Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Amen, Sista!

Cartoon Captions:
"I have an even smaller wireless device that gives me access to thousands of books and movies.
It's a library card."

Brilliant Doctor Jane (Ed.D) and I have common views about children and technology, cell phones, and t.v. -- sort of along the line that they're "tools not toys".

I'm not one to preach against something.
I'd rather sing the praises of other things in life.
You know. Stay positive.

I'm not against these things by any means -- I just have opinions in how they should be managed with my own child (as with all things, right?).

Kinda like fire: absolutely useful, can be dangerous, necessary at some times, prohibited at other times, lifesaving, but in need of careful monitoring so as not to harm

Yes. In today's world we're definitely the "odd ones out"...but such is life. Considering Dr. Jane and I both love to watch Lawrence Welk & Andy Williams -- enough said.

She sent this little funny cartoon to me this morning.

I'm telling you...VERY few of my students even h-a-v-e a library card these days, but the ones who do -------- guess what?
They, at times - not always, outshine their peers in vocabulary usage, knowledge of historical events, etc. When I question how they know that particular concept, it's usually been gleaned from a book or specific classic movie they've watched at home.
(I know. Families/kids might have a Kindle or a Nook and access even MORE literature from their homes. I totally understand.)

One time a student...a little fella "from the hood" knew the answer to this puzzler when NO one else had a clue:
"______ -- a drink with jam and bread..."
Tea. It's from a song in The Sound of Music.
He told me he loved to watch that movie with his grandmother.
I'd like to join them.

Coincidental? Probably.
Or Circumstantial in that if families value library cards for kiddos, library books and all those wonderful opportunities books provide, THEN there is likely a whole family lifestyle that bring experiences for developing vocabulary and learning history.

And no. You don't HAVE to have a library card to bring these learning opportunities to children.

I wouldn't write a dissertation on these connections (today); however, I might ponder it and do it in the future.

Read on (in any format that works best for you)!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus! And no. You don't need stronger glasses. The photo is just blurry.

It's been a wonderful time...a wonderful season.
Somewhat Mattel-ish... but delightful all the way.

Family is here.
Friends have stopped by.
This stash of goodies on the table at Nanny Carol's is ONLY from Donna Sue & Marlene.

We've gone to visit some friends who are kissin' cousins to Amish folks. They live a simple life, are quiet, beautiful people. I cannot figure out for the world why they love me like they do.
What a joy to spend the afternoon with them. They live out of town, but even the travel to and fro was memorable. Emily and her buddy, Myah, dressed Barbies 60 miles each direction.
I sat in the front by myself and Perry Como-ed to and fro 'way out in the country where this family drives a tractor'.
Ahhhhh...that smooth voice and a Coke Zero do a lot to soothe a soul.

Nanny Carol, aka The Casserole Queen, and I divided and conquered all the dishes served today. Yummy.

All that to say: It was just a SMALL fire. Small.
Ok. I get it. Do NOT broil marshmallows
on the top shelf of the oven
on high setting
on the sweet potato casserole.
Lesson learned.

That happened at my house. When I went back home later to feed the puppers, I distinctly noticed the "campfire smell effect". Nothing that an open kitchen window and 35 degrees of cold air couldn't fix.

Emily was blessed abundantly with Barbie stuff galore:
Ken and Barbie getting married
Some outifits (but as I told the checkout lady at Target a few weeks back, "Barbie's dressin' kinda trashy these days, huh?")
Ken clothes
And as Uncle Michael calls the Barbies that do not move/flex at the knees: "Rigamortis Barbie"

I'm washing the dishes while mom and Emily go over all the treasures she rec'd today when mom looks over at me and mouths, "Where's the little Barbie car?"
I mouthed back with eyes gazing wide, "In the attic!"

I move cars from the garage.
Climb attic stairs and bring in the forgotten ride in a box too big for the $16.95 Glam Convertible.

Squeals once again.

All that aside, it's a blessed day to remember the birth of our Savior, our Healer, our Provider, our Deliverer, our Peace.
We love you, Jesus!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mixin' Up a Sweet Tater Casserole

That's our little southern Guangdong/US girl!

Em wrote on her hand:
"I love Vicki and Carol...then the boys."
(mom, grandmom, rest of male members of the family)

I thought it was funny!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
They are but trifles, to be sure,
but scattered along life's pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable."
-- Joseph Addison
(from Ch. 8 of "Beautiful Girlhood,"
A Sunny Disposition)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Our LAST Hurrah Celebrating Warm Days... Autumn was beginning.

This little ice cream stand is 50+ish years old. See the linoleum counter - Kermit the Frog Green?

I adore the little wooden screen hatch that the girl inside lifts up to "take your order".


Last night as we were praying in the bed, Emily and I said goodbye to a beautiful and wondrous October.

I closed our little chat with the Lord saying, "We'll wake up in the morning and greet our old friend - November. We'll welcome him back with great joy and Thanksgiving."

Quilt Made by Girls at Church - in Em's GA Class

It's being sent to a little girl who is taking chemo.

Family Night(s) - on the Weekends

Reading Award Buddies

This little girl goes to another school, but Em had the opportunity to meet her at a baby shower for another teacher friend. Anyway, little Blondie is an absolute doll, and she and Em hit it off wonderfully well. Both girls turned up at the school district's celebration of Top Readers...and as we approached this girl's family, the darling jumped up, ran toward Emily with outstretched arms and exclaimed, "Oh Emily. I thought I'd never see you again!!" Her mom says she is 'just that way', but golly jeepers...what a delightful way to greet a friend.

First Fish EVAH.

...and this is not "my baby's daddy". (You either 'get' that comment or you don't. If you're over 32....I doubt you will unless you've been hanging around me.)

He and his wife are a charming couple who opened their homes to a group of International families from a local church. Emily was there for a picnic her very first October here in the U.S.

This time she got up the nerve to fish.
I. do. not. fish.
I cannot hold a precious cricket in my hands...develop a relationship with it...and then hook it.

So this kind gentleman took it upon himself to assist Miss Em with her first time try at fishing. She caught one. Posed. Smiled.
We ooooooo-ed and ahhhhhhhhh-ed.
Then we threw the little buggar right back in the pond.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The weekend Emily came home from China - because I was either on an adrenalin high or jet lag low - other people fed us. We arrived on local terra firma on Thurs. evening (meals provided), but on Sat. night a good buddy, Linda, invited us over to her house for dinner. It was Marlene, Donna, Emily, Christy, and me for the big hurrah.

Okay. So yesterday I'm talking to Marlene -- 'Distributor of All Things Fun' for Miss Em.
She says: You know what Linda got in her trick or treat bag when she was a little girl?
Me: You mean way back when Eisenhower was president? Ain't got a clue.
Marlene: Well somebody gave her something wrapped in aluminum foil. When she got home she showed it to her mom.
Me: ...and?
Marlene: It was a fish stick.
Me (ROFL): What!? A fish stick??
: Yep. Somebody in the neighborhood ran out of candy and gave her part of their supper. Linda was so excited.
Me(still ROFL): Her mom let her eat it?
Marlene: Yep. They didn't have to worry about razor blades in stuff back then.
Me (ROFL even more): Oh. Right. Communism was the ONLY concern.
Speaking of Communism (What a transition!)...Emily had the distinct, and I mean DIStinct, honor of being invited over to one of our friends' homes to visit their basement. I had spoken with the grand dame of the house and told her how much we'd adore coming over to get our own first hand peek.

Yes. I call that an educational field trip - going to see a basement. Folks around here don't have basements per se, but I recalled that some old time church friends DO have one, AND it was built in 1963 to serve as a bomb shelter.
Think Cold War.
Think Kennedy.
Think Cuban Missle Crisis.
Oh my stars. It was the MOST fun. We went down a very narrow metal, winding staircase into a fortified room. There was EVEN an escape hatch door and another door with a steel panel barricading it. (shelving for food, potty, and running water/sink)

History 101 right where we stood. Did Emily grasp the historical significance of it all. Naw, but she did get to experience the 'basement' (to understand what one is)...and all the Cuban Missile Crisis connections were just geeky adds ons that made it all soooooooo fun (for least).

They even had a frig...but not one fish stick was inside!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm No Facebook-er....but Rescue Robin is and Needs Your Vote - pleez!

From Robin: "We sent an email out recently asking for everyone who is on Facebook to vote for us in a contest on Facebook. We quickly moved into first place thanks to all of you! For the past few days our lead has been narrowing. Just in case you are not aware, you can vote once DAILY. The contest ends November 9th. PLEASE vote for us every day and PLEASE ask your friends to vote.

The link to this contest:

It is easy...just Like the page, click on Vote For Contest, and vote for Yorkie Haven Rescue. We can win $500 and one of our donors has offered to match this your votes can help YHR win $1,000!! IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE OF YOUR TIME Thank you so much for your continued support. Without you we could not save these precious yorkies in need."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

China Revisited - The Lost Photos (not really lost)

Tough Pic to See Again...

Emily on plane,
and flying out of China...
the only home she'd ever known.
Here she is with me (a stranger)
on an international flight
of magnanimous proportions.

She is grieving in the rawest form possible. My heart aches for her as I look at this.
Tears trailing.
Nostrils flared - gasping for air.
Mouth downturned - clinched tightly.
The look in her words.

At the time, I was all about surviving the next 36+ hours of flying, changing flights, getting on planes, getting off planes, continuously being checked by airline and gov't officials (in China, Japan, & United States) as to the legality of having this obviously upset little Chinese child with me and my Caucasian/American self.

Have no doubt about this: I had to produce paperwork & explanations at every juncture -- sometimes using a translator.

Somewhere in betwixt and between all of that, I had to maintain a sense of sanity and attend to my newly adopted daughter.

Those were amazing days.
Soooooo worth it.
So worth it.
First Time on Plane...Settled Down (still not happy as you can see)

First Tooth Lost on Plane

First Time in Car Seat (at airport...looks like one of the paparazzi pics of a famous celeb)

First Peek in Closet

First Weekend Home....and the Smiles Begin to Settle In


"From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it.
Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for."

J. Rumi (poet)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Grandmother Would Sing This Little Song to Me

"Come said the wind to the leaves one day, Come o're the meadows and we
will play. Put on your dresses scarlet and gold, For summer is gone and the days grow cold."

Author: A Children's Song of the 1880's

Monday, October 10, 2011

In China NOW....Adopting Two Little Fellas from Two Different Provinces

These are some IA Buddies.

Translated: Other folks who are/have already adopted internationally....thus the IA = Int'l Adoption.

They're standing in front of the Olympic "Nest" - stadium...from the 2008 games.

Pray for this precious family as they proceed to change the lives of two precious little boys -- and their family and THE WORLD as it is presently known.

Blessings to you, Moody Family.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cultural School Folks and Friends - Em with her Orange Plate

Em Scarf Dancing - Asian Fly Girls

Cultural School FUN...Emily in White Shorts....

and the SAME pink, dainty butterfly shirt she's been wearing for 2 1/2 years. Mercy me.
She's prissy like that...unlike my black on black sense of stylish mystique. As Teresa's husband says about her way of dressing, "Looks like you're wearing early lumberjack fashion."

Target. $14.99. You, too, can achieve my look.

Seems Emily & I have some friends who are prissy that way, too. One of my animal rescue buddies, Robin, is head of an organization. One of their fundraisers is they sell dog "belly bands". Now...not leaving much to your imagination...belly bands are handmade strips of cutsey patterned cloth that go around one's doggie's belly and seal with velcro -- to cover up the very underspot where the dog's, uh..., the male dog's uh....little tinkler is. Now, Robin cuts half a mini pad and places it between the belly band and the male dog's tinkler. In the event the little rascal is tempted to mark his territory, the band tends to thwart that action. At the very least it does catch the urine and keeps it in check.

Well, this prissy miss bunch of rescue chicks actually MONOGRAM these belly bands. Good ole Chase and Peanut have their NAMES monogrammed on theirs. Only in the south would the time honored tradition of monogramming EVERYthing made of cloth and the action of pet training be meshed together.

I tend to redneck it up a bit. Instead of wasting money on mini-pads, I stopped using those and just started using one of Emily's old socks. I slip it in there and read the Riot Act to the pups -- of when and where they are allowed to tinkle. AND it's not on my box of 1950's Christmas ornaments sitting under the table with 2 inches of dust on it. Perish the thought.

Emily, not knowing what a mini-pad is or what its actual intention for use is asked me, "Did you put Chase's 'knee pad' on him?" I just chuckled.

She gets words and phrases jumbled (at times). Last time I checked she was still saying she'd like "wash mellows" in her hot chocolate & one of the kids at school had the "chicken pops". I love it.

These are our days. Fall has arrived. Hints of crispness in the air.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

Friday, September 23, 2011

This sweet picture was painted by Donna - our good buddy and artist in residence. It's been on this blog since the "git go". She did this as a gift for me...back in 2008 while I was waiting to travel and meet my daughter -- when I knew so little about sweet little Mei Xia Ying with her short, short hair, too big shoes, yet obvious sense of style. Donna did the painting showing the 'backs of heads' of all included. Isn't it touching? My soon-to-be daughter in a silk, two-toned Asian-ish out fit...looking toward a new future. Ah. If she only knew.

The subjects in the painting are:

Emily - with her short, cropped hair

Skipper Dee - rescue dog with no eyeballs

Little Peanut - rescue Yorkie

Puddin - "Killy Cat" who would soon become Em's Best of Buds!

The flowers, ladybug, and butterfly are painted in a BIG way on Miss Em's bedroom walls. Donna and Marlene did that, too.

I remember when I opened this gift and saw the painting, I was moved beyond tears. Beyond. Treasures like this from friends who care are just too much for words. Considering my mouth in motion, it's phenomenal that even I was quieted and overwhelm with emotion.

Marlene (a.k.a. Church Lady #2. She and Donna BOTH work at churches!) has come in alongside Donna and spoiled, I mean supplied, Em with everything imaginable AND her own handpainted goodies. I'll have to take a few pics of some dishes we have -- a la Marlene! Even today I took a nap and covered up with a small quilt Marlene got as a bargain at a garage sale. It's adorable. She, too, is so thoughtful and still loves us although we mock her to her face. Blonde jokes go a l-o-n-g way on her account, and she's such a good sport about it.

Anyhoo, both of our Church Lady friends joined us for our recent celebration of Gotcha Day -- as did KK, Jeffu, Kristin, and Nanny Carol. Good time. Good food. Good memories. GREAT friends.

Emily and "Zee Are Teest" - Donna (who painted the picture of Em with Critters)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yup. Blurry.

Red Balloons Release - Representing Her Birth Country & Birthmother

Every year on Gotcha Day -- our Famliversary -- Emily releases two red balloons. I know. You're right. Not very eco-friendly.

In China, red is symbolic of prosperity, good health, and all those "nice" kinda vibey concepts.

In the daily life of making this meaningful & significant, it seems each year we barely get the balloons before the store closes. We almost totally miss daylight.
One year the dawg gone things even got stuck in our tree.

We just laughed and laughed. Might as well.
(We d-i-d get them on their flight heavenward, though.)

Yesterday was another one of those kind of days. Swimming lessons were done. Supper had been finished. The camera was taking blurry pictures. The video cam was not charged enough to film our momentous yearly gesture.

NO worries.
It's not about the photo.
It's about the child IN the photo...and what these 2 balloons represent.
If you look really closely in this pic, the balloons are about 1.5" above the treeline: Northbound and down.

We don't over-talk, over-preach, or over-do the ritual (miraculous on my part).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Three Years Ago Today...I Met My Daughter for the Very First Time.

And I've been meeting her every day since then.

Meeting her. Learning about her. Standing amazed at the miracle of what has transpired.

Enjoying her silly sense of humor.
Emily took her name tag from church and slapped it inconspicuously on the back of Nanny Carol's shirt. As Nanny Carol, said victim of Miss Em's deed, was walking through a store, someone politely informed her of the random white name tag attached to her backside.

Emily will play opposites.
Ask her a set of questions, and you might possibly get the total opposite of what a/the right answer really is.
It doesn't take long to figure out this is what she's doing.
Very slick indeed.

She thinks all this is hilarious.
And it is.
We love to laugh in our family.

It took a LOT of humor to get past some of the challenges and bumps in the road of this wonderful act of International Adoption.
As one mother recently wrote of the adoption process "Where I signed my name no less than 4,391 times" on forms that originated from the local police dept. to the U.S. Secretary of State's office....and every hoot and holler of a gov't establishment between here and Guangzhou, Peoples Republic of China.

So, we laugh at at ourselves & at each other ( least up to the point of how much Em can take).
If Uncle Skipper, Uncle Michael, or Nanny Carol get on too much of a tease with her and say something (humorously) to the effect of, "If you do that one more time, I'm gonna grab your Barbie and....".

Phew. She'll rare back (as if to "one up ya") and say, "Yeah. But IF YOU.....THEN I'LL....."

The juxtaposition of the many parts of her life.

Yep. This is my daughter - the once frightened, grieving, confused child I met 3 years ago today.
--Who is now brave, cheery, and organizationally in the know of things.

The one who could say nothing in English.
--Who did a great job with "Chrysanthemum" last week as a reading selection in Language Arts.

The one who slept in China without a blanket or a pillow in her bed.
--Who is now snuggled under embroidered, comfy coverings with her head nestled gently amongst many pillows.

The one who'd never had any formal schooling.
--Who is now working on solving equations for unknown variables (simple versions) in her 3rd grade math class.

The one who, when I told her about my family having a station wagon when I was a little girl, asked about the h-o-r-s-e-s that pulled the wagon.
--Who remembers what was in every single happy bag she's ever gotten from a b'day party.

The one who still loves simple cartoon characters like Clifford the Big Red Dog, Caillou, & Angelina Ballerina.
--Who loves watching the ending of Sense and Sensibility when Edward returns for Eleanor's hand in marriage.

This child -
She's amazing.

How blessed I am.
How blessed I am.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011