Monday, July 30, 2012


Well, we decided it was finally time to give TongJie a haircut.  I hadn't really been looking forward to it, because I didn't know how he would respond to the clippers, but his hair was getting pretty long and scraggly.  We don't think he'd ever had hair that long before, and lately he had been feeling the back of his head like it felt strange to have all that hair, so we decided it was time to give him a short summer haircut.  We got out the clippers and showed him, and he came right over and sat on my lap like if he knew exactly what they were for - he probably had lots of haircuts in the orphanage.  We ended up putting him in his highchair and he did quite well for most of the haircut, until the end when we were trying to get it trimmed up around his ears, so that part is not really to my liking.  It turned out pretty good for our first time though!  I think he'll be happy to feel cooler in this hot weather.  Here are a few pictures of his new haircut:

(If you want to see what it looked like before, just go back a couple of posts to the pictures of TongJie eating the raspberries and you can see the difference!)

It was such a nice evening to be out in our backyard, and Jeff and TongJie did a little swinging.

TongJie thinks it's fun to sit in big chairs now, so Jeff helped him up onto a lawn chair.  It looks like they were deep in conversation:

And here's a picture of Jeff giving TongJie a snack yesterday after his nap.  TongJie is usually sad when he wakes up from his naps, and it takes a little while for him to cheer up.  Usually his bottle and a little snack will help!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Backcountry goat shirts

I like the company for their outdoor clothing and gear.  We haven't bought a ton of stuff from them because outdoor gear is so expensive, but when we do buy something it's usually from backcountry because they have pretty reasonable prices.  And I always get their free goat stickers whenever I can.  Their logo is the distinctive "backcountry goat", as you can see in this photo of my stash of free stickers:

One of my favorite tee shirts is a Backcountry shirt with the goat logo.  That shirt even went to the Great Wall with us while we were in China.  So, I decided that TongJie and Jeff should have goat shirts, too.  We got some plain tee shirts and I did a freezer paper stencil of the backcountry goat for each one and used fabric paint to paint the design onto the shirts.  I've done freezer paper stenciling before, so this wasn't my first time.  I think it's fun to do, and as long as you're patient enough to cut out your design with an exacto knife, you can pretty much make as intricate of a design as you want.  The goat isn't very intricate, so it didn't take too long for these.  TongJie's is a blue shirt with a green goat, and Jeff's is a grey shirt with a maroon goat.  Now we each have our own goat shirt, and I'll have to work on trying to get a picture of the three of us together in our shirts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The last of the raspberries

Our raspberry patch is about done producing for the season . . . we'll miss being able to go out in the yard and pick nice juicy raspberries whenever we want, but it was sure fun for the past several weeks!  Here are some photos of TongJie enjoying some of the last berries from our bushes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another sewing project

I made some shorts for TongJie from an old shirt of Jeff's that he didn't want anymore.  First, I did a practice from one of my many old Lincoln Rock polo shirts.  The practice shorts turned out alright, but I didn't take any pictures because they're kind of boring.  The "real" shorts, on the other hand, look much more interesting.  I used the existing shirt pocket as a pocket on the shorts, but I put it in the front because I figured TongJie will actually be able to get some use out of it that way.  If it was a pocket in the back, he wouldn't even know it was there.  I also sewed on a couple of tags from the shirt for a more authentic look.  I'm pretty happy with how the shorts turned out, and now I know how to do it - it's actually really easy.  Since TongJie is so short, I'll be able to make shorts and pants that fit him correctly if I want to, now that I know how.  Here's a front view of the shorts:

And the back:

And some photos of the model wearing them while trying out his kazoo:

I felt like I hemmed them pretty short, and you can see from the pictures that they're still kind of long on TongJie, but not too long like most of his store-bought shorts are right now.

Lately, it's been difficult for us to get photos of TongJie because he's learned that he can see pictures and videos of himself on the camera and he loves looking at them, so every time he catches sight of one of us having the camera out, he makes a beeline for it.  It makes it hard to get good pictures, so we have to try to sneak pictures of him when he's not looking, or else have the camera ready and quickly take a picture before he can start heading for the camera.

I did get a photo of him looking out the window of his cardboard box house:

And here's a little video clip that illustrates what I was talking about above.  In the video, you can see TongJie completely happy playing by himself (and even singing along to the radio) but the instant he sees me with the camera, he suddenly REALLY wants to be right there looking at pictures of himself.  Silly kid!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another visit to Seattle Children's Hospital

We've had a busy past couple of days!  Yesterday, TongJie had appointments at Seattle Children's Hospital from 9:45 to about 2:30.  We saw an audiologist, a pediatrician, a dietitian, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), a craniofacial nurse, and an occupational therapist.  Whew!  Mainly, the purpose of this visit was for a checkup with TongJie's growth to see if he's making enough progress to schedule his palate surgery, and also to determine if he needs ear tubes put in at the time of the surgery.  The answers to both questions were yes, so we're glad we got that figured out.  The best news is that TongJie has been growing well, which is what we were hoping for.  His height and weight both went up from where they were at his last appointment, which was below the first percentile.  Now he weighs 21 lb, 7 oz, which puts him in about the 4th percentile, and he's 30.8" tall, which puts him almost to the 2nd percentile.  His weight for height is now in the 31st percentile, which is a huge improvement from before, and right about where it should be.  We got the impression that they're still a bit concerned about his height, but later when we saw our pediatrician he said that it's pretty normal that he's gaining more weight first and he'll probably spurt up in height pretty soon.  His palate surgery will be scheduled for the fall sometime, but we haven't got an exact date yet.

In addition to the growth and diet stuff, the audiologist determined that it appears TongJie has some hearing loss and his eardrums aren't vibrating like they should be, most likely due to fluid behind them.  This is very common for people with a cleft palate, so it's pretty much what we were expecting.  Getting tubes in his ears should help a lot.  The ENT doc said what he is experiencing with his hearing is similar to what it would be like for you or I to have earplugs in constantly - the sounds are muffled but he can still hear, although he can hear better in a quiet environment than he can when there is a lot of background noise.

TongJie fell asleep for about 20 minutes before our lunch break, but then he was more chipper for the appointments in the afternoon, after he'd had a little power nap and eaten some lunch.  After finishing up at Children's, we had an appointment with Dr. Davies at the UW medical center at 3:30.  Needless to say, it was a long day . . . but TongJie was a trooper!  We really like Dr. Davies and he had a lot of positive things to say about TongJie's growth and development.  He said he's glad to see TongJie getting a "buddha belly."  Dr. Davies' nurse weighed TongJie with his diaper and all his clothes on, plus it was after he ate a lot, so he weighed 22 lbs at the UW appointment which put him up into an even higher percentile, but I suppose the weight where he was naked was a little more accurate.

It was amazing so see the difference in TongJie's disposition at his appointments this time around compared to May 21 and 22, when we were there last time!  Everyone was commenting about how happy he was.  It sure made the trip much more enjoyable to have a happy kiddo instead of a distraught crying one.  He did have to get more blood drawn, and of course that was not a fun experience, but he recovered quickly.  I forgot to bring the camera when we went to Children's and UW, so we don't have any pictures of that.

We were so blessed to have the opportunity to stay with our friends Doug and Erika who have a little guest cottage that they generously offered for us to stay in.  They have two boys, and TongJie is between the ages of the two boys, so it was fun to interact with them a little bit.  And of course TongJie loved playing with their toys!  And he did a great job sleeping in his Pack and Play away from home and in a different environment.  Here are a couple of pictures of him (wearing his pajamas and his hat) in the guest cottage where we stayed.

We also had the opportunity to visit with some other dear friends, Kenny and Charity, and to meet their new little girl who was born in May.  We really enjoyed getting to catch up with them and had a great time!

Today is our 8th anniversary, so we celebrated by stopping at REI on the way home.  That was pretty fun.  Too bad nice outdoor gear is so expensive.  It was fun to look around though, and we did buy one pair of shorts.  Here's a picture of Jeff and TongJie at the REI store.

We got back home from our little trip today, and it sure is nice to be home.  I guess we're the type of people who enjoy being at home and don't like to be away that much.  But it was a fun trip, nonetheless.

Here are a couple of other pictures from a few days ago:  TongJie wearing my gardening gloves, and showing off his "buddha belly" while chilling on the couch with Jeff and Albert.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lake Wenatchee

We took a little trip to Lake Wenatchee on Thursday morning.  TongJie loved playing in the sand and water!

And here are some pictures of TongJie picking raspberries this morning in our back yard.  I'm surprised he hasn't gotten tired of them yet, with the number of raspberries he's been eating!

And he got a little wet from splashing in his water tub.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot weather, and a new hat!

Wow, the weather here has been hot!  I like hot weather, but it's been hard for TongJie to sleep.  We have an air conditioner in our living room, so we've been leaving TongJie's bedroom door open at night and during his nap so some of the cooler air gets into his room.  That's been working pretty well.  We went to Wenatchee Confluence State Park on Saturday with my parents and also with my sister and her kiddos before they traveled back to Montana.  The water in the river was really high, as you can see from the way the picnic tables are partially submerged in the photo below.  TongJie surprised us all by wanting to go wading in the cold water.  Good thing we had an extra diaper cover on hand so he could wade, because he got in the water all the way up to his chest.  And even Albert went swimming!

We also played at the playground for a little while.

Because of the hot weather, we haven't been able to go outside as much, but we've still been getting some walks in.  Yesterday morning, I took TongJie jogging in his stroller before it got hot - I guess it's a good thing he likes to get up early!  Later in the morning, the three of us got to go visit a new friend and had a great time.  Goldyn is also adopted from China, and her family traveled to China to meet her and pick her up almost two years ago.  She's about a year and a half older than TongJie and very sweet.  I would say that TongJie had fun playing with Goldyn, but it would be more accurate to say that he had fun playing with Goldyn's toys, since he doesn't really interact with other kids yet.  I'm sure it won't be long and they'll be playing together for real.  Goldyn did such a good job sharing her toys and helping TongJie up the stairs!

I haven't had my sewing machine out since a month or so before we went to China, so I've been wanting to do a sewing project lately, especially since we've been inside a lot during the day because of the hot weather.  So, I decided to try making a hat for TongJie.  He's been showing a lot of interest in hats lately, and I found an easy pattern online that uses an old t-shirt, so I gave it a try today.  It turned out a little more military looking than I'd had in mind, partly due to the color of shirt that I used.  Now that I've given it a whirl, I'd like to make another one in a lighter color and try to figure out how to get the bill to stick out better instead of pointing down like this one does.  TongJie actually wore his new hat quite a bit this afternoon, but when I got the camera out he decided he'd had enough of the hat and kept taking it off.  You get the idea, anyway.

That's all for now.  I hope everybody is staying cool in this hot weather!