Tuesday, March 31, 2015



Marlene made us this magnetic letter kit.
It's a type of craft box turned into a learning station.

Marlene-the-Genius (Donna would call that term an oxy moron) painted wood pieces, wrote out lower case letters, glued magnets on the back, drilled holes in the lid of craft box and attached a sheet of metal with cute pink ribbon.

How presh-us is this?!

So - when Mary is working on word families...hat, cat, sat, mat, rat...we put the ending sounds (at) on the magnetic tray. Miss Mary then finds the beginning sound, places it in line, and sounds out the word.

TA DA!

Mar's thinking (again....Donna would call that another oxy moron-ish type phrasing) was that Mary could transport her little Einstein center around town and not drop/lose pieces.

Great idea.

For someone like Marlene who has lost 187 sets of car keys since Rinald Reagan was president....hey. She's a problem solver now!

Way to go, Marlene!!!
We love your ideas no matter what Donna says.


jug - my great grandmother's
mug - my Hull ovenproof USA coffee cup
bug - locust shell we found outside


Rambling Around the Backyard - Ate Supper on the Patio




Locust shell


3 inches of reptile under a log 


Picking wildflowers



"Me's a princess."


Monday, March 30, 2015

Chalk Art







Now if I can just teach her to drive that Craftsman Heavy Duty Lawnmower in the background....

There are Those Googly Eyes



Mary turned our butterflies face to face.
She said they're "talking".

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Celebrating Palm Sunday



Palm leaf is sticking up from basket atop our piano -- which was a gift to us 2 years ago.
The piano that is.
Isn't it beautiful?


And then...


LuLu decided SHE liked our new greenery.



I placed our 2 butterflies in an acrylic container. 
Mary's is the one flat on the bottom.

We still haven't gotten the Googly eyes on them yet.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Skating at Anna K.'s Birthday Party



1st time for Mary to skate.
She was fearless.
Grinned and laughed the entire time.
She cannot wait to go back.

She stayed in the designated oval with Molly and me.
Ole Molly is getting pretty good at skating - even tho she doesn't let go of my arm!


Miss Jenna - Julie's sweet angel - helped out.


Glow in the dark- you know - strobe lights and all that jazz


Mary and Precious Maria

It was fun being with our posse!

Visited with Cookie a While Back


Friday, March 27, 2015

Day of Firsts for Miss Mary



1st time to ride a school bus - on a field trip to the symphony
That's KK in the background.
She got to come, too.


She loved the ride.
I got to chaperone.
Yay.


1st time to see and hear a V V Violin
She's been practicing her sounds, and the word picture with V is -- you got it -- violin.

I know the lady in the symphony.
She's a school teacher, too.

Mary heard drums, cymbals, and all the wonderful instruments of our local symphony.


Mary and her fabulous kindergarten teacher -- on the field trip.
If you think this sweet teacher is cute, you should check out her teaching skills. 
Oh. My. Goodness.
She's amazing!

The concert was held in the high school where I graduated.
Go figure.
As I sat in the auditorium today, I thought to myself, "I could've never imagined years and years later being in this room with 1 of my 3 daughters from China."

I had forgotten that Emily had a little violin recital there a few years ago.


1st time for Mary to have a gingerbread cookie.
It's huge, huh?
Went to a landmark restaurant/bakery to get this hefty raisin-eyed fella.

I've read The Gingerbread Boy to Mary on many, many nights.


1st time to trim Mary's hair -- not bangs - I've been trimming those. 
KK calls them Mary's Great Wall of Bangs.

1st time for her to tinkle on the floor while I was carrying her into the house (from the car) -- with her being 98% sound asleep
I thought I'd stepped on some type of paper by the sound I was hearing.
Uh - I quickly identified the warm flow below.

"Clean up on Aisle 9!"

Thursday, March 26, 2015

American Girl Doll Fun, and Boy I Went Off on a Tangent about China Travel









The 2 American Girl Doll CABINETS -
-- Consignment finds (fundraiser for missions)
-- I got them cheap, cheap
-- 1 for each older girl 
-- hangers included
-- inside shelves
-- a little drawer
-- sweet little stool
-- oval mirror
-- great condition 
-- delivered to my house by Marlene in her van

-- KK and her family gave Emily and Molly their American Girl Dolls for one of their birthdays and gave Mary the baby American Girl Doll this past Christmas
UHM...Super Specials gifts from Super Special friends.

-- Regina gave Emily Ivy - the Asian doll - back in 2008.
Regina was Emily's (Mei Xia Ying's) adopted prayer warrior and intercessor here in the U.S. - while Emily was living in China.
We've never met.



Aren't they sweet little cabinets - white with pretty pink ribbons?



I bought 2 of these dresses for Emily's and Molly's
A.G. dolls when I was in China this past November. 
Got them in a little shop on Shamian Island in Guangzhou.
The girls JUST got them out a few minutes ago.
Let me rephrase that: Thye just got them out of the sealed plastic bag that they were in when I purchased them.
See the lovely wrinkled folds?

It's hard to fathom that I've been in China 6 weeks over the last 6.5 years...with 4 of those being in the last 2 years.

I've boarded planes about 22 or 23 times  for these travels -
Doing the following "LIST" - surrounded by hoards of citizens speaking English, Japanese, or Chinese:
-Getting to airports 
-Finding correct airline counters 
-Standing in line
-Checking baggage
-Showing passports, visas, and other credentials
-Getting to and through security checkpoints (not my fave thing to do)
-Keeping track of all belongings 
-Guarding thousands and thousands of dollars in Ziplock bags in money belts on my waist under my clothes 
-Finding correct departure terminals and gates (Good luck when you're all by yourself in Beijing and NO one speaks English and you can't read one word or number on Chinese Arrival and Departue scrolling signs.)
-Catching high speed trams to other terminals
-Transferring to over crowded buses 
-Waiting
-Waiting
-Boarding - walking the narrow aisles with a huge backpack and other stuff
-Storing carry on luggage
-Disembarking the plane due to mechanical issues
-Waiting an extra 4-6 hours for new plane
-Listening to the same safety presentations over and over and over in a multitude of foreign languages
-Eating airline food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
-Flying to the other side of the world
-Sitting in cramped airline seats for hours and 3/4 days across world time zones 
-Going to the bathroom on the plane just to get a change a scenery
-Missing connections in foreign cities due to airline 'problems' 
-Staying unexpectedly in another city in China because of missed flights -- and reach my unexpected hotel at midnight only to find out I've gotta leave in a van at 4:30 a.m. with a group of Czechoslovakian business men to go and attempt to find my new flight outta town (I've got that feeling in the pit of my stomach as I type this.....déjà vu...)
-Arriving at destination.
-Going through international Customs
-Likely taking more trams and buses to main terminal 
-Finding baggage area for the airline on which I might currently be traveling
-Getting transportation to hotels
-Voila - Check in to hotel and collapse -- and throwing myself at the mercy of my hired guide who will now do all my thinking for me. YAY!

All of the above is sorta what it has taken to get me TO my destinations in China.

The real kicker -- return flights home with newly adopted, grieving, non-complying daughter (Emily and Mary -- not Molly; Molly's grief came later.)
Guarding her official passport, visa, government and citizenship papers
Proving to every single official between China and Chicago that I'm NOT kidnapping this child
And doing most of the above LIST all over again jet lagged with tacky souvenirs in tow

Every parent who adopts a child via international means probably experiences 80-100% of what I just described - and has a host of other stories that make for great suspense reading.
It's part of it.
Part of the story of it all.
Part of the glory of it all.

SOOOO worth it.

Paper Plate Butterfly




She's Interested in Butterflies SO....

Butterflies it is!


Those are KNEX building pieces.
I happen to have 2 butterfly patterns for theses KNEX 'snapping into place' rods and connectors.

We made 1 together.
Mary counted out pieces, and found the correct ones in the big container.
I'd place a piece in my side, and she followed my pattern.
It did get a tad tricky at one point for her - which way to turn the red connectors.
 


Another cheesy posed picture for ME!

This is the pattern we followed (below).


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We Colored the Butterfly Together

She colored on the left.
Then I did the exact same color on the right
Repeated
Over and over 
To teach her that butterfly wing patterns are usually the same on both sides.





She says, "Me's a Butterfly."


Tuesday, March 24, 2015



Molly doing her Physical Therapy home exercises.
See the gray mat on the floor?

  
Emily helping me re-install pet gate.
Molly helped, too, but I shushed her on to do her PT. She's as good as Emily at helping.
They are priceless.

I took another door down.
It opens up this space.
I like it!


This is the sunlight coming in thru the patio door - part glass/part metal/part mud...that the dogs have gotten on it as they've jumped on it from the outside.

Mary said, "Mama. A triangle"
Yup!
There was an amount of light that caused the pic to be dark-ish.

Yesterday Mary played with that ball outside.
When she came in she was a bit concerned that it was dirty.
I told her to go take her bath with it and clean it up.
Boy she loved that!!

Back to that triangle -
A right one.
90 degree angle as 1 of the 3 angles
Scalene or isosceles?!
Do Ya know? Do Ya know? Do ya know?