Friday, February 22, 2013

Adoption Finalization

This morning was our adoption finalization hearing.  We officially adopted TongJie as our son on May 8 in China, but the US finalization that we did this morning makes it so he can get a US birth certificate, which will make things easier than only having a Chinese birth certificate.  The finalization is not required, but our adoption agency strongly recommends adoptive families to do it because it makes it so much easier for the child when he gets older and does school sports, applies for a job, or anything like that.  So, now it's doubly official that TongJie is part of our family!  We invited family members to attend the hearing and it was fairly quick and easy, and TongJie did a great job.

We had to wait for a little while before the hearing.  TongJie played with Grandparents and cousins, and tried on YeYe's hat.

When the judge came in, the hearing got started.

Here we are at the end, with our attorney and the judge:

It was fun that my sister and her family got to attend the hearing.  They just happened to be visiting from Montana this week, so it was neat that they got to be there.

Just like always, TongJie has been loving to go outside.  He can hear the door open from anywhere in the house and comes running.  He gets especially jealous when Albert gets to go out but he doesn't.  We've had a few days of really nice spring-like weather, perfect for going for nice long walks.

TongJie hadn't been in his stroller since probably September, and we pulled it out the other day.  We noticed how much bigger he is in it now!

Here's a picture from last May for comparison:

After being pushed in the stroller for awhile, TongJie decided that he wanted to get out and walk.  Then he pushed it for awhile!

We had lunch outside the other day, and TongJie got a kick out of that.

Last week we had a fun Valentine's Day dinner.  We had heart-shaped pizza (with a crust made from cauliflower, cottage cheese, and eggs), gelatin hearts, radishes, and salad:

Me and Jeff thought the dinner was great, but TongJie wasn't as impressed as we were.  He doesn't like pizza very much (even pizza with real crust), which is funny because it's my favorite.  He was also disappointed that the radishes were not fruit.

The other day after putting TongJie to bed, I came out of his bedroom to find Chestnut and Albert together on the couch.  It's so rare for them to be this close together that I took a picture:

Good old Albert!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!  We went to a celebration this evening with many local families who have children from China.  We had a great time!  There was a potluck with lots of Chinese food that people brought, but also some pizza for the picky eaters.  TongJie loved the rice, Chinese noodles, and the fruit.  There were some snake crafts for the kids to do, since this is the year of the snake, and also a story for the kids and mostly just a great time of hanging out with other families who we don't know very well but have an instant connection with.  Me and Jeff were both really surprised with how many families there are in the area who have children from China!  I don't know how many families were there tonight, but there were at least 15 Chinese kids, plus several biological kids as well.  Before tonight, we only knew three of the families - the Carlsons, the Davises, and the Lewises, but now we know a lot more, although it's hard to keep straight which kids go with which parents when you're first meeting a whole bunch of new people.  They were talking about having another get-together this summer, which would be really fun to get to see everybody twice a year instead of just once.  And, oh my goodness, TongJie had SO MUCH FUN tonight! He loved the balloons that all the kids were playing with, and he just had a great time trying to do what all the other kids were doing.  He's getting so much better around crowds now, and he just fits right in with all the kids.  I wish I could post more pictures from the celebration, but most of my pictures have other kids in them and I wouldn't want to be posting photos of other people without permission.  Anyway, it was a fun evening, but TongJie was pretty wound up when we got home, and even though he was in bed by about 7:30, he didn't fall asleep until 9:00!

Here are some photos of TongJie in his shirt that we got for him in China.  It's still way too big and we even cuffed the sleeves, so you can see that it should fit him for awhile.  There are pants that go with it, but they're still so big on him that they don't stay up, so he wore regular black pants to the party tonight (and no pants for the pictures at home!).

The weather has been nice so we've been outside a lot more.

Last summer, we got a balance bike at a yard sale.  It's a little bike with no pedals and is supposed to teach kids how to ride a bike without training wheels.  It looks like a pretty nice little bike, and I even went on to the company's website and looked at that model (the Mini Glider) and they're normally like $100, so we got a really good deal.  Apparently toddlers can use these bikes and some people have even said that their 18-month-olds have been able to learn how to ride them.  However, there is no way that TongJie's feet even come close to reaching the ground when he's sitting on the seat!  I mean, I know he's small for a 2 1/2 year old, but he's not that much smaller than most 18 month olds.  It looks like the seat should be able to be adjusted lower, but it can't.  Maybe that's why it was so cheap at a yard sale, ha ha!  We're a little disappointed, because if you look at the picture, it looks like he has quite a bit of growing to do before it will be useful to him, and we were hoping he'd be able to use it this spring and summer.  At least we didn't pay the full price for it!

Here's TongJie at his growth chart recently:

And reading . . . on our new couch, I might add:

Yesterday, TongJie was being silly and accidentally fell off of his little car, but he didn't get hurt.  Then he must have thought it was funny, so he kept climbing onto his car and falling off on purpose, over and over again.  He cracks us up with his silly antics!  So I got the flip cam out and recorded him "falling," and then he would fall off of his car, come over to me to watch the video (and laugh hysterically, of course), and then go climb onto his car so he could fall off and do it all over again.  I'm glad he's so easily entertained . . . and so are me and Jeff, apparently!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not-so-dreary January and February

January and February are usually my least favorite months of the year because the weather is cold and dreary, but this year we've been having a lot of fun despite not being able to go outside much.  Having a (usually) cheerful two year old around makes even the most mundane days more exciting!

The other day, I was looking for a fun indoor project for TongJie and decided to let him play with some dry noodles.  The only type we had were spaghetti noodles so I broke them up a little and he had a great time moving them into different containers.  It didn't take too long to sweep them up when he was done, but we kept finding noodles for a few days after that.  Since then we've gotten shell noodles, which are a lot easier to keep track of.

Last week at dinner, Jeff put on one of TongJie's bibs, much to the delight of TongJie.  When I tried to get a picture, however, TongJie was more interested in eating than he was in Daddy's bib.  He still loves to eat.

Speaking of eating, we finished the "Whole 30" at the end of January, so now we're eating more of a variety of foods again.  We decided, though, that we'd like to stick to a diet of less processed (more natural) foods, at least at home.  So we got rid of our sugar and flour.  We still have things like oatmeal and rice around, mostly for TongJie, but we're using only maple syrup and honey for natural sweeteners, and almond or coconut flour as substitutes for wheat flour.  Awhile ago, we saw a recipe for homemade marshmallows here and have been wanting to try it, so yesterday we did.  It was fun to make and turned out really good.  TongJie had a good time watching the process, and then licking a beater after I was done using the mixer.


We had to let the marshmallows sit for several hours to dry out before cutting, but now they're all done and cut into squares and look like this:

Me and Jeff are planning to try roasting a couple over our stovetop after TongJie is in bed to see if they react the same as store-bought marshmallows!  It's 8:45 and Jeff is still in TongJie's room trying to get him to sleep.  We've been taking turns staying in his room until he's asleep lately.  He didn't sleep well last night and then took a really long (and late!) nap this afternoon so we purposely put him to bed later than usual tonight, but it's still taking him awhile to wind down and fall asleep.

In other news, TongJie has been loving baths lately!  Filling the entire tub with water is still a little much for him, so we continue to use his plastic tub that we bought at Shopko last summer - we just fill up his little tub with water inside the bathtub and sometimes he's happy playing in there for over an hour.

TongJie has been having a great time at Grandma's on the days I'm teaching.  When I get him up in the mornings, he can tell now if it's a day that I have school, I think because he notices that I'm wearing nicer clothes (ha ha!) and I have my school ID badge on.  Then he usually points to me and signs "work," and when I tell him that he's right and I have to go to work, he signs "Grandma," and then "play."  He's got it figured out!  He's been helping Grandma make bread,

and cooking with his kitchen set that's at Grandpa and Grandma's house.

I love this picture where he's trying to feed the dog a piece of meat that he cooked:

Grandpa saved a nut container for TongJie, and you can tell how serious he is about opening and closing it.

Here is a picture of Jeff and TongJie at Starbucks last week:

And enjoying an apple before bed