Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 ~ A year of Maisie

In January Maisie started ballet class and absolutely loved it. She also loved being a little fashionista sometimes sporting some very creative and interesting outfits.

February seemed to be a month filled with sugar. Maisie and I did a lot of baking together, she ate cotton candy at the circus and enjoyed her first ever lollipop which she loved immediately and is still one of her favorite treats. February was also the month of Little Einstein p.j's, the girl was obsessed and wanted to spend all day, every day wearing those p.j's.

In March Maisie continued her love of Little Einstein p.j's but added the love of bandaids and we went through so many boxes I lost count. Maisie was invited to join the Jr. Pre-team at her gym and she just couldn't get enough time there so I installed a bar at home so she could play and practice. March wasn't all fun for little Maisie though as she suffered through her first stomach virus and struggled with terrible sleep issues and night terrors.

April brought lots of fun times with friends old and new. Maisie was beyond thrilled when our new neighbors K & A moved in next door. Also new was her first big girl bike which she loved.

In May it seemed like all of a sudden my little toddler was gone and Maisie seemed and looked so much older all of a sudden. May was also a bit of a crazy month with the end of Wee school, her first ballet recital and her gymnastics spring blast. The one day of the month that I'll probably always remember was my birthday day, total craziness as somehow Maisie managed to dislocate her elbow and then we said goodbye to my beloved Volvo. Thankfully once Maisie's elbow was popped back into place she was good as new and honestly, I'm loving my new car.

June was a great month for Maisie as she started gymnastics camp and what made it even more fun for her was that neighbors K & A attended with her. June also stared our busy travel schedule, first heading to Florida to spend time with my parents as well as one of our China travel families followed a week later by a whirlwind trip through New England to visit many of my old friends. Between gymnastics camp, regular gymnastics practices and our travels it was go, go, go all month.

July was a wonderful continuation of June with lots of playtime with friends, gymnastics camp, gymnastics team practice and a super fun trip out to Salt Lake City to visit and play with even more friends. We were busy and always on the move, a super fun summer and seeing so many friends was great fun.

August was a big month for Maisie as she started kindergarten, looking so wee yet at the same time oh-so grown-up. The beginning of the month was super fun as gymnastics camp was finished and Maisie and I got to spend time together without our usual full schedule of activities. We enjoyed picking veggies from our garden, dressing up and dancing around the house, learning to hula hoop, making and eating grilled pizzas, birthday parties, pool time, social time, bouncy times, fun times, big sisters and water fun with friends.

Compared to August, September seemed like a laid back month as we found our groove having a good routine of school, ballet class, gymnastics practice and swimming lessons. It wasn't all work though as Maisie still had fun being a princess , and playing with friends. September also brought some big milestones. Eammon and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary as well as the three of us reaching 1000 days as a family. We survived not only the flooding that hit Georgia, remaining high and dry but also the flood of Jonathan...everything Jonathan.

In October my beautiful little Maisie Miao Miao turned 4 years old, so grown up but I couldn't help thinking that just short time before she was my little baby. Maisie enjoyed some new experiences, her first cruise, her first school field trip to her first play and she received her first report card. Our month ended on a high note, fun play dates with friends and what's becoming a yearly tradition, Maisie & friends at the maize maze where Maisie had another first, her first pony ride.

November was a fun month of birthday parties, getting together with old and new friends, camp days at gymnastics, a fun little gymnastics performance and Thanksgiving with Grandma & Grandpa.

December was a month of travel and family. First Maisie and I enjoyed two weeks in Aruba with my parents where we celebrated our three year gotcha anniversary. Unfortunately Eammon had to remain home and work but he was left well cared for and supplied. In Aruba Maisie got to spend time with old friends, new friends and have lots of very special one-on-one time with my parents but she sure did miss her Baba. We returned home for a quick four day turnaround and then were back on a plane heading to the U.K. where we spent Christmas in Wales with Eammon's eldest brother Michael and his family and then we headed to London where we spent the remainder of 2009 introducing Maisie to and visiting with her Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunts, Uncles and cousins as well as numerous friends. It was a wonderful trip and hopefully all of Maisie's Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends will be booking trips to the U.S. this year so that we can see them all again very soon.

Overall 2009 was a good year and we're looking forward to all the new adventures and changes that 2010 will bring. Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year and happy 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Some traditions are fun, great and wonderful and you look forward to repeating them year after year but then there are those which keep coming around even though you don't want them yet you just can't seem to break the cycle and get rid of them.

Good tradition, hopefully to be repeated for many years to come: Decorating Christmas cookies with friends.

Today Maisie and I spent the afternoon next door with K, A and friends playing together then making, decorating and eating Christmas cookies. It was good fun for the children and adults and everyone enjoyed a little sugar buzz.

Bad tradition which will hopefully stop coming around year after year: Pneumonia and sickness.

During our last week in Aruba Maisie came down with conjunctivitis in both eyes and then started to drag a bit sounding like she was coming down with a cold with a bit of a cough. During the flight home she complained of head, stomach and ear pain. I too during our last two or three days started feeling a bit run down like I was coming down with a cold, being very stuffed up with a sore throat. We arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning and once the day started my first order of business was to take Maisie to the doctor. The meds which the doctor in Aruba prescribed were working well and her eyes were looking great needing only two more days of the meds. Her ears, throat and lungs all looked clear and other than a major build-up of wax in one ear the doctor said she seemed healthy. The wax build-up in her ear was quite substantial so it was decided that the doctor would flush it out which was excruciating with an exhausted and screaming Maisie but once it was done Maisie said her ear felt better.

Once home from Maisie's doctor I was really dragging wanting nothing more than to veg out on the sofa, watch my recorded shows, drink tea and nap. I figured that I was tired from lack of sleep and just had a cold and that if I felt worse on Monday I'd go to the doc. By Sunday I knew that I had something going on in my chest so first thing Monday morning I called my doc but because of the holiday and people away I couldn't get into see anyone so I headed off to the doc-in-a-box at urgent care. After an exam and a review of my history with pneumonia in 2006, 2007 and 2008 I was sent off to x-ray where they found a small cloud in my lung. The doctor said that it was caught early and sent me home with a script for wicked expensive ($97 for 5 stinking pills!) high dose antibiotics, an inhaler and codeine cough syrup.

Even though on Saturday the doctor said that Maisie was okay, I think that she has something going on as she's a snotty mess, coughing and dragging. As we set off tomorrow evening for England I think we'll be doing a return trip to the doctor first thing in the morning. I too am considering a return visit for myself as I'm finding it more difficult to breathe and with the long flight and cold weather we're heading to, I just want to be cautious and not land my tush in the hospital again this year.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and merry Christmas filled with only good times, health and traditions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maisie & Grandpa, oh-so-sweet together

Tonight is our final night in Aruba and though it's been a wonderful holiday, both Maisie and I are tired, ready to go home, sleep in our own beds and to see Eammon/Baba again. Tonight though we had the most beautiful sky after sunset and we were able to enjoy it from our balcony during dinner as the color seemed to last and last.

Maisie has had an absolutely wonderful time on this trip especially enjoying some daily one-on-one time with my Dad. Each morning my Dad is the first one up and as soon as Maisie hears him in the kitchen she jumps excitedly out of bed to go see him. Each morning my Dad makes breakfast for the two of them then they eat together. After Maisie finishes her meal Grandpa gives her a special "Aruba only" treat, half of a Dunkin' Donuts sprinkle donut. Maisie really enjoys this special time with her Grandpa and I really appreciate the extra time I get to sleep in a bit.

Once down at the beach Maisie's first order of business is to go for a walk with Grandpa. The two of them walk quite a distance and Maisie always comes back soaking wet from the waves and ready to walk again or to hit the swimming pool. Maisie has become a little walking fiend wearing out three or four adults a day. There was one day that she walked for almost an hour with my Dad from Aruba Beach Club all the way down to the Tamarijn and back. Then immediately upon their return she wanted to walk again so Sandy and I walked with her up past Costa Linda and back. She wanted to go again but I told her after lunch we'd walk again. So after lunch and our quiet time she wrangled my Mom and they walked up to Costa Linda where they went swimming for a bit but when they returned she wanted to walk some more so she and I walked down to the Tamarijn. She would have walked some more but all the available adults had walked their limit so she had to wait until the following day to do all over again.

Our trip has not been without some problems though. Maisie had a bit of a cold before we headed down here but nothing major. Then on our fifth day here, by late afternoon she started really dragging and she wasn't herself. That night she spiked a high fever which thankfully by the next morning was down and with some medicine she was feeling better, not wanting to stay indoors but wanting to be on the beach. She was much more quiet than normal preferring to play quietly in the sand over spending all day in the pool or ocean, so that's what we did. Then once she seemed pretty much back to normal the poor little girl came down with bacterial conjunctivitis in both eyes. Thankfully we were able to contact a doctor down here and in less than an hour we were at the pharmacy picking up prescriptions. The first day of trying to get the thrice daily eye drops and once nightly cream into her eyes was pure he11 but by day two she was less frightened and we got into a groove so now it's easy-peasy...thankfully! I'll tell you though, with just the first application of eye drops her eyes looked and felt significantly better which was a relief to all of us.

Our final little stress this trip was about our next trip. Maisie and I are due to arrive home in the wee hours of Saturday morning and we're scheduled to leave for London on Wednesday. But now with all the talk of a British Airways strike, even though there's now a High Court injunction blocking it, who knows if the trip will happen. At this point whether it's Christmas and New Years in Atlanta or London, at least we'll be together and we'll have a great time.

Signing off from Aruba, next stop Atlanta.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Three year gotcha anniversary

Three years ago today, sweet little scared Wan Chun Miao was placed in my arms and life hasn't been the same since. Life is great with my Maisie Miao Miao and she's no longer that scared little girl. Maisie's now a beautiful, vibrant, talented, smart, driven, sweet & lovable four year old and she's the best little girl in our world.

We enjoyed a nice anniversary day spending lots of time in the pools, playing in the sand and with Grandma, Grandpa & friends. We're send big hugs and kisses to Baba back at home and hope that he had a good day too...even though it was a full day at work. We're also sending happy gotcha day anniversary wishes to all our travel mates and Julie & Tess, big hugs to all of you.

Below are some piccies from the past two days.

Maisie & Bob feed the birds. Bob is so sweet with Maisie and always brings bread & crackers to the beach so that Maisie can help him feed the birds. Maisie started talking about seeing "bird man" Bob a couple weeks before we came down to Aruba, she couldn't wait to see him again and feed the birds together. In this post from last year you can see them feeding the birds together. Bob is just so very sweet and funny with Maisie, we're sad to see him heading home tomorrow but we're look forward to hopefully seeing him again next year.

Sandy & Allan are friends we always look forward to seeing. Usually it's just in Aruba where we see each other but this year back in June we stayed with them up in Boston which was great fun, even if oh-too-short of a visit. Maisie looks forward to visiting with them daily and I'm sure that it has nothing what-so-ever to do with the candy treats they bring down for her each afternoon. A couple of weeks before we left for Aruba Maisie started asking me if I thought Sandy, Allan & Carl (their son) would have anything for Maisie in the afternoons. I'm telling you, that little girl has people pegged and she never forgets.

Maisie and Kayodee were best friends from the very first moment that they met earlier this week and each afternoon they've had a blast, giggling, swimming and running around together. Both of them have talked about the other from the time that they awake in the morning, asking when the other will be at the pool and how long until they're together. Here they are sharing some crackers together. They would each eat a cracker or two then look at each other only to crack up laughing and then sweet hugs.

Sadly, Kayodee flies home tomorrow so today was their last day together. Email addys have been exchanged so Maisie now has her first Dutch email-pen-pal.

Though Maisie's generally the Energizer Bunny she sometimes winds down. This piccie is from yesterday when I told her that she didn't have to take a nap but that she had to play quietly with her dolls and toys in the sand while I rested a bit after lunch. After about 15 minutes of playing she asked if she could cuddle with with me on the lounger and within 5 minutes she was sound asleep. Gotta love those naps.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Maisie & Kayodee

Here's another video mostly for Eammon as I know that he's missing his little girl so I'm trying to post videos so that he can get his Maisie fix.

For the past two afternoons Maisie has been having a blast with a little Dutch boy named Kayodee. The two of them love playing together in the pool, being silly and talking with one another. The funny thing about them talking is that neither speaks the other ones language but somehow they get their message across.

The weather continues to be perfect and Maisie and I are having a blast enjoying the sun, sand, pool and ocean.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Swimming like a dolphin and sand angels

Maisie and I had a relatively easy trip down to Aruba and have settled in nicely. When we first arrived Maisie's comment was "Mama I'm so excited to be in Aruba, I can't wait for all my friends to see me!" And let me tell you, all her friends were quite excited to see her. Maisie also couldn't wait to get her feet wet and play in the sand so while I said my hellos and caught up with a few friends, Maisie and my Mom headed down to the waters edge to play for a bit. We didn't stay on the beach long that first day as by the time we got to Aruba and my parent's place it was almost 5PM and we'd been up since 3am so needless to say we were quite tired.

Our first full day on the beach was great and Maisie had a blast being buried in the sand & making sand angels. The water was quite calm with smaller waves so both my Mom and I were able to easily get Maisie in and out of the ocean which is a treat as often there are big waves making impossible for even an adult to get in and out. We also played in the big pool but Maisie had her best time in the kiddie pool. Maisie has never loved getting her face wet or putting her head under the water but after only a little while in the kiddie pool she was swimming around like a dolphin, her swimming instructor is going to be so happy when we return to lessons in January. Below are two videos, first of Maisie being a dolphin and the second is her making sand angels.

Friday, December 04, 2009

He won't starve

Tomorrow we will be waking in the wee hours of the morning as Maisie and I have an obscenely early flight out to Aruba. It will all be worth it though because tomorrow afternoon we'll be frolicking in the surf and sand, basking under the warm sun and away from the ridiculously cold weather that currently exists in Atlanta. I've been packed for weeks so this week I've focused on getting everything around the house organized, getting the laundry done and changing all the bed linens. I've also made sure that Eammon will be well fed while we're away by stocking the freezer with healthy and delicious homemade meals. Figure if the poor guy has to work while his wife and daughter flit & frolic on the beach and have fun with Grandma & Grandpa, the least I can do is have a nice selection of his favorite meals available for him.

Here's what fills the freezer for Eammon while Maisie and I are basking under the warm Arubian sun:

6 meals of Spaghetti Bolognase
2 meals of Udon with Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled Eel)
4 meals of Baked Stuffed Flounder
2 meals of Vanilla Scented Pork Loin with Sauteed Spinach & Saffron Rice
4 meals of Shrimp, clams, olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Capers over Angel Hair Pasta
3 meals of Hearty Curried Beef Stew over Jasmine Rice
3 meals of Curried Shepherds Pie
2 meals of ChapChae (Mixed Vegetables with Noodles) w/Korean Spicy Beef
3 meals of Roasted Chicken w/Roasted Vegetables
4 meals of Crab & Vegetable Quiche
3 meals of Buffalo Chicken & Potato Casserole
2 meals of Thanksgiving Dinner
3 meals of Rib Steak w/Corn Souffle, Roasted Vegetables & Stuffing
4 meals of Chicken & Mushroom Pie
1 meal of Pork Chop w/Sauteed Spinach, Saffron Rice & Grilled Tomatoes

I think there's a good enough selection and 46 meals should get him though the two weeks and get me out of a little cooking when we return by having a few extra in reserve.

Now because no post is ever complete without a picture or video, especially of my little Maisie, here's a video from yesterday at the gym. The bar is her favorite piece of equipment and she just makes it look so easy. At the end of the video she's on a lower bar and I'm amazed by how big she casts and the momentum she gets...even if she did over-rotate and fall off, it's her strength that just impresses me.

Time to get back to work and finish up so that I can get a little sleep tonight. I hope to post a bit while away but if not, we wish everyone a fun two weeks.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Guilted into it

This year I had absolutely no intentions of putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house or even baking a cookie because this month after Friday, Maisie and I are barely home for four days and will be out of the country over Christmas. But alas...Sunday we were at K & A's as their tree was going up and the house was being decorated and made oh-so-festive, Maisie just loved it. Then everywhere we go Maisie points out all the beautiful decorations and lights and she can't seem to get enough of them. I wanted to make my girl happy so while she was at school this morning I put out some decorations and when we returned home she was so happy, her eyes lit up and she was very excited telling me how beautiful it looked. Then as I was putting her down for her nap she asked if we were going to have a tree as she really, really wanted one. while she slept I set up our tree and started decorating it and once she awoke she was over the top excited and helped to finish decorating. Maisie loves the tree as it's decorated with giant bells, feathery peacocks, flowers with sparkly crystal centers, lights and pretty fairies...what more could a little girly girl ask for.

Looking back I've really been horrible at getting the house decorated and into the whole holiday mood and season. Just how much of a slacker have I been, check it out.

* I had a really good excuse for Christmas 2006. We left China on December 25th and arrived back in Atlanta on December 25th, a 36 hour day of which 27 hours was spent traveling so no tree, decorations, presents or even a special meal. On top of all the travel and time changes, I had pneumonia and ear infections and both Maisie and Eammon had colds and ear infections so sleep and getting healthy were our only priorities.

* Christmas 2007 was a normal 24 hour day but we were home from Aruba barely two days and I was sick with pneumonia and Maisie had a bad cold so decorating and putting up a tree just wasn't in the cards. I also figured that Maisie was so young, she didn't yet realize what she was missing.

* Christmas 2008 we did a little better. We were home from Aruba for five days before Christmas so I pulled out our little two-foot tall tree, got a nice meal made for Christmas day and actually got gifts wrapped and under the tree. Looking back it's amazing that I got that much done as I was actually still quite sick, recovering from being in the hospital for a good part of November and I was still tying to get over pneumonia (yet again) and c-diff. I remember making a wonderful dinner but it was really only Eammon who was able to enjoy it.

* Here we are 2009, our fourth Christmas with Maisie and I had figured between the palm trees all decked out in Aruba and being with family in England for Christmas with their trees and decorations that I'd get out of all the decorating but now Maisie "gets it" and so for her it was worth putting up a tree and putting out decorations. Just seeing the excitement and joy on her face will make her four days of Christmas at home worth it. Come January I'll have to remember her joy because it's the packing everything away that's truly the part that I dislike and try to avoid each year by not pulling the stuff out to begin with.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Funnies with Maisie

* The day before Thanksgiving break I was pulling into Maisie's school for morning drop-off and Maisie was belting out:
Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my bedroom (making love)
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed
Someone's taken my place

Cecilia, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home
Yeah, and she goes to a nice little Christian school. Glad the windows were rolled up and I'm thinking that maybe I should introduce her to some new and more appropriate songs ;-)

* The other night Eammon was doing bedtime with Maisie and started singing Old McDonald. Eammon sang:
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a
(at which point he stopped to let Maisie pick the animal.)
And what did she pick?

A silent pig!

She then proceeded to mouth the pig oink without making any sound...where does she come up with this? Got Eammon quite silly though.

* Maisie will twirl and whirl until she falls down dizzy and then she'll ask me, "Mama do you feel the dizzies?" Funny girl can't quite figure it out that since I wasn't spinning, I won't feel the dizzies.

* We started Elf on the Shelf and Maisie named her elf Mortimer. I was talking about her elf and referred to him as Mort so Maisie asked, who's Mort? I explained that Mort is short for Mortimer to which Maisie replied, "I'm tall for Maisie."

* This was a few weeks ago. It was first thing in the morning, Maisie was already in the kitchen when I came walking in. Maisie was staring directly at my chest and said "look at those cupcakes." All at once my brain was thinking, am I dressed and why and where did she learn to call them cupcakes all while envisioning the November picture from Calendar Girls. I was still half asleep and a little brain dead as it took me a moment to realize that the pattern on my night shirt was cupcakes.

Above is an iPhone piccie of my funny girl which I snapped today at gymnastics. The twins on her team celebrated their birthday and brought in cupcakes for all the girls. Generally Maisie loves just licking the frosting off the top and discarding the cake but she must have been hungry today as she polished off the entire thing. Love my girl, all her quirks and the funny things that she comes out with.
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