Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy Sweet 16, Precious Emily

Emily wore that pink birthday headband for her 9th birthday.
We took it out for sentimental reasons.
Maybe I should say I took it out for sentimental reasons.

Someone told me -right after Emily came home from China - "The days are long, but the years are short."
I understood what they meant and have pondered those words in my heart.

I can still look at an old toy Emily played with or a craft she made (tucked away in her storage containers outside), and I'm immediately transported back in time.

I - just this week - handled the little storage bag that went on her first bicycle. 
It's a tiny purple, Princess bike that had training wheels.

Mary was riding that bike until last year.

But I showed the little storage bag to Emily as I was tucking it away....and I could just sense the days gone by. I could have easily teared up. Actually I think I did.

I could feel those seasons of life, those years - all the fun, all the adventures, all the family and friends.

It literally makes my heart beat a bit remember and mentally re-live the moments when she was younger. When we were all younger....

I cannot bemoan the passing of time...quite frankly because there is nothing I can do about it. 
We always strive for joyfulness, contentment of the moment, of the day.

With 3 adoptions of daughters who had lived lives in China before they ever came home to our family, it's always made me keenly aware to treasure each "day that the Lord hath made" -- with us together.

But I have a strong connection to the past. Very strong.

What  I can do is rejoice in every single moment of time we have now -
-- to cherish these days together with all my girls...with family and friends...and to live our lives as gifts.

Emily is developing into such a silly, caring, helpful, disciplined, lovely, bright 16 year old. The joy she brings to us is overwhelming and exciting.

My little Mei Xia Ying is growing up, and I'm so grateful to our Heavenly Father that we have grown together.

Happy Birthday, my precious, precious girl.
I love you.

Marlene snd Nanny Carol joined us for Emily's Golden Birthday...16 on the 16th.

9 years old with same pink headband 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring Break for Girls

Riding bikes in a small the cemetery -- basically no traffic

We did chat up an older gentleman who was etching a death date in a tombstone. (Dec., 2017)

Molly is way back in her pink jacket.
Sunny and cool....Lovely

Mary and Emily

Nanny Carol and Cookie

We took lunch to Cookie's house, ate, rode, chatted, and scurried back to "other job". Been here since last Thursday afternoon.

Gotta seize the day (hours, minutes).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bubbles With a Buddy

That's Adam.
Mary told him, "When you grow up and get married, you need to call your wife Eve."

I'm certain he'll hear that a gazillion times on his life.
Sorta like, "Mary? Mary had a little lamb."

His dad is from China.
Mom from America.

They work on some weekends where I work, too.
Sweet little family.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Three Phases of Thinking - Learning to Play Chess

Ah. Let's do this.

Hmmm. Wonder what the strategy will be?

Are you kidding me?!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

She Puts "Bridles" On Any Critter

Headbands on the horse

Shoelace on the pig

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Christopher Churchmouse Stories

Mary is reading aloud - in the bed at my weekend job.
She has a Coleman bulb operated lantern providing light.

This set of books is The Christopher Churchmouse Classics.
I have no idea where they came from - but I'm sure they were free (given and second hand).

I almost missed these little gems. I was going to consign them at the recent missions event.

I didn't realize they were stories based on Bible Scriptures - stories of a little mouse and his family living in a church.

We had never read these so I figured "move them on"...but I'm so glad I didn't.
They're sweet, and Mary and I are enjoying them as bedtime stories.

She could easily read chapter books, but as I was with I am with Mary.
I want her to read AS MANY children's books as possible while she's young.
There are so many good ones.

Molly arrived in our family at age 11 - turning 12. She was past the stage of these type books; however, we chose classics like Heidi, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables.

Their Abeka Literature classes provide absolutely phenomenal works for them to read. I don't think I could be any more pleased with another Grammar/Lit/Spelling course than this one we've been using for 4 years.
Same goes for the Math, too.

I digress.
Back to what I was saying...

Emily just finished a book called What Katy Did and really enjoyed it. We plan for her to read other books in that series and by that author. It'll have to be in the summer. 

She read an excerpt from Tom Sawyer (aloud to me) last night (for her literature class) and chuckled often. 
It was the story of Tom giving Aunt Polly's medicine potion to the cat.

We had started reading Tom Sawyer last year (minus derogatory terms)) but never finished. We may go back to it this summer - with me reading it aloud. 

Mark Twain had a way with spinning tales, but they're almost funnier to read when you're older and the humor is more easily understood.

Lest anyone think we are only "children's classics folks", excerpts from The Merchant of Venice were also on tap for reading (The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained).

Emily and Molly's devotional resources are definitely geared toward young adults.

Christopher Churchmouse and His Mommy

I know. 
I'm old fashioned
Or maybe headstrong and determined --
to make sure my girls experience all the glories of childhood (and life in general) they can through 
-- good literature
-- enriching experiences
-- meaningful relationships
-- deep thinking
-- simplicity

Time for "sleepy-la" Emily would say when she was little and new from China.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Goodbye Frosty! Hello Spring.

Mary's creation from several months ago - almost looks like a duck
- carrot nose is headed West
- only 2" high

I absolutely treasure kiddie art.

The Girls with Sophia

There's a 5th grader at my Schawlow needs to grow in her English skills. 
I don't teach her but thought it would be a great opportunity to sorta take her under our wings.

Her mother brings her over to our house or meets me at my weekend job.
I work with her for about an hour.

I think she enjoys being around my girls, and it's just "good" - all around.
They've got the Lego vintage picnic basket out and are building.

Her mom works at a medical research center, father is in Canada -- but the entire family will likely return to China in a few years.

I guess we only have to look around in our own world to find those with whom we can be friends.

Sophia wasn't smiling TOO much...but she is here. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year...The Year of the Dog

With Rene's girls at CNY celebration

KK and Tricia - cooking....yum!

KK gave my girls a traditional and symbolic Red Envelope with 10.00 inside (always an even number value of the bill)

We saw these darling poochies.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Noooo, Molly. Noooo."

Molly had these items in a if to possibly get rid of them.
She's been cleaning.
Let me tell ya - she's not nearly as sentimental about Chinese souvenirs, etc. as I am. 
Good for her....BUT....she brought these items WITH her when she left China.
They cannot go "away".
They just can't.

No. TLC is not seeking me out for a season episode of Hoarders.,
But this kinda stuff has to stay here -- with us, with me -- well....forEVER!!!

It's sentimental to the nth degree.

This is a little bag of hand wipes.
Molly said its labeling depicts "student hygiene".
I remember seeing Chinese students with those red ties around their necks when I was in China.
Molly said they were red, fabric triangles.
She wore them....and said they could receive awards for having them on daily.

She also said she didn't get any awards for that cuz she didn't always wear hers.
Said they learned a story about why it was important to wear them, but she cannot remember it.

Molly translated this Chinese writing to mean --
"Your personality stems from your heart - not your outward appearance."

There's some English on the package, too.

Then there's this little guy.
Perfume bottle with darling little bear
No, Molly. No.

All these items go into your special China basket in my closet
Along with 200 other things from The Motherland that we must keep.

One little sheep - from China - with a clay body has cracked. The furry outside of the sheep's body is still in tact, but I had a hard time throwing away the smaller shards of clay.
I thought, "These are 100% bonafide Chinese pottery pieces....and I'm chunking them in the trash."
I kept the biggest piece.
Maybe I can make a necklace out of it.

Oops. Gotta go.
TLC is callin'!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

Marlene made these hearts for me to take to China as gifts.
Red for prosperity 
Hearts for friendship 

The Chinese are very symbolic in their expressions of gifts and celebrations.

This heart is hanging in our kitchen as a constant reminder of our love for our friends in China...
and for friends and family here in America, too, who have been so supportive of our adoption journeys.

 There it is - nestled back betwixt my vintage STUFF!

The ladybug Valentine - hanging in a plastic sheet cover - is an old one from my younger brother. 

The card in frame above - my father gave it to me when I was a little girl.

Yellow canister set - yup.
From my childhood 

The Peanuts theme once again 

Em and Molly stitched this heart pillow a few years ago - with KK.
It's out for our celebration of love month.

Emily used heart cut outs to doozy up Mary's toast.

How sweet is that?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

It Was a Charlie Brown Kinda Trip

Back a while ago, we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to another area and attend a Charlie Brown Ice Sculpture Exhibit. The artist was - drum roll - from China. Our funny friend, Amy, invited us....and boy -- Did we ever have a good time!

The girls (and adults) were silly for most of our 36 hour -- start to finish -- trip - telling funny stories, bugging the stew out of Amy, singing goofy songs, and generally just being themselves.

We got lost in the hotel, tried to open other people's doors with our keys, ran quickly from one event to another - Cirque (lots of talented people bending in half, spinning from the ceiling, and changing clothes in the blink of an eye), breakfast with the Peanuts characters, and of course....the ice sculpture event.

Yes. It was 9 degrees inside the venue.
We all were issued special parkas to keep us warm.
Our faces - well, too bad. They were left to the elements.

We slid down ice slides, and some of us - namely me - looked ridiculous coming down on my hiney with an audience watching. But hey - you do what cha gotta do.
Amy stood around and laughed and smirked while freezing.
She's good at smirking. 
Apparently she's good at freezing, too.
Very talented.

In all honesty, she's one of the funniest people on the planet....dry witted to the core.

There was hot chocolate, warm pretzels, wasted mustard packets - good times and good company.

I think we've concluded WHY we all like the Peanuts characters and the stories.
For Amy and me (I think I speak for her on this...) it reminds us of a simpler time - being children and looking forward to the Charlie Brown holiday specials. 
You know. Back in the day with 3 tv channels.
She even has the Peanuts Christmas song as her phone ring tone for December.

My girls like the humor - Snoopy crying (It doesn't get funnier than that!), Woodstock fussing, and the interactions of characters - Lucy, Chuck, Linus, and most certainly the "wha wha wha" on rare occasions when grown ups talk.

It was a definitely a memory-making trip....full of fun, fun, fun.
Thanks, friend.

I can't wait for The Easter Beagle!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mary Won for Our Region in a Statewide Art Contest

It's a blurry photo, but there's our Sweet Pea receiving her certificate for an art contest -- 1st Place/Kindergartners thru 3rd grade..for our region of the state.

Other kids from around the state won in art or essay contests.
There were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for each region.
The host said there were around 2,000
kids who entered the contest.

Miss First Place Mary also won 100.00.

Whatta ya know?!

Her submission was "kiddie looking" - our state with 4 highlights of this region -
Medical Research
The Arts

I sat down and showed her photos of notable places of our area and she drew what she saw...the famous gates at the entrance of a historically recognized college, the water tower at an industrial plant, the logo for a children's medical research center, and ballet slipper/paint palette/book.

I reckon she nailed it.

Mary's principal -- my boss -- and Molly at the event

It was held at the state capital.
Even the "Guv-Nuh" was there to speak.
Beautiful and very special

Part of her award was free admission to a museum- so off we went.

It was a great day to celebrate our little artist.