Molly could wave at me or come over and touch my feet at any time during lessons. After a few days of doing this, those tears subsided and she felt confident with her teachers.

But our problems were not over. Come to find out, Molly also has issues with being cold. Yep, she’s my kid alright. Right after we adjusted to the teachers we had several cold nights. That left morning temperatures low and the water cold. Great.

Now let me say that all of the kids were cold—goose bumps, shivering, teeth chattering cold. But they somehow had the ability to deal with it. Molly didn’t. So we had more tears. More whining. More wanting to get out.
Molly didn’t get as much sympathy from me with this issue. My response: “I know it’s cold. I know it feels terrible. Suck it up. Get back in the pool.” I’m sure I lost a few mother of the year points for that. Oh, well.

It got to the point where I started to dread 10:05 a.m. Swim lessons became just as much work for me as they were for Molly. I had the screamer. Joy.

Finally on the last day, the issues faded, the weather warmed and we has a tear-free lesson. Great. Tear-free on the last day. Just my luck.
Molly was one of the few kids in the class that actually passed the lessons. She got this nifty little certificate to prove it!
And here is her report card. Look at her grades; feel the warm, proud glow that I felt when my kid was one of the few that passed….Then read the comments. I really like the part about waiting a year before putting her in the next level. Hmmmm, could this be code for “We don’t want to listen to your kid scream for another two weeks?” I’m thinkin’ it is. Heh! I don’t blame the instructors. I feel the same way. So we will wait until next year to transform Molly into the next Michael Phelps.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

Remember this picture?
This is a photo of Molly on the day she was sworn in as an American at the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China (April 13, 2007). She was still unsure about having us as her parents. Understanding that she was becoming an American citizen didn't even enter her mind.
Here she is two years later:
I still don't think she completely understands what it means to be an American, but she sure is proud that she is one. Don't get me wrong, she is extremely proud of being Chinese as well, but she knows that she now lives in the good ol' USA and that she is an American.
Molly stood up on her chair on the morning of the 4th and said, "Look Mommy, I'm that green statue guy with the pointy things on his head." (She saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the front page of the news paper) Um, okay. Me, always the teacher, found it the perfect opportunity to explain the significance of Lady Liberty. And she got it, sort of. As good as any three-year-old's mind can comprehend something that deep and meaningful.

After the brief history lesson, we packed up the lawn chairs and headed to our local parade. Molly was thrilled beyond belief. Parade? Now that she totally gets! Here she is with her Daddy in a prime viewing location:
And then Mom jumps in for the obligatory snapshot:
And of course the traditional family picture sporting our Old Navy tee shirts. I see other peoples' blogs and their kids have on really cute patriotic dresses with matching hair bows. All I get for my kid is a cheap $5 tee shirt. I guess I better work on that for next year.

While we were waiting for the parade to begin, we explored the neighborhood a bit and found this miniature statue. Molly though it was great (and she looked awefully cute in this picture, so I am sticking it in this even though it has nothing to do with the 4th of July).
That is until she heard the marching band coming down the road. From that point on it was all about the parade, and the candy tossed at her feet from the various floats.
Here's the reason why we are able to live in this great nation and celebrate its founding each year: Our Armed Forces. Bless you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
One of the benefits of living in a small farming community is that you get nifty entries like this one in your parade:
A little to modern for ya? Well you also get this guy, as well!
The rest of the day was filled with parks, BBQs and naps. We had to be prepared for the night time activities. Fireworks!
Molly practiced her customary ooohs and aaaahs all day long. She was ready. Unfortunately, the weather was not as cooperative. Despite Tony's summer attire (the guy wears the same outfit at Christmas--he's always hot!), it was actually cool...and there was a chance of rain.
And of course, the chance of rain turned into actual rain right before the fireworks. Ugh! That's okay. We quickly moved to the truck and watched the fireworks from there. That rain ain't gonna dampen our fun!
Hope everyone had a happy and safe Independence Day and Good Bless America!