Sunday, April 28, 2013

Playing in the Water Hose

So here's how the story goes....
It's after our end of the year Cultural School Picnic and a few of the girls ganged up buddied up and asked if they could hang out after.
I love "hanging out after" times.
They're simple.

The girls above - Jenna, Xenia, Emily, Molly - did a round of painting. Molly painted a cat she saw on a coffee cup, and Em did her initials with cutesy flowers surrounding them. THEN they all walked in at T's house - where we were - and asked all giggly-like,
"May we play in the water?"
Reply: Yes
"May we get all wet with our clothes on?"
Reply: Yes
"We can?"
Reply: Yes

Shrieking galore.
Off they went and the above pics are testimony to the fun that was had.
Later, it was apple slices and Barbie playing.
Fake sleeping in the bed all together.

It was great for all the girls to run, laugh, get wet...and PLAY in T's backyard.

I love plain, simple playing.

Quotes about childhood that speak to my soul:
Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
~C.S. Lewis

I want to giggle myself to sleep each night and jump on the fluffy, comforting pillows of faith.
~Terri Guillemets

A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.
~R.C. Ferguson

Some things can only be understood when you're in a tree house.  With a pile of warm chocolate chip cookies.  And a book. 
~Dr. SunWolf

The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius. ~Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

KoKo and The Girls at Picnic

Cultural School Picnic

Parents with really little kiddos were prompted to STAY in this pic so their wee ones would cooperate. When I get one of the kids and parents, I'll post that one, too.

Em's New "Do"

Friday, April 26, 2013

Since I'm one of those weird-old-fashioned moms who believes a child's first and most important teacher is his/her parent --

 OK...parents (with an "s") for married folks.

When Molly went to doctor's appt. #3 of 4 this week, the clerk was getting all the info and asked for my maiden name.
I said, "Oh. Gee thanks. Hurt my feelings...why don't cha! I don't HAVE a maiden name." (all in jest)

Let me FINISH that first sentence about believing that parents are the most important teacher in a child's life...I assigned Miss Molly some Mosaic Puzzles to work on (see above pic - patterns included in a booklet). Emily is really good at these, and it appears Miss M is following in sister's footsteps.

All that to say, the dear child NEEDS to accomplish hands-on/tactile/visual-type/artistic activities since she's surrounded by her deficit in the English language. I want her to 'feel good' about what she can do well. She's done a bead project-wall hanging this week and is currently working on cross stitching her name in Chinese. All thanks to KK - travel buddy and hands-on teacher extraordinaire!!

I have Miss Molly read to me in Chinese - a book that a dear Chinese soul loaned her. It's an upper grade level book per another Chinese person we know. I figured that to be true cuz there are no pictures in it.

I sit and listen to Emily read her nightly story, and when finished...I go to the couch and have Molly 'let-er-rip' in Chinese. I can tell she really enjoys this...enjoys shining while reading to me...her audience - as all kiddos should. She's still so very basic in English (learning sounds of English, listening to the blends of how our letters go together). How challenging that must be. We've BTDT with Emily, but Molly is a strong reader in Chinese. That lays the foundation for her to be one in English, too. That's what my ELL research findings present and what our ELL teacher says - good buddy, Janice.

I ordered Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and Heidi - IN CHINESE!
Yes. I. Did.
I couldn't remember if the character Anne had an 'e' at the end of her name, but then I remembered a whole, long explanation by that character (from the book/movie) telling how dreadful it would be NOT to have an 'e' on Anne.

Honestly, I had Molly re-teaching me the first 10 numbers in Chinese...and trust me. There are sounds in that language we do not have in English. Thus...the complication; however, it will come.

Tonight is Family Night. Ya Hoo. Chinese food and Nanny Carol to spend the night.

Moral Support at Pediatrician's Office

I will whip out a camera ANYwhere.

Chalk Art by the Girls

This says: Home and I Love You (Chinese)
Today is a Great Day!
I love You (closer view)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hide-n-Seek Location

They squealed like baby pigs when I threw back the shower curtain to expose their "hidden-ness". 
Gosh. I do love to make up words!

What is Life Without Croutons?

I was making a salad the other night - but NOT for one little girl who hails from another continent on the other side of the world. Molly. It's not on her "like" list -- but you can't blame her. It ain't an Asian dish.
As I've stated before, I did not choose sheep entrails on the breakfast buffet at the 5 star hotel where I stayed in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia - China.
Can't blame me.
It's not American fare.

Anyhoo, western-ized Emily will n-o-w eat salad with a smidgen of Ranch dressing on it.

But this is not about the actual salad, per se.
I was putting all the ingredients out on the counter, and as I reached into the pantry, it just sorta tripped off my tongue, "Ah. What is life without croutons?"

I said, "Maybe I could write a book and that would be the title."

A few other phrases and sentences have been tripping off the ole tongue lately:
Molly, buckle your seat belt. Seat belt, Molly. See this? It's a seat belt.
Emily -- help her with the seat belt, please. Yes. That, Molly. Buckle that. It's a seat belt. See the buckle? Buckle it, please. Thank you, sweetie.

That little set of words could be interchanged to focus on ANY subject imaginable.
Just insert as needed:
Molly, get your backpack. Backpack, Molly. See this? It's a backpack.
Emily - help her with her backpack, please. Yes. That, Molly. Get that. It's a backpack. See the zippers?
Unzip it, please. Thank you, sweetie.

Cracks me up.
I'm soooo well aware of this lingo song and dance because this is Chinese adoption of adorable daughter #2 for me.
I remember when I had to learn to speak like this with the end of the day, she and I both were worn slap out.
This time, I've got a reserve bank to draw from mentally. I know the drill. I'm doing fine (....Uhm...I think I am....)
It's Miss Molly's time to be worn slap out, though, because learning another language is tough.

But even tougher is trying to communicate - not the simple things - but the intangibles: feelings, thoughts, concerns, uncertainties.
We've (our family) had a handful of folks talk to Molly in Chinese, and we always ask her - via our Mandarin speaking expert at that moment - What is it she NEEDS for us to know???  HER needs are impt. Critical.
We convey our thoughts to her as to how proud we all are of her of how much we love her.
It's always a good time of 'being understood'.

There is a little girl in the 4th grade at our school who talks with Molly on a regular basis. This is good chatter and also a time to - once again - communicate, to be heard. The little girl is so sweet to translate for Molly and me, too.

Emily and Molly have re-arranged the room and pushed the 2 single beds together.
This was decided at 9:15 on a school night, after being tucked in bed....their decision (mostly Emily's -- Molly politely follows suite). I helped and celebrated their creativity and willingness to see "things" in a different way - sort of a spur of the moment whim of 'togetherness'.
They've washed & rinsed the dishes together and helped pick out the week's groceries.
Both have played a mean game of hide-n-seek. I've NOT perceived how they could be so well hidden (see photo above)
The girls have run up and down the street (by going thru the yards) to Nanny Carol's -- 5 houses away.
They've folded their clothes and put them away.
They've Barbied together, made bookmarks, attended a b'day party, enjoyed Friday nights as Family Night & Chinese food eatin' time, painted real pictures on canvas, written in Chinese and English in chalk....on the garage floor, held hands to pray, and done the everyday small things of which life is made.

As the popular praise song goes, "10,000 Reasons for my Heart to Sing....Bless the Lord, O My Soul..."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Let Me Confuse Folks with Pictures from China AND USA

China Posse

Miss Molly at the Zoo

Friends stopped by a week or so ago. Such a polite and caring young man - Turner. The three-some put the puzzle together on the floor. Good ole fashioned playing together!!

Precious Scarlett, Autumn, and Jason - SOO-EY!!!!

They're Arkansas Razorback fans....thus the hawg call!!
Chinese Market

Scorpions for Sale: Sold in the Markets in China

The girls walking China.
Do ya know which Easter egg is Molly's - with Chinese on it?
Three guesses and the first two don't count.
I leave the girls alone with Nanny Carol - in the car for 10 minutes - and walk out to find them squeezing themselves into the rear window section of the car. Yes. Those are the "window heatin' up lines" seen crossing the glass. Goofiness abounds, and how fun it is!

Emily at Associational Bible Drill. She advanced to State Drills.

Way to go, girl. We are SOOO proud of you!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Travel Group - Minus Jason, Scarlett, and New Daughter - Autumn

The Girls in China
Beijing at Night
We were walking across a bridge that was over the streets.

Your guess is as good as mine!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Chicken Heads. Thank you VERY much.

Our friends Forrest and Robin are in China as I type, and seems they're big time risk takers.
Actually, he'd just say he's enjoying the best Chinese food in the world.
Because it's from China.
And he's in China.

But the chicken head - beak, bill, eyes....the whole shmear?
On the plate.
As Molly says, "No SANK you."

Emily used to say that as well. Seems the "th" sound coming from Chinese lips often gets "essssss-ed" up.
Sank you for Thank you.

But Forrest and Robin are now the proud parents of darling...okay....handsome Shaun. What an angel baby. We are so fired up for them and cannot wait to kiss those baby cheeks of his.
Not Forrest's.
We'll leave the other to Robin.

Miss Molly has begun school and even gone on a field trip already. Go figure. She went to the zoo.
I was allowed to take her personally in my car b/c 7 out of 7 times she was in a van/on a bus in China....she threw up.
I wasn't gonna sign her up to ride a bus and - you know - in front of all her classmates.

She's doing GREAT in the car. Not needed a throw up "bag" since the first weekend home. We've been claiming that she's healed of motion sickness.

Emily and Molly are sitting in the backseat of the car - when we ride with Nanny Carol to church or where-ever. Emily's teaching Molly to mimic certain statements such as, "Nanny Carol is a silly girl."
Molly LOVES it and bursts out laughin'. That's good for both the girls.
Sometimes it can get pretty quiet in the backseat - but it's b/c of the communication factor. Even when it's just Molly and me, I don't talk her ears off b/c she hasn't a clue about 99% of what I'm saying.
I do, however, want her to feel 'engaged' and noticed.

Another mom was in her car behind us on the way to the zoo today. When we got there, she said, "Wow. You're a great Tour Guide. I should've ridden with ya'll." She was referring to my pointing at trees, making motions.
I then explained to her my current status in life as the mother of a new daughter - home from China.
We use LOTS of gestures and facial expressions.
It works.
Good enough.
For now.

Molly is learning the sounds of the English language. Yes - that means cat, hat, fat, sat...starting off with short vowels. Once again I say, "Thank you, ABeka books. I LOVE you people!!"
She is doing 4th grade math and did well with mean, median, mode...and a little 4th grade girl sitting with her in the back of the class translating in Mandarin.
We have an English as 2nd Language program at my school....and we just work with the kiddos ANY way that is positive learning environments, rich with language and reading and "doing".

Balancing Emily's homework and working with Molly - yes. It's a balance act, but I assume with 2 kids it would be for ANY parent. So, I'm not special in that department.

We're all sleeping well.
We were not jet lagged - but the girls took a few naps the first weekend we were home.

Thanks to all our friends and family who've made the transition a super duper one. I keep saying, on a scale of 1 to 10.....I've hit an 11. Really. Phew. Thank you, Lord!

One last comment about f-r-i-e-n-d-s:
Our last night in China some of us went back to the restaurant across the street (I know. Shake in your boots....human beings crossing the street in C-H-I-N-A.) to eat. One of the dads came and chatted w/us for a second b/c he was getting his order to go. We told him we could all 'face the street' together and go back to our hotel if wanted to come with us.
His reply, "I've been staying in this same hotel the entire time since I left Beijing (approx. 12-ish days), and I have not ONCE crossed that street. I would NEVER cross it. I walk thru the underground tunnel."

We all started out the door and down the sidewalk.

My jaw dropped.
Me, KK, my posse with me....following Steve: "WHAT underground tunnel?"
Steve....walking ahead of us: "The one up the street....about a block away. Oh yeah. I'm not crazy. I'm not puttin' myself or my family in that road."

I slurred out in a somewhat sarcastic but totally joking way: "Well. Hmpf. I guess a TRUE friend would've told me about this underground tunnel my first day in Guangzhou."
He replied, as he continued to walk on with his dry witted self: "Probably so. I hope you find one!"

(He really is a funny, poker faced kinda guy!! Super family.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Anne - A Treasured Friend....More than She Knows!!

Easter Fun

Good Morning America!

This is the view from our plane as we were all flying over America...on way in from China. Those are clouds at the bottom and the gorgeous sunrise in the background.