Saturday, December 13, 2014

The next fall

Hi everybody!  I was planning to post something new on the blog every season or so, but obviously that is not happening, ha ha!  We ve been busy, but having a good time.  Life with a four year old is great!  TongJie is in preschool at St. Paul's Lutheran School this year and has a wonderful teacher.  Here he is on the first day of school:

And here is TongJie's school photo from this year:

We recently had a visit with TongJie's cleft team at Seattle Children's Hospital.  It was a very long day - he saw a lot of different specialists: Audiologist, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor, Surgeon, Speech Language Pathologist, and Pediatrician.  Things are looking pretty good, and it sounds like he will be having another surgery sometime in the next few months.  We are still waiting for Children's to schedule the surgery so we don't have a date yet.  It will not be nearly as major of a surgery as the palate repair a couple years ago.  This one will be a lip surgery to correct the direction the muscles are pulling (right now the muscles are pulling his lip up towards his nose).  This will also lay the foundation for sometime down the road when TongJie will have surgery on his nose.

Looking back further, we had a great summer and fall.  Aside from the summer of 2012 when we adopted TongJie, this was the first summer since Jeff and I have known each other (14 years or so I guess - wow!) that neither of us was working or going to school.  So, we got to enjoy a lot of family time together going to parks, hiking, camping, and just being together.  It was fun!  Then, at the end of the summer, we celebrated TongJie's fourth birthday.  Earlier in the summer, we had bought a wooden train set at a yard sale and we'd been saving it for his birthday present.  It did not disappoint!  He loves it, and still plays with it all the time.  To say that TongJie is interested in trains is an understatement.  Like many little boys, he absolutely loves all things train related.

Also over the summer, we tore down the old shed in our backyard and got a new one built.  We really like the new shed!  It has windows, a storage loft, a workbench for tools and projects, and space to work out.

Here are other pictures of things we've been up to:

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fall and Winter

Hello, everyone!  I guess I'm not much of a blogger anymore because the last time I updated the blog was in October and it's already March!  Here are some highlights of the past few months:

TongJie started preschool in early November.  He attends 2 mornings per week and loves it!  We weren't planning on having him do preschool this year, but TongJie's speech therapist recommended that we have him assessed when he turned three to see if he would qualify for attending for free because of his speech delays.  He qualified, and the two mornings per week fit really well with our schedule, so we decided to go for it, and he's doing great.  He loves his teacher and the other kids in his class and looks forward to preschool days.
TongJie's first day of preschool (I let him choose where to stand for the photo and this was his choice)

In December, we began taking care of our sweet nephew and niece (Jeff's brother's kiddos) a couple of days a week in the afternoons and evenings.  They are in 2nd grade and kindergarten, and we love getting to spend so much time with them now.  It was a difficult adjustment for TongJie at first, but it's so good for him to regularly spend time with his cousins, and he's doing great with having them around now.

We had a wonderful Christmas break with lots of family time together and no really big plans.  It was nice to take it easy and reconnect for a couple of weeks before going back into the routine of school and work.

In January, our good friends Damon and Lauren got married.  Jeff was the best man and TongJie was the ring bearer in their wedding.  It was a wonderful, fun wedding and TongJie took his job very seriously and did a great job.

Chinese New Year, in late January, was lots of fun!  We celebrated with many of the local families who have children adopted from China.  TongJie made a craft, listened to a story, ate lots of yummy food, and had a great time playing with the other kids.

TongJie loves to cut and glue, so he made this abstract piece of artwork that used lots of glue

The weather was strange this winter and we really didn't get much good snow till February.  We went to a local elementary school and sledded on a small hill.  The hill was just the right size for TongJie: fun, but not too scary!

TongJie is working hard and doing fantastic with his speech and language.  He speaks in sentences all the time now, and he's getting easier and easier to understand.  He has mastered the p, b, and d sounds, and is working on t, g, and k pretty hard right now.  It's sometimes a little bit sad when he stops saying words the way he used to and starts saying them the right way, but I'm really proud of him.  For instance, he had been saying "wa wa" for "Grandma" and just recently started to say "Gramma" the right way and I sometimes miss hearing it the old way.  Another one is the word caboose; for a long time he said "pick-boose" but now he pronounces it more or less correctly.

Speaking of cabooses, TongJie is obsessed with trains right now!  He talks about trains all the time, reads train books, watches Thomas on YouTube whenever we let him, and makes anything he can into trains or train tracks.
TongJie driving a train

TongJie dressed up as a "little red caboose" - this was all his idea, including using a belt to hook to Daddy

Our nephews Drake and Levi (my sister's kids) have been visiting from out of town for a couple of weeks so that has been super fun!  They are staying with my parents while my sister and brother-in-law are in China adopting their little girl, so Jeff and I have a new niece and TongJie has a new cousin!  We haven't got to meet little Mei yet, but we've seen pictures of her and she's adorable.  A really neat thing is that she and TongJie share the same birthday, September 1, but Mei is one year younger than TongJie.  Drake and Levi are so good with TongJie, and I know they will be fantastic big brothers to Mei, but TongJie sure is going to miss them when they leave in a few days.

Here are some other photos of random things happening in late fall and winter:

Albert catching some rays of sunlight

TongJie eating a pear from the farmer's market in November (before we raked leaves!)

Yoda for Halloween

Luke Skywalker and Yoda

We switched up our Halloween costumes for the actual evening of Halloween.  For one thing, TongJie was "all done" with his Yoda costume.  For another thing, we went to run a 5k with the Run Wenatchee running club and thought our last year's superhero costumes were more appropriate for running.

Raking leaves with Grandpa in our backyard

Thanksgiving Turkey Run - it was cold!!

Good thing TongJie was bundled up

Making Valentine cards

Making Valentine cards