Monthly Archives June 2007

Embracing the Southwest


Maddie’s first words off the airplane….”Mommy, it’s really hot.”

Our trip down to the Southwest in the middle of summer has given Maddie the “opportunity” to appreciate the finer things in life – like air conditioning for example! Just in the nick of time, a new air conditioner was installed a few hours before we arrived and her Grandma Dotty’s house was plenty cool when we finally made it home. Before heading home from the airport, we headed to Texas Roadhouse for some excellent steaks. My mom sat there most of the time in complete awe of Maddie as she was having REAL conversations about REAL things – her vocabulary has simply sky rocketed over the past few months.

Our first full day in Tucson was spent running from air conditioned place to air conditioned place...

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A Beautiful Oregon Day!

Today we jumped on the MAX train in Hillsboro and made our way down to the Rose City and the Portland Saturday Market. It’s a great place to find cool things by local artists. Today we found a bracelet for Maddie where the artist resized it just for her. Amazingly, she wore it all day long and it was torture getting it off her wrist at bedtime. We also found some great flannels for both Maddie and Amelia for when we come home at Christmas time. I do think that Maddie’s most special find was the balloon man. I’m still amazed that she has conversations with people she doesn’t know, but the though of getting a flower balloon hat definitely got rid of all inhibitions!!!

When we left the Saturday Market, we made our way to Dan and Louis Oyster Bar...

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How Old Were You When…..??


You Learned How to Use a Mouse?

I was in 7th grade and I first learned how to use it in art class! We’ve spent a total of 6 hours in the Apple Store at the Genius Bar over the past two days because our Mac has been sick. I’ll spare you the details, but I will share with you that 6 hours simply was not enough for Maddie Anna. The Apple Store has four computers set up for children to experiment with software. Maddie was like white on rice when it came to the computers. At first I thought she was just trying to “pretend” that she knew what she was doing. But when she skillfully used the mouse to select several different pieces of software and when she skillfully maneuvered her way through the programs, I was amazed.

Thanks to my friend, Jeff Utecht, and his blog, The Thinking Stick, for...

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Shrimps for Dinner

Here’s what I know:

Maddie is an interesting kid that never ceases to just plain shock me. After a big day of moving, cleaning, fixing computers, etc… the three of us went to Orenco Grill for dinner. Andy’s dad, Earl, gave us a 50% off card so we decided to splurge a bit! Maddie feasted on peel and eat shrimp. Everytime I see her eat shrimp, I’m just amazed. She loves seafood… salmon (cooked or raw sushi) and shrimp are her favorites.

Enjoy your shrimp for dinner while we’re in America Maddie! It will be a Sunday brunch in Shanghai before you get it again! :)

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Brothers to Build!


We thought it fitting to have Connor and Sam stay with us for the first night in our new home. As soon as Maddie found out that they were coming over, she kept saying over and over and over, “I love them.” Of course, they scored major points in her world when they helped assemble the new bunk beds! Connor is natural builder of things and didn’t hesitate once in picking up the power tools to put the bed together. Maddie watched and kept saying that it was “amazing” which is her new word!

Once we got the sheets on the beds, she had to try out both top and bottom bunks. As you can see, her smile was much bigger when she was on the top bunk. All the stickers warn not to let children under 6 sleep on the top bunk, but she may convince us yet!

The day was wonderful and I’m glad that Maddie...

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Maddie’s Move In Day!

Just because you have a new house, doesn’t mean you get to move in!! You have to get some of the comforts of home in the place or it’s just a big empty shell. What strikes me the most in a new house is the empty wall space, but I just need to remind myself that the walls have to create their own memories and tell their own stories – you can’t force it! So, memory number one:

New TV in the background, complete with cable. Old TV on the floor, completely turned off. What does the old TV offer that the new TV doesn’t? A REFLECTION! Every chance she could, Maddie grabbed the cord and held it like a microphone as she sang her heart out to her reflection in the TV screen...

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Happy Father’s Day Deputy Dad!

We jet lagged through father’s day quite well this year! I was just commenting to my mom-in-law that this has been the easiest trip for jet-lagging yet. I think it’s because Maddie is on the exact same schedule we are on as far at sleep goes. She was a trooper on Father’s Day because we are literally running around at top speeds trying to get “things” for our house. We got the big things purchased yesterday (Saturday) like a refrigerator, washer, dryer, one full size bed and two twin beds …. phew. Today we focused on the “little” stuff like sheets to go on those beds, Tide to put in the washer and dryer.

We spent late afternoon over at Andy’s sister’s house. Maddie’s Aunt Susan is the ultimate entertainer and has everything you would ever need for guests of all ages...

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Maddie Can SHOP!!!!

I have to admit that I don’t like shopping that much. I’m not a window shopper. I’m one of those people that likes to get in there – get out with what you wanted in the first place – and then be done with it. Let me tell you, that way of thinking does not lend itself to furnishing your first house.

Maddie has gone almost everywhere with us for the past four days. She has been to Home Depot twice. She has been to Macy’s four times (though one time she was being…. um, three… and daddy removed her from the store after one of those infamous Wang Dang Dingers). She has been to Costco three times, George Smith Warehouse twice, Bombay once, and Sam Levitz once. She has been our official “Jumpability Tester” and has jumped on twin mattresses, full mattresses, and numerous couches...

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It’s All About Connections….


TCK.

It seems as if it’s THE buzz phrase in international education these days. Expat children are growing us a Third Culture Kids. We saw this when we lived in Saudi Arabia for four years. Most of our kids were from Pakistan and India, yet they attended an American curriculum school and talked like they were from the Midwest or California. They didn’t belong in their “home” countries, yet they didn’t belong in America… they belonged in a third culture which seemed very ambiguous.

Maddie’s dad an I are always talking about how we are choosing to raise Maddie. We want her to grow up internationally to have first hand contact with other cultures on a daily basis, yet we recognize the value of what we grew up with...

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What’s Your Flight Plan?

The night before we fly, I always get Maddie’s goodie bag together. She may not know it, but I have a flight plan for her that keeps her entertained!
Contents:
coloring books
crayons
markers
books
stickers
dvd player
movies
sticky notes
plastic scissors
Sudoku book (hey, she’s my kid!)
juice
crackers….

I secretly knew that this flight would be a bit different though. Andy and I had saved enough miles so that we could upgrade to Business Class for the long haul back to the States. Maddie jumped into a Business Class seat and waited for me to ask her to move because that’s what I always do!! But when I didn’t ask her to move – I saw stars in her eyes!!!!!

The pilot walked by Maddie and said, “well doesn’t that look like the little princess in the big princess chair?” He asked her if she wanted to co...

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Maddie’s First Year of School


On Maddie’s first full day of school back in August she sported her Fighting Illini orange dress that her Grandpa Bill had picked out for her. She had her pink Hello Kitty backpack, her Tevas, and she was really ready to go. We didn’t make a big deal out of going to school because she has been doing everyday and I really think that this helped her transition a bit better. I did catch her taking a few moments of quiet reflection though right before she entered the school gate. All of the other mom’s were dropping off their children as well and I could immediately tell that I was thankful that Maddie has grown up in schools...

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Warning… Warning… We’re Going to Carrefour


You must prepare yourself mentally before heading to Carrefour in China. We’ve been to Carrefour in several cities, including Prague, Paris and even in a major city in Bahrain, but those outings never came close to what you experience when you go in China. The few foreigners I see in there are usually the ones new to China because the experienced ones know to stay away at all costs. Carrefour does have things that no other store has though so sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet. As the last expat I saw in Carrefour said to her driver dude, “Mr. Wan – remind me to drink heavily before coming here next time.” (I write that in Maddie’s blog because I know that someday she will understand.)

As always, Maddie is a HUGE attraction...

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Maddie Wanted to Get Her Teeth Cleaned!

When Maddie got her first tooth, the first thing I thought of was what her first trip to the dentist would look like. I had visions of pinning the poor child down as she cried when the only good thing about it was that at least her mouth was open from the crying.

In May 2006 when Maddie was two years old, we tried to take her to the dentist for the first time. We took around 5:00 at night after she woke up from her nap. We were rushed – she always wakes up cranky from naps (she gets that from her dad!), and she was hungry. The dentist was somebody we had never met before and was way too animated for Maddie’s taste so Maddie acted accordingly and refused to open her mouth for any purpose. We didn’t push her and said we would try again someday.

Someday was today.

All three of us went t...

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Kids Say the Darndest Things!


Maddie already has Amelia sleeping the garage. Is that bad?

A few weeks ago, we bought a crib for Amelia’s arrival in September. We have not painted her room yet and still have a queen size bed in there so it’s all set up in the garage just waiting to be moved upstairs. A few days ago, Angel and Tony’s delivered the changing table and dresser that we had made for Amelia’s room. Again, it’s in the garage because her room is not ready for the furniture yet. So when I came home from work earlier this week and showed Maddie the painting that one of my students had made for Amelia, I suggested that we go up and put it in Amelia’s room. Maddie quickly exclaimed, “I’ll help mommy” and proceeded to take the painting out into the garage!

I asked Maddie if Amelia was sleeping in the garage and...

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Maddie’s Minute Soars!


It has been awhile since I posted. Maddie still has a lot to say about what is going on in her life, but the end of the school year has left her “personal assistant” otherwise engaged with correcting papers and writing maternity sub plans!

We are on the final countdown though to heading home for the summer which means you’ll get tales from all of our summer destinations. I’ll update when I can, but I did run across this cool little widget while I was procrastinating at work today! Thanks to Beckett’s Blog for the insight!

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