My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Catching Up: A Birthday and A Park (2017_05_07)

May began on a nice note, with everyone getting together to celebrate our Aunt's birthday.  We had a nice brunch at L'Auberge Chez Francois, a real "dress up" French restaurant that's been a fixture of the area's fine dining scene for years. (I think it was my 2nd time there since moving to the area in 1970, which should give y'all some idea of how "fine" my normal style of "dining" usually is.)

I forgot to ask if it was OK to put a bunch of photos of everyone up on the Internet, but managed to get some nice shots of the Pipsqueak and AJ sharing some fun moments...

After the meal, our aunt suggested we take the Pipsqueak to a unique park/playground that was nearby.  It sounded pretty cool, so we all piled into our respective vehicles and caravaned there.

The park  is a lot bigger than it appears in my photos (Dude, you forgot to take any wide views!) and has different sections set up for kids of different ages & abilities.  The entire play area is paved with a squishy, shock-absorbing material so -- once we got past the carousel near the entrance -- Miri changed from fancy shoes into sneaks and was off & running.

One of the reasons my niece normally wears shorts under skirts & dresses...
Since her daughter is a bit on the adventurous side, AJ wound up lending a hand a few times...

...while other times the Pipsqueak proved she was a lot more coordinated than any of her grownups.

As Miri moved around the various play areas and we all sort of tagged along in her wake, the sky slowly changed from hazy to grey to definitely threatening and it soon became obvious that it was time to head home.  There was one more ride on the carousel (the last few turns of which were accompanied by thunder and raindrops), and then a quick goodbye & dash to the cars for the drive home back across the Potomac into Maryland.

If the Pipsqueak doesn't look super-happy in the photos above, it's because she wasn't; it had been an early morning after a late night, she had tried nearly every fixture and construct in the park and wanted more, and isn't the greatest fan of thunderstorms... so she was bit on the grumpy side as the carousel wound down and we headed for the car.  (I think that the way we spoke about the park made it sound more like an amusement park along the lines of Funland in Rehoboth Beach -- one of her favorite places -- than the large & varied playground that it actually is. Lesson learned.)

Despite that case of The Grumps at the very end, everyone had a good time and had good memories of the day.  Once she'd taken a nap, the Pipsqueak was her usual smiley & singing self and agreed that the fancy birthday celebration and playing at Clemyjontri park were going to be good memories for a long time.