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!

Friday, May 20, 2016

One More Quickie (I'm Busy!)

I promise I'll get back to the real purpose of this blog shortly... Just wanted to share a couple of things...

Last weekend, AJ had Weekend Manager duty so Mom & Dad had the Pipsqueak. I spent a few hours at the house to give them a break, and when I got the usual, "Can we watch videos on your computer now, Uncle Brian?" the sight of an all-too-rare pretty day outside had me respond, "Why don't we go for a walk instead?"  As expected, the answer was an immediate "YES!" and it wasn't long before the two of us were heading out the door.  Miri took my hand almost as soon as we got to the sidewalk and literally didn't let go until we had gone aaaaallllll the way down to one end of the sidewalk and then came all the way back down past the house to the playground at the elementary school. (Happily, there were no more calapitters on the sidewalk.)

On the playground, the Pipsqueak immediately started running races with her uncle, who was at a severe disadvantage because 1) she usually told me the race was starting just after she started running, 2) she usually told me where we were racing to just after she started running, and 3) she's a lot smaller than I am and the playground equipment is definitely not made for big ol' fat rear ends like mine because she went squirting through all the openings while I got stuck at least twice. (Dude, don't forget that she's in better shape, too!)

After the playground, we continued our walk to the nature trail at the opposite end of the community, and were soon alternating between "lookitthats" and an ongoing discussion of what "there" meant, as in, "We're going to turn around and head back to the house as soon as we get there."  I finally told Miri that we really needed to head back to the house because we had been gone a very long time and Grandma would be worrying about us -- to which she immediately replied, "That's her job!"

As if on queue, Mom called to find out where we were and that was enough to convince the Pipsqueak we really did need to head back. She rode part of the way on my shoulders, getting big smiles from any of the older path-walkers we passed, but I have to admit I was forced to put her back down only halfway back to the house because my back just couldn't take the strain. She didn't mind too much, though -- we both had a great time, and Mommy got to the house just a few minutes after we did so all was good in the Pipsqueak's world.

Aside from that, I've been trying to help Mom & Dad out with some of their projects while moving some of my own forward. One thing I've been working on lately is converting an increasingly complex Word document with family information into a real family tree using MacFamilyTree 8 and a couple of online genealogy sites. It's turning out to be a much bigger project than I expected, but cousins far and wide are providing lots of extra information so it's also turning into a very nice online mini-reunion as well. One unexpected discovery was a totally different family's tree on Ancestry.Com that includes my maternal grandfather -- it turns out he had two uncles and an aunt that Mom & Uncle M never knew about!  One cool feature of the MacFamilyTree software is a 3D virtual globe with "pins" showing where people in the family tree were born... I've only got about half the data entered and have already had to resort to a polar view to see all the pins:

It looks like the Pipsqueak's family is a lot bigger and more diverse than we realized!  (She's one of the two pins on the lower right).

The only other thing of note that's been happening is that the rain has finally let up long enough for me to get my yard prepped for re-seeding. (Sidewalk repairs 2 years ago totally destroyed my front yard and it's looked like crap ever since, resulting in a bunch of nastygrams from my HOA.) My front yard may not look like much yet...

...but my Rhododendrons are doing great!

So, on that decorative note, I'm going back to filing papers and doing laundry and bidding on freelance work and applying for jobs (hello again, IKEA!), and tracking down lost tax forms and bundling up magazines for recycling and and and...

See y'all soon (with a real update, I promise)!

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