Some photo fun

We had a wonderful afternoon enjoying the sunshine and company of one branch of our China family.  Once again, birthday wishes to the two wonderful girls for whom the day was arranged.  Enjoy the photos.

Yes, our hosts have their own mini zip line. All of the kids laughed and screamed themselves silly.
Wow! Leaves!
A pair of Sweeties!

Two outings

A cute Halloween spider to start us off.









It has been a busy two days for us.  Yesterday I sprung Katrine from school in the afternoon (surprising conduct for me I know) so that we could go to watch the Skate Canada International competition in Mississauga.  We got to see the ladies and pairs short programs.  Katrine loved the ladies dressed.   She particularly liked watching Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, the 14 year old Russian skater.  She couldn’t believe that this awesome skater is just 7 years older than her.  During intermission we were walking to get snacks and saw a pair from the Chinese team warming up.  Katrine thought that was pretty cool.  A pair from where she was born skating where she lived and she got to see them.  I have to say that the pairs were awesome.  Wow!  I am so glad that Katrine is so ticklish and likely won’t ever be a pairs skater because man do those girls fly.  Pretty and spectacular when it is not my kid.  The only thing that disappointed Katrine was that she didn’t get to see Patrick Chan skate.  She has a bit of hero worship going on there.  Watching Katrine’s reaction to the ladies was really fun for me because it reassured me that all of the time we spend at the rink is what she wants.  I mean look at the photo and you will see it.

Oh ya, she also woke up and got dressed before 6:30 because she was "just too excited."















This afternoon we decided to try something new and headed out to the Community Safety Village.  The safety village is an awesome place for a school field trip because there are a lot of opportunities for them to learn safety rules, like the kids apply safety rules while driving battery powered jeeps around kid sized rodes.  That said, I was not sure what to expect with it being a community event.  Was kind of hoping that they would walk away having met a police officer, played in the village and got one piece of candy.  It was so much better.  There was a wagon ride which was the first time Elspeth has ever seen horses up close.  Then there was a craft area, Dora cartoons, all of the decorations and a Haunted House…and that was just inside.  Outside there were the various community helper mascots (which scared Elspeth but delighted Katrine), the parks, a maze, bouncy castles, fire truck AND trick or treating at each of the little village houses.  It was awesome as it gave Elspeth a chance to experience trick or treating in day light before we try it on Monday night.  She parroted “tick” at the first house and then her eyes bugged out when she was given candy.  After that she was sold.  “Tick, tick, tick”  I hope that she has as much fun at tomorrow’s party and Monday night but if not, at least she had today.

After we got home we did the whole pumpkin thing.  Katrine was an awesome big sister.  She assumed the role that my brother held – pumpkin gut handler- reaching right in to the pumpkin and tearing the guts out with her hands.  She even convinced neat freak Elspeth (seriously, she complains if there is a mark on her hand still) to touch a small bit of the inners.  What an awesome big sis.  So proud of her.









"Seriously, you want me to touch the inside of that thing?"
"Maybe you are not crazy. This isn't too bad."
"Ya know, if one spoon is good; then two will be awesome!"
Look at her grabbing the guts. I hated that as a kid. So proud of her for not being girly like me.
"Now we have to play with the guts."

We are skating!!!

Well, as you all expected we have already had Elspeth in skates.  Check out the photos below.  She was thrilled to be on the ice just like her big sister.  Not really going anywhere yet but standing and making ice angels.

Oh ya, she has also gained weight!  20 pounds!!!!! As well as another 2 cm.  Yippee!  If only her feet would grow we could get her single blade skates.

I'm ready! Hurry up mom!
Her feet are blurry from sliding them across the ice.

Mid-October Update

Where to begin?  Okay, had a fabulous mini reunion with some of one branch of our China family in chinatown.  Chinese food, great company, chatty girls.  What more could you ask for aside from the rest of the family.  It is always amazing to watch how the girls are when they are together.  This time, they were so enthusiatic at a Bubble Tea store that the lady invited them to come behind the counter and watch.  They are a really cute group so I can understand being taken in by them.  She also showed them how she gets the juice from sugar cane.  We were really blessed; with both of our adoption journeys we travelled with wonderful people who are a great support system for each other.

Then Elspeth got sick for a while.  Nothing bad but sick enough that it was made crystal clear how new we are to parenting her.  For instance, she is a puker.  Who knew that minor puking could go hand in hand with a stuffed nose?  She also wakes up early, really early.  When I am sick, I do the complete opposite, I sleep.  Katrine wants to eat popsicles no matter what she is sick with.  Elspeth – just wants to play with her food.  What comforts sick Elspeth?  Being carried – EVERYWHERE!  Have you ever tried to go to the bathroom with a child on your lap?  Not fun. (Yes, feel free to laugh her.  It really is absurd but after an hour of inconsolable child ones gotta do what ones gotta do).

On the Katrine front things are going well.  She continues to love being over programmed, and we keep hoping that she will realise it is too much and ask to quit something.  No luck so far.  She is going to compete in her first StarSkate competition in November.  She’s competed before so whats the big deal you ask.  Well, this time around it is harder because instead of doing moves in isolation she needs to do them in a sequence.  Sort of like a mini program without music.  Katrine is loving skating right now and even tried to negotiate with us to go skating and trick or treating on the same night until we convinced her that we could not stop time or make her be in two places at once.  She is a bit bothered that she is the youngest skater in her group and we are hoping that by going to the competition she will meet other skaters her age and feel more confident.

Elspeth is now up to 37 words but don’t try to make her use them.  She prefers to use them when the mood suits her.  There have been some stretches of crying as we work on getting her to consistently communicate using the words and signs that she already has.  That said, she really is making remarkable progress and we are quite proud of how far she has come developmentally.

Talking of how far she has come brings me to a favourite childhood activity for the fall – playing in the leaves.  When the leaves in our neighbourhood first began to change colour, she would have nothing to do with them.  Cried if we put them on the tray of her stroller or set her down to walk through them.  Over the last week she has begun to hold them and tear them into bits or stamp on them with her feet laughing as they crunch.  Today she took it a step further.  After watching Katrine rake the leaves into a pile and jump on them she picked up the plastic rake, raked and then did then same.  Sigh, progress.  Maybe we can get her to roll in them next.

My last piece of news is that yes, I have done seasonal nails again.  They are certainly not professional but they make me happy so enjoy my collection of jack-o-lanterns.

"Look, I can still use chopsticks."
"Had to get the doll into the leaves too."
"You mean, I can throw them into the air too!"
"Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate,..."


And then she was two!

Today our Elspeth turned two. It didn’t go quite as planned (but, it wouldn’t be a birthday if it went exactly as planned) but it was a great day.  Most of the day, Elspeth spent outside either splashing in puddles, touching leaves (we are making some progress on getting dirty hands), cutting plastic fruit and creating Mrs Potatoe Heads.  It was really fun.  I was really glad that mom and dad brought the purple wellies back from Scotland with them.  Elspeth has already gotten tons of use out of them.

After skating it was home for a family dinner with Glenn’s mom, more presents and more cake (this time just a frozen McCains cake).  In the midst of it all, Elspeth had to talk on the phone to various people sharing birthday wishes.  I think that was as much of a gift to her as the actual gifts.  That girl loves to talk on the phone.  She doesn’t make any sense but she is totally commited to the non-sense that she is saying; to the point that she even pauses to wait for a response.  Once again when she unwrapped the clothes she tried to wrap them back up or discard them quickly to the side.  “I may not have done this birthday thing before but I am smart enough to know that there has to be toys in some of these packages so to heck with these dull clothes.”  I think that her favourite gifts tonight were the doll stroller and chinese Cabbage Patch Kid.  She had Katrine pushing her own doll stroller and ‘baby’ right along side her around the living room in circles.  Then Karen and Peter stopped by so it was back to the cake and gifts.

Now she is asleep.  I wonder if she will wake up tomorrow morning and want to push the stroller to the bus stop when we walk Katrine.  My wish for Elspeth is that the coming year bring her stability and security after all of the changes she experienced while one.  Happy Birthday sweetie!

Liked the cake this time.

A new skill to make you smile

Not much to this post but it should put a smile on your face.  Elspeth showed off a new skill today.  It was long pant weather in the morning but was forecasted to be short weather by lunch so when dressing her I grabbed a pair of shorts and left them downstairs for her to change into.  Well, the picture shows it all.

They were also on backwards. Makes a mother proud.













Later she tried to put her legs in the sleeve of a shirt. Happy Tuesday!

Another turkey and some adorable pandas

Today we had the pleasure of celebrating our second Thanksgiving, this time with Glenn’s side of the family.  Of course that meant more turkey and all of the fixings with the exception of pumpkin pie.  Tonight’s dessert instead were the most adorable cupcakes which left our house smelling of cake (this might require me to either go and buy more flour so that I can make Heather-friendly cake or go and buy Heather-friendly cupcakes, it smells that good).  As you can see in the photo below they really are the cutest little panda bears.  All thanks to the creative genius of the other Heather (yes, 2 Heathers, 1 family).  Everyone else loved them…birthday girl, hmm.  Let’s say they faired better than Saturday’s pie.  This time she ate the nose and arms and legs after which she stared at it somewhat suspiciously.  Sigh, I wonder what her reaction will be to the McCains cake she’ll get on Thursday for her actual birthday?  Perhaps, Glenn and Katrine will end up eating most of that cake too.

Elspeth has figured out presents though.  This time when they were put infront of her she dove right in to tearing off the paper.  It  was funny, when she got to the package holding clothes she tore off the corner and then shook her head.  As if to say, if it ain’t toys I don’t want to waste my time opening it.  This weekend she got some lovely things.  She’ll play with them and I will enjoy a wee bit of rest because I will not be dreaming up tons of things for her to do.












Gotta get to the leg first!



















How is she doing is a question that we frequently get.  I think that this will sum it up.  Today she got upset when Katrine tried to look at her new birthday toys and covered them with her little arms saying “mine” (well, that was what she was aiming for).  She also saw Katrine hugging Glenn and got quite insistent that he come and give her a hug to.   Aaah, sibling jealousy.  It can only mean that she is getting more attached to us.  We welcome you.

Here are just some photos for you to enjoy.  I had to put up the ones with the do-dads in her hair as this is the first weekend that Elspeth has allowed them to stay in her hair for longer than a few seconds.  Also celebrating the fact that she actually has some hair in which clips can be put.

The clips stayed in for about 30 minutes as she chopped fruit with Grandpa.
Only about 5 minutes this time but hey, a photo with a smile is still worth posting.
So you can get your Katrine fix too.


Pumpking pie a miss

We had a lot of fun with the Tomlinson side of the family this afternoon bonding over turkey, stuffing and side dishes.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this Thanksgiving has special meaning as we are able to celebrate Elspeth’s second birthday at the same time.  With it being Thanksgiving and all of the family (save me) being big fans of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, Glenn and I decided that instead of cake we would have a birthday pie for Elspeth.  She was confused by the whole candle and I ended up blowing them out for her.  Then we gave her a piece with some whipped cream.  Inspite of her reluctance, we managed to get her to taste a small bite.  Her face said it all.  Now there are two of us who don’t like pumpkin pie.  With it being a birthday celebration, we gave her a bowl of plain ice cream.  Hopefully, Monday’s birthday cake will fare better.  Enjoy the photos and turkey weekend and I will update you on the fate of the cake.

She loves her new penguin puppet.
That was fun. When's the next party?"

A developmental screening

First the good news, Elspeth is parasite free.  We were successful in killing off all of her wee intestinal parasites.  Now she is free to begin growing.  I keep telling her that getting bigger feet is a priority so that we can go skating together when her sister is at school.  It is not working yet but I am keeping my fingers crossed.  We had Katrine out on bobskates when she was two and now, as you know, we spend a lot of the winter outside at our local skate trail.  It would make me sad if we had to forgo that this winter so I hope for larger feet.  I know it’s crazy with all of the time that we are already spending at the rink each week but it’s relaxing and fun.

Yesterday was Elspeth’s initial intake assessment by York Region’s Early Intervention services.  The outcome is what we had hoped for – she is being picked up which means that she will get a proper developmental assessment as well as any necessary services.  For us as parents, it will provide us with a professional(s) who will give us direction.  I mean, I never thought of using Mr Potatoe-Head to teach body parts.  Simple, yes.  Effectively, I’ll let you know.

The assessment was actually a lot of fun for Elspeth.  She basically got to play with toys for an hour.  Of course she gravitated towards the play kitchen and served the assessor and myself “food” but she also tried ever task she was presented with.  Why is that surprising?  Well, she found chalk in her explorations of the room, picked it up, brought it over and used it without complaining about getting her hands dirty!!!!!   That only took three weeks of hard work but it was obviously worth it.  She also independently stacked blocks the first time she was asked.  She made a tower 4 blocks high and didn’t smash it after the first two blocks.  I have been working on that skill since we got home.  The results basically said that she has significant delays in the area of speech (not surprising and the referral to Speech & Language is already in), was average in social skills and has emerging skills in the areas of problem solving and fine motor skills.  The only finding that we sort of disagree with is the one that said she has average gross motor skills.  Yes, she can push a scooter slowly and climb into a stroller but she has no stamina, no real strength, and has exceptionally weak stomach muscles.  Oh well, the next assessment should show which one of us is right in this area.

To make yesterday even better, when we were at Katrine’s skating Elspeth actually willingly played with the playdough!! She touched it, squished it and rolled it AND she again did not complain about dirty hands.  Could we be making some real progress?  I must say that I think so.

Katrine?  Well, she is now skating in the Novice or Starskate level at our club.  To those of us use to existing in the real, non-figure skating world that simply means that she is now eligible to do skating exams as well as a short, simple program or solo during a competition.  Now, whether or not she gets a solo will depend on if she can learn to move across the whole ice.  It is interesting to watch her working on what she needs to do for her first skating exam called the Dutch Waltz.  This waltz is suppose to be skated on the whole ice surface.  Here she is, wee 7 year old girl trying to cover the whole ice.  If she skates it on half the ice, she looks pretty good but the whole ice and she starts to get wobbly.  She has only been back at it for two weeks so it is completely okay but also really cute.

She is also continuing with dance classes.  She is working on learning a new dance called the Highland Reel.  The steps are not so hard but the pattern that it is danced in is because it is a dance that involves four dancers dancing in a figure 8 pattern.  Plus, each dancer can begin in one of 4 spots.  So, this one dance is sort of like four different dances rolled into one.  If a dancer doesn’t know where to stop it can spell disaster for the other three girls(or boys but usually girls).  This is not a problem with the older dancers because we will just dance on top of you if you end up in our spot but it can bring even the best young dancers to tears.  She is excited about it which is great.

Tomorrow is the first of the birthday celebrations for Elspeth’s second.  No big party but a series of smaller ones instead.  Tomlinson birthday-Thanksgiving is tomorrow complete with one of Glenn’s delicious turkeys and a “birthday” pumpkin pie.  Then on Monday, he is cooking a second turkey for the Attwood birthday-Thanksgiving where she will get a nice gluteny cake made by her Auntie Heather.  Elspeth is getting much more comfortable with family so this weekend should actually be fun.  I can’t wait to see how she reacts to blowing out candles, being sung to and given small piles of gifts.  Will she get overwhelmed or dive right in?  We may have missed her first birthday but we are going to have that much extra fun celebrating her second!

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating!

This year’s harvest

Usually we post regular updates about our garden so that we have some diversity on our blog. Haven’t really been doing that so I thought that I could switch it up for a change. Plus, I have some time to kill before Elspeth wakes up from her nap.


We didn’t plant anything to labour intensive this year given that we would be away for most of August. As a result of our absence, our watermelons and most of the squash were a flop. We did get a few carrots and potatoes as well as some late season strawberries. However, if you look at the photo you can see that our harvest was puny in comparison to previous years.








That said, we did manage to grow a 7 foot tall sunflower by simply ignoring it!! Right now the flower heads are laying in the garage in hopes that the seeds will ripen so that we can roast and eat them. I am not sure if this will work but the stalk toppled during a rain storm so we had to work with what we could.