Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Typical Morning Vignette

Each morning I plant the four yahoos around the table and clean the kitchen or try to do some work on the computer as they eat breakfast before we head out the door. This morning struck me as quite funny and very typical with the crazy kids that I live with.

Noley: "I'll take a burrito with a fork...mom did you remember to bring in the violins from the car?...

MeiMei: " Mom do you know what I am thankful for...(secretly hoping I will be somewhere in the answer)...I am thankful for carrots...gum...cookies...and for learning to write and read...Oh and I will take a burrito cut in half with a fork...not a big fork one of the small forks"...

HooHaa: " MeiMei did it!"

Tobbers: " Mom I've been having visions of the future again...they are happening at night when I sleep...Mom why is it that only the second tier of the fountain froze this morning? Oh and Mom do you know what I am thankful for? ... (again secretly hoping one of four children is thankful for moi)...I am thankful for the big bang...because without it none of us would be here.
Moi: (to myself) I am thankful for pots of coffee....and "I am thankful for all of you! and my morning coffee"

And so is my morning...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All she wants for Christmas is her 2 front teeth...

Oh yeah that's right...Noley is in the marketplace for two new teeth to replace the two permanent teeth that she broke in half yesterday. So much for the dental insurance that we lost last month. Well, we are off to the dentist to shop for some new teeth. What is it with these Tomatoes? Noley will join both her father and sister in the two front teeth Christmas camp... Buying new teeth for my daughter was not exactly what I had in mind for a Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stephanie, this post is for you...

There is a woman in China who is conducting some research for families of children from Wuzhou Social Welfare Institute in Wuzhou, Guangxi province. Of course when I heard about this I wanted to know more. Our little MeiMei is a Wuzhou girl but with a twist. She is only one of two girls that I am aware of that started their lives in the Teng County SWI in Wuzhou.
After three years of searching for information on this SWI, I know no more than when I started. With this research I am hoping to learn more about where MeiMei spent the first year of her life and the nature of why she was transferred to Wuzhou SWI. Lucky for us...because her transfer made it possible for her to find her way into our home. Stephanie also has a Teng girl who was living in the orphanage when our MeiMei was there. It appears that both girls were transferred at the same time and were adopted a little more than one year apart from each other. One here in the big tomato and one in lone star state. Here are the photos that we first saw of our little MeiMei

Day 2 of the season and no signs of life...

*********************** Please someone come and HELP ME...we are two days into the Christmas season and there are no signs of it in Tomato home. I am paralyzed each year when it comes time to set up a tree, decorate it and make the house look happy and merry. I enjoy the looks of Christmas and love how peoples homes look all decorated. It's just I HATE decorating for Christmas.
I think I harbor too many years of being traumatized as a child from having to decorate a tree with "one piece of tinsel at a time" and placing ornaments in the "right spot with adequate space"...ahhhhh I hate trimming trees. I like tree trimming parties just don't ask me to do anything. I have adorable ornaments and lots of items to place around the home...I just don't want to do it.
I am happy to have kids now that I can let them do all of the decorating of the tree and such...however with that being said, there is just one problem to having children decorate your tree...check out the photos from Christmas pasts and you will see what I mean... (decorated Santa's---dead Polly pockets and Santa's accomplice, Barney with cap, horizontal trees aka fallen over for the third time, wreath wearing roosters and earthquake gingerbread houses...OY VAY!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home 1 month and 2 big milestones...

December first and it marks two HUGE milestones in my book. First Hoo read his first English word. "HOME" He was helping me put away some files in my office and saw the word Home on my Home Depo Stock file and said " Mama, Home Mama Home" as he pointed to the file. I said yes Hoo! I find the serendipity of a newly adopted child reading his first English word being "Home" quite amazing.
The second HUGE landmark milestone is that today Hoo officially starts morning kindergarten! Hallelujah! I have spent the past month with three morning drop offs at school and three afternoon pickups. It is INSANE. I am INSANE and have been on the precipitous brink of ... well something that I am sure would involve ETOH.
He has been sitting in an afternoon Kinder class that has been, well less than desirable by my tweaked standards (yes, I am accepting that I have different standards for my kids education than that state of California does) and he will finally leave the island of misfit toys to join the likes of the living.
So what does this mean for me? THREE HOURS OF BEING ABLE TO WORK! Oh yeah Baby! And when work gets busy in the springtime it means 4th R three afternoons a week....giving me SIX HOURS!
Notice the official HooHaa uniform. Jeans and an orange striped shirt. He refuses to wear anything but a striped shirt with a collar in either orange or blue. Nothing else (unless you count the superman PJ top)...or he will sneak off and change it back to orange or blue stripes. I am not used to have an opinionated boy. My boy experience is one that would wear anything I tell him including a potato sack. This is going to take some getting used to.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food Food the Glorious Food...

So what did we love about China?...Well if you take one look at the photos you will find a central theme. FOOD! All of us Tomatoes love to eat...Cherries to Beefsteaks---We LOVE our food. I think one of my favorite things to do when traveling to another country is to check out the local markets and see what the offer in the grocery stores. I love trying new things and that love has been passed on to all of the Tomatoes.
I think back to the time when Linjit and I were at a Japanese grocery store and found that everyone around us was buying this interesting package of ??? something. We decided to by on and take it home only to discover it tasted like wax and was hard as a rock despite how long we cooked it. Only to find out from a Japanese friend that our special little item was not meant for consumption...it was an ornament for decoration. (I still cannot figure out why the instructions all in Japanese showed it boiling in water)
Once again in China we were thrilled with all of the magnificent food choices. We ate everything and everywhere from street vendors, to snack stations to smelly restaurants. Don't speak Chinese??? No problem just smile, point and say a prayer.
Not sure what we ate at times. We came home with a couple award winning dishes that we have been tinkering with here at home. My favorite right now is the cilantro and peanut salad.
Nanjing China Cilantro Salad
2 bunches of Cilantro chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup of salted peanuts
1/3 cup of sesame soy vinigrete (3 T sesame oil, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 3T sugar, 2T soy sauce) add more vinegar to taste
Toss and eat.
Let me know if you like the salad. I LOVE it, but then I LOVE cilantro. I will be posting this salad over at TastyKitchen.
Oh...and did I mention that we also like to taste the local beverages? PeiJiu anyone?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Derby the huh?

When traveling one gets to see many interesting sites. Sometimes the sights are not really scenic per se but ummm.... well see if you can figure it out. This advertising sign was posted on the back of all of the seats on flight to Nanjing on China Northern.

Derby the world in my finger...huh? Let me know if you can figure it out. Post it in my comments if you know. I do not.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wholey Toleeeedo, can that be true? One month ago today you joined our crazy family. It seems like a second ago we were in China and yet light years away. Funny how that happens. Your life has changed so much in 30 days. You have traveled half way around the world. Rode cars, trains, boats and airplanes. Started school and rode your first bike. The future is yours big guy.
Gotcha Day flashback. We all rode in the bus to the civil affairs office to meet you. The room was filled with families from the US and Spain. There were about a dozen excited families waiting. All of sudden the first group of kids arrived. We were able to watch them meet their families for the first time. The new parents were crying...the babies were crying...and next thing you know the grownup Tomatos are all crying...
About ten minutes into the arrival of the first set of kids, I hear someone tell me that HooHaa was arrived and was walking into the building. I jump up to look outside the window and as I am hanging out the window trying to steal a glimpse of him...I panic because either I did not see him or he has changed so much I did not recognize him. Nope neither... He was standing behind me most likely thinking "what kind of loon of a mom did I get...why is she hanging out the window like she gonna jump?" There he was with two nannies dressed in his finest of blue dragon silks wearing a Cal Berkley hat. She was smiley and interested in us. He was quite but taking everything in. MeiMei was smothering him with hugs and kisses. She could not leave him alone she was so happy to have "her brother" All of the kids were so sweet to him. And then it came time to say goodbye.
He did not cry until that is his two nannies announced that they were leaving him. Then it hit him...I have to stay with these loud big people? He cried hard for about 45 minutes. Really really hard. He was one sad guy. He tired to run after is his nannies when he saw them leave but the told him to stay with us and he did. He cried all the way back to the hotel and when our bus pulled up to the Mandarin Garden Hotel he stopped crying.
We went up to our room for some paperwork details and within an hour we had big smiles and belly laughs from him. Soon he was singing and dancing for us and acting like one happy boy. As we did with MeiMei we decided to win him over with food and it worked. The guy loves to eat and so do we. The first night on the way to the restaurant he keep singing "HongHong...Baba...HongHong Mama...HongHong Meimei...etc. He had all of our names down and was singing them along with his name. I think he is going to fit in with us quite nicely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Intervention or garbage bag?

So what have I been doing since we've been home from China? Uhhhh trying to find my way out of this MESS....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm ALIVE...

Uh...I mean we are alive. In short, we had a FABULOUS time in China. All of the Yahoos did AMAZINGLY well. The newest Cherry Tomato -- HooHaa is doing just great. He is a happy happy boy. He is 110% boy with two modes of operation. Fully caffeinated and asleep.
Last night was the first night since we got home this past weekend that we ALL sleep through the night. I have not sleep more than 2 hours at a time since last Wednesday (china time). I am starting to come out of the fog and get back into the routine. Once I have uploaded my pictures off my camera, I will post some to share....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AutumnWaitingFamilies/photos/album/1657746064/pic/967137032/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc Adoption Day (tuesday)He Likes us He Really Likes us He woke up a happy guy with no issues. We took Tobbers along with us to the adoption signing while the girls stayed back at the hotel. I expected major tears like the hour after gotcha once he saw the orphanage staff...but NO..nothing. He told the guide and the director that he had a very good time yesterday and really liked us and wanted to stay with us. That he thought we were fun and he liked that he went to a restaurant, ate ice cream and played at the pool---that is our life on a regular basis. He spend the afternoon singing NON STOP...the guy is a budding Karaoke singer...little does he know what waits for him at home. He is very sweet. Loves to share with everyone. He constantly is cleaning and organizing the room and his things. He is a cleaning machine....we will see how long that lasts until the other yahoos corrupt him. He loves to eat, he loves to clean, he loves to sing and dance. The nannies said he was a very sweet boy that is kind to all and is well loved and liked by the other children. They said he is very easy going and never causes probelms. We discover he has been in kindergarten and knows his letters and numbers and colors...albeit in chinese. We learned that he speaks Wuxi but can understand Mandarin. This is be very helpful for him as he transitions since we have access to Mandarin services at school and home. He has been picking up new words in the past 24 hours and has all of the kids names down already. he is a very smart boy. All of the kids are really pitching in to help him. They have been amazing. Tomorrow we go out touring.
Sunday- Arrived in Nanjing We made it to Nanjing on Sunday but my laptop did not. It is dead as dead can be. I am pleased but not as pleased as the kids to have a larger hotel room. Blogger is blocked as is face book, youtube and any other information self posting sites. So so much for keeping folks up to date. This should all change (except my computer) when we leave Friday for Guangzhou and arrive at the White Swan hotel. Gotcha Day (monday) Well...in a nutshell...we have it and it went amazing well...he likes us a lot. We arrived at the offical province office and found out selves sitting with around 11 other families. We were the "Duggers" of the group with family in tow. We started watching babies arrive and I was leaning out the window to gawk when everyone announced that he "hooHaa" was here. Me, leaning now all the way out the window cannot find him. Finally they grab me from out the window to turn me around to find a little man sitting in front of me wearing his silk traditional blue dragon pajamas and a CAL berkley hat. He was smiling, and content to sit with us and show us his photo book that we sent him of us. Everything was fine until his nannies decided to leave. Then the flood gates broke loose. There was not a dry eye in the house. He cried through our adoption family photo,,,,he cried on the van back to the hotel he wimpered back to the hotel room and then....in the typical Tomato family tradition, we brought out the food. Within 2 hours of him being with us he was laughing, smiling, singing and dancing. Yep this little guy is one of us. Flashy clothes and all. By the time dinner came around he was singing his name then each name of our family. Hong Hong...Baba...Hong Hong...mama....Hong Hong...meimei...everyone of us. This is a happy boy.

gotcha day photo link

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'll have a Sampan, a wild monkey with some Hot chili's on the side...

Hong Kong Day 2 - the Yahoos and Mr T started their day at 2:45 in the morning. Those of us in the sorority room woke up at a blissful 6am. I was glad not to be in the Yahoo room. We spent the day touring the standard Hong Kong sites. Tram up to Victory Peak, Sampan Rides in the South China Sea, shopping at the Stanley Market, visiting the crazy priced jewelery store, and eating at the Bee Cafe (Aunt Bee photo to follow when I can figure out how to upload) followed by hot blinding chili sauce in the eye. Yep...the food was so good that not only did I inhale it I decided to apply it as eyeliner. My eye swelled, my face swelled, my nasal cavities swelled and my children's bladders emptied with laughter at me! Yes I think the whole restaurant and walkers by on the street were all watching me withering in pain and embarrassment.
I went back to the room to put the Yahoos down for a siesta and an ice pack for me. Mr T, Jinjit and KC trekked off to the 10,000 Buddas temple. (I will ask Linjet and KC to provide a guest editoral on their quite exciting afternoon jaunt) Tonight we head down to the Harbor to watch the Hong Kong light show on the water that makes Las Vegas look like a back yard party.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's Bigger than a Breadbox but smaller than a Queen Sized Bed?

I'll tell ya...a hotel room at the Regal Riverside in Hong Kong. Okay I am so NOT joking here. This is the smallest hotel room. We cannot stop laughing about it. Now, mind you, I have stayed in my share of dive hotel/motel/hostel rooms in Europe where you could not open the door to the room because it hit the bed, but this room is a side splitter. It is soooooo stinking small that we call keep laughing when we look at ourselves in it. Thank god we will be also occupying the room next door when it is clean. Yes is it snazzy with a view...but an all white hotel room with three yahoos under the age of 9? Yeah right? These are the days that memories are made of... Here is photo to show you just how small a room can be.

We're Heeeeerrrrrrreeeeeee

Well boarded Cathay Pacific's red eye to HongKong last...uhhh.. Whenever...the last 24 hours have been a blur... & Tomato's seven suitcases and we all arrived awake, happy and all in one piece.
The flight was uneventful, which is EXACTLY what one wants when they fly halfway across the world. A word to those who who will be flying to China after us...Let me make this very simple---SINGAPORE AIR. Which is NOT the airlines we flew this time around. As a former traveling girl pre kids, I got to be rather familiar with the various airlines. And I learned whenever a choice is even, never choose an american airline. Now, I can hear some of you...I love being an American and am proud to represent my country when I leave it...but man US airlines are not the happiest places in air. This time we flew Cathay Pacific a Hong Kong based airline that came recommended by our Chinese travel agency, and they did just fine. I mean most of all they got us here in one piece---which says alot. But they were not SINGAPORE AIR. Next trip to Asia...will be using the WORLDS BEST AIRLINE---SINGAPORE AIR.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

24 hours and counting till we head out...

Well my laundry has been released from washing machine lock down and my clothes are packed. Linjit arrived this afternoon. KC will be flying in from Las Vegas tomorrow night and will meet up with us at SFO. By this time tomorrow night the whole basket of Tomato's will be sitting together waiting to catch a plane to Hong Kong. This will be the first time we have all traveled together in a long time and the first time overseas as a group. The energy level is running quite high with the yahoos both young and old.

We will be heading out shortly for a salad extravaganza for dinner since we know it will be a while since we will get to eat any...and I have found it quite interesting that whether I am traveling to Europe or Asia...the only food that I miss is eating a really good salad with blue cheese.

We are looking forward as usual to eating our way through the country. I'm confident all of us will be in hog heaven with the food in China that is with the exception of Tobbers. It will be quite interesting what boring carbo boy will be eating. I secretly am quite happy to submerge him in a sea of vegetables where he will have limited carbo choices. With any luck we will be able to convert him into being an adventurous eater like the rest of us. Hey a mom can wish can't she?

I cannot believe that after TWO years this is really going to happen...