Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lego Friends for Christmas - The Veterinarian's Shindig

This year - as a family - we pretty much decided to follow this principle of "giving/getting" for Emily.
Something you want.
Something you need.
Something to wear.
Something to read.

Like I keep saying, "It's not OUR birthday!"
Mercy me. Emily has soooo much stuff that's been given to her over the years.
I read - via blog trolling - where other moms were wanting to keep a watch over the getting, getting, getting, and I LOVE this little mantra written above.

Want - She got the Lego Friends Vet Clinic...all 343 pieces the size of your thumbnail or smaller.
Need - She got awinter coat for China trip.
Wear - She found Under Armour top/leggings to keep her warm in China - waiting for her under the tree.
Read - She's shopped twice and not found THE book she wants yet....but she'll find one.

The extended family members each gave her a 3DS game cartridge - again - for her trip to China...and to play with while holed up in a hotel room - with her new sister - in Inner Mongolia where the temp averages 0-15 degrees this time of year.
Emily saved her money and paid for the 3DS device - all by herself.
She only plays with it 1 hour on Fri., Sat., & Sun.
She's had it for several months, and it's NOT been a big deal to monitor.

Miss Em, of course, rec'd other wonderful gifts from friends of the family,
she was content and happy --
grew in the understanding that
it's not about the presents.

Each and every day is a gift.
We are to be present -
for the Lord,
our family,
our friends,
and for those we are to impact
along life's way.

The Kansas Klan - Dick, Samm, and Sweet Sherrie

2012 Christmas Card Photo and The STASH of Gifts from Dear Friends in Kansas

Samm (Dick & Sherrie) - Your card will be in the mail soon. We were needing to get our hands on your new address. Yikes. It will be placed in the address book!!!!

Thank you, sweetie pie, for the wonderful box of goodies you, mom, and dad sent to us. We placed your little photo on our Christmas tree and smiled each time we saw it, and your Christmas card picture is front and center on a desk in the living room. Emily loves the "sister" necklaces....and caramel popcorn (the best). I'm lovin' the cheese popcorn and beautiful mother/daughter necklace; however, I was dippin' strongly into the red hot flavored popcorn last night. Yummmmy - pink sauce and white chocolate party mix.

Nanny Carol felt so special to be included in the BIG box of happies you sent our way. Please thank your mom and dad for us. We love you all so very much. Miss Vicki and Emily

Miss Emily and Chase - 1 of 3 Rescue Dogs We Have

Emily Feeding Peanuts to a Squirrel

....and it's not a strange squirrel. It comes around EVERY morning and afternoon to eat peanuts from the front porch - and sometimes hands - of the folks who supply the nuts.
That little fuzzy fella was adorable taking the peanuts, eating them close by, and amusing us all.
Fun experience - for sure!

Uhm....White Christmas for Sure....Sand Instead of Snow

Em and the ole uncles on the beach -
Isn't the sunset beautiful?
Yes. She is barefooted in freezing cold water.
Yes. I took my shoes and socks off, too, when she asked me to play in the surf. (I'm a firm believer that a parent needs to be the BEST play buddy with their child. How often do we overlook the opportunities to be one?)

After about 45 seconds in the lovely, clear, cold, water -- with manta rays swimming closely in view (awesome) - I told my brothers that my feet were just fine. They were numb. I was good to continue on.

I figured having my feet in icy water and walking in the sand/thru the sand was very therapeutic for me.
I put ice packs on them to help with some tendon issues I face.
Why not cover them whole hog in a wonderful setting with dear people.

The brothers were precious and quite entertaining over the weekend.
As Emily says, they were "hunky dunky" - a little phrase from the movie Christmas in Connecticut...a black and white one that we watched while sharing the holidays with 'the boys'.

It was delightful.

Friday, December 21, 2012

About a Year Ago....

That far back.

Actually a little over a year ago as I was feeling the "prompting" that adopting Guo Yang (a.k.a. Molly) might a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y be-coming reality, I was talkin' to the Lord.

I reminded him how old I was.
He knew already.
I reminded him how much I make as a schoolteacher.
He knew that, already, too.
He's pretty sharp, huh?

Uh hum.
...and as I was headed into church that Sunday morning, I just sorta jokingly told the Lord, "Ya know, Lord, IF this is something you want me to do AGAIN...I will. I'm in. Game on...but I need you to make it REAL clear to me. I jokingly said, 'You have the preacher say something about Inner Mongolia during his message today. Sorta like a sign.' Then I chuckled. I don't really believe in signs. I believe in listening to the still, small voice inside - the one that - WHO - says, 'This is the way. Walk ye in it.' "

You know what happened?
The preacher did not say Inner Mongolia in his message.
I never gave it a 2nd thought after I snickered and thought about it out loud - earlier in the morning - in jest to the Lord.

That evening Emily and I went with Nanny Carol to the Missions Week activities at her church.
We, of course, went to hear the missionaries to China.
To Haiti.
To Egypt.
To Russia.

While sitting and listening to the missionary from Russia talk about some of their recent ventures and where they are located, the woman said, "Nobody really knows exactly where our outposts are located."
She pointed at a map.
Next she said, "We're here in southern Russia - right above Mongolia."

I just kinda thought, "Well. Looks like Emily is getting a sister!"

Did I expect any reference to Mongolia and/or Inner Mongolia?
Was I surprised?
Not really.
It had all the wink of an inside joke from God.

Did I make my decision based on this happening?
Once again, no.
It's just an amusing little story (to me) of how the Lord has made His presence known to me.
That and how the guest minister at my church - whom we'd never met before or since - told my mother he wasn't sure if it was him or the Lord, but he felt God was going to add another grandchild to her family.

That and the $3,000 we made at a yard sale - with thanks to Marlene, Jean, and other good buddies who donated items.
Or the check I rec'd in the mail from Melzana - William's precious mom. I taught William in elementary school. He's in medical school now.
Possibly the check from longtime friends of our family - Georgia and Ben.
Donna's load of precious clothes for "the girls".
Rina's box in the mail - full of darling clothes.
Or my dear friend, Cindy, hoping/attempting to donate her frequent flyer miles and/or amex points to help pay for our flights.
Janice's beautiful quilt on Molly's bed.
Mr. Bill's Sunday School class donating money for the adoption.
Mrs. Jean's Sunday School class doing the very same thing.
Donnie and Gwen giving me an antique bed for Miss Molly to sleep in.
And one sweet stranger's 5.00 bill tucked away in a card.
I am humbled and honored.

We're to be led by the Holy Spirit, and we are.
It's just kinda cool to see how the Lord 'shows out' for His children.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Place Called Simplicity

I love these people.
They're real.

Look at what they're doing to help others bring their adopted children "home".

Oh My...We LOVED this book...

This is the story - claimed to be based on facts - of how the song Jingle Bells came to be. The man at the piano (on cover) was a Minister of Music at a small church in Savannah, Georgia back around the time of the Civil War. His congregation embraced emancipation of slaves and often suffered from the backlashes thereof (bricks through the windows). Anyhoo -- it's a wonderful story. Below is the historical marker in Savannah that tells a bit about how the story came to be. Emily and I loved reading this book.

At GA's Awards Night = Girl's Auxillary (missions group for little ladies in wating)
At vintage drug store
Emily and Good Buddy Anna

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Day of Joining Together in Fasting and Prayer

The blog link below is about a family who is simply amazing, but she is encouraging folks to fast and pray on Tuesday, Dec. 18th.
Just an FYI in the event your heart is turned in that direction.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Molly and the Cake I Sent To Her via Blessed Kids Services

Bless Their Little Hearts...Could You Cry?

Looks Like a Room Where Physical Therapy Takes Place

E-GADs! Brain Drain....Typos and Other Errors

Although I seem to be functioning in my fairly normal "World of Vicki", the products of my actions might be evidence otherwise.

I nearly croaked when I went back and read the Update on Miss Molly post. I had so many typographical errors: me for met, the for them. Ick. I hate not catching typos, and these are the kind that spellcheck did not catch b/c my misprints are technically words. (I'm going to edit that post in just a moment and hopefully make it right. Fingers crossed.)
I had a typo in the heading of THIS post.

The reason: The same reason I drove down the wrong road Sunday -- headed to a Christmas function at church. It dawned on me I had no idea where I was headed. I turned around and got back on the right track.
The same reason I faxed papers to my own self - the fax number I was dialing from - instead of to the one for the intended recipient.

The same reason I started the bathwater in the tub only to return to the bathroom 30 minutes later and find water 1" deep all over the bathroom, my bedroom, headed down the hall to other rooms....water that is traveling across the floor from which I'd JUST picked up Molly's entire batch of adoption papers. The 14 inch high stack.
The floor on which Emily's photo albums from her adoption/China trip were sitting snugly in a little green container. The water was absorbed into the container; however, it didn't get to the 3 photo albums. Phew.

The same reason...well. You get the point.

I call it "A Brain Too Full".
I'm collaborating with various folks on two sides of the world, translating, inquiring, requesting, submitting, preparing, paying, buying, negotiating...

And crying.

Some tears are happy tears.
Others are for close friends who've had significant losses in their lives -- in just the last few days/weeks.
Marlene and Donna's sweet fur babies - Mikey and Maggie - precious, silly, sibling puppy dogs.
Maggie moved to heaven early Saturday morning - sleeping across Donna's chest.
Mikey moved to heaven the next morning.
Totally unrelated health issues - but the timing was so unbelievable.

Marlene and Donna are incredibly special to us.
Emily thinks they're nuts. They are.
And they're in our hearts and prayers.

Well, I must go correct previous psot, uhm...pots....uhm post!!
I've edited this post about 10 times already.

Thanks for all the sweet, sweet emails. I'm reading the kind words and well wishes.
Molly will be surrounded by people who love her dearly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Update on Miss Molly....

Well, checked the ole email last night before going to bed...and badda bing, badda boom.
Updated info and pics.

I'll post these for now. The information noted that Molly likes to "sing and play the piano".
Who da thought?
Seems those are real piano lesson-type books in front of her and atop the piano, so....who knows.
We shall see.
This might mean she merely plays around on it for fun....or....?
As I said, we shall see.

She does know she is being adopted, and the current replies are that she is excited to meet "mommy and sister". Again, sometimes SWI officials tend to prompt kids to say certain things....but...this is what is being told to me, and it's amazing. Actually I transferred most of the Chinese document into Google Translate and read it for myself, but I am having it officially translated by a service. The workers, in their writing, seem VERY personable and genuine in how they phrased answers to questions. They ended their writing with the comment that they'd have Molly write a letter to her new family.

Up until about Nov. 25th, she had no idea I was coming.
Well, I don't think she did. The gov't officials might have conveyed info to the SWI.
Possibly she did, but the day Blessed Kids personally contacted the Social Welfare Institute, we KNOW she was in the loop then.

It's still almost surreal. Hard to imagine the reality of it all, but then again...I reckon you just have to experience the miracle of the moment before you can truly wrap your mind around the 'real-ness'.

Information states she's more on the timid side in personality and a tad introverted. This description lines up with what info I already had on her.
That's fine.

Speaking of 'timid' --- Emily was talking about acting or being in plays and said that if she did -- her comment - about her own self was -
"I'd have to come out of my shell."

Emily is not really a SHY girl in a shell...but she's more quiet than rambunctious SOME of the time.
NOT all the any means. Just ask Nanny Carol, Skipper, and Michael.
Ask Ann H. She says Emily is "engaging". She's just the sweet kind of person to say such a thing.

So - the sisters will have a lot in common personality-wise.

Gotta run for now, but I did want to put this up for a few folks who have been asking.
Still no news on travel. I've gotta hunch it'll be mid-January and before Chinese New Year.
Mercy me. The entire CONTINENT shuts down for about 2 weeks for Chinese New Year.

Enjoy the pics of sweet Molly.

Molly and One of Her Friends at the Social Welfare Institute

The Panda Bear I Sent to Her

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Painting Bamboo Pictures - at Cultural School

Emily at Mike Night - Reading a Poem She Wrote at School
Peacock Dancing at Cultural School - It was a GREAT day with friends.
We invited some of our Chinese friends - from a local university - to come to the church Christmas musical.

Out and About Looking at Christmas Lights...

and listening to one of my 2 favorite Andys - Andy Williams. My other is Andy Griffith. I canNOT believe that they both have moved on to heaven.

Them and the mouse I had to dispose of at KK's house today.
KK = fellow teacher, good buddy, travel mate when I head to China (along with Emily and Kourtney -- KK's 25-ish-y y/o daughter)
Seems a little rodent has been tantalizing her two human-like dogs.

How human? I was told that Lucy - the girl German Shepherd - had her feelings hurt and would not come inside Friday because Emily spent Wednesday night in HER...Lucy's...bedroom at their house.


These are dogs who (not "that" - WHO) ring bells on the back door to alert folks they need to go outside and do their business. Joey, the other German Shepherd, stands up on KK's bike/bicycle seat on the patio and looks into the dining room. Probably waiting for Judge Judy to come on. He's as big as an ox, and although KK and I have been personally funding Weight Watchers building programs for the last few years, her behind sits on a bike seat that is NOT big enough for a German Shepherd to stand on.

Back to Ralph, the newly departed mouse (a.k.a. Mouse and the Motorcycle main character and book on Emily's summer reading list)
He'd been running around in the backyard for about 4 months but had the terrible misfortune of falling into the dogs' water container - a 5 gallon Kikkoman soy sauce bucket. He didn't stand a chance. Glub. Glub.

The story goes -- everyone in the house 'screamed like a pansy' (per Kourtney) when they realized the mouse had drowned in the water bucket. No one in this family is stouthearted when it comes to critters with long, naked tails.

I had two white rats for pets in my classroom years ago: Scooter and Smokey.
KK said IF it ever crossed my mind to get more, she'd quit.
We teach in the same classroom. The fun never ends.

I went to the House of Chickens today, poured out all the water from the bucket - oh - in the street. Heaven forbid I pour rodent water on the grass in their yard. They couldn't stand it. One of them had managed to get a lid on the bucket so I didn't have to stare at the poor little angel, and Kourtney did actually bring the bucket to the driveway.

I then placed the entire bucket - Ralph and all - in a trash bag, tied it up, and put it on the front floor board of my car. I brought it to MY house to set out with MY trash - which will be picked up Tuesday. Emily sat in the backseat eating chicken nuggets all the way home. We are some TOUGH girls in my family.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ladybug's Are Landin'....

...and surely Emily's fingers are made for s-o-m-e musical instrument: pluckin', playin'.

She's taking violin right now. Love it. We're hoping to move past the "cat scratchin' on a metal roof' phase" real soon.

We're still waiting.
Waiting to hear what our next step is in our quest to bring Miss Molly home.

From what info I've been given, Molly has rec'd a cake, a hat (It's FREEZING where she lives.), and a stuffed Panda bear - items I sent via a delivery service based out of China and the U.S. She has seen photos of her new family...and it looks like the ball is rolling along nicely.

Something tells me it's fixin' to pick up steam, though.

The room is now set up with Molly's bed. Emily asked me to sleep in it 2x this week.
I did.
It's really comfy...a fun room.
Thanks for all your inquiries, emails, and text messages, personal checks made out to....

We appreciate your prayers.

Photos from the Fourth Grade - Yes. That's a Ladybug...

...on Emily's thumb, no less.
Anna's mom sent this to me - and waxed reflective of how ladybugs are significant in the culture of Chinese adoption.


Isn't Jane a doll to send these photos to me?