Friday, July 31, 2009

Wal-Mart with the Grandparents

As Mommy and Daddy went to work, Madison spent a large portion of the day with her grandparents, who took her down to the lake once more - and then to the cultural center of Gainesville.  Yes, I'm talking about Wal-Mart.

This immediately brings to mind perhaps the first moment Madison and I had some crazy fun together - it was in a Wal-Mart, but on the other side of the China.  I can remember us now, only a year ago, zooming in and out of aisles with that weird grocery cart that could move sideways and forwards and every which way.  Madison smiled a lot that day, giggling as Daddy made a fool of himself spiraling out of control in the video department.  Here below is a photo of the Wal-Mart in Nanning.
It was probably her first shopping experience!  Her tiny hands were reaching out to touch anything they could.  We moved from floor to floor on a moving, inclined ramp that accommodated the carts as well.  We found the toy section and that blew her mind - Daddy wanted to get that video of Jackie Chan (Forbidden Kingdom), but he settled to wait until we got back to the States.  We did get her a few hard cover children's books, which she still has - and also we knew we needed a large suitcase for carrying a few MORE things back home.  We still have that suitcase...

It was a very interesting day, where Mommy had to interpret with all the other mothers what types of diapers and formulas were inside the packages based on the Chinese writing outside. 

All our previous days featured Chinese national landmarks such as the Great Wall or the Forbidden City.  That day's big journey:  Wal-Mart!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peace on Earth, Goodwill

     We had a somewhat uneventful day today, which was just fine by everyone.  For a few hours this morning, Daddy and Madison had quiet time in the playroom watching "Pete's Dragon," and piling up stuffed animals (as seen to the right).

Later came the pilgrimage to Goodwill.  It's somewhat of a tradition.  You see, when we go down to Florida to visit the grandparents, we go to Disney World or the beach.  When they come up here, we go to Goodwill!

     Daddy and Madison had a great time climbing all over their used furniture and building monuments with Lincoln Logs.  Also, we increased Madison's Pooh empire, adding a few videos to her collection.  She enjoys Winnie the Pooh - and we found another Lambchop video as well (Some of you might not remember Lambchop and Shari Lewis, but Madison really loves watching them).  I'll have to get her to pose with Lambchop sometime soon - but not tonight.  They both seem a little tired...!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Alarm is Sounding!


     At Ladder 1:23, you can count on our volunteer firefighters to come to the rescue, snatching people from the fire and saving them!

     It’s time to join the squad, fire up the engines, and spring to action! Watch this short video above to see our little firefighter answer the call the firehouse!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pop Art

    Madison was quite the artist today, first of all dressing up in her tutu and doing pretty ballerina swirls for us all.  Later, we posed for a contemporary portrait - seen above - done in the style of Andy Warhol.  If only I had her holding a can of Campbell's soup.

     It was a calm day today, though Madison is still quite zany with all the attention she's getting from her grandparents.  Bedtime is a little tougher to begin with - she doesn't want to go to sleep.  But it doesn't take her long at all to drift off when in her crib.  Ni-nite!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nibbling at the Beach

What a lovely day!  We spent a few hours at the beach again, this time bringing along the grandparents for a picnic lunch and a little bit of time relaxing under the shade of a tree.  

Of course, Madison had to go into the water - this time a little further out, where she rode on Daddy's back and splashed her grandparents a lot!

Though the photo above shows us having the beach all to ourselves - this was not the case.  Under the surface of the water had to be at least a hundred tiny fish that just loved feasting on your feet!  These little guys snuck up on you and nibbled on your didn't hurt, but it sure did make you jump!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

They're here!

     All the grandparents are back!  Last night, Daddy's parents returned from the Wild West, having finished yet another incredible adventure - and later this evening, Mommy's parents arrived from Florida.

     Madison was delirious with excitement, and it didn't help that everyone brought lots of gifts.  She has an Indian pouch from the Grand Canyon - and other gifts from out west.  But the gifts didn't end there:  birthday gifts came from friends and relatives across the pond in Wales.  Clothing, accessories and gifts came, which Madison immediately wanted to try on!  She's all decked out now, but that doesn't mean Nana is going to miss out on all the fashion accessories!

     Nana looks simply ravishing in her molting feather boa, and that orange hat Madison put on her head is simply stunning!  Madison is quite pleased, as you can tell - actually, she's really excited everyone is back!

     Here she is below, proudly waving the national flag of her family's great heritage...Wales!  

     What a crazy thing adoption is - to be born in China, live in Georgia and have relatives in Wales!

     For her birthday, she got some presents, including this flag to your left there which she waves proudly.  Actually, it's not so much as a wave as a "hit Daddy with it, laugh and run away."  Still, I think that counts for something!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Life of an Artist

Ah, Saturday!  Here's our artist, creating masterpieces with her dot pens.  Her basic technique involves: 

1.  Taking a coloring sheet (pictured here are the tools from Handy Manny).
2.  Covering every square inch of the images with whatever color she wants.

Here you can see she's entered her "yellow" period.  She knows what she's doing - try to offer her a different color as she fills the page, and she'll insist that she continues with whatever it is she has in her hands.  She uses all of the colors - even knows some of their 
names - and hangs her favorite drawings up on the refrigerator when she's done.  We're going to need to get a bigger refrigerator!

Tomorrow, all her grandparents are coming back!  Of course, Daddy's parents live next door - but they've been on a trip to Colorado and the Grand Canyon for the last few weeks, and are returning tomorrow.  Madison can't wait to see Ye-ye and Ni-ni again!

Also coming by are Mommy's parents - Ba-ba and Nana, who are visiting from Florida.  Madison will be thrilled!  As we cleaned up the house a bit today, we found this fez below.  I couldn't resist posting this picture here:

Movie Night

We had a wonderful evening together as soon as Daddy got home from work.  Mommy had bought some shrimp to cook on the grill, and we all sat down for a nice dinner together.  What's special is that Madison automatically reaches out before eating - wanting to hold our hands, reminding us to say grace before eating.  Daddy always ends grace in the same way so that she can get ready to say "Amen!"

Tonight, we joined Madison afterwards in her playroom for movie night.  Daddy cooked up some popcorn and the three of us sat together in front of her Tinkerbell television set and watched "Lilo & Stitch."  Madison's eyes were glued to the television, clutching her Stitch stuffed animals tightly.  She loved having us with her - the truth is that Mommy and Daddy are big kids and love most of these movies anyway.

She's also enjoyed books as of late.  Just before bedtime, her current favorite would be Rolie Polie Olie, which is fun to read.  She actually wanted to go to sleep with that book, but Daddy had to come back and sneak it out after she had fallen asleep!

Way up high in the Rolie Polie Sky is a little round planet of a really swell guy...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Class Dismissed!

     Madison earned her first certificate with us this afternoon, completing her swim lessons.  She actually accomplished quite a bit, having not spent that much time in a pool before.  She had a great time with Mommy - so much so that we're considering signing her up for more.  It's just a good idea to get her comfortable in the water early.

Madison, her instructor Ms. Amanda, and Mommy.

     On the way out to the car the last few days, Madison spontaneously walked along some of the raised curbs as if they were balance beams.  Where'd she get that from?  Uh-oh - maybe gymnastics classes are next!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Busy Day

Madison's swim lessons are coming along...well, swimmingly.  She's been very good in class with Mommy, and was so animated that she had to say goodbye to everyone individually after the swim lesson ...even complete strangers walking by!

Hannah came over once more today and everyone watched Cinderella together, 

even dressing up in their princess gowns (those pictures come maybe tomorrow).  NO, Daddy didn't put on a Cinderella dress.

The days have been very pleasant as of late.  She was in one of those moods when she woke up - I could tell I was in trouble when the first thing she did was tackle me!  Swim lessons this week... and maybe football camp next week!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More horsepower!

Hi-oh, Silver!  Away!  Hannah came over to provide a little horsepower to our day - one trip back and forth from the kitchen to the playroom and she was pooped!  Hannah told us, "I need to get paid for this!"

Madison made great advances in the pool today with Mommy, making bubbles, kicking her feet and even getting her face wet a few times.  She had fun at the pool, but after about a half hour, we're all ready to dry off and head home.  BUT, not before Madison gave her swimming teacher a high five!

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Just Another Manic Monday

Daddy had to work a lot today, but we still took a little break together to head to a special little room that had lots of places to climb around on and just goof off - and it even had an air hockey table to play on (not exactly what the designers had in mind).

The weather was very nice outside for a quiet meal on our deck at home.  Mommy, Daddy and Maddie enjoyed the evening together outside, even taking time out to read "The Little Engine that Could."

So far, she seems to favor Dr. Seuss - though yesterday morning, she really got into Rolie Polie Olie.  Her favorite book series is a Winnie the Pooh series we found last year before we met.  It helps to read it with a lot of enthusiasm, which Daddy can manage from time to time!

We need some more coloring sheets!  Fortunately, Daddy made some more from the Handy Manny website.  Now Madison can color her favorite tools from the show (last week she colored in her favorite fairies, and the week before that it was her favorite characters from Little Einsteins). 

Mommy has been real good about encouraging her to explore her artistic side, and we'll be sure to scan some of her latest creations soon, so we can post them here.  This is just the perfect reason now to go buy a scanner/printer - now we can print out coloring sheets, and then scan them to show off Madison's skills! 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Going Shopping!

Madison loves to dress up.  Here she is wearing an always fashionable feather boa, along with a unique ensemble that says "I'm ready to shop!"

She enjoyed wearing high heels, and has her cart filled with all the essentials:  plastic ketchup, plastic carrots, plastic tomatoes, and a tambourine (okay, who got her that?).

It was a quiet day today, though she did spend some more time in the sand box building an empire.  Her vocabulary is growing - reports are coming in that she added a "g" sound to the word "egg."  Until now, we knew she wanted eggs when she'd say something like "Eh!"

We're happy with the small steps with her vocabulary, and not too pushy for the moment.  

Example:  "More please" is a very polite thing to say.  So when Madison asks us, "or eees," we're of course very quick to compliment her good manners!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Visit to the Beach

Today, we returned to the beach here on Lake Lanier for some fun in the water and with the sand.     
I think Madison is certainly going to be an architect when she gets a little older.  Not quite Mike Brady - no, we're talking massive enterprises! 

     This small scale model she's created represents a new upscale and posh resort planned for an island in the Bahamas in the Spring of 2012.  It is a stunningly designed, multi-level enterprise complete with vaulted ceilings and yes, flying buttresses.  It is a marriage of new technology and older, traditional architectural concepts.  One might call her a modernist - but the easier thing to say when describing her masterful creations is that she is in a new category of her own.  Indeed, a revolutionist of sorts, her
"Feather Castle" defies tradition - and yet embraces it at the same time!  Bold and innovative, look for her work in upcoming issues of Architectural Digest.  Or, for a sneak peek of the future of architecture, check out her sand box at home.  It's the one shaped like a giant green painted turtle.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Before We Met

Before Gotcha Day, Zena and I had only a collection of photos of Madison to gaze at, wondering what our daughter would be like.  

Some were taken and sent to us on Referral Day.  Others were collected along the way soon after, sent to us by other parents with waiting children in the same orphanage.  Some were of Madison's second birthday party, when Zena and I had sent along a cake - and a camera to capture the moment.

For about three minutes, you too can see the photographs taken of our daughter...before we met.

Hannah Bee

Today we had a special visitor that had everyone buzzing:  

(sorry - bad joke)

It was Madison's cousin, Hannah.  Madison was very happy to see her, even letting out a loud squeal when she came through the door.

Look at that big smile!  She loves her cousin - and she loves that bee, too!

The Road to China

One year ago we met our daughter for the first time, and it seems already like we've known her all along.  

It was the journey of a lifetime - and when you watch this video, you'll be able to come along with us for a quick two-minute adventure to China to meet up with Madison.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Swim Lessons

Making Waves
Here's a photo of Madison making a splash at the Francis Meadows Swim Center in Gainesville. She's signed up for swim lessons - just today she got her first ever progress report!  Straight A's!  ... Not really.  
     Today, Daddy hopped in the pool with her and helped her glide along the surface of the water, on her back and on her tummy.
She's our little water baby!
     Madison is enjoying the classes and the nearby water park.  She's not an olympic swimmer yet, but she's been having fun getting used to being in the pool and learning some fundamentals - and that's pretty much why we signed her up for the classes.

Don't splash Mommy!

Welcome to the Tea Room

In July of 2008, our Madison came home with us from the trip of a lifetime in China. Since then, it's been a year filled with wonder and discovery - we've made the most of every moment.

Since then, we've taken many photographs of our adventures throughout the year. Yet still many of those special details that make up all the wonderful moments of her youth are gliding by, becoming more and more a distant memory.

This site is an attempt to capture all the happy details of our time with Madison, the most joyous time of our lives. Someday, our little princess can look back and learn about herself - or maybe even remember.

In the meantime, the rest of us can enjoy reading and watching our beautiful daughter blossom before our eyes.