Thursday, December 30, 2010

Catch up

By Heather

We had our Alex here from Monday through today. We all love having her here, and wish she could stay longer, but dern that growing up and getting friends and a job and living a responsible life, she had to go back.:( Our house is quieter now, with fewer JieJie Alex! 's filling the air. When she's here, the kids are constantly calling her name, trying to get her attention and to share all the good things they know, with her; toys, food, songs, you name it, they want to share it.

Acer, well he loves her so much, that he starts planning all the things he wants to show her, in order, from early morning until she arrives. The instant the car pulls up in the driveway, the bouncing starts, and no one can get a word in edgewise until he has his say. His whole face is one big smile and he wants her to carry him everywhere.

Alex has a special place in Calli's heart, I think Alex was the first one of us she bonded strongly with while we were in China. Bill was only there for a few days, so she sort of bonded with him but then he had to leave. Alex was the one who broke through Calli's shell and got her to laugh and play. Calli is as excited as Acer, just calmer about it. Calli has to wait for Acer to go to bed, and the Alex is hers. Calli and Alex share Calli's full sized loft when she's here. It's one reason we got the full sized one, instead of just the twin.

Bill was pretty bummed this trip because he was flat out sick for so much of it. Alex only visits a few times a year, and for him to miss whole days.... They talk on the phone frequently but it's not the same as a good visit.

Me, I miss our Alex, I wish she could be here all the time, but she has her own life. It's good to see her growing up so well, getting the grades she needs to, making plans for the great unknown of her future.

Alex's Christmas was a bit more subdued than normal, as her big gift was her trip to China, and now she mainly gets smaller ones. I did find her a Chinese Tea set, like one we saw at the Bell Tower in Beijing where we saw the Tea ceremony, I also found two ornaments in her High school colors, large ornately decorated ornaments. Other than that, it was the standard stocking stuff.

My wonderful Nephew Brandon Joined us on Tues and will be staying through Saturday, much to the kids' delight. When the kids are awake, there is at least one kid near him at all times, and like the JieJie Alex's we hear, the Cousin Brandon's we hear are almost constant. It's always good when we can have Brandon and Alex at the same time, since Bill and I married, we've tried to arrange it that way, and they've grown into cousins who care about each other and talk at least once a week. Brandon's at University now, in his own apartment, so it's harder to get him here now too. Sigh, dern kids growing up.

When Brandon is here, Acer never wants to walk, he wants to be carried everywhere by his beloved Brandon. I think, despite 12 years difference in age, they have a special bond. Acer just totally thinks he is the best. Today in the car, Acer wanted Brandon to stop reading so they could have 'Good Conversation'. Acer's first question for Brandon, 'How do you make pools!' yep, never quite sure what exactly is going to come out of Acer's mouth, the things he thinks of...

Calli loves her Cousin Brandon, wants to snuggle right up to him and talk to him. If he's not walking and carrying Acer, he's walking hand in hand with Calli. She made him a couple special art pieces for him to take home to his apartment even. She worked really hard on them yesterday and today.

Brandon's Christmas present was a huge knitted blanket that took me forever. I'll (probably) never make another blanket that big with such small needles ever again. I actually started it in Fall of '09 but had to take breaks from it as it was driving me crazy at 20 minutes a row!

On the way to drop Alex off, we stopped in at Ikea. Calli had only been to Ikea in Guangzhou with Alex and myself, so it was new to her. We didn't have much time to do more than power walk through, eat, and power walk back. Acer was bummed because he wanted to go in smalland, but it was full. I picked up a few things, and then we left. We all like ikea, Acer, Alex, Brandon, Calli and Myself, but we do need more time to be able to enjoy ourselves.

On the way back, we stopped in at the church where Bill was practicing with the Praise Band. The kids waited until break time and then sang their infamous duet 'Rainbow Connection'. Calli has a clear voice, easily hitting the notes, Acer has a cute raspy voice, that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling about the song, like when Kermit the frog sang it. Combining them is just wonderful, Calli, so calm and composed, Acer so excited he literally bounces his way through the song (louder parts require faster bouncing). When they were done, the band clapped and whistled and cheered for them, Calli, happy and calm about it, Acer's his face was just glowing with the joy of the feedback of his performance.

We did discover a couple things, 1) Acer bounces faster than a camera click, either a cell phone or a stand alone camera, and 2) even in a video, he's a blur.

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