Monday, May 26, 2008

Oh Man!

Lilli's favorite English phrase has quickly become, "Oh Man"! She says it so perfectly ~ drawing out the man a little longer than needed with that special tone that is just like a shoulder shrug!

She says it when we tell her "no" to anything... She says it when her favorite Madeline video is over and I tell her it is nap time... it is her favorite!

This morning Lilli was coloring in her Dora coloring book. She loves to color and does a great job I might add! We all know that keeping crayons in a box is too much to ask for a 3 and 4 year old, so the Judge crayon stash is kept in a small wooden bowl. When the bowl starts to look empty, the supply is replenished from an even larger wicker basket in the computer room. Lots of little crayon pieces and parts at our house!

So... Lilli is coloring and knocks the crayons off the table... they go everywhere on the kitchen floor. She has done this several times in a row... and even though I continue to warn her to push the bowl to the center of the table... she likes it on the edge. So for the 3rd time, she is down on the floor cleaning them up and looks at me and says "Oh Man! ~ Mommy, this is a pain".
The crayons are now in the middle of the table!!!

Her grasp of language amazes me... and I have attempted to learn 2 "extra" languages in my life. It is not an easy task!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Birds and Bees .... Take 2!

About a month ago, I received a box from Daniel excitedly tore into it, only to find a few boxes of tampons, a bottle of Midol, and a few other odds and ends... nothing too thrilling for a 12 year old boy! What the contents did was create an opportunity for Daniel to ask me all about tampons. We are a pretty open family ~ you really have to be open and honest with your kids in this day and time. They have also covered all the bases in Health Class and have read all the best books on "those subjects" that are always hard for parents!
Daniel wanted a visual ~ Understandable as he is a visual learner. So, we opened a tampon and placed in in a cup that just so happen to be still sitting in the sink with about 1/4 cup of cold leftover coffee. Immediately, the tampon grew large and brown as the coffee disappeared from the cup. Daniel thought this was really cool but offered up his heartfelt condolences that Holly and I have to deal with this horrid experience called menstruation! He is so glad to be a boy!!!!

Fast forward a month, and Joe walks in from work with a few boxes! Daniel again pounces. He ripped open a few boxes to find a couple cool eBay purchases, but when it came to the last box ~ from ~ I told him to leave it be until our company left. He did question why... I simply said, "Personal Hygiene Products". He accepted that answer and moved on.

A few hours later, while we were eating dinner, Daniel all of the sudden remembered the box that remained unopened. He hurried to finish his last bite of meatloaf and asked to open the box... knowing that I had fibbed about the contents. I reassured him that it only contained tampons. His answer "But mom, you just got those last month. Do you really have to order more each month?" Needless to say, those of us around the table that "understand" were laughing so hard... poor Daniel... I guess it is back to the books for the Birds and the Bees... Take 2!

While typing that post... I thought of my favorite Tampon story ever! I have to share....

While living in Jakarta, I had a Canadian friend that had several teenage daughters. As with the rest of us ladies, when she returned from home leave each year, she was stocked up on feminine hygiene products. Indonesians do not use tampons... and finding them in a store was hit or miss. Anyway... my friend returned from Canada the end of one summer with a few cases of those very necessary female items. Her in laws happen to return with her to spend a month or so.

The in laws went into the guest bedroom, the tampons went under the girls' sink.

About a week after their return, my friend walked downstairs one morning to find her father in law having a cup of coffee with a huge grin on his face. He was a happy guy... but his smile was huge... she described it as being similar to that of a Cheshire Cat. She knew something was up. She immediately questioned her father in law's above average glee. To which he replied that she simply needed to step in the back yard.

Back up a few hours... there was a leak in the girl's bathroom. Their houseboy, trying to be the best "help" possible repaired the leak, but only after water had soaked everything in the bathroom. He decided to help the misses by getting everything dry before she woke up... or at least on the road to dry.

When my friend walked onto her back patio, what she saw was 2 cases of tampons that had been removed from the plastic applicator ~ strung all around the backyard like little white bells... waving in the wind. Her houseboy was drying them....

Can you imagine.... This is why her father in law was so chipper!!! I so wish she would have taken a picture! I can only imagine what her backyard looked like!!!

OK.... enough tampon stories for one blog!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No Need to RSVP

I receive all the invitations in the mail. Frilly pink baby shower invitations. Classic crisp white wedding invitations. Festive birthday party invitations. There is no need to RSVP. Everyone knows I can't attend. Why? Because the invitations are all from home, to celebrate a special day in the life of one of my family members.

Can you tell I am sad??? I talked to my mom and reveled in all the details from the latest missed baby shower. The guests, the gifts, the food, the fun... I heard it all second hand. What I would give to have been right in the middle of it... with a petit-four in one hand giving it my best competitive shot at one of the typical baby shower games.
I am an expert on child growth in increments of 1 year... as that is how often I see my tiny little relatives from my huge family... some of which are not so tiny anymore! I think this last year overseas will be the hardest as yet another sweet baby will be born in July. A precious baby girl to my cousin ~ who was simply a little girl herself when I departed the US.
OK... I am going to make a platter of deviled eggs and some sprite and lime sherbet punch and wash my sadness away. I might even get Lilli to play a shower game or two with me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I See You Watching Me Watching You

The girls always have an audience while they play in the backyard. Our fine feathered friends always fly in, pick a perch, and keep a watchful eye on the girls. I wonder if they are making sure the girls stay far away from the bird feeder full of seed... or if they just enjoy watching a pair of joyfully screaming little people?

The black bird sitting on the girl's swing set ~ in the top picture ~ is a Magpie... think Heckle and Jeckle. He and his entire clan are amazingly smart! He (as with a few others) will peck on our kitchen door to get our attention. What is he trying to tell us with this un-birdlike behavior... simply that he would like a cookie or a cracker. He then proceeds to eat it out of my hand. Lilli has tried to feed him, but he won't get too close to her... so she tosses the food and he prances on it. She gets so excited!!! Very SMART bird!!!!

The last bird that is perched on our back fence is a baby Kookaburra... as in Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree... mighty mighty king of the bush is he... laugh Kookaburra... etc etc. This happens to be Lilli's favorite song right now! She has picked up the words and melody quickly... along with her other favorite... Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me. I love this song... especially the words "Cause I belong to somebody"!

On another note... am I the last human on the earth to discover EBAY? I signed up about 2 weeks ago in attempt to purchase Lilli a Matilda Jane dress or shirt or anything. I soon discovered that Matilda Jane sells for about 2X the original price on eBay... and have only successfully bid on one cute little pheasant top. On the other hand, Gap and Old Navy and Gymboree or plentiful! I have also scored some very cute shoes for all of the kids. Abby's were the first to arrive on Monday. She loves them! Mom does too ~ New Nike's for 14$ plus 5$ shipping... that is a great deal when kid's Nikes average over 100$ here in Australia. My other favorite successful bids have been a 12$ beautiful smocked dress for Lilli and 12$ on 3 pair of Gap Capri's ~ size 5 slim. They are TOO cute! Come July, Abby will look smashing in Hawaii! Until then, she and Lilli will be bundled up in their 5$ and 7$ eBay coats! I think I need to stop now!!!! ??????????

I added this last picture just because I love it! I found this cute little two pair pack of socks at Target and just knew it would be perfect! Abby is so stripes and Lilli is so polka dots!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Not Your Ordinary Lullaby

Have you ever noticed that moms and dads do things very differently?

In our world, Joe is very detailed oriented... planning is the key to everything. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants changing direction with the wind. I tend to believe our partnership works well when raising the kids... they get the best of both worlds!
One area where the difference is clear is bedtime for the girls. I tend to be "wishy-washy" ~ giving them the extra 2 minutes of play that they beg for .... about 5 times. Then letting them pick a Madeline tape to watch. Agreeing to the 5 trips out of the bed to get water, go potty once more, tell the dogs goodnight, make sure the kitchen curtains are closed.... basically, anything they come up with... I go along with... and they finally settle and I on occasion hum a soft song as they drift off to dreamland. My song choices are always soft... always conservative "normal" bedtime songs!
On the other hand... we have Joe. When he takes over the night time ritual with the girls, they brush their teeth, hop in bed and never ever ask to get up. They do ask for a song... one particular song that he has been singing to Abby since she was a teeny tiny baby. Nope... not Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.... not Brahms Lullaby... you would never guess it in a million years.... the song requested of Daddy is none other than Bruce Springsteen. Thunder Road. Not a song that one would naturally associate with bedtime for a duo of giggly little girls... but it is the song of choice in the Judge house. Of course, Joe has changed some of the words. It is Abby's dress that waves as the radio plays! Abby knows all the words to this song... Lilli is learning.

Yes... moms and dads do things very differently... but that is the beauty of family!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fun at the Nursery!

The girls and I went to the local nursery today for a little fun. Nursery??? Well, it is not your average nursery... the owners have it all figured out!!! They have the plants and pots and dirt etc etc... but they also have a great cafe' with an extensive kids menu, a cozy outdoor eating area with tables and chairs and a playground, and a lovely gift shop with a nice play area to occupy the kids while mom drops a few extra dollars on cute stuff that she does not need!
Even better... the girls and I so enjoyed my "new" "used" wheels! After nearly a year of begging permission to sell my huge ~ hard to drive~ stick shift to the left Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero in the US) the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs finally gave in! This is the first time that I really understand what it is like to not have "freedom". We were not allowed to sell that car until given permission... I can tell you that I do not like not having basic freedoms to do as I choose when I choose. But that said... we were given permission to sell last Monday... and on Friday, I left the massive SUV sitting at the dealership as I drove away in a nice 2004 "People Mover". I just learned that they don't say MiniVan in Australia... I know I will only enjoy the car for a year ~ but man oh man... being able to drive with a Starbucks in my hand (NO SHIFTING!!!!) ... what a delight! No more begging to use Joe's car!!!
The girls had a good afternoon ... and a good nap in the car on the way home! I just turned the CD player on with my favorite Kenny G CD ~ In the Mood for Love ~ should be called In the Mood for Sleep! The girls can never last past the second song!!!
PS ~ Thanks for meeting us Sandra! It was great to catch up!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Lilli is one tough little cookie!!! She had tons of tests today, including 3 needles and xrays etc. She did not shed a single tear the entire time! When all was said and done, she looked at me and said, "Lilli very good mommy ~ please have my gummies"! The power of squishy Dora fruity snacks!!!

After our Lab work adventure, we headed for lunch (fish for Lilli of course) and to buy a pair of winter boots for Lilli. Lilli is so different from Abby who wants "the most plain" of everything available... no frills, no bows, no bells, and certainly no whistles for Abby!!!
Lilli wants it all! The shinier the better for her. When I held up the brown suede "worker boots" like Abby's... Lilli said "No thank you mommy ~ Lilli likes that one" pointing to some very black shiny boots. When I handed them to her, her eyes grew enormous as did her smile and she simply said "OOH LAH LAH"!!! How cute is that! She is already into fashion at 3.5 years old!!!!

A few pics from today:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Wish I could sit a while with my mom today and wish her a wonderful day in person!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home Sweet Home ~ 2 Months Today!

2 months ago today, Lilli walked into her new home for the first time. She met her siblings, her grandpa, and she peaked at her puppies. She sat in her chair at the family table for the first time. She slept in her bed for the first time. 2 months later ~ it feels as if she has never been anywhere else.

Yesterday, we were finally able to see the Pediatric Internal Specialist. Her words exactly ~ "Lilli is a miracle!" The Doctor studied Lilli's file ~ MRIs, Ultrasounds, Test Results of all descriptions ~ then looked at me and asked me if I realized that Lilli should not be here... with her medical condition, she should not have survived. She further examined Lilli and is quite certain that the Tomorrow Plan, who is responsible for Lilli's surgery, completed one of the best surgical repairs that she has come across for a diaphragmatic hernia the size of Lilli's.
We have a few more tests on Monday; however, the Doctor feels that Lilli is a very healthy little girl... heart and lungs healed ~ and very bright also! : () ) I am not a Dr and I figured that one out!
While in China, I saw some very heart wrenching things and I was told horrid accounts about the state of China's Children's Welfare System. Lilli's existence speaks volumes about the good and the caring of China's efforts. It speaks even more clearly that Lilli was known to God ~ cared for and nurtured by the most powerful! She is a miracle ~ She is our miracle!
Now... my only question... how do you raise a "miracle" without spoiling her rotten??? I'm at a loss on this one....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Out of the Mouth of a Babe

Lilli took possession of a new purse this morning.  She has spent the rest of the morning filling it up with treasures ~ the cute tags from her new jeans, a small container of Buzz Lightyear Play dough, a piece of plastic from the floor... and other odds and ends.  I decided she might like some pictures for her purse so I took a huge stack from my night stand.  Most of the pictures are new, but mixed in was one from August of 2007 when Lilli was still at the CWI.  It was taken by a dad during his visit to the Orphanage.   It is a tight shot... close up of a very sad little Lilli face.  
Lilli immediately snatched it out of my hand and started talking.  

Her exact words:

"Look Mommy, Lilli very sad this one.  Lilli Why-Ow (want in Mandarin) Mommy.  Come a here mommy - hurry!  Lilli happy now - see (pointing to big smile) Lilli why-ow mommy - Lilli huh (?) Mommy now here.  Lilli happy"

Now she is back to finding treasures for her purse... I am busy looking for the tissues!!!   She gets it... understands her history as a three year old can.  
We leave in a few minutes for our appointment with the Pediatric Cardiologist.  Will update later.  

Sunday, May 4, 2008