Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It's a Narnia Summer Thus Far

Molly is reading The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.
It's part of The Chronicles of Narnia series.
She's reading some of it aloud to me - to practice her oral communication skills...speaking fluently in Chinese.

Molly read it in English not too long after she arrived in the U.S. as my new daughter.
It might've been a year down the road. This was to help develop her understanding of her new found language, and she was in an upper grade.
She did learn some English in China.

Now....she's reading the very same series in Chinese in order to further develop her native language and delve deeper into complex vocabulary -- written in Chinese.

I'm smart enough to know she's on chapter 14.

We are ALL listening to the wonderful Focus on the Family Radio Theatre version of it. 
We listen each afternoon driving to my summer job (where girls stay with me in a little apartment setting), and we continue the story each morning on the way home.

Thrilling to say the least.
Great way to use drive time.
We recently saw The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (in Narnia series).
2.00 each person
Big screen viewing and theatre sound

On to The Siver to last Narnia tale.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Cleaning, Organizing, Donating, Getting Rid Of....

That would be Mary's fake-est grin over. 
Not common for her....

Sunday, June 17, 2018


"You're no daddy!" - Father's Day 2018

Mary said that to me as we were sitting together in church. 
"You're wearing a shawl. Men don't wear shawls. They wear ties!"

I jokingly tell folks we don't make a big deal of this holiday at our house.

All in jest.

The bag of peanut M&M's Mary is holding is a gift for the father figure in our family -- received in Sunday School class from the teacher.
Little card on it...tied with twine.

I asked if that was me?
Mary proceeded to eat 5 before the singing started up.

Boy -- when I was young, adults were always wanting to TAKE our candy from us when were at church.

And gum....heaven forbid.
I mean - Literally.

Today they load 'em up with it!
Sap suckers.

My mother would check our pockets on Easter to be sure jelly beans didn't make it past the front entrance of a sanctuary.

I asked the girls if they got me a Father's Day gift.
Molly laughed and said, "Yeah - a beard shaver."

All because of a few stray hairs they've seen me pluck from my lip and chin.

Seems that teenaged girls are experts at helping me with facial grooming.
The nerve.

Thankful for our Heavenly Father who adopted us into His family and set the greatest example of selfless love.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Homemade Ice Cream - Emily and Molly Style

We do have an ice cream maker that we bought a few years back.
Haven't used it much cuz we've been searching for healthy recipes.

Vanilla Creme flavored Stevia
Organic cocoa powder
Organic heavy cream

So - after group efforts of cutting grass, working in yard, doing our "movement"....
We had a treat before heading back to summer job. 
We gathered around the table that we pulled last summer from someone's trash  and heartily enjoyed our reward.

We are some kind of high class.

The table is almost my dream table --
Wood-Farm Style.
It was in my neighbor's trash -- disassembled. Didn't even know it WAS a table until I dug around and looked closer.
I paid a family friend to come drill it all together. He needed the money, and I wanted that table.

The ice cream is sitting on it.
Nice wood, huh?

I have no idea how I get from ice cream to tables in one post.

Here are photos of my "cucumber-staking-problem solving-let's use sticks and string from Nanny Carol's yard & storage room-sweat it out girls".

Mary's chores were to clean the litter box, organize toys, feed kitties, and put her dishes in the sink.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grabbing 30 Mins of Swim Time

First time in a pool this year

Last night - after Wednesday night prayer meeting/super with all 10 girls/ladies from my summer job 

Ran into the group home
Gave nightly meds
Got Mary changed

Mom was with us so she watched my 10 "charges" as they were getting ready for bed and watching Walker Texas Ranger.

After all, I AM at work. I must have another adult to make Mary's pool time happen.
Thank you, Mom!!!

We grabbed 30 mins. to make this request a reality.

As my pastor said recently in reference to his children's day in/day out child-like requests, "If I don't HAVE to say no, I make every effort to say yes."

I liked that.
I've been intentional about wanting to live that out.

It's so easy to say, 
"No. We have to leave in a little."
"No. It's almost time for bed."
"No. It's about to rain."
"No. I need to polish my diamond studded tiara." (Ok. Maybe not.)

So we ((I) want to be found making the effort to have my girls' simple requests become reality.

It's do-able....IF we seize the moment(s).

Molly and Emily came to chit chat by the pool - in the moonlight.
Mary floated on a pepperoni pizza raft and relished in how how much taller she was in the group home pool this year (as opposed to last summer).

We are gonna make plans to try this again next Wednesday night.

Couldn't do it without Nanny Carol pitching in.

The days of childhood - glorious and God-given.
What a joy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tent Love and Tulips

Buddying up with Peanut (in back corner) of Ladybug Tent (from Cookie)

We are at my summer in-parent/overseer of 10 special needs women. 

Since my girls are giving up their beds for June and July, I told Mary there's lots of space to set up her tent in the group home and leave it up.

I'm filling in until new, permanent house mother/parents are hired.

We're using our daytime/free time --
Running errands
Getting oil changed and buying 4 new tires 
Walking in park
Going to 2.00 movie - Narnia
Organizing at home
Making Goodwill runs
Tending to cucumber, okra, bell pepper plants

While at group home --
The girls are doing light summer school work to ease school days during the upcoming school year. They're doing no more than 2 hours in the late afternoon while I'm preparing dinner for girls at group home (giving meds, helping with laundry, assisting with clean up, lunch making.....and much more).

Keyboarding - E and M anytime they feel like it; will be ongoing until they're proficient 
Health - M (small course)
World Geography - M (small course)
World History - E (year long course...just getting a jumpstart on it)
Foreign Languages - continuation of Mandarin for Molly (more complex vocabulary and concepts); For Emily -- deeper development in conversational Spanish and creation of simple children's book in English and Spanish 

Little Mary is reading wonderful stories in her Abeka readers for 3rd grade (next school year)...stories about Pocohontas, Daniel Webster, King David, young Pilgrim girls, classic poems.
She's doing 1 page of math and 1 page of Language (capital letters, types of sentences, grammar) each afternoon while big sisters are working on their studies.

Monkey see. Monkey do.
Good example setting by older siblings 

Mary will still be with me next year at the school where I teach. Public schools don't use Abeka, but I've always supplemented my girls' curriculum with quality, Christian based, character developing, enjoyable, classic resources. 

There's the tulip - Mary's artwork on her light board (from Melissa and John).

Monday, June 11, 2018

Studying for the ACT - Sorta

The girls are devoting a small bit of time over the summer to go over ACT materials.
No stress- AT ALL.
They're gonna start taking it so that each time they do so, it becomes more familiar.

They've not even had all the courses that will be presented on the test....but no worries. Scores (which will be confidential to others) are not reported to any community college/college until we choose the highest score to submit.

Hard to believe I'm at this juncture with my girls. I mean....they've got 3 and 4 years of high school, but still....that this is even on our radar in life.....

Breathing deeply....
Grateful to God
His plan is in play.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Current Photo of Teddy

Getting in the work van -- for my summer job...Mary retrieved Teddy from the house when we ran by to get Molly. Nanny Carol graciously took her to and from horse riding lessons.

Ole Teddy - Flew to China to be with Mary before I ever got there.
Heck - I was still doing adoption paperwork for her.
I sent a care package -- well Molly, Emily, and I did. 
I sent a care package to each daughter - photo album with pics of family so they wouldn't be too freaked out by their new relatives.
Didn't work. 

Teddy traveled Fed Ex and made it safely!
He was sitting in Mary's lap when I first cast eyes on her in Kunming.

He's special.
That's for sure.

That being said, a few months ago I looked out my bedroom window and saw Teddy dangling on a limb of the tree nearby.


Mary was playing around with The Ted, attached him to a low limb, and then forgot he was there.


I ran and heartily rescued the dear fella, but Mary got a tiny earful of' "What if it had rained.....", blah, blah, blah.

Oh well. No harm done.
Bless "him" heart!

Friday, June 8, 2018

One of My Least Favorite Activities

Shoe shopping....

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cute Responses from the Youngest Amongst Us

"Oh....that'll do the trick!!  

"That's a GRAND idea."

BUT....according to Mary, our friends went to see Mt. MUSH-more.
I'm fairly sure she thinks the capital of TN is MASH-ville. 

I guess when your name begins with does everything else.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

There's Molly!

Preparing yummy lettuce wraps/boats

Molly and Emily made these delish cheeses crisps

We grew the orange day lily.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Emily's first time to push mow. 
We are helping our good buddies- Robin and Forrest and their crew of kids.

 They've been on vacation for two weeks to visit new grandbaby, family, and see America (as in Mt. Rushmore and many other nifty sites).

I cut the yard there last week but taught Em how this week. I tended to other yard duties. 

Mary watered flowers.

Molly was home doing our chores, but her lesson is gonna be in weedeating. 

She has to learn at our house cuz I don't want her to gouge out the nice edging at Robin's house.

Gotta do our yard today.

Mom invited us to Family Fun Day with Internationals -- at her church.
We always enjoy this event so much.

This is obviously a pic of the Asian delegation. Mary is on 2nd row - pink tee shirt.

There were folks from Columbia and India.
Our sweet Muslim buddies (Tahani and her parents) were observing Ramadan. They weren't there. 

One of these mom's invited Mary to the Chinese Church VBS.
Sounds like a good time.
I plan to get her there. (She's going to "regular" VBS this coming week.)

Molly and Emily were at an ACT prep workshop while we went to Family Fun Day. Free! 4 hours....good for them. 

LuLu in a box....any box...anywhere!

Time to take a photo of Molly....she seems to be missing in this post.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Em's Basketball Camp Bunch

Good learning experience, but she'll stick with walking/jogging as sport of choice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mary and Friends

Our girl is in the purple shirt.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Basketball Camp This Week for Emily

Emily has never played basketball.
As in  - didn't know offense from defense.
She "sho do" now.
She's in the almost neon-kinda pinkish tee shirt purchased from Walmart a few days ago.

Super coach flew here to teach this group of girls - all homeschoolers.
Most of them very experienced at basketball....but a group of them are newbies.

Coach has such a good reputation for inspiring young ones to break outside their comfort zones, take risks with new challenges, and pattern lives after heroes of faith.

The mom/coach's helper assisting at camp politely stopped me as I entered the gymn to fetch Emily on day one. 
She said the coach talked about Emily being "a go getter.....All In".
I said, "Yep. Sounds like her!"

Em knows none of these girls, but said they're all really nice.
They're also really tall, really young, and a few are really injured (or recovering).

I reckon some growth spurts, bone development, repetitive movements, and competitive sports have already taken a toll on a few of the girls.

We have no aspirations to play basketball. 
I thought it'd be a good idea to have Emily experience a totally different activity and be around totally different girls about her age.
She's in good shape but is saying her hiney and quads are sore.
That's good! 
Digging deep.

So my petite Asian angel is blocking, bouncing balls, and shootin' hoops this week.

Whatta ya know!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Better Late Than Never - Planting

Organic Cucumbers and Bell Pepper in Back Beds
Never done this before
Had to buy fencing to keep puppers out of garden area

Didn't have a rubber mallet, so I told the girls to hammer the top parts of picket fencing with a towel over the tip of somewhat pointed - somewhat flat peaks

Used our regular hammer

Worked great
Moistened the dirt so fencing would go into ground easier 

Box woods
and something else -- green leaves with pink designs

Mary was thrilled to buy flowers!!
Kids love to plant, grow, water...
It's such a great way to develop their own 'souls of nature'

Busy day because I'm finally home on a Saturday

Made a big Goodwill run, too
Organization Central!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Molly and Emily Made This Delightful Ice Cream Pop

No sugar

Coconut oil
Cocoa powder
Cream cheese
Vanilla extract 

ALL organic

These girls are really creative!
They bring such joy to our family.

This Story Didn't End As Planned

Was headed to wildlife rehab, but sweet birdie took a drastic turn very quickly.

I'll just leave it at that!

We've had a lot of life lessons this week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It Was a 3 Bird Day. Phew!!

Found this little fella outside my school...nest WAY up at roof area - inside between beams

He was fine (not injured), but we could not leave him.
I'd never leave him.

Scooped him up.
Got a boiled egg from cafeteria.
Mixed yolk with mayo. 
In the past I used plain yogurt - at the advice of experts.
Didn't have any.

Mary and I nurtured it for the day while I was teaching....but I took it to a bird rehab immediately after work.

I've taken charge of little ones like this (in the long ago past), but I wanted a REAL bird caretaker to take charge.

I didn't wanna take any chances with the wee chirper. He was pretty young.

Bird number #2 - It was already in birdie heaven when I found it. (No photo. Very young.)


Bird #3 below

Much older
Almost ready to fly
In neighbor's yard....but they didn't know what to do with it.

Took it to our house and placed in big cat carrier.
Boiled an egg for the yolk (protein)
Broke off prongs on plastic fork - except one
Mixed up a meal and used lone prong to simulate mother's beak
Fed the little rascal

I was pooped by the end of the day...and yes. I was pooped ON during the day.

Just comes with the territory.

The girls named this one Flutter.
The carrier stayed next to Mary's same room with Emily and Molly.
All got to feed.

Today carrier was on front lawn.
Mother bird flew to carrier -- and maybe fed it thru openings in metal door.

Emily said mom bird had something in its mouth, but she wasn't sure if feeding took place.

I'm caring for this one cuz it's likely ready to fly in a day or two.
We will release Flutter right here in our yard so it can re-join its family.

It's been exciting for the girls!

Last night's devotional -- I thought it'd be appropriate to read portions of the hymn His Eye Is On the Sparrow.
I read the story of how the song was written and played a portion of the song sung by modern Christian group Casting Crowns.

Teachable moment.
Teachable day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018