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It’s hard to resist taking pictures

As we settle into some routines, we are finally able to sit back and watch the most compelling show we’ve ever seen.

We no longer need alarm clocks to see the morning sun because our dear daughter gets us up between 6:30 and 7 just about every day. We had a few blissful days of sleeping in to 7:30 just after the time change but somehow she reset her clock to be up with the sun. We take turns deciding who gets (has) to get out of bed and start the morning routine. After making coffee and giving Li Li a small bottle she becomes quite happy.

morning smiles 1

Morning Playtime 2

Just after lunch we noticed all of the crocuses I had planted bloomed all at once. So we took Li Li out to enjoy her first flowers since the weather was so warm.

Li Li flowers

Li Li enjoyed touching them althought she really wasn’t sure what they were. Just a few hours later the squirrel hooligans came and cut down almost every single crocus. We may establish open season soon on the squirrels if they keep cutting down, but not eating the crocuses.

flower squirrel

Li Li does something new each day that we marvel at. Lately we’ve been enjoying the late afternoon sunshine beaming in on her her chairs after she wakes up from her afternoon nap.

Li Sun1

“Sidelight makes me look especially cute…Even when I have banana on my lips..”


“hmmm, what’s this….”


“So these things go into my mouth pretty well…”


“I like food, it’s tasty and it makes me happy”

That’s all for now. -t

Bar Hopping, Walking on snow and nature photos

Another week has come and gone, and our dear daughter is more wonderful than ever. The brain fog from lack of sleep is gradually diminishing and we are finally starting to carve out a routine. Li Li is sleeping through the night now which we are very thankful for, in fact the biggest issue with sleep now is the fact that she sometimes will fight going to sleep and will scream hysterically refusing to console herself for several hours. If we pick her up and carry her around she’s fine, as soon as she touches the mattress though – the waterworks and noise return. We’ll all figure it out together.

Catherine’s sister mailed us a pouch which Catherine is thrilled by – Li Li hasn’t made up her mind about it just yet.

 LiLi Pouch

We thought she looked just like a little joey poking an arm and head out of her mother’s pouch – although she’s much cuter.

I had school last week and Catherine brought Li Li up at the end of the day so that I could show off my daughter to my classmates. So we took her to the bar after class where one of my classmates remarked – “she’s way too comfortable hanging out in a bar…”. Decide for yourself.


I’m six months into an executive mba program at Babson college and my classmates have been very supportive, in fact Li Li is the 3rd child among our classmates since we started. And we are expecting at least one more by June.

Our warm, snowless winter is no more as temperatures have been cold and we’ve had lots of snow and ice since returning home. We took Li Li out for a short walk in some nearby woods one recent morning before her morning nap. She of course loves being out and about and didn’t mind the snowflakes falling on her face.


Li Li has embraced the pouch and Catherine’s back is much happier than using the Bjorn.


While walking in the trees a big clump of snow fell on us – Li Li just smiled, notice the snow on her chin.


Maggie is now Li Li’s biggest fan, especially once she realized that Li Li drops cheerios and other food – plus Maggie is now almost guaranteed a nice long walk every day, sometimes twice. Notice the happy lab in the distance standing guard as Catherine slogs through the snow.


A quick portrait – notice Li Li’s backward tilt. She likes to lean back or be carried with her body horizontal. Not sure why – it’s just what she likes.

The snow was pretty so I took a few “artsy” landscape photos. I couldn’t help myself.



That’s all for now. The days of updating the blog every day are over. We’ll try to do an update at least once a week – although we’re not promising anything.

Childcare, Maggie and sunshine

With a little help from technology we’ve found a wonderful woman and her family who’ve agreed to provide childcare services for Li Li. Lei has two children, a daughter who is 3 1/2 years-old and a son who is 11 months old. Lei’s husband is a PHD student in applied mathematics at Brown, and they are from the Anhui province in China which is a neighboring province to Jiangxi (Li Li’s home province). They speak Mandarin at home so Li Li will be able to maintain her Mandarin skills, not too mention be extremely well cared for by Lei and her mother-in-law. We feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful family so quickly. It’s definitely a load off our minds.

So many of you have asked for more pictures so here are a few just so you can all see just how beautiful our little daughter is.

LiLiCathSun  Li Li Paper

Catherine spends lots of time staring at the our little jewel. Like her father, Li Li has become a big fan of the morning paper. Here she is about to rant about how those darn Red Sox.


One of the benefits of being up at 5:30 is you can see the sun rise. This is the first sunlight coming through our antique bay windows. The light only stays on the door for about 3 minutes before moving across the room.

Li Li Floor Maggie  HandPaw

Maggie has adopted Li Li as a member of the pack and even seems to accept the fact Li Li is now the highest ranking female in the household. (I as the only male, am still the Alpha male but we’ll leave the relative rankings of females and males in the household for another day….).


Maggie likes to be be close to the action and Li Li is where the action is.

LiLiBathmad LiLiGabe 

Baths are still problematic. Li Li expresses her displeasure. We’re not sure why she’s so unhappy with baths but we haven’t had much success convincing of the fun to be had splashing in water. Once bathtime is over, she returns to her wonderful happy self. Here the neighbors came for a visit and even the sun cooperated by highlighting the newest star of the neighborhood.

Sorry the posting frequency has dropped but parenthood is much harder when there is no maid service, no laundry service, no buffet breakfasts, etc. It’s all worth it, but we do miss China. -tjm


Groundhog Day – the Sequel parts 2, 3, …..

Our little spicy girl is quite the night owl, awakening for her usual evening party. Last night was Catherine’s turn to keep our daughter company from 1:30 to 3:30. I had duty the previous night at roughly the same time. We’re told it takes about two weeks for the jet lag to wear off for the little ones coming home from China. We are closing in on the first week and it’s been tough. We are looking forward to our little “chill baby”, as our friend’s James and Kerin dubbed her in China, returning to being the champion sleeper she was in China, where she averaged 10 straight hours most nights.

A surreal moment happened to me yesterday afternoon. After a pre-New Year’s dim sum lunch with Catherine’s sister, parents and Li Li’s cousin, Catherine was off replenishing supplies – diapers, formula, etc. – and I was catching up on school work – I don’t think I’ll ever catch up – while Li Li was napping. Within minutes I was deep into a reading a Harvard Business Review article about service variability and barriers to efficiency – I know it’s pretty compelling, I can get you a copy if you want. Anyway all of the sudden I heard a baby crying and I thought “wow, that’s strange, why do I hear a baby crying, the windows are all closed…” Then reality came slamming back into my mind and I rushed upstairs to console our little girl who after 15 minutes was done with her nap. In the middle of the night as I stare at her, willing her to sleep, wondering what her life will be like, it’s very easy to feel like a father, even if I feel like a fraud because I’m so clueless. But other times I occasionally forget, only for a second, that we now have a 3rd family member and our lives have been changed forever. Not sure if other parents have had the same thing happen to them, but it’s very disorienting and guilt-inducing all at once.

Although picture taking has fallen off dramatically we have to take and print 10 pictures by the end of next week in order to fulfill China’s requirement to check on how the babies are doing. And they like to see fully clothed babies and parents so there’ll be no semi-naked pictures of anyone despite pleas to the contrary.

Anyway, Li Li is cuter than ever as you can see for yourself.


We are bundled up for a walk on Friday. Cold weather and lots of ice made for treacherous walking. Luckily there were no falls.


Li Li can sit up but sometimes she lists to starboard or port, rather quickly, hence the pillows on each side of her as she plays.


We went out for a pre-New Year’s Dim Sum lunch and yes our little Xiao Bao, had plenty of layers on.

Back to the ever present schoolwork. -t