Monday, July 26, 2010

WWJD Goes Kung Fu

On the way home from our reunion visit with our fellow adoptive parents from China, Grant inquired as to whether Jesus wears any clothes. Erin informed him that Jesus wears flowing white robes.

"Does he do karate in them?"

Ah, Grant. One does take a certain amount of comfort in knowing that the Savior of the world could unleash a flurry of hand chops and spinning heel kicks if the situation deemed it appropriate.

So this past weekend was spent in Cincinnati with several of the families that traveled with us to China to pickup Grace last August. We really did have a fantastic time, and I know it will be good for Grace to have these friends with whom she shares a special piece of her past as she gets older. Plus Erin and I have enjoyed becoming closer with some of our friends from the trip as well.

Grant, as always, was in seventh heaven ("the dojo") with so many little girls around. We spent a large portion of the weekend explaining to him that he couldn't hang on, touch, caress, or court every young lady with whom he comes into contact. This greatly irritated him, but didn't slow him down.

Over the course of the weekend we visited the Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Children's Museum. The Children's Museum is housed in the former Union Terminal train station in downtown Cincy. The building was constructed in 1933, and I greatly enjoyed the history of the facility and its art deco interior. We originally had intended to visit the zoo on Saturday, but given that it was about six degrees above the point where the human body begins to cook itself, we decided to do the museum instead. Good choice. I perfer my heart beating, rather than scrambled with ham.

While visiting the museum, a gentlemen mumbled "Boiler Up!" as he walked past, a nod to my t-shirt proclaiming "Purdue Athletics" -- slightly stretched across my beer gut so it looked a bit more like "Purdue Attttthhhhhhhhll..." I turned and saw a slightly frazzled guy in bike shorts amongst the other museum patrons. I mumbled, "Yeah" in return, wishing that at some point the stereotype of Purdue having a 40000:2 boy/girl ratio would break down.

Does this happen with people from other universities? Do Ohio State fans mumble "Go Buckeyes" at each other? (I've shouted something similar at poorly driven vehicles on the road before.) Perhaps I should take pride that my fellow alums are so quick to take note of each other. I guess the part of me that feels like my college years were a little rough in a lot of ways doesn't miss Purdue enough to want to relive the memories with a total stranger. Apparently the other 39,999 men from my graduating class feel differently.

Here are a few pictures from the reunion:

I especially like the low flying plane in the background of this one...

In other news, my job situation is progressing. I should have more definitive things to talk about on that front next week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Need Some Shirts

One of the things we cherish about this blog is that it gives us an easy way to go back and look at our vacations, family events, and where we've eaten over the past five or six years. Unfortunately it also highlights the fact that I never buy clothes.

I've always sort of prided myself on wearing things until they crawl out of my closet on their own, begging for the sweat relief that Goodwill will bring. But perhaps I've taken this too far. As I've been job hunting, I've been considering that when I eventually start a new career, I should probably go out and buy some new clothes.

I mentioned this to Erin, and she agreed that this was probably a good idea. As we had this conversation, I took note of the fact that I was wearing a "Senor Frog's" t-shirt that my in-laws picked up in the Caribbean on a cruise. I think the cruise was about five years ago, but the shirt has held up well, it's comfortable, and I wear it a lot. Perhaps too much.

I began looking through pictures on the blog, and I discovered that this shirt has gotten around. It made an appearance just a couple of months ago in this post while watching Grant's swim lessons.

It made several appearances in this post when we went to Williamsburg last year

It was with me in this post when we came back from China with Grace...

It was one of the three shirts I wore during the whole adoption trip in China, as seen in this post...

...on the train across China...

At IKEA in Cincinnati with Grant...

On vacation in this post two years ago...

As a pirate on our cruise three years ago...

Anyway, you get the point. Amazingly this shirt hasn't yet begun to dissolve. But I'm pretty sure I caught it trying to hitchhike out of our driveway a few days ago.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Update #4: Grace

Oh, little Miss Grace. As we head up our Gotcha day at the beginning of August, it becomes necessary to catch up with the little diva.

And, oh, what a diva she is! She is the most opinionated, most stubborn, spiciest thing around! She is one tough cookie. She doesn't care (one bit!) about getting in trouble, and I swear she gives me the finger from time to time. She melts down, screams, kicks, claws. She isn't the easiest child to parent.

But, she sure is the easiest child to love. She is so smart, so loving, and so full of energy (not to mention--she's just too cute).

Here are some things that she's doing or things I find endearing:

1. She talks all the time. She has moved well beyond the word and the phrase category into full blown sentences. Some of the words still have a "China-twang," but many of them are crystal clear. It's amazing to me that in ten months she has learned so much--how amazing. Grace talks more than most two-year-olds, and she spent the first 14 months of her life listening to Mandarin! My favorite thing she said recently (upon putting her in her crib for her nap): "I need some help in here." Makes sense: she had just dropped her mouse. Just today as she was "helping" me clean my office, she said, "Can I take this home?" while holding a toy from my desk. My favorite (but not really) is when she says, "What the heck?" I guess she's heard that a time or two from Mommy's mouth. She might not be quite as verbal as her brother, but she holds her own. Just recently she started saying "I need _(fill in blank with wanted item)______ more." It's so cute to hear "I need peanut butter more." She makes me laugh.

2. Grant never had an attachment to anything: not a blanket, not a stuffed animal. But our little Grace has some serious attachments. First off, she has dubbed a blanket officially hers. Problem is, it's huge--like a parent-sized throw blanket. Needless to say, if I knew she was going to develop an attachment for one blanket, I would have found a little, baby-sized one. At least, we have convinced her that the blanket does not need to leave the house! In addition to the blanket, she has a fondness for a particular Mickey Mouse plushie that once belonged to her brother. Let's be clear: it no longer belongs to her brother. If he tried to claim rights now, he'd have a fight on his hands. And let's be clear, again: she'd win. (Vacation Update since I started this post before vacation: Mouse was lost on vacation. I don't know if she dropped him out the van door by accident, but I think Mouse is somewhere in South Carolina. We bought Grace a new puppy, and she transitioned better than I thought she would).

3. She loves to "mother." She mothers babies. She mothers all variety of stuffed animals. If there's a need (real or imagined) or a cry (real or imagined), Grace is the girl for the job--ready to dish out kisses or bottles (real or imagined) to help. She can be so sweet. I don't think she'll be the jealous one if and when we bring home baby #3. I can say that now...

4. Grace finally decided she was "all in" with our family in the last few months. She was holding out a little, struggling to attach wholly. But, she's finally decided this is all "for keeps," and now, she is much more willing to be independent, much more willing to laugh and to show her personality. She's funny. She loves to laugh.

5. The girl has no interest in books or tv. Grant is addicted to books and to tv. Hmmm...

More on Grace later... these are just a few of the things to tell.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nice Shot

Grant has entered the stage where he wants to play karate with me all the time. (I say "entered the stage" as though ALL children enter a stage where they act like ninjas and attack you with rubber weaponry. This may not be accurate.)

This all started when he watched "Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword" on Netflix. He now yells "Hiiiiiii-YA" and comes running at me full steam. Sometimes this ends with a karate chop of some sort, or perhaps a flying leap into my lap. The times that concern me are when it ends with a flurry of slapping or dancing. I am trying to get these instances under control.

Today at church while we stood in the lobby waiting to shake hands with the pastor, Grant turned and without warning, punched me right in the crotch. Right. In. The. Berries. A Patriot missile couldn't have made a more direct strike.

A fellow church goer saw the whole thing and remarked, "That's what you need in the morning." Indeed.

It was probably a good thing that I was foaming at the mouth and not able to form the words "son of a ..." in church. On the way to the parking lot, we had a discussion with Grant regarding punching people in the crotch. The basic gist was, "Don't do that." I think he got the message.

It's a good thing we're pro-adoption. I'm pretty sure there's a part of me that can no longer consider other options.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Back Home Again in Indiana

After a stop in Birmingham to see cousins, we made it home. Our whirlwind vacation came to an end, and as of right now, both kids are happily napping in their own beds. It was an amazing, unforgettable time--a real gift--and we will be forever thankful.

Here are our some pictures from our time in Birmingham where it was waterslides, cousins, good food, cousins, baseball, cousins, creek stomping, cousins and so much fun.