Monday, March 31, 2008

More Pictures!

Found some more good pictures that I wanted to share. It's hard to pick just a few good ones out of 500 pictures taken!

We're Back!

We are back from wonderful Cuba! It was just a splendid week! We did have a couple of bad days but the good ones were fabulous. The resort was great... lots of food, drinks and a beach and pool to die for. The girls had a great time playing on the beach together every day with some time spent in the pool as well. Cara-Li turned 6 while in Cuba and lost a tooth to boot. And Alexia turned 17 months old. It was very eventful! Alexia enjoyed every minute and loved the sand and water (contrary to her older sister at a young age). She would run down the beach like a sandpiper... when the tide came up so did she, not wanting to touch the water. But once in the water, you couldn't get her out! Us parents, we did not have a moment's rest. No books or magazines were read, no naps were taken... always on the ball keeping an eye on the girls. But what a pleasure to watch them play all day!

Here are photos I took of the beautiful flowers of Cuba.

And some beautiful scenery shots taken from our beach. I miss it already!

All I have to say is one week is way too short... next year, it'll be two weeks for sure!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Birthday Parties and Hasta Luego!

Well, it has been another busy 'Spring Break' week. On Tuesday, we were off to see the 'Butterflies go Free' exhibit at the Insectarium with Cara-Li and her friend K. from school. Since we had a monarch butterfly come out of his cocoon last year in our living room, Cara-Li has had a strong interest in butterflies. It was neat to see tons of them flying around you in the the greenhouse and Cara-Li is already planning next year's visit! It seems to me that this will become a yearly event.

On Friday, Cara-Li was invited to Dumpling's (Mortimer's Mom) birthday party. Dumpling, who turned 5, and Cara-Li are from the same orphanage in China and we moms figured out that they were there at the same time for a period of 5 months. They have seen each other several times in the last little while and Cara-Li has really taken a liking to her. She actually requested that Dumpling be invited to her birthday party. Too cute!

Which brings me to the next event. Cara-Li turn 6 years old while we are in Cuba next week. Can you believe that our baby is going to be six? ;( She was just a baby not too long ago! Anyway, enough of that! We decided that we would have her birthday party before our trip and because it was going to be today, on the eve of our departure, it was to be held somewhere else other than our house. No muss no fuss!

So here we are at the Univers Toutous where the kids got to build their own bear (or other animal) and played various games. After that it was cake and juice (coffee for the adults!). A great time was had by all... Cara-Li has not stopped thanking us for the best party ever! I think she had fun...

And lastly, we had dinner (out of course as we have no food in the house!) with my parents to end a most fabulous day.
As I type this, the kids are asleep, Gord is watching TV (probably sleeping!)and I have just finished packing our 100 bags!
And one more thing....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Soon, soon!

5 more sleeps before we check in to

The Playa Pesquero in Holguin, Cuba

and sip my first Cuba Libre.

It's gonna be some tasty!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

Seeing that Gord is Irish and therefore my daughters are as well (1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Canadian, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Irish), I thought a post on this day would be appropriate. And no, I did not bake those cookies!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Busy, busy weekend!

We decided to head off to the cottage on Thursday morning this week seeing that Cara-Li is on Spring Break. It is always so fantastic to have a couple of extra days there as 4 days seem to feel like 8. We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. With what started with a casual dinner at the local restaurant, we kind of ended up in Saint Sauveur at Gibby's! Not exactly the same thing! But remember, Alexia loved filet mignon last week. But this week, after I ordered the $50 piece of beef, she refused to even taste it! Go figure!

On Friday, it was skiing for CL and Gord will I laid low with Alexia back at the ranch. We played, we read, Alexia napped, I watched a movie. Life is grand! I did prepare some things as we were expecting friends to arrive for the weekend at around suppertime. But, I didn't have to cook as they brought it. What fabulous guests! And their dinner was fab too! Thanks C & P.
CL and G in their little homemade beds as they watched a movie. Too cute!

Saturday, we all headed to the ski hill with some of us skiing and some of us not. CL had her last ski lesson for the year and ended it with a bang! She just loves to ski! And that makes me happy.

Daddy and Cara-Li discussing which chairlift to take.

And finally on Sunday, we went to the Sugar Shack with the Adoptive Families of Quebec. I had so much maple syrup and derivitives of it that I am still bouncing of the walls. When will this sugar rush end? Cara-Li hates maple syrup whereas Alexia absolutely loved the entire experience. She is a true Quebecer at heart!

Mommy, Cara-Li, Alexia and some guy! (Gord, you really should take some photo composition tips from me! If you had zoomed in a little, that 'guy' whom we do not know would not have appeared like he belongs to our family!)

Alexia, who does not appear to be affected by all the sugar she consumed just moments earlier!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Many Changes in Alexia

It is amazing how much this little girl has changed since we've been home. I thought I'd jot down some of the things that she says and does for posterity purposes.

Alexia now (at age 16 months):

- has 8 teeth (4 at 11 months and 4 at 15 months)
- obviously walks (since 12 months)
- sleeps through the entire night without a peep (12 hours) and naps twice a day (1.5 - 2 hours each)
- understands simple instructions such as: sit down, put your toy away, drink your water, put your head down, give me your foot, where are your socks, wipe your mouth, blow your nose
- points to her nose and eyes when asked
- howls like a wolf and barks like a dog
- gives kisses freely and unexpectedly and blows kisses when she goes to bed
- hugs her baby and feeds her
- nods 'yes' when asked if her supper is good
- points at everything she wants to make her self understood
- gets extremely excited when she sees her coat as she knows that we are going outside
- once her snowsuit is placed on the floor, she jumps into it
- squeals when she sees her sister come out of school
- babbles constantly
- says a number of words such as:
doo-doo = blankie
do-do = sleep
ne-ne = Chinese for milk
ma-oum = mommy
da-doum = daddy
da-yi or ca-yi = Cara-Li
ca-ca = pretty obvious as to what this is!
hi (while waving)
bye (while waving)
- says a numer of words we are not sure about such as:
wa-wa = water?
ya-ya = Xia Xia (that's her)?
- can go up the stairs but down is still a no go
- can climb onto the bed or couch
- loves to put on everyone's shoes, mitts and hats
- squeals with delight at the sight of the tub filling with water

There you have it ... a little summary as to what Alexia has been up to since her arrival last September.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tragedy in Morin-Heights

As news broke yesterday afternoon, I was devasted to hear that the Gourmet du Village warehouse had collapsed due to high accumulation of snow of the roof of their building. Three women remained trapped under the rubble for close to 5 hours only to be found dead close to the dinner hour. This company sells wonderful gourmet food products and are one of our suppliers at our store. Not to mention that our cottage is a mere 10 minutes away. This tragedy has hit close to home! (see story here & here)

As we drove north today to the cottage, numerous buildings along the highway were having their roofs cleared. It was amazing to see how much snow is up there! Many roofs had as many as 20 shovellers equipped with snowblowers! This I have never seen before. I guess roof shovelling was on everyone's to-do list in the wake of this tragedy. Gord has been shovelling our roofs constantly throughout the winter with me making fun of him. This weekend when he is up there once again, I will keep my big mouth shut!

My heart goes out to the families of the victims and all the employees of Gourmet du Village.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

It's crazy out there!

We finally made it home from the cottage. It is completely nuts! I don't think that I have ever seen this much snow!

The girls and I picked up Gord from the airport after a week-long trip around 2PM on Friday and headed up to the cottage early to beat the traffic and phase one of the storm. By the time we went to bed not too much had fallen and by morning there was probably an additional foot of snow to the already tremendous amount on the ground. Cara-Li and Gord went off to the ski hill while I stayed home with Alexia. I worked on CL's birthday invites most of the day. At around 3PM, it started to snow pretty heavily (phase two of the storm). Shortly thereafter, much to my relief, the skiers returned with a bunch of new ski stories to share. You should see CL ski... going down black diamonds as if it were nothing! Anyway, as we were having dinner at app. 7PM, the power goes out (of course). There is one thing that we are now used to with our cottage is that, when the power goes out, it ain't comin' back. Out come the candles, the oil lamps and the small generator. Gord was thrilled to be able to run the TV on the generator so that CL could watch a movie before bed. Our furnace (of course) does not run without power (go figure) so Gord spent the night on the couch feeding wood into the fireplace every couple of hours for warmth. We girls slept very cozily in our beds! My biggest concern was how were we going to have coffee in the morning! Alexia's milk was warmed up with a tea light but I do not think that one could brew coffee with a tea light. And, no, the generator cannot run the coffee maker. Trust me, Gord tried! Anyway, by app. 8AM, the power was back and coffee was brewed! CL had a blast as she pretended that we were camping in a cabin. Oh and did I mention what a wild storm it was... super windy and blowing snow everywhere! And of course, another pile of snow on the ground! Driving home proved to be challenging as well. The main highways were fine but some of the smaller ones that are one lane each direction were now one lane only with snow banks as high as 15 feet! I am glad we are home!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Photography 101: Lesson #4

Here are my final 3 photos for this course. We had to take one that depicts 'Red' and the other that depicts 'Happiness'. I sent in an additional one that depicts both at the same time.

Ruby Red Pomegranate
Struggling to find something red in this snowy world of white, here is one of my favourite all-time fruits that I discovered way in the back of my fridge. And a beautiful shade of red it is!

Colourful Crayons

When I was a young child, a new box of crayons always made me the happiest even when I was sick. And my Daddy knew this. Today, a new box of crayons always makes me smile!

Elated Alexia

I was photographing strawberries for the 'Red' picture when Alexia entered the room and squealled at the sight of all those berries. Boy, were they ever tasty!

Others news... When Alexia first joined our family, she did not eat anything. It was clear that at the orphanage, she had never had anything solid to eat. Not a problem... she quickly started to eat baby food and did for quite some time. Solids were introduced but she was not too interested at first. Until one day, about 2 months ago, she decided that she was to feed herself and would not accept ANYTHING from me. OK, no problem. She was presented with a bowl and a spoon every meal so that she could self-feed. However, she also decided that she would have nothing to do with any meat, poultry or fish. It seems she does not enjoy the texture! Well, last night I made a filet mignon for dinner, nice and rare as I like it. It didn't even dawn on me to serve her some as I had pretty much given up on her eating any meat. But when she saw it on our plates, she started to squeal and point wildly at it. What do you know... she LOVES filet mignon, nice and rare!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

6 month Anniversary

6 months ago today, Guang Yun Xia joined our family of three at app. 4:30PM in Nanchang, Jiangxi. Our lives, and hers, have not been the same since that moment. She has grown into a wonderful little toddler who completely loves her Jie Jie and her mommy and daddy too! We cannot imagine our lives without her!