Thursday, December 20, 2007

Brookelyn's 2nd birthday

We celebrated at my sister's house on Thanksgiving for Dakota, Sasha and my sister's daughter, Jacquie. All three have birthdays within three weeks of eachother. We celebrated there and then again on her real birthday. She had a good time and enjoyed the cake both times. We gave her some clothes, shoes and a stroller for her dolls. She got three new dolls. She calls one of them, "Big Boy,' and the other one, "Baby Girl." She is very sweet with them and likes to play with them a lot.

Brayden and Brookelyn's Holiday Programs

Brayden and Brookelyn had their holiday programs at school and they were very cute. Brayden stood there and did everything he was supposed to do except sing. When we tried to tell him too from our seats he just shook his head and stood there. Last year he had his fingers in his mouth the entire program and didn't sing a word either, so this was a step up. It was a cute show and fun for all of us to see. Brookelyn's holiday program was cute too. She didn't sing, but she enjoyed doing all of the hand motions to the songs and danced when she was supposed to. I looked around and noticed that none of the children were singing, which makes sense since they are all only two years old. It was very sweet. Brookelyn stood next to her best friend the whole time. I introduced myself to her best friend's parents and found out that we were in the hospital delivering our girls at the same time and had even had the same doctor! I knew the girls shared a birthday, but I can't believe they had so much in common! Her mother remembers me from the lactation clinic at the hospital. Great memory! Sasha enjoyed both programs as well as the one we went to for my nieces. My couldn't find the compact flash for Brayden's night and had to use a backup camera so we don't have many pictures and on Brookelyn's night the camera ran out of batteries. By the time we came home and recharged it she was done smiling for pictures. Oh well, I did get a few.

Pictures with Santa Claus

We went to a local park with the MOM's club I am in for our holiday party. We took a train ride that brought us to Santa Claus. Each of the children sat on Santa's lap. Actually, Brayden and Sasha were fine, but Brookelyn wanted no part of sitting on his lap. She thought he was very interesting from a few feet away, just not too close.

Noise reduction headsets

Colton's assignment was to chose a product and take photographs to use to advertise it. He chose noise reduction head sets. Dakota, Brookelyn and Brayden all helped with this project. I think Brayden has the most fun helping his brother with these projects.

Colton's Photos

My son is taking a photography class at school. He has used his brother and sisters in a lot of his assignments. Here are a few of my favorites.

Friday, December 14, 2007

ReAdoption Paperwork

I finally started working on doing the re adoption paperwork, which is a little tricky since I had no idea where to start. I should say that I first called around to find out if I should go through an attorney. The first one I called said she charges $2000. WHAT?! I called several other offices and never could find another attorney who does international re adoptions. I finally started checking the Internet to see what I could find and found the forms on I downloaded the four forms and then took another two weeks to fill them out. Sounds like a crazy amount of time, but it really is hard to get anything done when Sasha is awake and she seems to take her naps while I am driving and is wide awake when we are home. She is fine with me sitting on the floor with her while she plays, but if I sit at the computer she pulls herself up against my leg and cries. Anyway, today I copied all of the adoption paperwork and drove up to Orange and filed the forms to re-adopt. This is also when we change her name legally from her Vietnamese name to the one we are giving her, which incorporates her Vietnamese name. The cost to file the forms? $20. I was told that I will get a letter in the mail stating that my forms were received and letting me know if they needed anything other paperwork. My understanding is that they will issue us a court date and we will go before a judge. It is supposed to be a nice ceremony that you bring a camera for. I don't really know where I got that idea, I guess I must have read it on the internet. It felt like a big deal to me to file the paperwork. I guess I am a little sad to be doing it because I feel a little as if I am taking some part of her history away when I change her name. Hopefully keeping her first and middle names as her middle names will make her feel that we honored her past. I certainly want to honor her being Vietnamese and teach her to be proud of her country. Anyway, that is done. I have to look into getting her a social security number. I don't know whether I have to wait until her name is legally changed or not. I am going to drive to the local office one day next week and find out. I think I am supposed to turn in the Certificate of Citizenship that was mailed to me a few weeks ago. I hope I don't because it has her Vietnamese name as well as a picture of her that was taken on the way home from the orphanage. I would hate to have to give it up since it is one of the few things we have with her Vietnamese name on it.
Sasha is doing great. She is just so cute and so happy! She babbles a lot now (da da da) and makes other cooing or happy sounds. She sits in the second row of our minivan and Brookelyn and Brayden sit in the back. Brayden always watches High School Musical when we are in the car but Brookelyn doesn't watch tv or videos, which is why she doesn't like being in the car for long and Brayden can be in it forever. Anyway, this week Brookelyn and Sasha have started having fun together in the car. Sasha makes her noises and Brookelyn laughs at her or repeats them and laughs. Sasha laughs back and makes more noises. It is very sweet. Brookelyn and Brayden are great with Sasha. Many people have asked us if our kids are jealous of Sasha, but we have never seen it. They both have been great with her and think she is so funny.
We went to Brayden's holiday show for his preschool class a couple of days ago. Sasha and Brookelyn had matching dresses and matching shoes. It was very cute. Brookelyn thought it was great that they matched. Brayden looked very handsome in his dress shirt, vest and dress pants and stood still for the entire performance. He didn't push anyone, pick his nose, cry (things that some of the other children did during the performance). He also didn't sing. Not a word. He stood there and looked around the room and at us from time to time, but when we would mouth the words, "Sing the song," he would just shake his head no. It was pretty funny since he was the only one not singing and he hadn't sung a word at the holiday performance last year. This is a child who says he wants to be a rock star when he grows up, is always singing and dancing in our house, knows all of the words to every song in Hair Spray and High School Musical and many of the songs my teenagers listen to. I guess Christmas songs aren't his thing.
I went to a Holiday chorus program for two of my nieces last week. It was during the day, so only Sasha, my mom and sister went. It was great! The teacher had made up a story line and fit a lot of fun holiday songs into it. Sasha loved it. She stood on my lap and waved her hands around like she was conducting it. She made a lot of happy noises along to the singing. My mom said she noticed several of the children in the show nudging each other and pointing to her. Luckily the singing drowned her noises out. We had a lot of fun and it definitely got me more into the holiday spirit. It has been COLD here. I don't really know how cold, but there has been snow on the mountains nearby. I love the idea of snow for the holidays, but I don't like being cold. I have a new respect for parents who live in the Midwest or east coast. Bundling the kids up in jackets and hats and then squeezing them into car seats is hard. And we don't have the snow and slush on their boots to deal with. I miss the feeling of excitement in the air that there is this time of year in the Midwest and East Coast, but I think I am okay with trading it in for warmth.

Monday, December 3, 2007

James Taylor

I can't believe that I didn't remember to write this until I wrote my last post. We met James Taylor a couple of weeks ago! I have listened to and loved James Taylor for as far back as I can remember so when my husband asked if I wanted to meet him I jumped at the chance. One of Ray's friends works for a company that is in charge of distributing JT's new CD so he mentioned to Ray that he was going to the signing at the Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica. He also knew James from working with him on the Ray Charles CD a couple of years ago. We left Brayden at home and brought Brookelyn and Sasha with us. When we got there JT was doing an interview with CNN so we waited off the the side. When he came out of the interview our friend stopped James and introduced us. You would think I would have someting to say to him, something clever. Nope. I just basically stared into his beautiful blue eyes and tried to memorize his face. I am weird, I guess. He asked us the names of our little girls and shook our hands. He stood there and kind of waited to see if we wanted to say anything else, but I had nothing. As he walked away he turned back and looked at me and said, "It was really good to meet you." Nice, nice guy. The signing was supposed to end at 8:00 pm but he was going to stay until he had signed every CD. I had just been hoping to see him across the room (since my seats at concerts were usually VERY far away) so I was really happy to have met him.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fire and Rain

It has been several weeks since the fires were in our area but we are still having the effects of them. Just a couple of weeks ago we had another day where we had ashes falling from the sky. That is not as unusual as it sounds. I have seen that several times since I have lived in Orange County. We will hear about large fires and then the next day or so we will see ashes falling and have them all over our cars. Well we had had to clean up the ashes from inside our house as well as all around our porch and back yard area after the fires. My husband actually took the indoor/outdoor vacuum outside to do it a few times. Sounds crazy, but there were ashes all over our porch and the furniture there, on the barbecue and eating area in the back and all over the play equipment in the back yard. The kids would be filthy and still get filthy whenever they go back there and play from the soot. It turns out that the fire got all the way up to the back of our fence in our back yard and burned the fence in a couple of areas. Obviously we are very lucky to still have our house, but we are getting tired of the soot.
Well, last weekend it was really windy. I always open the kids windows when they get up so the rooms can air out. Last Saturday I walked outside to get something in my car and saw that it was covered with ashes again inside and out. My husband had taken the car seats out and brought the car to get washed. All three of the car seats were sitting in the driveway and were covered with ashes and so were the front two seats because the sun roof was open. I went inside and up to the kids rooms and there were ashes all over the rooms. It was such a bummer to clean it all up again. The air smelled so bad we decided to go to the beach to get some fresh air.
We spent most of the day in Laguna Beach. We walked along the ocean and then let the kids play in the playground for a while before we had dinner there and headed home. It was Sasha's first time going to the beach. It was warm and sunny and just a perfect day down there. It smelled fine and wasn't windy there either, which was great. It started raining Thursday and rained Friday as well. You think it would have washed away the smoke smell but it actually is stronger for some reason. It smells like a wet ashtray or a wet campfire outside. It is pretty bad in my area. In the weeks after the fire the smell would change from day to day. It almost always smelled like smoke, but some days it was a bad smell and some days it was okay. It had finally gotten so that we didn't notice any smoke smell when the wind and rain brought it back.
Sasha has her second tooth (bottom right) now. She just got it today. She barely drools at all, but it obviously hurts her because she keeps grabbing me and pushing her mouth into my shoulder when I am holding her. But her appetite is so much better. She seems to always be hungry now and eats a lot. It's a little tricky though. Sometimes we think she is eating and then find out she is just storing it at the roof of her mouth.