Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guess What Sport We Watched Being Played

Did another nature walk, too.
Found butterfly wings, nuts, feathery sprigs, trumpet flowers, a dried up creek bed, and a Willow tree.

There is a group of folks in CA -- that prayed for Emily when she lived in China -- and they'd named her "Willow"; therefore, happening upon a Willow tree always tends to bring back a bit of connection to Emily's former days. It's likely they could not pronounce Em's Chinese name - thus giving her an American one.
Some of the members of this group had met her personally. Others stayed stateside and prayed for her, made donations to her Social Welfare Institute (SWI), gave of their resources/finances so others could travel and be with my soon-to-be-daughter.
The Lord was watching out for our sweet Emily long before she was born in my heart.
These are folks (saints) who travel to various parts of Asia to do humanitarian work. They helped raise the funds and have elevators installed in buildings where special needs kiddos lived.
Kids in wheelchairs on upper level floors.
Kids who need to and should access the outside world - for safety reasons and for emotional deposits.
Kids who wanted to feel a breeze in their hair - the sun on their faces and enjoy the beauty of God's world around them.
Kids who simply wanted to be outside and part of the great, big wonderful childhood experience of creation.
It's delightful to get outside with my own two daughters to walk and talk and discover.
We are thankful for this time of year - grasping the fleeting moments of fall and making memories once more.


Molly's and Emily's Penmanship Class - Assignment

I better post this quickly before September makes its grand exit for the year.
Molly's cursive is looking spiffy.

And remember, in the years past she only wrote in Chinese characters... So very different from our letter system.

This is Emily's.

How I treasure the caliber of content in what both girls are learning.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Birthday - Dumplin and Lulu

Not a Weed

Sweet Anne sent me this email after reading the post below where I wondered if our pretty purple blooming bush was a weed.


Here's what she said:

"That WEED American Beauty Berry!

What a blessing!!!"

Thanks Anne, Gardener Extraordinaire 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I said, "Hey. Let's take a walk around the backyard on this lovely Autumn day!"
Here's what the girls saw and took pics of...

- a nifty plant... Probably a weed

- spiderwebs

Molly asked, "Is this goldenrod?"
She learned about plants in science a few weeks ago.

- love the bee on the dainty white bloom

- Em snapped Molly.

- Emily's sweet pose captured by Molly.

Just took a moment to enjoy an afternoon break outside.

This Sweet Soul is Headed to Do Medical Work in Asia

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What We've Been Doing

---went skating with some friends
Molly and I stayed in the middle oval section of the rink and went around often.
She was really working her CORE and attempting to stay upright and mobile.
She did GREAT!
Emily joined us for a round or two but mostly skated on the outside perimeter for those a little more experienced than Miss Molly.

--- went to an LSU football game party
Ate a lot: Wild Duck Gumbo (I ate grilled chicken.), garlic bread, salad, sweet taters baked in the oven, caramel cake, and brownies
Watched a little
Left at the end of the 3rd quarter only to find out LSU made a comeback...but a little too late
Talked with friends and just caught up
I love the mingling of generations - younger kids, college age, middle age, and senior age...I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having this mixture of friends in relationships.

---went to Chik-Fil-A with Catherine
Borrowed Chinese fairy tale book from a sweet Chinese family
Shared Moon Cakes from China
Took bad photo with sun in their eyes

---wished birthday greetings to a little family friend
This little Missy is a spitfire!! A-dorable.

---had friends over who helped us fortify slats in some bunk beds (more on this couple later )
SOOOO precious - such servants' hearts

---decorated this new room in our home
Ladder will be painted soon
That's one of the two 'homeschooling suitcases/book bags"
I don't want the girls carrying books on their back every day (and a laptop) they each just use a rolling suitcase
More Durable
I see I'm not using periods at the end of sentences cuz I'm using so many fragments
Who cares.

---attended a wedding shower
Beauty and the Beast cake - darling
Remember how the Beast had to be loved by a 'sweetheart' before the last petal fell from the rose?
The girls had fun watching the couple open presents.

---used a Phillips head screwdriver and changed batteries in a clock 
Make them think
Problem solve
Work cooperatively
And call it all FUN!
Saves me tons of time, too

---talked on an old fashioned land line phone at Cookie's house
Doesn't this look like the most fun house EVAH? It is.

---ate at an antebellum home/bed and breakfast
Did some swinging on the front porch

---created ceramics like this with Marlene
The girls cut the clay, rolled it out, pressed it, shaped it with a cookie cutter type stencil, stamped the design into the clay, glazed it (not painted....glazed....we like this stuff better), fired it, and here's the final product
I'll sell you one for $100.00 (ha)

---rode in a Porche
Notice who did NOT get to ride in the Porche
My girls don't even know what a Porche is
Phew !!! Enjoying life!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Uhm...Nanny Carol's tower in our Monopoly Empire Game shall I say...VOID of purchases necessary to win the game.
Or to even be a formidable contestant in the game.

It was her first time to play -
And we obviously made our explanation of the purpose of the game....

Mom did best me 3 out 5 on Connect 4.

It's Family Night.
Made a quick run to the mall for Nanny Carol to get her a fake crystal clock.
While we saw Christmas decorations on display.
It's only September.

We got Chinese take out.
Had a great time together.

Until now.
So...we'll do better at instructions next time.
All in jest.
Fun Friday.

Ceramics at Another Location

With some friends...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Told Ya We Were Going to iPad Workshop

We got iTunes songs over into and playable on iPad. 
Lots of a Christy Nockels.

Downloaded a few learning games - on our gift given to us by sweet Cille and her hubbie.

We're not sheltered...just seeking to be satisfied with where we are and what we have. Now we have a free iPad albeit no Internet. Fine. 

Well...maybe "content" is a better word than satisfied.

We do have expectations of faith - things were believing for....sowing our seed!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Been meaning to post about some really dear friends of ours - the ones we call "The Almost Amish Family." We got to go visit them recently, and boy was it ever a special time.

These are folks - as I've bragged about written about in the past - who have been featured in state and national magazines.
Yes. Even National Geographic.
Ta Da.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting them -- uhm -- maybe 15 years ago or so.
I love reading about the local points of interest within our state or in the south - preferably fairly close by. I'm one of those 'look under your own nose' for memories in the making.
That doesn't sound too reader friendly.
Ok. I'm one of those 'look closely around you --- where you are" for memories in the making.

Well. This family was featured in a book written by a local author.
I met this author via a mutual friend, and lo and behold -- I got to go visit with Mr. Bill and his family.

They live out in the country - he and some of his daughters. The sweet wife/mother moved to heaven a few years back.
His adult son & wife live down the road a couple of miles.
On the blistering hot August Sunday when we went to visit them, the adult son & wife had just ridden their bicycles to Mr. Bill's house.
He in a full suit - long sleeves.
She in a full skirt - long sleeves.
Sweating a bit would be an understatement.

We all joined together for their 'home church' where Mr. Bill led the music - minus any instruments - and the son presented a message from the Bible.
The music was more of a slow chanting - from little books with many, many old songs & prayers.

The women sat on one side.
The men sat on the other.
My family of females sat in the girl's department -- in an area where we'd get a sure 'nuff breeze down our backs.
At some point.

Our friends do not use electricity.
No A/C that day or any day.
They tend a garden.
Can and preserve fruits and vegetable.
Ride a tractor to and from work in the small town next to where they live.
It takes them approx. 1 hour to get there.

They have the coolest wringer washer machine and a frig - but they're hooked up to generators.
I think.
They use lanterns in the evenings, and I've had the distinct pleasure of dining with them by light of these not so modern modes of illumination.

I would walk into the bathroom and automatically reach for a light switch on the wall.

But they are special to us. They treat the girls like little princesses. Entertain them. Give them goods they've made personally. Teach them things.They tell interesting stories and are just a wealth of friendship and family love.

My girls played card games and croquet with the daughters - tried to find kittens in the barn and fed pond raised catfish.

Mom and I took some food and we pot lucked it that day. They provided MOST of the meal, but I insisted that WE bring a dish or two. These folks are so giving and so very appreciative.

One of the daughters recently attended a convention in our area and was staying nearby. I went to get her, and she joined us for dinner that evening. What a pleasure to have her in our home. 
We feasted on poppyseed chicken and orange jello salad - thanks to my mom!!

We exchanged tokens from our last trip to China - toys, satin covered notebooks, and little wooden China doll figurines.

Their family gave us homegrown tomatoes, lye soap, fresh pears we picked from their trees, fruit preserves, kidding....homemade wooden yo yo's. 
These folks are so authentic they even use original Duncan yo yo string on their handmade yo yo's!!
We felt so special.

Mr. Bill - the family patriarch - has come this way before, and we went to fetch him. Got to treat him to a grilled chicken sandwich and onion rings at a 1940's drug store with a counter. FUN.
Out of his element...but fun.

I'm not quite sure why they even like me.
They are so proper, carry about with great decorum (I'm using my Jane Austen verbiage.), and are relatively soft spoken.

I, on the other hand, -- Uhm...
Let's just say I'm SO glad they do love our family.

My girls just got postcards from Chicago and Ohio where daughter #3 has been traveling - by bus - to visit kinfolk.

All that to say, we are so blessed to have the friends we do.
At work.
As Mr. Rogers says:

"Each person in the world is a unique human being, and each has unique human potential. One of the important tasks of growing is the discovery of this uniqueness: the discovery of “who I am” in each of us— of “who I am” in relation to all those whom I meet."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Playing Under the Mid-Autumn Moon

Celebrating Autumn Moon Festival

This is a REAL Chinese Moon Cake.
Thanks, Jane!!

Picnicking on a school night
With friends 
Out in nature
And sooooo worth it!!

We read a book about the Chinese holiday that is drawing to an end - sittin' on the grass 
By the water 
Eating Subway sandwiches
And waiting for the moon to show out for us!!

Tasted Chinese Moon Cakes
Savored Moon Pies

And watched as the girls ran and played and posed 

The joy of my girls homeschooling - not feeling pressured to skip this spur of the moment gathering in lieu of mandated homework assignments.

My girls DID do their homework, and I checked it....
But it was nice being on a family friendly schedule!!
We had a blast.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Molly's 1st Time to Attend a Wedding

Here she is with her homeschooling posse because their brother is the one tying the knot.
Shiyan is not 6" tall. 
She's just standing on a chair.

Aren't they sweet.
Emily's been in one wedding... But the 2 she's attended -- other than this one today -- were both outside.
Kinda unusual, huh?
Lovely spots.

One took place near a lake where the bride and her grandfather - who had just moved to heaven - well, where they'd walk and talk.

And do we think family is important?
Not picture perfect.
Not always on the same page -
But common ground is a firm foundation.

This is the darling couple.
They ALWAYS smile like this.
Love each other.
Love The Lord.

They walked off the platform, down the aisle, and out of the church to the song "Happy".
The whole congregation stood up and started to head bob.
I started the rhythmic clapping.
From there - it was whoop whoop and shouting out names as the wedding party and families made their way - or lead the way - out of the sanctuary.

My mother - after all these years and my charted courses of past behavior - just goes with flow of whatever I might say loudly at any public or sacred event.

She used to roll her eyes, purse her lips, and whack me on the arm.
It didn't work.
She gave up.

I give her credit.
Heaven knows.
She tried.

Today - however...
She was ALL over it -
Smiling as to how fun people can do their celebration of marriage.

Gotta love a wedding like that!!

Emily's Science Diagram from Last Year

It's on display in her former 5th grade classroom.
Her science teacher stopped me in the hall and told me she'd kept it to use as an example for this new crop of kiddos coming thru.
Well, I HAD to take a picture of it and remember how blessed I was to have both girls attend school with me...

Emily for several years.
Molly for 1 1/2.

Em did a little stint with Dr. Jane at her fab school.
Once again - surrounded by friends of mine who love her.