My sister, Amy, and her family of 5 arrived from Tianjin yesterday, and I got to hold baby Anna for the first time!
Now, without further ado, I'll will loosen a screw in the proverbial dam, and let what's sure to be a torrent of pictures begin its flow...
This is Gabe giving his little sister a kiss. There was an earlier kiss that I wasn't quick enough to catch on camera. But because of his aunt's urgent pleas, Gabe agreed to give Anna a longer kiss, which resulted in two things: 1) Me getting a nice picture to post here and 2) Anna starting to cry.
And here's another one of Gabe. He is sleeping on the futon in my room while they're here, and when I came home tonight, I found him asleep like this -- the little picture book that he'd been reading still in his hand. Gabe's 2 1/2 now, and he's really grown up a lot since I last saw him. I've been taken aback by some of the things he says -- he talks in complete, almost adult-sounding sentences now! I think I'd gotten used to him saying cute little things like: "Doing Aunt Shell doing?" Which would translate to: "What are you doing, Aunt Michelle?" Well, now it seems like he's saying things like: "Excuse me, Aunt Michelle. Would you possibly be so kind as to tell me what you're doing?" OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but that's how dramatic the change seems to me! I'll try to document some more accurate Gabe-speak in my next post.
Photos of Olivia are noticeably absent in this post. She's almost 5 now, and is quite particular about when and where she allows herself to be photographed. I've noticed that she's become a lot more independent and self-sufficient than she was only a few months ago... maybe the result of going through pre-kindergarten this past year? This morning she wanted to use some stamps of mine to make a card for her dad. I started giving her some directions and help, but stopped when she gave me a tired look that seemed to say, "Please stop patronizing me. I can do this on my own."
I guess I'm not the only one who has a hard time keeping up with growing children. All of this reminds me of childhood trips to the States, where it seemed that endless streams of vaguely familiar adults would approach me, and with the appropriate hand motions, say, "You've grown up so much! I remember you when you were this big!" Now I understand the feeling.