Saturday, January 31, 2015



Emily sorta spoon feeding some organic 
throat helpin' tea.
Good herbs.
Marys fine, coughed a little...and we're just giving it to her for good measure.


Mary and one of our long time friends, M.
M gave Mary a little notebook and a snowman pencil.
Mary calls it her "handy dandy notebook" -- just like on Blues Clues.


Molly is Skyping her sweet Ayi in Xilinhot, China -- call only - no video cuz the Ayi does not have a Skype account on a computer.
Soooo this is just a Skype phone call via the iPad.
I know.
I had to learn about ALL this before my last trip to China.
Forrest was/is my techno professor.
Thanks Robin for letting him take the time to broaden my tech knowledge.

Molly is soooo happy to chat with her long time friend.
This is their 2nd time to chat.
We're aiming for once every few months.
I think it's good for them to maintain a relationship.
Molly and I are at peace and well attached.
I'm confident -- now 1 1/2 years later -- that they should maintain contact by voice - like this.
Molly values my decision to do this and is so sweet and appreciative.
Time will tell of the impact Molly will have on her people group.
She wants to return one day and help the children in the orphanage and bring them hope....maybe on a mission type basis.
Maybe living there.
Either way...
She'll be perfect for the job!!!




Mary had to use the word "tiny" in a sentence - for homework.
We're in the "I write it. You copy it." mode of learning.
I wrote line 1.
She copied.

I drew a picture on another paper.
This is her "copied" picture.
I'm modeling what she is being asked to do.
She has no clue.

I LOVE her tiny mouse with its crooked tail and mismatched feet.
My mouse was chubbier.

I bet Mary had never ever drawn a mouse before in her life.
I just thought it was precious.
Awwww.

I helped with shading in around the mouse hole.
Again - modeling how to hold pencil and go side to side.

She's still learning her A,B,C's.
Naturally.

She's learning how to merely form the letters that she copies.
"s" is a kicker right now...as is "8" and the letter "y" at the end of Mary.

Our little learner is being exposed to the English language surrounded by people who love and care about her --
At home
At school
At church
In the community
At Chinese Cultural School

Heck - the folks at the grocery store and doctors's offices dote over her, too.

She's only been here about 9 weeks.

What a whirlwind of change it has been for Sweet Mary.
I know that peace is settling in her heart.
I'm thankful.

"All my children
Shall be disciples
Taught of the Lord
In obedience to the divine will of God,
And great shall be their peace and undisturbed composure."
Isaiah 54:13

There are People Hanging Their Laundry on a Roof Waaay Below



I could see this from my mile high hotel room.
People are washing clothes by hand and hanging them up.
In the middle of Kunming -


A worker at Mary's orphanage
Yes.
That broom has a type of grass being used as bristles.
The Chinese are BIG on sweeping - sidewalks, streets - you name it.


Where I went to meet Mary and finalize adoption.
Looks shady, huh?
It's a civil affairs office.
It's 100% legit.
You should see the 'dive' where Mary had official government photos taken --
For passport, Visa, documents.
It resembled a 7-11 with back rooms used to conduct business affairs.

Not all provinces are like this.
You may go to a fancy shmancy office or somewhere off the beaten path.
Ya just nevah know!


A motorcycle....more like motorbikes...wreck - all ok!
See the guy in yellow?
He's assigned to keep everything in order.
There are millions of motor bikes of some sort in China.
Grandmas ride them.
Moms ride them with 9 month old babies hanging on.
Business people ride them in 3 piece suits or 3 inch heels.
Speeds are slower but they all get in each other's way.
The locks that owners use on their motorbikes are thick, heavy, and about the size of a woman's handbag.
Ya don't see this in America.



Outside a restaurant
These bowls are stacked up
Waiting for .........
Who knows?!
I thought it was an interesting and intriguing visual clip.


-cars
-bicycles
-fruit baskets
-and major road construction going on behind blue wall

Friday, January 30, 2015

Remembering Kunming

Ya know...it's funny what you can think of at a later time that seems to be indicative of what your heart was feeling at that present moment -- at some point in the past.

That's almost a loaded sentence that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Oh well.

I was thinking about a comment I made to Emily right before it was time to leave for China - this past November.
She was saying to me that it was nearly time for me to go.
I'd be gone 2 whole weeks.

My response: "Just think. I don't have to make my bed for 14 days!"

I said it in jest, but it later dawned on me just how true that concept and confession really was.

For me, a China adoption trip -- it's not real life.
It's not my life.
It's great, but it's different.
** NO kidding, huh? **

There's a huge part of that trip that makes me feel as tho all my responsibilities are put on hold.
And they are.
They were.
Sorta. All the balls back in the U.S. were being juggled by others. Not me.

To me, the HARDEST part of the process is all the paperwork, planning, preparation, dotting every "i" on a gazillion types of government forms from here to Beijing and back, jumping thru 450 hoops on a timeline, and just processing what is about to become.

Once I sat down on the plane and the door shut - that's it.
There was nothing more that could be done. It's southbound and down from that point on.
No running to Walmart.
No trying to figure out which meds need to be packed -- and where -- and for what weight of the child - and in what quantities - and with which doctor's prescription.

And yet - truth be known...the travel and adoption phases ARE huge and not easy at all.
Life changing is a more accurate term.

But the trip in China is truly amazing.
The entire culture is.
In retrospect, it seemed easy.
But it really and truly wasn't.

I think amongst adoptive parents, we always want to return to China.
It might've been a hard emotional trip once, but the threads pulling us back seem to only get stronger in time. That's what my friends say, too.
Maybe it's the fond memories of becoming parents, meeting our children, enduring the challenges successfully.

Any which way, it's a blessing to walk the walk of international adoption and be a part of the miracle of adoption..
And return to making up my own bed.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

View from My Classroom - Mary in Purple/Pink Jacket




Yep.
I can look out my door and see sweet Mary playing on the playground with her kindergarten class.

HOW blessed am I to have the opportunity to do so??!?

Molly arrived home and to the bigger kids' playground for grades 3-5.

Emily grew up on this same playground for grades k-2 and then the bigger one.

God has been sooo good to arrange my girls' schooling through the years...and even now.
I'm a key witness to their daily lives away from home during the day, and I'm thrilled.
OR
Em and Molly are now homeschooled under the supervision of super friend, Robin.

Mary is doing just fine right now - right where she is.
She might attend the state school for the blind at some point - for a while or be homeschooled like her sisters....down the road in time - but as Melissa said, "Isn't it wonderful that you have these options?!"

Amen!

Bubbles in the Sink - or Bath...Both Fun



We made some healthy coconut muffins with strawberries.
A Dr. Axe recipe.
We {{{{ heart }}}} Dr. Axe.

When it was time to clean up, little Missy wanted (praise the Lord) to wash dishes.

Yes. Water all over counter.
Yes. Water on floor.
Yes. Mary had a blast-- and my vintage 
Tupperware got cleaned up quite nicely.

We Love Us Some Mrs. Anne!



One of our faves...and that sweet baby of hers - Abigail.
Can't wait to get back to her house/yard for some adventures in learning.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Good, Good Friends!!!



Ate dinner at their house.
Played Dutch Blitz.
Played Blokus.
Played with hermit crab -- Benjamin.

Mom, Melissa, and I just chatted and chatted.
Good times!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sortin' Pom Poms by Color



- That strawberry basket is gonna be used for some 'hand weaving' soon.

Ha. That's a relative statement.

Soon for me might be July 15th.
Of some other year.

Nah. We'll get around to it.

Gotta check again about what other folks do- using yarn, ribbon, etc. to make nifty designs with the little green baskets.

Of course. 
I'd like to build a geodesic dome with folded newspaper like Julie did with her students. OMG.
I'll have to get her to send me a pic and some instructions.
For Em and Molly.
Not Mary.

No. We're in the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star phase of life with her...and its soooo sweet.
Board books.
Learning to color.
Discovery every day!

It's a very special time of life.
I absolutely see how a mother can cherish all the different phases of a child's life.

Much of this reminds me of Emily's early days/years here in our family.
Reading in bed at night.
Listening to stories on tape/CD - while bathing.
Getting to know characters like Franklin the Turtle, Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

When I hear the theme song to Clifford's show, oh wow. It really takes me back to 2008-2009 when sweet Em loved watching it on PBS kids. 
I'm terribly sentimental.

Molly never had these times...but I always find something to talk about "when she was younger and first arrived home". 
She likes that.
I jabber and kid her - in a whining voice - about her not liking ANY food I prepared and how I thought my life was doomed to eat from Chinese take out for the rest of our lives.

Emily said she thinks I'm a calmer mother  than in the early days.
She mentioned that at times - years back - I would get angry with her - with circumstances of parenting.

She said, "I think you were new at being a mother and didn't know what to do sometimes."

She's spot on correct.
I've had to ask my girls to forgive me more than once - and repent before the Lord.
I seek His guidance in acting -- and maybe more importantly in reacting.

Emily has loved me when I was unlovely-- as have those who are closest to me. 
But Em has spoken words, displayed affection, and written notes to me that make me feel so incredibly honored to be her mom.

She's wise.

I am calmer in raising these 3 treasures --together --
as a family --
striving to become --
who we are destined to be --
for God's glory.

His mercies are new every morning, 
And I'm sooo glad they are!

Cultural School Fun


Shadow Puppets - Staging

In Art room


Playtime with the "littles"


Emily's sketch of her soon to be shadow puppet "cut out".


Molly working on her sketching.


Mary painting her little prop puppet from a Chinese fairytale.


In the General Assembly - Big Group of newbies who've come "home" to their forever families 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman...?






Yes. I let her use big people scissors.
Kiddie ones weren't sharp enough.
I was 2 inches from her. No worries.


--- Oops. She put hat on upside down.
It looks like Chef Man.



--- turned it into a Snowman Banner with a hole puncher, straw, and ribbon.

Ta Da!

--- Emily reading to Mary at night using a cool lantern (no fire) that Michael gave us.


---- thinking skills developing




---- Taking advantage of great weather & school playground-- after school


---- all 3 girls swinging at a park

Snatchin some time out in nature right before the sun goes down


Marlene Doodied Up a Dollar Tree Apron



.....to use as a bib at Wednesday night prayer meeting and supper


Uhm.
Yeah.
We're working on those manners.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Holly & Her Mom Passed Along Some Adorable Outfits



LOTS of them

What a blessing.

Friends and friends of friends have been so thoughtful to "gift" us with their hand-me-downs.

I honestly do not think Mary needs 1 single solitary article of clothing (for a year or two) except tennis shoes and underpants.
Maybe some little socks.
We are overflowing with choices - for all seasons...
Thanks, ya'll!!!

Nanny Carol Reading a "Biscuit" (dog) Story


Sunday, January 18, 2015

This is Where We Ate Lunch Yesterday




On the playground at the Methodist church --
Or better still --
INSIDE that little wooden area atop the slide.
Gorgeous view.
Good company.
Subway sandwiches and water - tangerines, too.

Had to seize the moment of nice weather and a little free time.

To get DOWN I had to slide down on one buttock with my opposite leg in the air.

That slide was not constructed for hineys like mine.
Size 8.
O.K.
O.K.
Size 10.


These are alphabet tiles from a Scrabble game.
I taped one set of letters to parts/sections of an egg carton so Mary could find matches for the letters (A-P...not enough spaces for all 26 letters. Could use another egg carton. In a hurry...)

She had fun with it - something to do with her little fingers while merely practicing letter recognition.

These are all capital letters.
Kids probably need to learn lower case ones first, but I don't have any in this game. 
Scrabble is all caps.

I DO have other lower case tiles, but this was the my inspiration for the moment.

My egg cartons are paper-ish.
Free range eggs.
No antibiotics.
I got this yellow egg carton from a recycle spot.

Not pencil/paper.
Better than flash cards (not my fave).

Egg cartons are good ole fashioned learning tools!!
Free.
Colorful.
Water resistant.
Yes. We do this in the tub.

I'm a cross between a Pinterest junkie and white trash.


Nanny Carol said the topsy turvy tiara makes her head look decorated like an elephant in the circus.

Or as we say at our house A LOT these days..."an eh-eh-ehlefant".
(teaching the sounds of English language - short 'e')

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2nd Time at a Public Library This Week - Different Libraries




Legos and Symmetry - She Loves These Things



This in in my classroom at school.
These aren't our LEGOS to keep.
They're in a learning center.

Janice brought us a a little stash of some pink ones that were her daughter's.
As in - her daughter, Emily, who is a now mother to precious Liam.

Yeah.
Vintage LEGOS!

Is there such a thing?!?



Miss M coloring while we're at medical appointment.