Thursday, March 23, 2017

SS recieved her orange belt.

SS reached a karate milestone faster than we expected. She passed the orange belt exam last week, and was promoted by receiving her belt tonight. Needless to say SS was excited and even she has vomited for the past two days, she hauled a** to class. There is not telling how long her impetus will last, but we are happy that she is happy. Even better, SS found out karate will be an Olympic sport in 2020. The news made her feel very proud of participating in the sport.

 She's so cute about following protocol, good because her instructor is big on it.




 YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 SS has never been one to let a special occasion go uncelebrated.  Our very own party girl, may she get it out of her system by the time she enters college.



The instructor decided to call kids in reverse alphabetical order. His last name starts with a w and it annoyed him in school always being last. That meant that our daughter a AA would experience her first time being last. The instructor said he will alternate for future belts.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Yesterday SS and P participated in the annual Daddy-Daughter dance. They both look forward to the dance each year, and enjoy dressing up for the occasion. P dressed to compliment SS's outfit and I think they looked absolutely great. I was unable to volunteer to chaperone because I had surgery Monday, I'm still walking around with a draining tube, and in pain. P sent me pictures throughout the dance, it was good to see SS having a good time. The girls usually end up dancing with each other, and that leaves dozens of dads, who do not know each other, standing around. SS and P danced, my husband has serious moves.  Sadly no pictures because P can't simultaneously dance and take pictures.

SS usually goes to bed late on Fridays, she brings her iPad to our bed, and by midnight I have to take her tablet away, and tell her to go to sleep.  Last night she was exhausted, said her eyes hurt, handed me her glasses, and fell asleep in less than a minute.  SS is still asleep, she is one tired girl. 

SS looks so grown up wearing this outfit. P is sad that there is only one more daddy-daughter dance in his future, fifth grade.

Yikes, SS needs a trimming ASAP. But her dress is still gorgeous.

I know I'm biased but they make a stunning baba-daughter  couple.


 There were a lot of princesses at the dance. That is actually a dad in a tuxedo on the upper left hand side of the picture. He is hanging out by the green table.

The train, little girls love the train.

SS and best friend, M.



SS doing the Cha Cha Slide




SS and Baba doing the Cha Cha Slide at Knott's Berry Farm, April 2014.





Dance 3

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SS is TEN!

To us she is still the little girl we met for the first time at the Civil Affairs Office in Kunming on 07/08/2008. Reality does have a way of bursting our bubble, and we woke up this morning to the beautiful sight of our ten year old baby. SS is TEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SS has karate class on Wednesday, and of course there is homework after school. Since she has arrived at double digits age, we gave her a choice. She could open her gifts in the morning, thus waking up earlier, or open gifts after karate. Silly us like she would chose the latter. So getting up at 6:00 a.m. to open presents it is. SS made sure to bring DOG with her for the special occasion.

SS had a great day, but there was a bit of sadness. Only Abuela and Abuelo remembered her birthday.

SS is not a fan of flash photography, especially after just waking up. 

A Batman T-shirt to go along with her cake.

Flash photography aside SS was eager to open her gifts.

Her first wireless headphones.

SS loved the movie Moana, and we can see her as the strong willed and adventurous protagonist.

She was happy with the Multiplication Bingo game. SS's teacher plays the game with the kids and it really helps. 
SS picked this cover for her full size iPad, and was rightfully disappointed when we bought the "wrong" size.  On a funny note, Abuela loved the cover. Yup, our daughter has the taste of a 77 year old woman. Just kidding.



SS looks less than happy with her big gift. She has had the full size iPad since Kindergarten, time for an upgrade. SS had no idea what a tablet is, because she has lived in an iPad, and mini iPad world. Once she realized what it was, she was happy, and the smaller cover made sense. P was in charge of still pictures, I have no idea why we do not have some of her using the new tablet.

We decided on a cupcake cake to make it easier to distribute in the classroom. I had surgery Monday, and still have a draining tube, and a lot of pain. A full birthday party was not an option for us, the same for two days at Disneyland. We are taking SS on a fun trip next month to make up for the timing of my surgery.

The Yunnan Ham is ten years old.

SS's teacher asked her to choose two classmates to help her pass out the cupcakes.

I was able to film SS and the kids saying hi to Abuela, who enjoyed the video.





Happy girl, proud but still sad parents. It really is unfair how fast she grows, but she is kind, intelligent, inquisitive, happy, determined, and so many other great things. We are very lucky to be SS's parents.




Thursday, February 16, 2017

SS is getting beter.

Last night the instructor had enough of watching the kids' belts tied improperly. He had instructions at the sign in table since last session. I thought I had done a pretty decent job since SS was the only kid who did not have to run back to her parents when the belt came off. But no, there is a right way and Mr. W is a stickler for proper form.  He asked the parents to stand behind their child and spent about 15 minutes demonstrating the proper way to tie a belt.

SS and her little fists of fury, so freaking cute. She is really making an effort to get in position properly. We think SS is making decent progress and she looks so serious, even from the back.

Then she turns around and gives us the she is so proud of herself smile.



We think her form here is good. The boy on her left outranks her and his form is rather sloppy. And SS was on her second class of the day, she was making up a missed class from last week.



One thing we hoped SS accomplished was to improve her balance. We are surer she will get there eventually.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Anti-Bully Week

Last week was Anti-Bully week at SS's school. Her teacher likes to draw, and teaches the kids at least once a week, and encourages them to draw.  This is good for SS because right now there are no art classes offered locally. Mr. C asked the students to make a drawing about anti bullying. Our daughter has two parents who are incapable of drawing stick figures. I think I have mentioned that when I was a child forensic interviewer the children would make fun of my drawings (drawing during an interview breaks the ice, and busy hands relax kids), much to my colleagues' amusement. They finally made me face the fact that the kids were right and while I was a darn good interviewer, I had to do something about my lack of drawing skills. I had to resort to folding a paper much like an attempt at origami, open it, then color the fold shapes. In the twenty plus years I have known P, I have never seen him draw anything. That is how awful we are at art.

But SS is JJ's sister, never mind that they don't share a strand of DNA, but they both started drawing comics at an early age. JJ started his character Puppet, when he was six years old. I never got an explanation how Puppet came about, but he was still drawing him as a young adult. Imagine our surprise when SS started drawing her own comics. Unlike JJ, SS does not have a go to or main character. She is always coming up with different ideas and characters. They both loved to read comic books and were super hero crazy at the same ages, so that may be the common thread. We do know that prompting and creative help were non existent with either.

So instead of going along and making a drawing, SS made a comic about anti bullying. It's not full ride scholarship good, but we love that our girl is invested in her art, and that she is creative.


I should have listened to SS when she told me I'm not good at taking pictures. Well, this time I was not good at placing the drawing straight on the wall. Would it have killed me to wait until P returned in a few minutes? Patience is not I virtue I possess, and SS wanted to fold her drawing ASAP as to not forget to return it to her teacher tomorrow. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

SS's return to karate.

SS really enjoyed karate class when she started in kindergarten. Her friend K was in the same class and they both advanced to yellow belt at the same time. K and family moved to Colorado after that, and SS lost the same size person she could pair during sparing. She attended two more sessions after that, but her surprising willingness to spar came to a halt. The child closest to SS's height and weight was way taller and heavier. SS's enthusiasm for karate waned, and we decided it was OK to give her a break. Well, SS asked to return to karate and we said why not.

This evening SS received her yellow belt third degree. She was very pleased with herself, and we are hoping she sticks with the classes, because she really needs it for coordination and discipline. Her instructor is quite an interesting guy. He has a black belt in karate, and is also an art instructor, and soccer coach. Mr. W is an interesting mix of humor and strict adherence to the rules.

He does not always pair the kids with same size partners, explaining if someone attacks them is not always going to be someone their same size. We can't argue with that reasoning, but it still pulls our heartstrings when she is pair with a boy more than a foot taller, who out weights her by 50+ pounds. SS is now rather timid when it comes to same size partners and is quite a soft touch, afraid of hurting her partners. Maybe with time she will become more confident in her skills.



Oh WOW look what I got!



I did it Mama and Baba, I did it! SS was really nervous about the evaluation and was convinced she would not pass. At this level the instructor is far more lenient. It's about getting the kids hooked on the discipline and get them hungry to advance. There was little sparing this time and that suited us just fine. Mainly because we have no idea where SS's sparing gloves are located. She feels icky using gloves worn by many others. Also at some point we will need to address the appropriateness of wearing glasses because accidents happen. But for now SS is just happy to be back, and that is fine with us.

ETA: You know what happens when you have not blogged in so long? You screw up, and I did. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

And just like that SS is in fourth grade.

First day of preschool, October 13, 2010.


First day of kindergarden.

First day of first grade.

First day of second grade.

First day of third grade.

First day of fourth grade, how could this have happened? To us she is still the little girl on the first picture. P is freaking out because he seemed to have forgotten what I have told him since kindergarden, SS will graduate elementary school on 2017. I have no idea how but he was under the impression SS would not start middle school until seventh grade. To P it seems too young to be with those much older kids. Leaving elementary school after fifth grade is not sitting well with my husband. Not much we could do sweetie, it's how the system is designed. It would probably would have been easier for P if SS attended a K-12 school, but that animal only exists in private schools. 

 For the fifth consecutive year SS is sporting a shark backpack with matching lunchbox. This set is cool because they glow in the dark. P and I are surprised she pulled it off for another year. I started scouting the LL Bean website last May, because I knew it had to act fast if they added another shark theme. Nothing, zilch, nada, the same patterns SS already had, and we began to worry. I tried to prepare SS that we might be able to find a shark backpack, but a matching age appropriate lunchbox was going to be extremely difficult. Since this is my fifth year searching the Internet, LL Bean is the only place I have found them.

By the first week of July I told SS there were no new shark patterns, and to think of an alternative. The problem with the matching backpack and lunchbox is that it is what SS is accustomed to requesting, and getting. Then add her love for sharks and we have a big problem. She really had her heart set on those sharks. In late July we went to Laughlin and I asked SS to remind us to stop at the Barstow Outlets. We were hoping to get lucky, although we knew the probability was very low.

I don't know why but I decided to look at the LL Bean website again, and right there was a new pattern! I had not seen a new pattern that close to the start of school, they usually sell out of the cool ones by mid July. P told me not to even think about waiting, to order them on the spot. And that is how our little girl got her wish. Now, what are the odds she can pull it off six consecutive years?


One thing in common in all the first day of school pics is that SS is wearing Chucks, it's just her thing. She made a beeline to these pair at the store, and I was initially horrified. P gave me the "it's her shoes let her be look," and of course he was right. The thing is the shoes have grown on me, maybe because of how much SS likes them. She kept admiring them like in this picture. 

I must add this picture because SS wanted to show her lunchbox as well.


Every time the Red Lobster Crab Feast commercial flashed on the TV screen SS requested to go. About a week or so ago they added that the promotion would be over soon. Of course that did not go over well with SS, and she kept reminding us "it's for a limited time only and will be over soon." I take no responsibility for SS's love of seafood. This one is all on P and Grandpa who have both spoiled her with shell and fin fish. P decided to treat SS to the Crab Feast to celebrate her first day of school.

The waitress could not believe P ordered it for SS, and P added clam chowder instead of salad. Much to our surprise SS ate all the chowder, how is she going to have space for her meal? Well SS impressed the heck out of the waitress who did a double take when she walked by. There was a mountain of shells, and very little meat left over on SS's plate. Oddly SS was not a fan of the crab Alfredo, and she loves Alfredo sauce. Not a problem since it will make a nice lunch for P tomorrow. 

If you look to the right of SS's plate you will see her buddy, DOG. She was so happy to see him and since they were apart for a long, seemingly agonizing day, SS would not part with him. That's our sophisticated, crab eating, Chuck wearing, DOG attached daughter.