Monday, April 21, 2008


Saucy Tomato isn't going to be updated any more. Why? because I can't keep up two blogs for two kids.

I've been keeping a parallel blog for Laina at Bang the Drum and Shout, and it's really hard to try and keep them both up. So I've made a new blog with everyone's story included.

To read more about the adventures of Laina and Min you can visit them at:

Two Sugar Plums

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hokey Pokey Got nuthin' on Me.

"You do the Hokey Pokey and You turn yourself around....That's what it's all about".

Well Hokey Pokey, you can cram that in a very small hole, because THIS is what it's all about--

My girls- my daughters- playing together without doing great bodily harm to each other

The only things getting ripped apart are the camellia blossoms

Easter egg hunts in Grandma and Grandpa's back yard.

Yeah...that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Virtual Twins

Min and Laina are virtual twins. They are one month apart in age. Laina is older. Her birthday is in December and Min's is January. There are some big differences in them, though. Laina has superior language ability and motor skills at this point in time. Laina is also more assertive and opinionated. Laina is smaller and more compact. You would guess she's the younger one if you only would look at them, but she is in fact older.
Min can do many things that Laina can't. Min can use chopsticks and sing on tune. Min recites little poems. Laina has trouble remembering the words to "twinkle twinkle little star" but can talk your ear off about other things. Laina can spot several different kinds of cars and tell you about them when we're driving. Min can tell you whenever there's an airplane flying overhead. Laina likes to help empty and load the dishwasher. Min can draw for a long time if no one interrupts her.

Today at the Costco a woman asked me, "are they twins?". I said, "No, they're not." She said, "Oh, I thought they might be twins, they look so close in age".
"They are close in age. She's a month older than her".
"Oh. I thought they were sisters."
"They are sisters! Figure that one out!"
The lady smiled (this was all a very pleasant exchange, no irritation on either of our parts) "hmmm...that's a puzzle, I'll have to think about how that might work".
I didn't mention adoption. If she couldn't figure out they were adopted, then a little thinking might be good for her.
Since the girls are so different in size and I don't do too much of the "twin" dressing, I haven't had to answer the "twin" question except for that one time. I haven't even had to address the "sisters" question. My guess is that people assume I'm the baby sitter. I've had one person ask me if I'm babysitting, (this was before Min came home) and I said, "No, I'm the Mom." they looked puzzled and said, "oh...she must look like her father". I made a "thinking and puzzling" face and said, "you know, she doesn't look like him at all. Her daddy is German". This blew the poor little brain of the dear girl who was working at Big Lots. I could see the stripped gears of her little mind spin and try to grasp this information and make sense of it. I smiled my biggest, winningest smile, swung my baby to my hip and said, "thanks, bye!". She's probably still wondering what kind of girl I am. Poor dear.

Kiss me I'm Irish...

There's not a drop of Irish blood in my family. We did follow the tradition of the "wearing 'o' the green" on St. Patrick's day and our Mom's club met in the park with all the kids wearing various shades of green. Lucky for my daughters, green is a fantastic color on them! Here's some snaps of them at the park yesterday:

Challenges: Laina is still struggling with the idea that there's an intruder in the house and she's trying to keep her "place". I'm somewhat dismayed that Laina can be as mean spirited as I've seen her be. She can be downright mean. Min is on to Laina's behavior and when Laina is being timed out or is in the middle of a screaming fit, Min will just shake her head, smile and say (in Chinese), "Laina is a naughty little child".

Sleeping is getting better. Min is comfortable in her bed and each day is getting more and more easy for her. I think she's learning that she actually can sleep better when she doesn't have someone always in her sleeping space. She is still nervous when she wakes up, so I try to be to her room as soon as she wakes. She gets up 2-3 times a night to go pee and will always cry out for me to take her in the middle of the night.

Eating hasn't been a big problem. The main problem is that Min is a major carnivore and loves to eat a LOT of meat. Our family tends to be vegetarian, more by habit than by anything else and I don't really know how to cook meat. I've discovered that I can buy pre-cooked turkey breast at costco and I can also get rotisserie chicken there that is really very yummy.

Today I bought her some shoes. I thought I had sizes that would fit her, but as it turns out, the largest size of shoe I had on hand was 7.5 and she really needs to wear size 8. So today I went to Mervyns and bought her 2 pairs of shoes. One pair is a very cute black sneaker type maryjane and the other is an adorable pair of canvas polka dot shoes with elastic straps. I showed her the black sneakers first and asked her if she liked them. She said that she did and seemed very happy to have new shoes. Then I showed her the canvas ones and she squealed and jumped up and down. She loved them! She handed me back the black sneakers and said that she didn't want them, but she wanted the canvas ones. I asked her if she liked the black ones and she said that she did, but that she didn't want them. She wanted the canvas ones. I told her that she could have both of them. She looked puzzled and said "All of them are mine?". I told her that yes, the black ones are hers and the canvas ones are hers. They were all hers. She smiled very big and took them back into her room and put them under her bed. Then, over the course of the evening, she would take one pair off and put the other pair and on, switching between the two.

She still doesn't get that all of the clothes in the dresser are hers. I took her into the room and opened the sock drawer and said, "All the socks are yours". She proceeded to touch every sock and ask, "who's are these?". I would answer, "they're yours". Then we did that for all of the shirts, all the pants and all the dresses. I still don't think she believes me. She'll get it in time.

About this blog, before too long I'm going to start a new blog that is a merging of Laina's Blog and Min's Blog. I have to come up with some name and just do it, but it'll happen before too long.

Tomorrow we're going to park again!! Yeah, parks!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

knock down drag out...

Let's over the last few days:

Min and Laina have been sleeping in their own beds for the past 3 nights. Last night was the first night that Min slept in her own bed all night long. She had to wake up around 2 am. and afterwards she was not very willing to go back to sleep in her bed. I put Min in her bed and slept on the floor until she fell asleep and then went back to my own bed. She woke up happy and smiling at 7:00 the next morning. She's not happy that I'm not "Bao baoing" her to sleep. She'd love it if she were in bed with me falling asleep on my chest and sleeping next to us all night. Yes, it's cozy and warm and nice, but it's not going to fit into our reality. She cries and I check in at intervals, every minute for 2 times, every 2 minutes for 3 times and then every 5 minutes for 3 times. She was asleep after the first 2 minute set tonight.

Today I had to let the girls come to an understanding. Min is naturally a sweet tempered child. She doesn't like to rock the boat and would never pick on anyone. Laina is more of an aggressive personality and I have had to break up a few scuffles that were started by Laina. Today I had to let Laina know that Min wouldn't be a pushover. Min had a toy, Laina wanted the toy and went over to take it. Laina pushed Min. Min looked over to me to see if I would intervene. I told Min to push Laina back and tell her "NO". Min did. Laina hit Min. Min hit Laina. Laina pushed Min. Min pushed Laina. Laina hit Min. Min hit Laina. Min grabbed Laina's hair. Laina grabbed Min's hair. Push, hit, grab, scream, push. It was a regular cat fight. It ended when they both stopped fighting and started crying. I comforted both of them and then had a little talk with Laina about why she should use kind actions and gentle hands. It was hard to see them hurt each other, but I can't be watching them each and every second, and Laina needs to know that Min is capable of standing up to her. Min is gentle and kind, but when pushed to it, Min will win in a fight with Laina. (Baby cage fight...get your tickets now, show starts at 7:00). Seriously though--Laina played nicely with a good deal more respect for the rest of the afternoon.

For the most part the girls play well together and really enjoy each other's company. I really am enjoying both girls for their very different personalities. I couldn't ask for anything better.

Oh yeah, and the hair: It's not a great picture, I didn't get a good picture of my my new 'do. But you maybe can get the general idea. If not, enjoy a lovely picture of my husband and Min. They far outshine me, anyways...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Whew...finally a sec with the 'puter

OK, short story short-- we got home on Thursday. All safe and sound. Min slept for about 75% of the flight and was happy to play at her chair the other 25%. She was a real trouper and an easy traveler.
She's been sleeping in bed with us and just today, Monday I have both girls in their own beds in the same room for nap time. I got it on video as proof. I'll have to post that later on.

The weekend was busy, we went to the park, my brother came to visit, we went to Mexican food with my aunt and uncle and my parents. I've chiseled down the loads and loads of laundry.

Trials: Laina is a wee bit jealous and is fearing she's being short changed on everything. I've read "siblings without rivalry" and I'm trying to remember some of the techniques. Min is an anxious sleeper and has never learned to sleep by herself in her own bed without someone holding her while she falls asleep. I'm grateful to her foster family for this loving and sweet treatment, but reality needs to step in here pretty soon. We'll work on it once we're all off letlag and she is more comfortable with the idea that she's not here on an extended vacation.

Hmmm...a picture....I'll have to post one later on.

Thanks so much to everyone who has commented and followed our journey. I'll keep updating and you keep following!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Friday and Saturday-sightseeing

On Thursday morning, Jorg left on the train to Changzhou. He's visiting one more business contact there and so Min and I went sightseeing with our guide in the mornings.

Friday in the morning, I had asked our guide to help us out with getting a "baby fleets" to help with Min's "throughput" problems. It worked like a charm! 10 minutes later, Min felt much better and her demeanor also changed. She spent the day happy and enjoyed our outings.

On Friday morning, we took the tour boat in the Xi Hu (west lake. Xi= west Hu = lake) to visit two islands that were famous for being beautiful and inspiring poets and love stories. The weather was warm and the flowers are just starting to bloom on the fruit trees and it was really very lovely. At one time I decided I would like to try one of those goofy, "dress in song dynasty clothing and take a picture here" things with me and Min. Min flat out refused. I dressed in the clothes to show her it wouldn't hurt. She still refused and I was still dressed in goofy song dynasty clothing. What else can I do but take a bunch of goofy pictures!

Min and her home city

Aren't we a beautiful picture?

Who needs a song dynasty princess anyways? We have Min!

After we went sightseeing, our guide helped me with watching Min while I got my hair cut. In the 2 years that I have lived in China in the past, I never had gotten my hair cut and just on Friday morning it reached critical length and I HAD to get my hair cut. Here, in China. I was also inspired by Mutha Mae from Word to your Mutha: the show. She got her hair cut in china, too. Anyone who reads this should be inspired to get their hair cut in China. Don't worry if your hair will turn out-it will, they are very good hair stylists here. This is what happened at my hair cut. First the washing. I was sat down in a styling chair and the washer squirted some shampoo on my dry hair and little by little added water from a squirt bottle and started working the hair into a lather. It took about 10 minutes. Then I got an ear massage and a scalp massage. We walked over to the rinsing station and I got rinsed and conditioned. More scalp massage. I walked back to the chair and she gave me a face massage, neck massage, shoulder, arm and hand massage. She got some q-tips and cleaned my ears out on the inside. Some people would be afraid of this, but I thought it was GREAT!! You probably could ask to skip it.

We walked down stairs and I sign languaged/broken Chinese explained how I wanted my hair. The stylist went to town and gave a great cut. He blew my hair dry and gave me a nice style. It took about 90 minutes from start to finish and cost me 40 yuan. FORTY YUAN!! Devide that by 7 and that's roughly the cost in dollars. Beat that supercuts!!

Min has been mostly happy the last couple of days. We're settling in together. It's going to be so fun to have her and Laina together. At least I think it could be fun, if the girls like eachother. I've just finished reading "Siblings without rivalry" while we were in Nanjing and I'm going to try and take those principles to heart.

Jorg came back on Saturday afternoon and we walked to the supermarket for some snacks to take to the airport for tomorrow. Tomorrow at 8:30 we leave for Guangzhou. As lovely as Hangzhou is, it's been a long trip and I'm ready for the next stage.