Monday, October 29, 2007

The eyes have it

Here's looking at you, kid...

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Chappaqua Halloween Parade

On Sunday, October 21, we all marched in the Halloween Parade that the Village of Chappaqua puts on every year. A good time was had by all, although CJ grew a little tired by the end. She perked right up for the playground at the end of the parade (it seemed like a good idea, something all parades should have).

Two days later, we went for a nice walk with my parents on my brother's birthday. Here's a nice photo of CJ, who thoroughly enjoyed her first taste of autumn in the Northeast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rembering Mike.

My brother Mike would have turned 35 yesterday, an occasion that we commemorated by visiting the cemetery and then taking NaiNai and YeYe for a nice walk among some fall foliage.

CJ of course charmed the weather into cooperating, and brightened what could have been a gloomy day.

It’s hard to believe that he passed away more than six months ago. So much has taken place since then, but the passage of time is always accelerated when you have a little one at home.

In some ways, we are at a crossroads. As CJ grows, the size of our one bedroom apartment seems to dwindle daily, and the looming question of where to live next tosses out more questions – do we buy a house? can we buy one in the NYC area? and if we leave, what does that entail?

But every day you face decisions that could impact your life and your family’s life. The worst thing in life is to avoid making these decisions, to become too timid to chart your path and be content with letting the wind blow you where it will.

One of the many things I admire about Mike is that he always dreamed big, and always tried to follow through on his dreams. Even after being laid low by the peritonitis whose complications eventually killed him, he continued pushing his dreams and secured his graduate degree. He had the audacity to look for a job even while trying to figure out how to get nourishment when his digestive system failed.

Can you imagine going on a job interview when you have no idea when you will be able to eat solid food again?

I need to start living like that. The stakes for me, with a little daughter, are certainly high. But to not live life to its fullest, to not chase your potential come what may, is to not live. I think that is one of the most important lessons I have learned from my brother.

I only wish that the lesson hadn’t come at such a high price.

-- Dan

(photos from yesterday, and the weekend, to come eventually)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Steam Eat!

Our friend Sanj just opened a cafe bistro in New Rochelle called Steam Eat. The food is quite yummy!

Here's the Mayor of New Rochelle, Sanj, and his Dad at the grand opening ribbon cutting this past Thursday.

And here's CJ looking for more desserts!

Steam Eat
179 Main Street,
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Phone: 914-355-2063

Friday, October 19, 2007

At play and on tour

A week ago, we visited with Stefanie and Karen and their families. Stefanie and Karen worked with Dan at the American Cancer Society (and are still with ACS).

The kids all got along quite well.

After brunch at Stefanie's, we went to a nearby park and zoo in Teaneck, NJ. CJ had a good time scouting out the new playground.

And all four kids got in some good Halloween practice.

Last Tuesday, Meg and Aunt Annie took CJ to places they associate with their grandmother Naomi. Here they are at the Landmark Inn in Warwick, New York. CJ was puzzled by the old doors that had been used to create a patchwork ceiling in the main dining room. As Meg and Aunt Annie reminisced, CJ spent most of the meal looking up!

We then proceeded to the hamlet of Cragsmoor, an artists' colony begun in the 19th century, to go to the 1830s mountaintop farmhouse where Naomi lived in the summer. The outhouse was gone, as was the well and flagpole, and everything looked a wee bit smaller than we remembered, but seeing the house brought back many happy memories.

Here is Aunt Annie on the porch giving some pointers to CJ on how to rock.

Unfortunately, the dozen "No Tresspassing" signs prohibited us from visiting Chetolah, the summer estate just down the road from Naomi's that was built by artist George Inness Jr. and was the focal point of the artists' colony at the turn of the 20th century. As children, we loved to play at the mansion and surrounding grounds. Especially in its dilapidated state, it was fun to explore and imagine what living there must have been like. However, we were able to visit the local library and look at photographs and other documents of the mansion in its heyday. It was indeed a magical place.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reading with Nai Nai

There are plenty of photos to post from an outing Meg and CJ had with Aunt Annie on Tuesday, and a family visit that we had with two friends and their kids. But I couldn't resist posting this photo of my Mom and CJ last night.

Hopefully, we'll get the other photos up shortly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

At Katarina's birthday party

On Saturday, we took CJ to a birthday party for Katarina, a 3-year-old adopted from Hunan Province in China. The party was held at a "gym" in Northern Westchester that was not quite like other gyms we've been to. Workout equipment, for example, was rather hard to find...

But I think CJ had a good time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A trip to Woodstock, and a few other photos

Before we get to the current events, we came across the following photo that somehow didn't make it on the blog yet. Here's CJ back in August, showing her cousin Grace the proper pinwheel technique:

More recently, we visited Dan's sister and kids this past weekend. On a walk alongside the Ashokan Reservoir, CJ, Cousin Alyssa, and Nai Nai (Dan's mom) stopped to smell the flowers.

Here's the family photo:

On the way home, we took Ye Ye (Dan's dad) to Kaaterskill Falls. The half-mile hike through pretty woods presented a few good photo ops.

The falls themselves were running fairly low, but were still pretty spectacular.

Here's Meg, CJ, and Ye Ye on the walk back to the car.

When we returned home, we gave CJ some dark chocolate as a reward for behaving so well over the weekend. But in a crazy girly-girl fit, she used the chocolate as lipstick...

She does have her own inimitable style!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CJ celebrating Autumn

CJ can cut a mean rug:

This past weekend, we went to the Hammond Museum in northern Westchester to celebrate the Autumn Moon festival. We helped CJ paint a paper lantern.

The families paraded the decorated lanterns to a lily pond.

Candles were placed in oversize grapefruits that had been scooped out and scored. These votives represented lotus flowers and were launched into the pond to summon the spirits of our ancestors.

On Sunday, we met up with three of the families in our adoption travel group for dim sum. Here are all four girls in attendance (from left: Olivia, Gabriella, CJ, and Erin):

Group shots of the girls can be a bit of a challenge. The paparazzi parents proved too much for Erin. After she bailed, the photo op quickly devolved.

But when we had the girls hold hands they looked ready to take on the world!

Or at least, have fun at the nearby playground. Woo hoo Gabriella!

In the never-ending quest to get a decent group shot, we tried putting the girls on the playset. James, Erin's brother, sits in for Olivia.

But before Olivia could enter the fray, Erin took a tumble. Through it all, James waited patiently with Gabriella and CJ.

The second group shot proved as elusive as the first. At least the peanut gallery of local kids had fun watching the spectacle.