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!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes...!

Holy moly, has it really been that long since we met that bald, quiet little baby in China?!? I guess it's official, now -- no more toddlerhood, the Pipsqueak is officially a "little girl" because she turned FOUR a couple of weeks ago. (Yeah, Dude, she really is that old -- you better get used to it!)

AJ & Miri agreed that last year's party at Little Gym was a lot of fun, so we returned to the original site of the crime for a repeat this year. Rather than blathering on & on about the party, I'll let my camera do (most of) the talking...

The party started with everyone either hugging the Pipsqueak or sharing "high fives"
Once the greetings were done, semi-organized chaotic fun ensued!
Back in junior high, most of the girls considered these to be torture in gym class...
For these kiddos, they're fun!
Once again, my niece shows a far better sense of balance (and less fear) than any of her grownups...
The kids demonstrated boundless energy... the grownups slightly less. :-)
It wasn't just the balls that were bouncing!
They've slowed down, but only because it's part of the game...
Just a quick pre-pizza and cake shot of the party room.
Grandpa knows a good photo op when he sees one, sore hip or not!
Remember, I said they slowed down only because it was part of the game...
Ooh, maybe they've finally run out of energy...?
Nope -- they were just "riding" the bouncy thing while it inflated!
As the party moved from burning energy to recharging, I took a quick shot of Miri's gifts.
Thank you, everybody!
Organized Chaos, Stage II: Pizza and birthday cake (with crowns and tiaras for all)!
I've forgotten their names, but the Little Gym crew were fantastic -- they even
provided candles for the cake when AJ realized she'd left hers at home!
The organized party wound down shortly after the kids finished inhaling the pizza & cake, and the family (and some extra-helpful friends) scrambled to help the Little Gym crew clean up -- Miri's celebration finished just after 4pm, and there was another party scheduled for the same space at 4:30! We managed to get everything collected, wiped down, picked up, etc. and headed back to AJ's house for a little after-party with some friends.

Yes, my sister does indeed have a pink castle tower filling her living room, compliments
of the Pipsqueak's Grandma and Grandpa!
One by one, the gifts were pulled from the bag and all that careful wrapping
was joyfully ripped to shreds...
Even the newest member of the group, just 2-1/2 years old and only home for a few
months, got into the act!
The big party may have been at Little Gym, but my sister isn't going to miss out on
a chance to decorate the house for her daughter's birthday!
One of the girls discovered AJ's stash of bubble-making toys, so we had to shoo the girls
out onto the deck -- where they proceeded to have a bubbly blast.
I've included this shot because, well... you got any idea how hard it is to get a good shot of a bubble?!?
Somewhere along the line, the Pipsqueak managed to get pizza smeared in her
hair and aaaallllll the way down her back. Yes, her BACK. How do they DO that?!?
Slowly, the chaos began winding down... The castle's on its side to allow the bottom to
air-dry after an "ak-see-dent" with a cup of soda...
Eventually, even the kids' batteries ran down, and things returned to a more normal level of chaos. (A couple of days afterward, AJ laughingly told a friend, "I only had five kids at the house but it felt like twenty!") The gifts were all sorted (we managed to keep Miri from opening all the packages at once, convincing her that if she only opened a few each day it would be like extending her birthday) and the leftovers all divvied up by... omigawd, is it really 10:30 at night?!?  We knew it was really all over when Dulce & Xuan cautiously reappeared from their hiding places, looking a bit bewildered at all the new toys strewn around the room...

Although Miri showed no sign of slowing down while we were at the house, AJ told me she conked out just minutes after we all left -- a sure sign of a successful and happy celebration of her birthday!

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