Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Taking Care of Business - from 4:00-6:00 p.m.,

Yearly eye exam for Emily
Molly's is in a few weeks.

I could've had them at the same time...at 3:30. 
That would've meant leaving work a little early.

Don't want to do that IF I can help it.
Too much to do there.

I could get 4:00 appointments on different days.
More running around and being away from home (homework time, cooking dinner)
I asked for this option.

The girls help fill in the gaps.
Prepare dinner
They do soooo much to assist.

We got home at 6:00....but on schedule the remainder of the eve.

We are, cleaned up, and tended to critters.

I read to the girls.
Had a short devotion time.
Got folks in bed.
All good!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

When We're Together - Hold the Wonder of the Moment as the Moment Passes By

We traveled to another state yesterday - for a day trip to check on Uncle Ray - our Gentle-est of Gentlemen.

He has recently moved from his home to an assisted living facility.

I've shared many happy occasions in his home - with family....some here and those who've 'moved to heaven'.

But now -
I'm keenly aware it's the end of an era in life - his life and mine.

As we've all been living, loving, sharing -- time has marched on. Here we are.

Yesterday I fought  back tears, but I was terribly unsuccessful!
My emotions were more FOR Uncle Ray - a widower whose own children -- two boys born with special needs -- are in heaven

I was in his home along with his sister, Gloria, gathering a few treasured items -- lovely little dishes and hand painted items created by Aunt Ann

It was my last time to be there - to see some of his possessions that I've been familiar with for years.
The last time for mom and my girls, too.
So glad they were with me

I could still remember the laughter and love that rang throughout those walls for years and years as family would sit at the table and talk (all at once) -- savoring each bite of Aunt Ann's steaming hot, scrumptious dishes.

Uncle Ray was quiet at the table - and most other times, too.
That's just his personality.

I remembered past visits.
The afternoon smells of coffee 
The mounds of dishes to wash
The stories relayed
The gifts given 
The long goodbyes

I remembered how I felt when there.
Cared for

Moments Matter - and we savored them yesterday.

I took the girls to a Pho restaurant and ordered carry out.
Enjoyed Vietnamese food

Chopstick Girl

Another Chopstick Girl

....and then there's Little Miss Fork User

(song by Mark Harris - check it out on You Tube)

I’d like a castle on a hill, Where you and I could spend the day… 
And I’d love to go where time stands still, And all that doesn’t matter fades away 
You are here with me… 

And I would love to dance with you under the big blue sky, 
we hold the wonder of the moment as the moment passes by

When we’re together… 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Molly Has Begun Horse Riding Lessons

I think this is sure fit! She's doing great!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mary's First Day of 2nd Grade

She's out to take on the whole world...with a silly sense of humor.

Have a great year, sweetheart!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Southern Summer Days - Beginning of New School Year

Traveled around the other day for a last summer hurrah -
Ate lunch in this old home/restaurant

Nanny Carol and Marlene joined us (as we hope they always will).
Cookie met us there.

What a great way to end our summer activities - which have been so enriching and memorable.

People to visit
Places to explore
Projects to complete (work for each of us to accomplish)
Play time to be had

Time for a new school year

I've already teared up just thinking about how we will get everything done, every day....
-- Work schedule with little to no flexibility 
-- Required meetings I must attend on some evenings and afternoons
-- Commitments for my girls already in place....places they need to be

I live in the world of 6:00 dental appointments for my trio...so I don't have to miss work to get their checkups completed.

**** We schedule LOTS of appointments for June and July, but not every one of them is "due" during summer time and many are 2x/year appointments. ***

I'm SO thankful to Nanny Carol for filling in BIG gap-needs!! Sleeping over, taking all 3 girls to yearly pediatric check ups, and dropping the cat off at the vet...to name a few priceless gifts of her time

Marlene pinch hits for me (getting my carpool group from track practice on the night I have to attend 6:00 meeting at work).

Melzana graciously accepted my request to take Mollly to a horseback riding lesson b/c I worked at weekend job.

KK has taken Mary to/from school when I've had outside meetings away from work.

I am incredibly blessed to have friends and family who have helped me so much and continue to do so!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Stuffed Babies - All Dressed Up

Ready for Church - Teddy and Ellie Grace

Ready for Bed

Hot Cocoa

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Look What Molly Found on the Internet


Molly is one of the 3 little girls holding the sign - the darling in the middle.

She'd been Googling her hometown in China and came across this image.

She remembers that a group of officials/volunteers was visiting the area.

Amazing, huh?
Absolutely astounding!

I'm sooo thrilled to have a photograph of my daughter from her younger years.

On the back row
Top right

The 2nd and 5th people from the R on that back row are women --
Who loved and cared for Molly.

I met them in Hohot, China when I was there to meet Molly. 
Emily remembers them, too.

They'd traveled from Xilinhot to a city north of Beijing so I could meet my daughter.

Precious, precious!

On the next to the top row
Top right
Very end person - another lady
I met her, too.
Dear soul!

I completed paperwork with these women, took them to dinner, talked to them via an interpreter...and witnessed their heartbreak as Molly (Guo Yang) continued on her life journey with Emily and me.

They were happy for her - but apprehensive to let their sweet "charge" be carried off by a stranger -- to the other side of the world.

Molly Skype's with them about once a month - voice call.
So happy she still has connections with those who loved her first.

She found 2 more...

These pics were all taken on same day when "visitors" were in the community.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

SEE?!? They're Becoming Quite Tech Savvy

Em is completing an online registration for a Homechool membership family affiliate - entering Visa number and checking all the right boxes.

Molly is researching Paddock Boots - for her to wear as she begins her horse riding lessons.
We will call the company directly on Monday morning to inquire about coupon codes (hopefully) and shipping.
She recorded the phone number.

Next Emily went online to enter a shopping code, take a store survey, and earn bonus gas points for us.

Then Molly edited our online missions consignment report, corrected typos, and entered more items for the sale.

I told the girls these are excellent life skills - figuring out all the ins and outs of online applications and requirements.

Bonus: Saves me tons of time!!

The iPads were gifts, and we're using WiFi at my weekend job.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Theme Parks

We went to Refrigerator-Land to ooooh and ahhhhhh over fancy shmancy friggies.
I like the big ones with maneuverable shelves (and the little elf inside who turns the light on for us when we open the door)...but I'm not into the bells and whistles.

Too much that could break....

Then we went to Sharpie-Land for Mary to draw and explore -- to create.

Em and Molly went to Notebook-Land to stock up on spiral bounds that were on sale.
-- heavy gauge wire
-- closed tight on the 2 ends of the wire
-- college ruled

Of course, all this was done after I personally visited Plumbing Land - to purchase toilet repair items.

We are some kind of exciting!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Three Little Spend the Night Buddies

These babies were dropped off in a box -- no mama to teach them what to do, to help shush them into the pond in case of danger.

They were left at a park....but these sweeties had no clue what to do.
They were near cars, a street...and no other resident duck "took them under their wing".

Other park go-ers were expressing concerns, too.
They were pretty much on their own for several days. We had gone out of town.

So - on Monday evening we had a mini duck rodeo and rounded them up, took them home, fed them, and the next morning took them to the duck wildlife rescue liaison.

I re-homed this little cutie about 2 weeks ago...it was in the middle of a very busy road.
Cars were straddling it.
Bless his heart.

I had to find a safe place to stop the car.

I ran back down the road, jumped up and down and pointed to the turtle....cars moved to another lane.

I snatched my buddy off the street and proceeded to find a safe place for him to live.

We love critters!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Still Celebrating -- Donna and Marlene Helped Make It Special

Nanny Carols's bubbles and silly string

Marlene made the darling sign for Mary
AND the tee shirt.
She rolled dollar bills with ribbons and inserted them into the pink balloons.

Sure was fun popping them!

We had birthday cookies - thanks to Nanny Carol.

Molly cooked quesadillas and prepared Mary's Pho soup (prepackaged).

Emily helped me organize and assisted Donna and Marlene.

Geesh - Maybe it DOES "take a village"!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

"Be Strong in Grace"

This is the devotional page
From 3 years ago
That helped REALLY solidify the confidence of my decision to move forward with paperwork for Mary's adoption....

When I'd not actually publicly made it known to folks that I was on a journey that seemingly didn't fit the norm of what others might think.

Older mom
Younger daughter
Unknown special needs 
Taking out a loan to accomplish it all

I knew in my heart that Grace was to be 
part of her name.
the very devotional for July 21 - her birthday -- had this title.


Happy Birthday, Mary Grace!

You are a treasure from the Lord!!
It's gonna be a great day

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mary's Last Night as a 7 Year Old

Mary's special treat from Whole Foods.

Those folks love my girls.

We shop there for organic meats, reverse osmosis water (we take gallon containers and fill them for 49 cents), and specialty organic items not found at our "regular" grocery store.

They did so much for us today in honor of Mary's birthday...
-- gave us a boatload of candy from their "candy bar"....jelly beans, chocolates of all kinds (we'll have to share b/c we eat this only on special occasions)
-- provided Mary's slice of pizza free of charge 
-- presented her with a happy bag of non-GMO juice and snacks

Later last night...

She wanted to light a candle to celebrate her last 2 hours of 7 year old-ness....so I granted her wish.

Happy Happy!

Ms. Dominique - always greeting my girls
at Whole Foods

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day-Cation: Out and About in the Sunny South

Good Buddy, Melzana, is "Planner Extraordinare".
Oh my stars - detailed, prepared, fun.

Well....she did me a huge favor and made all the plans for a long day trip.
Mom, the girls, Mel, and I set out for a day filled with simple -- but wonderful --memories.

Melzana and the girls in front of her junior high school
I treasure old buildings!

The girls on Mary Street

It's an old, old brick street.

Mercy me.
We ate at a rather historic, vintage restaurant.
There's lots of history in this place.

Cocounut pie

This is the chocolate pie.

I had to take pics of these unbelievably humongous desserts - sitting in a cupboard.

Yup. We ate these!!
Had to tote a lot of our meal in "to go" boxes. 
Leftovers for later

Here we are on the balcony of a very old, famous hotel...overlooking the small town. 
We went in, drank their peach tea, looked at artwork and photographs, then headed out again.

Stopped at an independently owned bookstore - quaint and cute!!

Melzana and the girls in front of the courthouse (Mom is keeping the car cool for us.)