Sunday, November 7, 2007


The fall months are usually busy for us between Carla's birthday, Carla & Jim's anniversary (the 11th), the annual WPA Reunion in Atlanta, and all the Halloween festivities. We usually try to make the best of it, even though it's still 90+ degrees outside. Kai and Sierra have fun no matter what we're doing (but even Kai is providing commentary on the heat).

There are lots of pictures for the month (further down the page), but here are their Halloween costumes this year (they were too cute to not show first).


The other pictures are below a few miscellaneous Kai/Sierra factoids:

Kai & Sierra Factoids
Right-Handed or Left-Handed:

Kai: Left
Sierra: Right

School Update:

Kai: knows his alphabet (lower and upper) by site and sound, knows the days of the week and months of the year (by singing a song), has started counting (to 6 or 7) in Spanish, can count to 10+ (numbers above 10 might get skipped).
Sierra: can identify types of notes (quarter note, half note), knows about 1/2 the alphabet (knows the entire alphabet by the song, and can recognize about 1/2 the letters from flash cards), knows the days of the week and months of the year (by singing a song) , can count to 10 (has times where she's counting some consecutive numbers in the twenties).

New Favorite Bed Time Ritual:

Kai: A "Daddy Story"
Sierra: A "Daddy Story"
(as a backup, "Hickory Dickory Dock" and "Baby")

"Daddy Story" = Daddy starts a story (after Kai and Sierra each pick a character to include) and Kai and Sierra contribute details throughout until the end. They actually request "Daddy Stories" all day, but Daddy has reserved those to bedtime. "Pumpkin Foot" has surfaced a few times this month.

"Hickory Dickory Dock" = consists of hanging Kai or Sierra upside down and swinging back/forth like a clock pendulum to the hickory dickory dock song.

"Baby" = holding Kai or Sierra and doing a modified version of rock-a-bye-baby involving swinging/dipping, etc.

Reference to the Past and Future: Kai: Everything in the past (from 5 mins ago to a year ago) is "Yesterday" [same for Sierra].
Sierra: Everything in the future (near or far) is "Tomorrow" [same for Kai].
Favorite Phrases: Kai: What happened? What's going on? "What you talking about guys?" [Kai very inquisitive ... nosey to any conversation going on. He doesn't want to be left out of anything]
Sierra: "Of course," "Sure" [These are two of Sierra's standard responses to any question you ask you.] "Just Nuffin" (translation: Just Nothing) or "I dunno."
Explanation of "Where Is the Baby Going to Come Out?" [Aunt Kit and Kathy are pregnant]

Kai: The baby will come out of her mouth (what goes down, must come up, right?")
Sierra: (With a gesture of something pouring out) The baby will just come out (of course to a 3 yr old, there are only two options that could apply).

Biggest Challenges: Kai: Whining and getting grumpy when he doesn't get his own way. Usually the choice of going to his room or "straightening up" works well.
Sierra: 3-yr old "Potty talk" (due to the influences of pre-school: poopy butt, doo-doo head, stinky bottom, stupid, shut-up etc).... Nothing was working to get her to stop this. Finally, in a knee-jerk reaction, Mom gave her a little flick on the cheek and miraculously the behavior has subsided. If she accidentally let's a word slip, she puts her hands on her cheeks and says "no."
Gender Stereotypes:

Kai: likes to differentiate "boy things" from "girl things." He sees clear differences in toys, clothes, activities etc. (i.e., boys can play football, girls can watch; boys like Spiderman, girls do not etc). He even insists boys should have boy friends and girls should have girl friends.
Sierra: sees no differences in girl versus boys things. Actually prefers wearing Kai's underwear to girl pants (drove Kai nuts initially but now he lets her wear his "old ones.")

Big Accomplishment: Kai: loves "reading" catalogs (making his Santa list). Because he knows all his alphabet, he'll cross reference the letter with the description paragraph and bring to mom/dad to read to him.
Sierra: no more pull ups at night. Sierra is 100% potty trained.
Favorite "Parent Moments:"

Kai: the impromptu "I wuv you," "Daddy is my boyfriend," "Daddy is my friend and YawYaw is your friend" "I love you, Mommy and I love Daddy too," "I missed you today."
Sierra: all the hugs and kisses. Being called closer because "I have a secret"... "what".. "I love you, Mommy." Also, the references to "we a family" or "our family."

We showed Kai and Sierra our wedding album on our anniversary and they exclaimed "Mommy, you are a princess." (That's a first and one Mom will hang onto because it's not the every day compliment.)



Even though it felt like summer at our house, we tried to make the most of it and partake in several fall activities. This is the time of year we miss being up North the most (but we can't complain given that our winters feel like fall).

We went trick-or-treating at SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular early in the month. Kai and Sierra had a ball going to all the stations and getting free candy/treats.

Next we went to the Zoo Boo Bash at our Zoo. They had a nice program for the kids. There was face painting, a big Spiderman bounce house, and various treat stations (it was great because they had everything BUT candy at them). Kai stepped in his first fire ant hill in the parking lot (incidentally, mom's first fire ant experience was in a Christmas Tree lot her first Christmas in Florida).

Closer to Halloween, we found a farm North of us where we picked out our pumpkin and took a hayride. It poured down rain the tail end of the ride and we had to wait until it subsided before we could run our pumpkin to the car, but it was fun. We were glad we didn't do the corn maze... those people got soaked when the monsoon came.

Kai and Sierra were also invited to a Halloween party at their friend's house (Sam and Alivia). They dressed up in their costumes. We had two costumes this year. They needed a lighter weight one for the Sam/Alivia's Halloween party (it was outside) and for their school party. Kai chose Power Rangers (Mystic Force.. the red one) and Sierra chose JoJo from JoJo's Circus).

The grand finale was Halloween night trick or treating (Kai, Sierra and Forrest were all dinosaurs).



Trick-or-Treating at SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular.


There were 15 trick-or-treat stations like this throughout the park... This was the start of our "candy month."

There were cool characters throughout the park, which Sierra especially liked.


She even found a mermaid.


Posing with Shamu and the Dolphin in their Halloween costumes.


Kai wasn't too interested in the characters (except Shamu), but Sierra wanted to pose with them all. Here are the dancing pumpkins.


Crazy faces and the nail biter on the carousel (at the end of our trick-or-treat jaunt).


The boys got the front row on the Shamu rollercoaster.


Kai is an old pro on this roller coaster, but this is our first visit where Sierra was tall enough to ride.. she liked it.


Daddy's not brave enough to endure the spinning teacups... Mom gets it going "throw-up fast."



"Come on Sierra... time to go home."


Ligia came over for a costume dry run.


Running through the inflatable haunted house at the Zoo Boo Bash (Kai had finally recovered from his fire ant bites in the parking lot).


"Check out my spider."


"I chose a butterfly."


They had a cool Spiderman bounce house at the Zoo Boo Bash.


Our two little Frankensteins leaving the Zoo Boo Bash with some Halloween treats (mainly non-candy items which made Mom and Dad happy).


Painting a Halloween Pumpkin.


Waiting for our hayride at Long & Scott Farms with the scarecrow (he was a live person).


"How about one of these, Mom?"


Two little kernels of corn.


Kathy and Kerrigan... two weeks before baby Kyle came.


"Hey, this gourd is heavy."


The last picture on the hayride before the monsoon came and we were rained out.


"Check out my spiderweb" -- courtesy of the Gators clown.


Sierra decided to copy her brother's face painting choice (surprisingly, he didn't flip out).


Mystic Force, the Power Ranger, invades Alivia and Sam's Halloween party.


JoJo the Clown and Fiona (from Shrek).


Mystic Force and Sam the Pirate.


"Check out my eye stickers."


"Cruisin' around with my new lady friend."


Swingin' with Tinkerbell.


Sierra lost interest in the party after finding a cat to chase around the yard... she wore him out so he took a break.


Halloween at Disney.


"I just got 1200 points on the Buzz LightYear ride."


"Of course pumpkins have Mickey Mouse ears."


Seeing Mickey never gets old.


"Hey look.. another Mickey Pumpkin."


Pumpkin carving time... "the inside feels so gross."


Kerrigan came over to carve hers up with us.


"What do you think?"


Kai and Sierra's school Halloween party.


Our advanced preschool teacher, Miss Nakita.


Kai with his good friends Nicholas and Joshua (all the boys were in some sort of super hero costume).


Sierra and "her best friend" Mia (the butterfly). Sierra talks about Mia all the time. We met Mia's mom, who said she talks about Sierra just as much (told her mom the other night that she was going to be sad when they went to Kindergarten because she wouldn't be with Sierra).


Kai and Sierra with Miss Celia, another one of their teachers (we missed a picture Miss Carrie...she's their other teacher).

Mom's attempt at a dinosaur photo shoot before Trick-or-Treating, Halloween night.


Had to get the infamous "Sierra wink" in.


The pool steps and a tablecloth made a pretty good makeshift background.


Last but not least, K/S with Forrest the dinosaur (The costume came off as quick as it went on).


Alivia and Sierra are ready to roll.


The dinosaurs, Fiona, and the pirate off to the first house.


Kathy stopped by for a visit on Halloween. This is the night before Kyle was born (Aunt Kit had her baby on Halloween).


Candy, Candy, and more Candy.


After about 10 houses, everyone is starting to get pooped.


Eva, Dick, Jim, Mendy and Morgan manning the trick-or-treat table (Eva and Dick managed our stash so we could both take Kai and Sierra out). After we got back, we let the kids play in the driveway while we passed out candy. It was a late night for them but they had a blast. When we took the dinosaur costumes off, they were soaked (it cooled off to about upper 70s for the evening). Kai asked if it was from pee-pee. He was relieved to learn about a thing called sweat.


WPA ANNUAL REUNION 2007 (Our 3rd)    

We went to our 3rd WPA Reunion in Atlanta. It's always a great weekend and this year was no exception. It's fun for us for two reasons: 1) we get to visit our good friends Jim, Ilene, Sam and Cora and 2) we can visit with other families that have adopted from Kazakhstan (plus it's a little kids dream with all the inflatable slides, face painting, characters, petting farm, pony rides, and park).

We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a perfect fall weekend (temperatures in the mid 70s during the day and low 50s at night). Sam and Cora had school on Friday so we went to the zoo for the day, then came back to the house to play when they got home. The zoo was fun.. all the animals were out and about so we got to see a lot.

The reunion was fun. We saw several families we'd only met online, so it was great to see everyone in person. For the third year in a row, the weather was perfect.

"Tweet, tweet." -- Sitting in the big bird's nest at the Atlanta Zoo.


Hey look, we're able to wear long sleeve t-shirts (it was a nice break from the Florida 90 degree temps).


Pumpkin time.


"Are these real... there is one for me and one for YawYaw."


Silly girls in the pumpkin patch.


"Hold on, Yawyaw."


"Come on Pawpaw, it's time to smile for the picture."


"Ok, Mommy. I got him to smile... hurry and take the picture."


Reunion day... Curious George met us outside when we drove up.


Our good friend Avery, the cat.


We visited Snow White, who made Sierra a bunny balloon.


Shooting stars for Sierra (courtesy of Princess Jasmine).


"Check it out, guys."


Kai surprises us and opted for Batman instead of Spiderman.


"Pawpaw, what the heck is this thing... he's smelling me."


"Wow, he's 'hungy', Daddy." (Kai pronounces Hungry with out the R)


The Higgins' by the petting zoo at the reunion.



"Hey, I'm winning."


Spiderman was a HUGE hit. Kai saw him from a distance while eating lunch. He bolted from the table and chased him down... Disney characters don't compare to this chance meeting.



"Ok smile... just the boys this time."


"I found Boots (from Dora)"


"Pawpaw, this raw sugar is awesome.. give me about 5 minutes and I'll be bouncing off the walls."


"You can't have my cotton candy... I don't get this stuff very often so it's all mine... back off."

"Black Spiderman, you can't have my hat."


"Let me go Cookie Monster"


"He's so soft and likes cookies, like me."


"Maybe I'll drive one of these one day."


The boys by the big fire truck.


"Maybe I'll drive the truck one day."


Yeah... Kai finally got to ride a scooter (one of the big boys shared with him after he'd been patiently waiting for someone to get tired of theirs).




Chillin' out with Daddy.


The Higgins' bounce house shot.


"Thanks for coming to our reunion, PawPaw"


"Here goes nothing."



What a difference a year makes! They were on auto-pilot this year.. .running from bounce house to bounce house. It was hard keeping up with them.


Elmo came again. He's always a hit.


"Snow White makes a mean balloon sword."


"I like my friend Sam. He let me play with all his stuff."


"42, blue, 24, go long..."


"Cora is a wild woman on the swing."


"We're going to shoot you with a web."


The Soccer Monster (that's what she calls herself... a character in a Backyardigans show)

Napping on Daddy at Sam's Soccer game.


"Can you make a crazy face?"


The Spiderman pimp.


"Who is a bigger Kook?"

Aunt Ilene looking normal with Cora.


A duel between Hulk and the Thing.

Pawpaw and his fire wood helpers (it was actually cold enough in the evening to build an outdoor fire).



Here are a few miscellaneous shots to fill in the gaps of how we spent our time.


We got to ride in the front of the Disney monorail. Kai and Sierra even got an honorary captain card.


Sierra had to drop by to see Aladdin and Genie.


Still hot enough for the cruiser in the pool.


Sierra and Turk.


Good Ole' Rafiki.


"This Mickey has different clothes".


"Hello, Goofy."


Riding the dinosaur with Daddy.


Sierra and June from the Little Einsteins.


JoJo the clown and her lion Goliath (This is who Sierra was for Halloween).


We went to Epcot and did some cool stuff. Of course, we had to visit all the characters.


This is the first time we met Pluto.


"Minnie, remember us."


"Our best friends, Chip n Dale."


Last but not least, Goofy.


Daddy and Kai playing the robot game at Epcot.


Kai's signature.... not bad for a 3 yr old.


Kai's attempt at coloring in the lines (one of the things they're working on at school... this took some verbal coaching).


Sierra's signature.. and she has the long name.


Sierra loves to sporadically scribble so this took real discipline.. we let her scribble all over the place after she was finished.


This is Sierra taking a picture of PawPaw (once she takes the picture, she turns her pretend camera around to show it to you... definitely a digital age child).


The Higgins' with Marty and family/friends at the annual Breast Cancer Walk.


"Happy Birthday Dick.. what happened to your hair?"



"Hey, give me back your birthday cake." Dick let us make him a birthday cake and endured our loud, out-of-tune happy birthday song.


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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004