Monday, December 31, 2007

Baba Pants

Acer loves 'Baba pants' as he calls cord's. Here he actually got a hold of a pair of Bill's work pants, non cords, and decided to wear them. His whole body fit in one leg, but he kept at it until he felt he was wearing them properly.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Drop by drop, or person by person, the house fills up again

On boxing day, I drove out to Lansing to pick up Alex for her Christmas visit. We had to meet much earlier than normal because I had to work at 3 that afternoon. Alex lives with her grandparents on the other side of the state so we meet roughly halfway. Alex will be 15 in a few months and is growing into a fine human being. Bill has watched her grow from age 4, I've only known her since she was almost 8 but I have to say we love her and the only way she could be more ours would be to go through court procedures (not going to happen she's in a good stable home and happy now). She's smart, funny, cute, musical, athletic, polite and helpful among other good traits. It's always nice to have her here.
Alex loves Acer and is a really good older sister or JieJie (pronounced like the first half of the name Jeff). She's so patient, loving and doesn't mind playing toys or singing with him when he asks. She and Brandon get along well too. Tomorrow we'll be picking Brandon up to stay with us until Sunday. They have a good cousinly relationship and look forward to seeing each other here whenever possible. They also have a longstanding partnership in returning our soda bottles. We stock pile them until both the kids are here and then make a mega trip. They split the work, money and goodies. Brandon is now 16 but this partnership has been 5 years in the making so I think it will endure.

We have a big house rearranging plan in progress, so the house is all dis-arrayed. I think Brandon will end up on a blow up bed in the computer room, soon to be the sitting room (with all my antiques and breakables. Alex is in the lowest level, in the sitting room bedroom we used to sleep in which will be the spare bedroom, entertainment center and computer room (with room to play DDR again!) Acer's room will be turned more fully over to him as we pull the entertaiment center out of there, it's not been used since we've been home anyway. We're in what used to be Alex's or the spare bedroom, it will also be altered as we move out a Queen Anne chair, an oriental rug, a bookshelf, Alex's box of stuff and some of my craft stuff, and move Bill's dresser in. With all this going on you can believe we're going to use the younglings to help. I guess it's also a good thing that I took seasonal layoff this year, not only will I be able to rest and get rid of my sinus infection, I might just be able to accomplish this plus some painting I want to do before April rolls around and I go back to work.

Here we see both my wonderful brother and my nephew Brandon doing an activity I thought I'd never see again. Brandon is swinging and James is watching to make sure he doesn't get hurt. Yes, Acer's swing can go up to 175 pounds, and yes, Brandon did manage to sing his backside into the wall & (slightly) hurt himself, so James really was needed.

Unfortunately, with my stoopid sinus infection, we moved nada and now the younglings are back in their respective homes. Dern.

Christmas in a new bed

We asked for and received a new bed from Ikea this year for Christmas from Bill's parents. I love it. It has 4 drawers underneath and is just a simple pine frame, but it is lovely and doesn't creak, holds up our mattress well because the slats aren't all broken and moved around funky and is a really good height to go against the garden seat I use as a head board. Our old bed was mine from when I lived in WA, o' those many years ago and it had not aged well at all.

(Pictures here later)

We actually got it Friday night after Acer's birthday dinner and Bill and his friend Will assembled it on Saturday. Aside from the wierd positions that sleeping with a sinus infection makes me sleep in, I find this to be an extremely comfortable bed.

less than stellar

Well, after the good start to the 24th, I worked too hard and exhausted myself. Because I was exhausted, my stooopid sinus infection has spread to my ears and down my face into my teeth and I wasn't up for anything except sleeping on the 25th. I missed Christmas dinner at my in-laws, (thought about calling & sending my regrets but forgot to, thus seriously irking my MIL), and more importantly, missed Acer's first Christmas. Bill, Mum and Acer went, but Bill forgot to take any pictures. Sigh.
Acer doesn't really understand this Christmas thing. Combined with his Birthday, he's been getting gifts for days now. He is getting better at unwrapping them though. He rips and then hands you the paper and goes back for another rip. After every single chunk of paper, big or small, you have to say "Thank you for the paper", if not, he reminds you by saying it for you.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Acer spent 45 minutes already this morning on the swing. He took brief breaks to turn somersets, but he stayed at it until Bill's snoring enticed him into our bed for some snuggle time with Bill. He also mastered the art of swinging belly down.

I finally finished decorating the tree, I had to go through our boxes of ornaments and pull out the ones that were relatively unbreakable. I didn't put our angel up this year, I was too worried about her suddenly taking flight. Instead we have a lovely bow, that I wore on the back of my head on our wedding day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

unbridled joy

Acer got a two part birthday gift from Bill's parents. Part one is a camping sleeping mat, also good for tumbling. The floor pad got rave reviews from Acer, not only was it good for somersets, it was also good for simply lying on, laughing and kicking your feet in the air.

Part two was an even bigger hit, if that were possible, a swing that we installed in his doorframe. It's hard mounted in and has both a swing and a bar attachment. Acer LOVES to swing, and having a swing in his very own room - such joy knows no limits.

And lastly, Acer loves to brush his teeth. I actually have to set a time limit otherwise he'll keep going for half an hour or better. So. here he is... Mr Clean Teeth

Night Terrors

Acer doesn't have night mares or night terrors often, but he did last night. We went in to comfort him and Bill ended up carrying him to his computer room chair for some snuggling. After Acer calmed down and was heading back to sleep, I looked over and saw this....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Acer is THREE!

Today is Acer's Third Birthday!
What a day this was indeed. We started out by going to his school Santa picture/breakfast. We picked up Mum to join us and away we drove. Acer sat on Santa's lap, tried to swipe Santa's reindeer bells and then had a meltdown when he had to give them back. We had a lovely breakfast of pancakes and ham, while sitting across from schoolmate Lauren; ham is one of Acer's favorite foods. We gave Acer's teachers cd's of some of his favorite music. Acer did a couple projects, one was coloring a tree, they have special expensive paper that puffs up along printed lines, so he can color within the shapes like his cohorts do.

We picked up Acer's beloved Cousin Brandon after school and then came back home. As soon as we were home, Tia Vicki came over with her Christmas presents, she said she just couldn't wait any longer & had to give them to him today. When I told her that it was his birthday anyway that just made it that much easier and more joyful. She got him a cool drum toy and and a keyboard that has many different features including a microphone. So far Acer has only rocked the house to Manamana and Dog train, but he's getting the hang of it. I don't really even know which toy he liked better, he loved them both.

Then both sides of the family went out to eat at our local Chinese restaurant. There were 15 of us total, five children from 1 to 5. Acer looked quite nice in a burgundy sweater and black pants. He got a sit and spin type device from us (Ikea) and a hang it in the door frame swing (and tumble mat to go underneath) from Bill's parents (very cool, Acer LOVES to swing and now will be able to do it year round. We aren't celebrating his birthday in a big way, in fact next year it will probably just be take out at home, but this year we felt we'd do somthing really big but low key. We'll celebrate his gotcha day with the big party in May, or Chinese Children's day in June (the traditional gift giving to children day in China)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This could have been Acer's story

Last week, while cruising waiting child picture lists, I discovered a little boy, almost exactly a year younger than Acer and born without any eyes at all. He caught my attention, his cute face and situation so much like Acer's, and I watched his photo, hoping someone would open their heart for this boy. I wanted to bring him to people's attention and say good things about Acer in the hopes that he would be the joy of some family's life. Then, yesterday, the day before his second birthday, he died. The agency doesn't know why.

It makes me feel so sad that he died never knowing people to call Mama & Baba, and it makes me feel so blessed to have the little man. He could have stayed in China and lived under the care of the orphanage, he had a good foster family who loved him. His future would have been so limited though; at one point before we had him in our arms I wondered if we were doing the right thing by taking him away from this family who had fostered him for years. Then I saw a blind beggar, just sitting and rocking back and forth, God spoke to me through that sight and said "you would sentence him to a life like that" and so I knew it was the right thing to do, to bring him here and give him a chance at an unlimited future.

So today I mourn a little boy I never knew, who never knew a family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yeah! I got an "A"!

It's been 15 years since I've actually enrolled in any classes, and so I wasn't too sure about taking any more much less correspondence courses. But I did it, I signed up for a free class at the Hadley School for the Blind entitled "Learning through Play". Let me tell you, this was whole new ground for me. Somehow these things don't come up in the horticulture world. It taught me a lot, including simple things like making a line of blocks is actually a building block for bigger and better things. I've learned that despite Acer's gross motor skills being great, his fine motor skills need work, and playstyle wise he's about a year and a half or so behind average. Hmm, does that mean he should or shouldn't play with the over three toys now?
Anyway, the class was no pushover, it would take me hours to complete an assignment even if someone were watching Acer as I thought and typed. Big thanks go out to Mum, Bill and Vicki who each watched Acer at different times so I could complete the class. This is the note my teacher sent when she emailed my grade:

Congratulations on completing the final lesson in the Learning Through Play course! You did a great job on your Lesson 7 examination, and earned an "A+" for it! You also earned an "A" in the course!

You are obviously a dedicated parent who puts a lot of time and energy into providing a quality environment in which Acer can thrive. You definitely understand how to apply what you learn in your studies to your day-to-day life with Acer.

Today I started my new class, "Introduction to Braille" Here's hoping this one goes as well.

Yummy, and the chocolate monster

Note, Bill will post the picture later, Yes, I really need to learn how to do this on my own.

Today, at the end of school, Acer announced that he needed a "yummy". Okay, well, this was a new one on me, he'd never asked for this before, but as I had to stop at Walgreens for pictures anyway, I told him okay.

Our yummy of choice? Pudding cups, they were on special and I saw a chance to have Acer practice better spoon skills.

Wisely, I had Acer strip down to his skivvies before I even had him sit down at the table.
The end result .... I introduce the chocolate monster!

Yes, here he is, and look, he even got down from his chair at one point and decided that he wanted to climb the stairs with those lovely chocolate covered hands.

Note our ever lovely oilcloth table cloth, and the reason WHY I bought it despite having enough tablecloths already. Also, that very cool place mat has braille letters and words on it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fat Squirrel or Long Tailed Woodchuck?

We have the fattest squirrel I've ever seen patrolling our yard for goodies. I swear it's really a groundhog with a squirrel tail. I've left our pumpkins out for it to gnaw on and throw it Acer's apple cores. I haven't seen it since the snow hit, but when it resurfaces, it'll find some good stuff buried in the snow for it. I figure I've got to feed it, how else will its huge self make it through the winter. Don't tell Rugby & Lobelia though, they'll think I'm committing treason by feeding the enemy invader.

How to keep a small man busy when you're sick

This has been my dilemma today. My sinus infection/cold/flu thingy has gotten to the point where I'm now trying to figure out how to keep the little man out of trouble if I have to bow to the porcelain goddess. I have this as my plan.

1) Mention the words "Deep Water Bath"
2) Watch the little man run into the bathroom & peel out of his clothing in joy.
3) Cover bathroom floor with towels
4) Run the deep water bath,
5) Insert child
6) Be sick
7) Recover on floor while being splashed by water from the little man

Okay I think it's a workable plan, here's hoping I don't have to put it in action

Later that evening update, I made it until Bill was able to make it home from work, with a short pitstop on the way for TacoBell. Yes, oddly enough, that settles my stomach.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slowly, the house gets ready for Christmas

Well, I accomplished a fair bit today.
I took our tree from lit to lit plus some decorations, with Acer's help. Thank you Ikea for 48 unbreakable ornaments! Of course, currently the decorations are all clustered in the three foot and under section of the tree, but I'll add more different ones up higher later.

I also put up our WAY COOL color changing LED Season's greetings sign, both the tree and the sign were major scores from the store I work at. I totally don't mind waiting, or will put up with small and fixable problems for a good price (it's the Scot in me).
I also decorated our scrawny weeping Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula') with more super buys from work - five huge dangling ornament strings. I put them up last year and I don't think we ever had as much snow on the ground as we do now.
I'm not sure if we'll be able to get our lights up and running this year, they are mostly up and mostly running but we haven't turned them on yet because I still have to re-fix some. Yup, I actually can fix Christmas lights, even icicles. I've run the same tree lights since '96 if you can believe that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now that's really a Michigan snow

This morning when I went to let the dogs out, I actually moved snow with the door. It snowed last night, enough to reach past the bottom of our door thresholds. Finally we have a decent amount of snow!
It's 11:30 and my two favorite Y chromosome carriers are out in the snow. Bill is shovelling and Acer is "Helping". I can see Acer's mouth is constantly in motion, which means he is telling Bill about all sorts of important things, like "Momma said no light bulbs in the mouth" or Grannie Pat says "Eca scuse me!" or "Bananas in the shopping cart, Boom!"

The snow just from our sidewalk and driveway is halfway up Acer's thighs and every now and then I see Bill pick Acer up and toss him in the snowbank, to Acer's obvious delight. I've taken pictures, through the window, so there are funny smudges because of the snow on the window and the flash.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dragon Hat

Last winter, when we were hoping to have Acer home for Christmas, I bought fleece in Acer's colors and asked ever talented Sister-In-Law Kerry to make us matching hats with dragon tails. Alex, Acer and Bill have hats, I have a hood with scarf combo, but all have these lovely tails.

Drawer Organization

I have an unusual personality in many ways (if you couldn't guess), this is just one of them; I love to organize but don't really like to keep them that way. I have made an exception in the case of Acer's clothes, I keep re-organizing them so frequently that I surprised Bill can find clothing to dress him in on the days I work. Here're pictures of my most recent efforts.

I've sorted his shirts by color and length of sleeve, and then turned them up on end so I don't have to sort through stacks to get the shirts I want. Then I can just re-file them into their correct spot after they come out of the wash.

Here is Acer's pants drawer; all his pants seemed to be different lengths and I just wasn't able to stack them or to get into any sort of a system, until now! I roll them up and make lines of jeans, cords, overalls etc. All neat and clean and easy to find Yeah! (okay, little things like this really do amuse me)

Friday, December 07, 2007

You can help those in need with just a click

Please visit the free rice for the UN site (link just below our picture in the sidebar). There you can test your vocab and donate rice at the same time. This is not just a holiday event so I would ask that if you visit our site, you'd just click over there afterwards and make a quick donation, 10 grains of rice at at a time.

Also, Pepsi will donate up to 50,000 dollars to second harvest. You can visit our snowglobe and then make your own. The amount donated will depend on how many people make snowglobes. We were just #160 so I hope that there will be many many more.
Our Snow Globe

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Well, Acer is not too happy with the latest haircut. I cut the back of his hair up to the level of his shortest layer of hair, which meant - I had to shave the back of his neck up. He keeps feeling it and saying fuzzy.

I thought he would like it because he loved it when Bill's hair was short and fuzzy like that. Oh well. I also keep trying to even it out, but everytime we've washed it or combed it out, it gets uneven again because his hair has moved. I've decide to stop trying to even it out before I'm left with a boy who only has a topknot of hair left. While this is a very traditional Chinese haircut, it's just not what I was hoping the little man's hair would look like.

The things that make you go hmm...

One of Acer's favorite outfits to request is "baba" pants (corduroys) and a polo shirt. I wasn't sure why he liked to wear his various shirts and pants that go by those two descriptions. Yesterday I figured out why. Even though we'd never told him that Bill wears polo shirts to work, he does. Acer (correctly) told me I was wearing a polo shirt yesterday after feeling the fabric. Therefore; Acer knows Bill wears polos and cords and Acer wants to wear them together just like Bill does.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Playing in the snow

It finally snowed here over the weekend, and we were able to go out in the snow the other day. I decided that doing a "snow walk" would be best, and get the little man out and walking, and allow him some practice navigating in his snow pants and snow boots.

It also was raining, so I found out for sure that he likes rain when he took off his hood and held out his hands, looking up into the rain, and just saying "rain" with a happy look on his face. I can't wait until the spring/summer warm rains, so he can go out and play in them.

That day, I was asked to look at the sound system at the church where Heather and I were married, and mum was asked to watch Acer while he napped. While there, the new pastor said, "You are coming to the potluck, aren't you?" So I was able to head home, and get ready, get Acer, and bring him back, just in time for the meal. I found that he will eat just about anything put in front of him, as he ate: BBQ meatballs, Chicken w/ gravy and stuffing, Sausage with sauerkraut, chili, and fruit. I was able to get the chicken wings before the little locust was able to eat those too... :) Well, I am glad he liked all the foods. After the meal, uncle James took him around to meet people of the church, and they ended up in the church library, where Acer played the piano, it looks like he will be learning that one before too long.

Well, i have to get to work, so I will wrap up this post with the images of that day, all wrapped in a slideshow.