01 May 2007

New Blog!!!

It is time to move on. We are no longer waiting for our Hari, not waiting at all. We are moving fast and furious. I want a new place that is more like what I am feeling. So, come and check out Spicy Dragons and Dinosaurs at http://spicydragon-sb.blogspot.com/.

21 April 2007

We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo

At the Indy Zoo today with hords of other people. Julia took her first ride of the year on the merry-go-round on the biggest butterfly she's ever seen. We also went to the White River Garden's butterfly exhibit and Julia ran after on butterfly after another.
A new hat for Julia. A cap! Just like mommy and daddy wear.

Julia could not ignore all the pretty flowers that are blooming at the zoo and the gardens.
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Friday afternoon in the pond

School is out for the week; the sun is shining; the water in the pond is getting warm.
Let's get wet!
Kicking is so much fun.

Why aren't the fish more friendly?

Wet from head to toe but not ready to go inside.
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18 April 2007

Balance & Birthday

Yesterday, I broke up with my Madison Realtor and found out that we will probably not get the cohousing house. My list of house fixes for our Indy home is still not short. Generally, not real good. But Julia said in the car as we were straping in to go to school, "Mommy, okay, I go Madison. I go Daddy." And the day ended with a long walk with Julia and the dog. So, there is some balance.

Today is Cheshire's 22nd birthday. How she got this old, I have no idea! My first baby. I love you so much, boo. I can't wait until you are in the states again!

12 April 2007

two new favorite pictures

I cropped this picture because I like it and because it is such a good view of Julia's missing teeth. Yes, that is three spaces and we can see the new teeth coming in.

Julia loves, just adores rocking in this chair that we brought back from Costa Rica. About two weeks ago when the weather was warmer and Julia didn't have to wear tights and heavy clothes, she couldn't have been happier.
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Hunting for eggs

On Easter, we went to Marcia's house for a brunch and an egg hunt. The hunting would have been outside except for some really nasty weather. No matter, Julia got into looking for the hidden eggs with her trusty helper.

Julia found more than a dozen eggs with a few hints along the way.

If the hunt was fun, the basket was even better. The bunny brought Julia her own pair of ears, a copy of the movie, Spirited Away, a new truck, her first pez dispenser and of course, some candy.

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I haven't be able to post pictures for a few weeks because I lost the cable that connects the camera to the computer. It probably got packed in one of those 92 boxes that left the house a week ago.

So, just before Easter Julia received a package from Bobja.

Julia now understands that packages that are addressed to her need to be opened.

Something silver surrounded by tissue. Cool!

Julia's very own babka. She has enjoyed it all week with butter, jelly, or peanut butter.

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06 April 2007

Moving 1

92 boxes and three pieces of furniture left the house today. The futon couch and David’s drum set have been sold. Great Nana’s livingroom set will be put on craig’s list tonight. We are decluttering. I have the kitchen, dining room, and back room to clean and prepare and lots of mulching to do in the gardens. The shingles for the new roof arrived yesterday and will fly to cover the roof next week some time. I am hoping for an open house on April 22.

The sadness of leaving this house and the upheaval of the move hit hard on Wednesday and I was dumped into heaviness that I did not expect. Today, I see how much I have done and that we are really on this journey to Madison. Now, all I have to do it sell this house, buy the new house (where ever it is), pack up, and unpack. It is going to be a good summer.

05 April 2007

Hugs and Kisses

Julia is now volunteering to give hugs and kisses. She has received many, many from us and watches our behavior carefully. What is better than feeling little arms sneak around your neck and two little lips plant a kiss on a cheek. Almost seven months home and what a joy!

02 April 2007

Madison -- 3

April 1, 2007

I am not sure whether we have found our house or not, but for the first time in this house hunt, we saw a house that could be our home. Funny how that is. We have looked at a dozen properties – some awful, some perfectly fine, but none that fit. None that we would not have to squeeze our lives into, expanding where we usually like small and cozy, and shrinking where we usually like to throw our arms out to dance.

Looking at a house is like trying on party dresses, something that I do not often do. Does the dress fit? Does it pass the ‘I can’t believe she is wearing that’ test? Will I recognize myself in the mirror with this on? Will I feel lovely with this on?

The fact that this house is part of a co-housing community is another very interesting part of the hunt. I have researched co-housing years ago but with no community in Indy, there was nothing to consider. This is an established community and seems to be run along almost family lines. People eat together twice a week, cooking in teams, ownership is along condominium terms with common space on one floor of a new building and all outside space. I have been thinking that I wanted a smaller garden space with this next house in order to move more into the community. With the house, we looked at today, we might have a small garden plot for vegies but no other exclusive space. I am sure I could weed and work on the common grounds, but there would be no private garden and I chafe just a little with that thought.

We met two members of the community, and liked both of them. There seems to be a good range of ages in the 18 households and a number of kids, but if any age dominates, it is an older one. Decisions are made by consensus which has the ring of challenge. Interestingly, there is a membership process that David will have to go through mostly without Julia and I. David has been skeptical of my desire to live in a community like this, but he is the one who will be living in Madison almost full time and the one who will have to get to know the members to see if we could fit in.

I don’t say this is a done deal, only that it is a real possibility.

The house is from the 20's and brick. It has a four-by-four feel - very sturdy and square – but there are three not four big rooms on each floor. The ceilings are tall and there is an expansiveness to the rooms, the Chi flows well in this space. There is a front porch that has been converted to three season space, a front hall, a living room with fireplace, a dining room divided from the living room by wood shelves and short fat columns (like in the Kawensky’s old house), and a kitchen which needs redoing on the first floor. The second floor has three bedrooms, all of good size and all with one closet – David and I will have to get another closet unit for our room. The bathroom is usable but really needs to be done over – I imagine I could be tiling by year’s end! The bathroom is large enough to do a separate tub and shower if we wanted that. There is also a walk up attic that was used for an office/bedroom space. It needs work as well, but it is a good space. It feels right, as if we entered and asked ‘are you my home?’ and it sang back a ‘yes’.

The community is built in a U-shape with the inside of the U a common garden space. There are two older houses – the one we looked at is a single family dwelling, another older and much larger home is divided into two dwellings, and three new buildings which contain 16 units of single floor or townhouse dwellings. Each family owns its own living space and a ‘share’ of the common space. In the curve of the U sits the building where the common house is located. That is a ground floor space with a great kitchen, a dining space, a small lounge, 2 kid spaces ( one with toys that reflect that the kids that use it are boys or non-frilly girls. Also, that the toys provided are not all plastic and television inspired which I like a lot), and two guest rooms.

We see a few more houses tomorrow in this whirlwind weekend trip before heading back to Indy at noon. My feeling of dread of never finding a new home has lifted some. This is not a dune deal by any means. David must feel comfortable with this kind of living arrangement, we have to meet the people and see if we want to share the large space with them and if they want to share it with us, and we have to see the parents here and how all of the people treat the kids of the community. Intellectually, I am sure that this type of living arrangement that we would thrive in, but we must now decide whether we want to be here and whether committing ourselves to a community of people is something that is right for the family right now.

Place just right?

Julia had a pretty good day, by the way. There was the five hours driving up; the short unpacking of stuff into David’s apartment, and the house hunt. She endured all. On our way up, she played with her dinos and people and very confidently told us that we were going to Madison. She ran around each house we saw, and really enjoyed the kids’ play room in the common house. She had gumbo for lunch and great Korean food for dinner. We will not run out of new restaurants to try for a long time in Madison. She hugged some of the people she met and ignored others. And way after her bedtime, she snuggled down in the middle of our bed and went to sleep.

27 March 2007

the morning report

Gosh, it is so hard to keep the faith. No wonder Thomas insisted on feeling the holes in Christ's hands and feet before he believed in the resurrection! I am just needing to believe that I will finish taking care of this house and selling it, that we will find the house in Madison that whispers to us to come live there, and that by mis-summer we will be happily settled in the new home. Could I have ever believed in resurrections? Right now, my concerns seem as fantastical an the apostles. No blasphemy meant here, just wonder at what we humans are capable of believing.

Crocus are fading, daffodils are singing, and forsythia is shouting. We are reveling in the unseasonably warm weather. Julia seems so much happier in lighter clothing and now she can wear some of the clothes we bought in China and she is beside herself with joy. She sings her first song as she gets dressed. She also loves this funky spring jacket which looks like it is made of an old bedspread with ruffles. She also also lost another tooth -- front and center on the top. I wondered if she could still eat apples and corn -- two very favorites -- and she demonstrated last night that corn on the cob is no problem at all.

25 March 2007

10 years ago

This morning I pulled a black tee shirt out of my drawer and pulled it over my head all before I realized that it was the souvenier shirt from Cheshire's Carnegie Hall debut. Ten years ago almost to the day, the Sycamore School Band, with Cheshire playing the trumpet (3rd chair, I think) played in a National Invitational High School Band competition. Our band was only in middle school but they played their hearts out with Paula Faire conducting. The band sounded better than it ever had -- the acoustics and the ghosts of that hall? As the kids walked off the stage the parents and friends stood and clapped until each kid was off the stage. Paula left the stage as well but forgot her music on the music stand. She came back to retrieve her music and we stood and clapped for her again.

Good times, as Cheshire would say, good times.

Julia lost another bottom tooth two days ago. Now she has spaces on both sides of her two adult teeth on the bottom. Today, one of her top front teeth is very lose. It almost hangs and when she smiles she can have quite a snaggle tooth look.

We cleaned inside yesterday and outside today. Julia pulled out all of her toys and played. We took breaks and played with her, but she occupied herself most of both days. And we needed this to get the house ready for sale.

23 March 2007


Julia and I went to the Holiday Park Nature Center with Toby and her Elana, and Nicole and her Ava and Sarah. We were supposed to to play in the park but it was raining. Still, we all needed to get out to so something. The Nature Center is greatly improved since I was there last. In the courtyard, there is a fountain with a very large stone ball which revolves as the water comes up from beneath it. Julia loved this and tried to stop the ball.

Inside, there is a good sized kids' room. There are tanks with frogs, snakes, lizards, fish, and bugs in them. Julia could name most of the animals and she was very proud of herself. There is also a large fake cave, a puppet theater space, and a table and chairs with books and puzzles around it. I brought apple and raisons, Nicole brought packs of cookies.

Most exciting though was that Julia was able to play with Elana. They ran in and out of the cave, screaming to hear their own echos, carrying the stuffed animals to and fro to make a display for us to see. This was the first time that I have seen Julia really connect with another child. It was not careful conversation but joyful play and I was so very happy to see it.

She was also willing to take some direction from Ava who is as old a Julia but much more mature. Ava wanted to play school and although school did not keep Julia's attention for very long, Julia was listening.

Thoughts of moving on

I am thinking of stopping this blog and moving on to another. My thoughts and our stories are re-focusing to the entire family instead of consentrating on Julia. Also, our adventures with this move and our new home town seem far removed to waiting for our Hari. And maybe waiting for anyone else is just over. My friend, Candace, asked me that a while ago, and I think I answered that I would change the blog when I knew that our family was complete or that we thought our wait was over. Right now, we are not really waiting for anyone, we are feeling pretty complete. So it might be just time to move on.

Where might be a question as I want to try something new. Anyone with ideas of where to host a new blog could comment, please.

Julia has had a rocky week after our trip to Madison -- bed time has been difficult, she is hitting and pushing some in school, and now she has an awful rash on her back. She seems out of sync with her whole world. No question but that she is reacting to all the transition here. Still, she is loving -- giving more and more kisses and hugs to us, generous -- sharing her food and toys with us, and smart -- beginning to us prepositions (although she really gets them mixed up -- so cute, I have to say). Her swimming is getting better and she is responding to her teacher more and more. I still have her in private lessons but I am thinking of move her to group lessons this summer. I am also thinking of sending her to soccer camp once we move to Madison.

21 March 2007

Just another ordinary day

Today, I turned a magical, secret hiding place into an ordinary closet. The lovely sprite who made and used what is now a closet is so far away that only dribs and drags of her magic lingers. Then I washed walls, dusted furniture, cleaned windows, washed a carpet, and moved a small bookshelf.

Day by day, a little more gets done. The goal is to be done in less than a month and then the market.

We came back from our Madison weekend ready to make an offer on a sweet house in Monona, but the offer was not in the Seller's hands for less than 24 when it was rejected flat out. It was overly optimistic to believe that we could do it in two weekends, especially with our parameters -- a certain list of schools and an old house and within our budget. Too much to ask? I hope not.

18 March 2007

Madison the second

We spent another long weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. It is colder there -- the day before we left Indy it was 75 degrees. Yes, freaky indeed, but we were quickly sobered by the small piles of snow still remaining in Wisconsin. Although cold, the days were beautiful. Great skys! Julia wore her new spring shoes, her first which were bought after measuring her feet and trying on a few pairs. This was our first successful foray into a mall. There was an ice cream stand right outside the shoe store and I promised her a cone if all went well. We bought two lovely pairs of shoes that have lots of support for my little girls flat feet.

David and Julia posed on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capital. David's new office is across the street but he says he has a great view of the capital building.

And what a sky!

Julia is holding a small plastic box that contains the Littlest Kitty Shop. I bought this as her traveling present and she loves it. It is so tiny and there are three very, very tiny kitties with a place for them to eat, shower, sleep and show off. It has diverted her attention for long talks and slow looks at different houses.

On Sunday, Julia, David, and I went to the Olbrick Gardens Spring flower show with Robert and Mary. The days warmed up nicely and it felt good to be outside.

Here is Julia trying to figure out this sculpture. I wonder if she is thinking about getting enough clay together to do a big project like this one.

This was trying to get the three of us together. Not so easy when you have a squirmy worm to deal with.

We think we may be making an offer on a house in Monona on Tuesday. We need a few prayer and good wishes our way to make this decision.

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16 March 2007

Househunting and questions

Julia is asking questions. I think her first question was "How?" when she couldn't turn on the diningroom light. Her favorites seem to be "Are you okay, mommy?" And when she meets a new person, "My name Julia. Your name Julia?" Cute beyond measure. Language continues to explode exponentially. It is both logical and amazing. She points out everything she knows -- she is like a language lesson gone right! She comments on fast cars, on green lights, on colors of buses and trucks, on what is hanging on the wall, on what people are wearing. She is doing instinctively what language lessons try to make students do.

We are up in Wisconsin, househunting. The great ones are too expensive; the awful ones . . . We did see what may be a diamond inthe rough today, but we are not sure we want to go that way again. Another day of looking tomorrow and a few very good possibilities to see! We are hoping for a decision this weekend.

My spicy dragon was incredibly patient throughout the day; however, at one very nice house (that is just not our style and so no chance of making an offer there) she picked an orchid from its plant. This was late in the day and she had been so good the whole day that I wasn't watching her as closely as usual. She brought the orchid to me and told me how beautiful it was. I felt awful. The owner is obviously a plant person and will be plenty upset, I am sure. Of course, thiswas a house that asked us to remove our shoes just inside the front door. But there was nothing to be done.

So sometimes . . . .

08 March 2007

Day 2 at the beach - in control!

Teaching Daddy just what you need for proper sand work

Always in charge of the operations

Don't let the cut bucket fool you, she is building a masterpiece.

Is the sand from here the same as the sand from there?
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Grandpa's birthday

And here is the picture worth at least 2,000 words!

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06 March 2007

Day 1 at the Beach for the Spicy Dragon

The sand was an immediate hit but . . .

The moving water was something.

So she spent some time working the sand and . . .

Before lunch she was learning to jump the waves.
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On th town in Florida

Daddy and his little girl ready to go out on the town in Florida.

Nothing like a new hat!

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04 March 2007

Daddy's hat

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03 March 2007

Winning the grandparents

"She is such a hand full."
"Does she ever sit down?"
"Why is she so curious?"
"Where do you find the energy?"
"Where do you find the patience?"
"I couldn't stand it."
"Why did you go and have another child when you were done already?"

My inlaws managed to get past preliminary greetings and onto the jucier topic of our Julia within 5 minutes of our arrival. And Julia was being incredibly well behaved!! She was exploring the house, but she had also greeted her grandpa (for the first time) with a hello and a big hug, and had gone searching for her grandma who was in another room. Julia, not daunted in the least by their reaction, found the candy dish and brought pieces back for all of us, and then snuggled between grandma and grandpa on the couch. No matter what her behavior on any day, there is no question about whether our 6 month home daughter wants a family and will make herself part of ours.

There is no way to explain 'another child' sometimes, especially a child who is not a cuddly little bundle wrapped in soft pastel but a spicy dragon girl whose enthusiasm overflows.

They were still dubious when they took us all to dinner at a Florida Deli. Julia prounced the chicken soup "so good" and thanked everyone who had anything to do with her dinner. She dutifully tasted Daddy's fish, Grandma's chicken, and ate all of the grapes out of Mommy's salad. She inhaled two black and white cookies after the meal and managed not to clutch the second one while she ate the first. It was a late meal for her and after a day of traveling she was tired and antsy, but Julia sat pretty quietly through most of the meal, coloring on the kids' menu and ocasionally climbing into her mom or dad's lap. The waiter decided he wanted to adopt from China.

"I guess you missed the love of a little girl."

Okay, this is not unconditional grandparental love being declared but compared to the negative feedback we have received from these grandparents, we are definitely making progress. She has a way, our Julia, of asking for and getting what she wants. She has a fountain of love inside of her (and we have so little idea of where it comes from or who fed it before we arrived in her life) that she is so so very willing to share with those she wants in her circle. And I am very proud and happy that she decides each day to share it with us. Now, just wait until she sings Happy Birthay, Grandpa tomorrow night.

A bit of a late posting

February 27, 2007

Julia plays in the bath tub with what must be thousands of little figures and some stacking cups. The tiny dinosaurs fight or dance or talk to one another. Beauty and her Beast join in the dancing and one or the other of them slips into the water and needs rescuing. The fishy bath toys swim and talk, sometimes get strung together and usually serve double duty as squirters. Sometimes the floor gets very wet and most of the time Julia gets clean, her hair gets washed, and the toys get put away in her big green bucket.

We have been doing 15 minute swimming lessons at our JCC. Julia is not very willing to work with her teacher, Sally, but she is learning to paddle and kick. Like Cheshire, Julia is very willing to take direction and tries whatever her teacher or I tell her to do. She likes to swim. When she has a noodle tied around her, she can move pretty quickly and she loves to chase and be chased. I hope that we are close to a good pool anywhere we end up this summer.

School is moving along. I don’t think that Julia really gets any ESL training as part of her short school day but her understanding and use of language in school is improving. I watched one day as her teacher called out from across the room that Julia should not put a pencil in a doll house. Without missing a beat, Julia took the pencil out and put it away. She does not bring home the quantity of art work and work papers that most kindergarteners do, but last week she was very proud that she pasted cherios in two big circles on her "O" page. In the last week, Julia has shown a bit of separation anxiety when I leave her off at school. When I walk her to the classroom she will stand at the door and watch me walk back down the hall, calling out to me a few times to turn around and wave and throw kisses. Does she now realize that I go somewhere else when she is in school? She is always very happy to see me when I pick her up, and picking her up at 2 gives us some time to do something – swimming, kids museum, or visiting – or to go home and cuddle on the couch and watch a movie.

Julia has been watching some of the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese film maker. The films are whimsical and not Disney-fied. The world is still very pretty but not flashy. There is magic and lots of flying things, some fighting as well, and good endings. She has two favorites right now – Porco Roso and Tortoro. The first about Italian air pirates between the wars and the second about a family settling into a new house and getting to know the local deities.

This afternoon, Julia went into the refrig and was rummaging around making a lot of noise. I called out to her and she shut the door quickly and came into the living room looking guilty. She was chewing a giant wad of something and was unable to answer when I asked her what it was. So much was in her mouth that she could not really close it completely and I could see that she has prunes in her mouth. I asked her how many she had taken and she held up four fingers. So, yes, prunes are a favorite treat but much more importantly, she answered with a number. This is a first. Yeah, numbers!

Julia is using more and more sentences that she makes up. They are short and to the point and usually missing some words but she uses her sentences instead of single words. At times, she stutters when she speaks. As a stutterer, I am probably over-sensitive to her speech and worry more than any fluent person. We do nothing to stop her from speaking and let her take all the time she needs to get words out. She doesn’t do it all the time and although I think that she elongates her syllables when she is using new words, words she cannot quite pronounce, or when she is tired. I do hope it works itself out of her, but if not, we’ll investigate therapy before she gets too set in her way. She did not elongate sounds in Chinese.

We have moved from play dough to modeling clay. It is harder to work with but the colors don't blend as easily into that brown muck that she usually manages to makes, and Julia seems to like the texture of the real clay better than play dough. The way she rolls and kneads the clay, shape it into odd characters or very believable dinosaurs suggests experience that we know she does not have. It is as if the clay awakens something much more mature in her hands. Sooner or later we will begin firing some pieces if we can.

Julia used the word magic this morning. She was playing with her bubbles (which she is not supposed to do outside the bathroom) in my room. After blowing one she said, "Look, it magic." Her second, non-physical word – the first was idea.

Oh my girl!

15 February 2007

Valentine's Day

Yup, we were snowed in and the snow quickly turned to ice. It was too cold to make snow balls or snow men, but Julia managed to find some pieces of ice to build a baby dinosaur house -- Have I said the everything is dinosaurs?

And the girl who hated to put on socks, tights, and real shoes, doesn't fight the heavy coat, boots, scarf, or gloves.

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After as "played" in the snow -- I was digging out my car -- we went inside and baked a cake for Daddy. We made devil's food cake with pink icing, and according to the expert below, the uncooked batter wasn't bad. Later, there was lots of sprinkles on the pink icing and a very happy Daddy.

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