We celebrated Chinese New Year over the weekend with a big home cooked Chinese meal. I had a great time finding new recipes to cook, and my mom and I took Anna Grace to the international grocery stores to shop for ingredients. Then, we invited Mike's parents and my parents to eat with us. We had so much fun in the kitchen with everyone pitching-in to cook the meal. We made baked spareribs, dumplings, fried rice, chicken with vegetables in a brown sauce, and a platter of sliced oranges and dragon fruit. Everything turned out delicious! I set the table with the Chinese tableware that my dad bought for my mom when I was a child. Each place setting also had a traditional red envelope with chocolate coins inside, since it is a New Year tradition to give money in red envelopes. I used the lanterns and tea set that we bought in China last May. We also had the little yogurt drinks and fruit jello cups that Anna Grace loved to eat in China.
I think everyone enjoyed trying new foods and learning about new customs. We will still celebrate Chinese New Year with the mentor students at our local university, but that will not be for several more weeks.
The kids have been having a great time playing in the snow with the other kids in the neighborhood. Mike and some of other dads made a ramp in the backyard so that the kids will go air born when they sled down the hill. I can hardly get them to come inside to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. As soon as they come in and I throw their clothes in the drier, they are asking to go back out.
We find that we are constantly laughing at Anna Grace and the way that she says things. She still insists on calling snow, "snow man." She calls her snow suit "snow man suit." Her new favorite game is hide and seek, which she calls "hide and see me." She loves to run and hide behind the curtains and yell out, "One, two, three, four, ready or not come find me!" Of course you can always find her because she hides in the same places every time and is often times wearing her squeaky shoes.
Anna Grace started taking her little dance class last week. She was the only one that was able to attend the first class, but she really enjoyed it. I was worried that she would not be ready to keep up with the expectations of the class since she is still a little behind in her motor skills, but her teacher said that she did great the first day, and she thinks Anna Grace will do fine. I am sure she will love her dance class even more when she is not the only student.
I took Anna Grace to the doctor's last Friday for her final round of vaccinations. When we came home from China, the pediatrician recommended that we start completely over with her shots since her shot records from China were very vague and we weren't sure what she had been given. She had her last 3 shots on Friday, and she is finally on a normal vaccinations schedule like any other 2 year old. It is a relief to get her caught up, though for the first time she started crying, "No boo boos!" when she saw the shots. I am glad that we don't have to put her through that again for a long time.
My sweet boys have had a great week full of accomplishments. They each got report cards yesterday, and they have made so much progress. Cole made all "A's" (which is expected of him), and once again, he had a 100 average in science. He also got a great report from his gifted teacher and received a notice that he will be getting an award on Wednesday. We don't know what his award is yet, but whatever it is, I am proud of him. He had his first basketball game this evening, and he played really hard. He is not an aggressive kid, so team sports are difficult for him. But, he gave it is best effort tonight, passed the ball to his teammates,and scored for his team.
Alex also did a great job on his report card. It is really hard to get an "E" with the new criteria that the teachers have to follow, but he made "E's" in 4 out of 5 subjects. Alex also received the award for the most reading minutes in his class for the quarter. Last quarter he was in the top 3 readers, but he was #1 this time. We continue to need to work on his writing skills and staying quiet during working times. If you know Alex, you know that he loves to talk and make people laugh. No matter how many consequences we give him at home, he still has a hard time keeping quiet at school.
Both boys have major school projects that they are now working on for school, so we spent the afternoon at the library. Alex has to research Martin Luther King, Jr. while Cole is beginning his first science fair project. I realized today as we were driving to the library that this is the first of at least four years in a row that we will have to do a science fair project for either Cole and Alex. Ugh, I do not look forward to that many science fair projects!
Anna Grace will start taking a little dance class this week, so we spent some time in her room tonight trying on her new leotard and tights. That of course led to dressing up in some of the other little outfits she got for Christmas. I was really disappointed when we went to sign up for dance class and the only class available was on Wednesday mornings. I really wanted to be the one to take her to dance, but Megan, Anna Grace's sitter, will be the one to take her each week. Megan will be armed with a camera and video camera though so that I can see how precious Anna Grace and the other little "dancers" are twirling around in their tutus.
The box that Anna Grace is standing on in this picture is one of my recent projects in her room. I put together a special box for her with the outfit that she was wearing when she came to us, her plane tickets home, all of the cards that people sent to us congratulating us on our adoption, and many other things that I thought would be meaningful to Anna Grace in the future. I also included the special photo album that her orphanage put together of pictures taken in the weeks before she came to us. I hope that Anna Grace will love looking through all of her treasured belongings someday when she is old enough to understand her story.