Much to be Thankful For

Li enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving meal of... noodles, of course.
Li enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving meal of... noodles, of course.

It’s now almost two weeks since Thanksgiving, and I know I’m late in writing this but I’ve thought about it quite a bit of late… we have so much to be thankful for:

  • Dominating our thoughts and lives this year is the arrival of our daughter Li and the changes she has brought to almost every aspect of our lives. After nearly three years of waiting, her arrival in March of this year made all of the waiting worth it. We are so thankful that she is part of our family, that she arrived healthy and obviously loved and well cared for, and that she has begun adjusting to life with us.
  • We’re grateful for the love and support of friends and family as we have gone through major changes in our lives as her addition ripples in ever-widening circles. That love and support has shown in many ways including prayers for us while we were in China to get Li; getting to spend Thanksgiving with our friends Nick and Karie and their family where Li enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of… noodles, of course; the seemingly never-ending bags of pink clothes from friends Chuck and Heather, knowing how much I like pink; watching Li with her grandparents.
  • We’re thankful that — not coincidentally, I am certain — she has started spending all night in her own bed beginning on the night before Thanksgiving. She’s still not sleeping all the way through the night (she’s only done it a couple of times, and it’s weird when she does) but having her sleep in her own bed means better rest for all of us.
  • We’re thankful for our church family and the support that we’ve received from so many people there as we’ve gone through this major adjustment, particularly from Mike.
  • We’re thankful for the opportunity to see the young man and big brother that Ian is growing into.
  • We’re thankful for having had the opportunity to travel together as a family to China, to spend almost three weeks there getting to see just a tiny bit of the culture and the people from where Li came, for having seen and heard and experienced just enough there to know that we will go back with Li someday when she is a little older and can understand better the path by which God brought us to her and vice versa.
  • We’re thankful and excited for our friend Cynthia and her husband Temo and their new life together and for finally getting to meet Temo on my last trip to DC in November.
Swim goggles are now mandatory attire for yogurt smoothies... who knew?
Swim goggles are now mandatory attire for consuming yogurt smoothies... who knew?

And the list goes on and on… we are truly blessed in so many ways. This year has been dominated by this little girl, this huge gift, and by the opportunity to welcome her into our family and to watch her grow and to realize how much we are growing, too. I don’t have any doubts that Christmas is going to be very special this year, too, as this little girl whose sense of humor is showing up more and more and whose sense of wonder at what goes on around her life each day grows gets to experience a very special time.

And, yes, those are swim goggles — deemed necessary attire by Li for consuming her pre-bedtime yogurt smoothie this evening… go figure.

MAX Day 1 Recap

A quick recap of day 1 of the MAX conference:

  • Kevin Lynch’s keynote was impressive and earth-shaking but there wasn’t much really earthshaking there for me as a CF developer. Maria Shriver stole the show, as far as I was concerned with her appearance and talk on the work — supported by Adobe — in conjunction with California’s Legends Trails project.
  • Good presentations by George Neill and Jerome Doran on the role of laziness in innovation and by Stephanie Sullivan on solving some common “design problems” (from the talk title; I’d call them more layout challenges) with CSS. Both suffered a little — particularly the session on laziness — from trying to cram way too much content into a 1-hour timeslot.
  • Excellent presentations — introductory level, for the most part, but that’s how they were advertised and what I needed — on Flex and ColdFusion by Jeff Tapper and Mike Nimer.
  • Probably the best piece of schwag I’ve gotten so far is a House of Fusion Library Volume 1 CD with all of the past issues of the Fusion Authority Quarterly and Flex Authority Quarterly magazines in PDF format. Kudos and thanks to the HoF folks for making these available! Both are good pubs.
  • The venue is decent, but suffers the common temperature problems (read: too cold!) of most conference centers, particularly in the rooms where the sessions are held. I’m not packing my laptop or anything else that needs WiFi coverage to work, but Jeff indicated (and this was backed up in a couple of blog posts I read as well as what I saw during presos) that the wireless coverage is spotty and slow.
  • Decent evening meal of Indian food at a place called Naan-n-Curry on O’Farrell a block or so from the hotel with Jeff, Marco, and Blaine. We’re only a couple blocks from Union Square, so we wandered a bit after dinner. I saw a family there in the square by the ice skating rink with a little girl who looked a lot like Li and had to be very close to the same age, and it made me realize how much I miss her; that’s the one real downside to traveling, especially being gone two weeks in a row.

The Great (Little) Pumpkin

Our little pumpkin
Our little pumpkin

Li’s first Halloween passed last weekend. We aren’t one of those families that go crazy over Halloween. We did want to have her at least do a little bit of visiting with neighbors, so Deb had started working on a costume for her earlier this fall. She’d found a pattern for a cute bunny rabbit costume, but it became pretty obvious that it wasn’t going to work fairly quickly. Deb started with the hood that has the big floppy ears, and although Li would laugh when one of use wore it, she had no interest at all in allowing us to put it on her head. So we had to come up with a different idea…

Some friends had given Li a nice warm, orange pair of fleece pants and matching top, and Deb’s idea was to use it to turn Li into a little jack o’lantern…

Happy Halloween!
Happy Halloween!

Here’s the result: we thought it turned out pretty well and Li loved it. We wondered how long the stem and leaves would be allowed to stay on her head, but she seemed to really like it. She seemed a little dubious about the whole concept of going to visit several of our neighbors at first, but as soon as she figured out they would fawn over her and give her treats, she started to get into it. The little legs didn’t last long, but she had a great time visiting a few of our friends.

There must be dust everywhere…

Li’s new thing — it started Friday after helping Deb clean the house — is dusting. She carries around a dustrag (she heads for the rag bag first thing in the morning now, even before juice) to get a rag, and then spends time off and on all through the day dusting window sills, furniture, carpet, her brother, Monkey, you name it. And she walks around saying “dust!” as she does it. Too cute…

I had no idea there was so much dust…

End of the Season

Late summer mornings working in the flower beds with Mom
Late summer mornings working in the flower beds with Mom

It has been quite a while since I wrote much, but it feels like we’ve reached a couple of recent “ends” within the past couple weeks all at roughly the same time…

We’ve reached the end of the fall soccer season just a couple of days. One of the teams I coach at Taylorview reached the semi-finals of the post-season tournament before losing 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout. The finished the season with a very decent record, going into the tournament as the #2 seed from the south pod of the league. They played well the last four matches of the season, finishing strong, playing decent defense and a very attractive style. These guys were a treat to work with these past three months and as much as I’m looking forward to having my weekends and evenings back, I will miss these guys.

There's nothing like corn on the cob fresh from the garden!
There's nothing like fresh corn from the garden!

We’ve reached the end of the garden, too, with hard freezes pretty much every night now and having had our first snowfall, with a couple inches falling on Saturday (a large chunk of which fell during our first tournament match). The peaches are long since done, and we had an extraordinary crop this year. We thinned and thinned and thinned and still had more that we could eat. The strawberries and tomatoes and corn are done, too, and we’ll all miss that. Li will miss it as much or more than the rest of us…

And we’ve reached the end of the summer in more than just a calendar sense. We’re definitely in autumn now, with cold mornings and evenings, ever-shortening days, golden light in the evenings, the occasional snowfall, and heavy frosts in the morning. Li is back in her fleece sleepers at night, although she pretty much refuses to let us pull down the feet to cover up those cold little toes of hers. She now snuggles up each night with not just her stuffed monkey (named “Monkey”, of course) but also a stuff cow named “Boo” (Li-speak for “moo”) and doll her friend Kate gave her (named “Doll”, appropriately). When she’s ready to get up in the mornings, she’ll be standing there in the crib with a big smile (most days) and her arms full of her friends, waiting to be picked up.

Just two more cherry tomatoes...
Just two more cherry tomatoes...

Her vocabulary is blossoming, and words are coming in pairs more and more frequently. We can’t drive anywhere without her pointing out all of the “big trucks” (which to the unlearned sounds much like “boo duck”) and “big trees” (“boo tees”). “Please” is making more frequent appearances, as is “Daddy”. Her all-purpose word these days is “dosh”, which we finally decided is sort of like “sauce” and she uses it for both apple sauce and soap (“body sauce”, I suppose) in the bath tub. She knows that balls are for kicking, and loves chasing her soccer balls around the house and kicking them back and forth with Ian. (And I caught her reading the adidas section of the Eurosport catalog this evening before dinner!)

Our friend Teri’s dog named Rudy is “Dee”, Ian’s girlfriend Fi is “Fee” or “Gee”, and Ian is something that sounds quite a bit like “bro” right now. Yoghurt is “doo” or something like that. “Peach” and “apple” are very recognizable, as is “juice”, “up”, “down”, “house”, “bath”, “bus”, “dog”, “kitty”, “duck” (although a duck’s quack still sounds alot like a dog growling), “book”, and “goat”.