Monday, February 29, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We Went to a Big Book Give Away Event

My goal - to get books for students at our school. 
We registered weeks ago, signed up online, recruited other teachers...and got hundreds and hundreds of books for our students.

The fabulous civic group insisted that my girls get books, too. So kind!


Mary had activity time and her own personal helper...who sneaked a balloon for her.


My girls posing with Sweet "M" - who helped make this event run smoothly.
Dedicated.
We love our "M"!


Friday, February 26, 2016

The Kindergartners at Our School Had a BIG Announcement

They are all being sponsored to attend an annual hands on learning event.
Buses paid for.
Entrance fees paid.

It'll be tons of fun.

I worked with our school adopters (two churches)  and community organizers -- and it all came together. 

I coordinated, but a community committee did the leg work.
They - not I - got all these folks to "buy in" an be a part of it all...
The Governor's wife was on hand -
TV stations
Radio stations
Newspaper reporters
Civic groups
School officials
Chick-Fil-A
And loads of other folks with really cool show-n-tell toys for the kids to explore.

Here are a few pics from the morning hoopla:


Surprise!!!


We are a multi-cultural school!


Being hugged by First Lady 


Greeted by local sports mascots
(Mary was obviously in the boys group.)


Yippe for the Chick-Fil-A cow.
The kids received a free box of mini chicken biscuits.

Mary said, "I know what they are in. They are in a costume."


It was a great morning!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reading Up a Storm! That's a Southern Phrase...


In her froggie-footie-pajamas

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Iguana Is Taking Up the Entire Bottom of a Large Rubbermaid Container


He started growing several weeks ago.
Or should I say he started soakin' up water.

He is a science "toy".
Started out on the palm of my hand. 
Placed him in water.
Now he's a two-hander.

I wonder if the neighbors think he's real?!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Awww. They're Stuck!



Magnets.
Lots of them.

Round ones.
Horseshoe.
Rods.

And lots of little metal gadgets that can stick to the magnets.

Attract.
Repel.

Exploration and Discovery Time!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Little Pink Bag

Woop. Der It Went....


That tooth is OUT.
See the gap on her bottom row of pearly whites?

Big sister pulled it.

Mr. Tooth could've come out any day this past week. Mary asked Em to pull it.
I gave the "go ahead".

There was quiet....then I heard a clink on floor.
It took us a moment to find it.

Oh. Mary danced about with great delight.

I put the tooth in a ziplock bag and then into a pink Chinese "jewelry-type bag" that I bought in Guangzhou on my last go 'round. (Bought a bunch of them!!)

The pink bag went under Mary's pillow. She was even more excited to finally have Mommy come and snatch it out from under her pillow during the night.

** I've told her....all 3 girls...the true stories about Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and Jesus. **

These 3 kiddos collaborated and agreed all 3 should find 1.00 under their pillow in the morning.
Good idea!
Done deal.

This is fun for Molly who lost all teeth in China and threw them in the trash.
Sniff.

It's a little opportunity for HER (Molly)  to live out the FUN stemming from a mother who openly and truthfully  impersonates 3 fantasy characters
BUT
who aims to live out the ideals and commandments of the ONE "real life-er" on the list.

Anyhoo - my baby lost her first tooth.
Her response, "I'm a big girl."

Ya think Dave Ramsey would suggest the envelope system for my Tooth Fairy fund?!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

One of Our Red Chinese Envelopes


She Finished Her 2nd "Reader" - 155 pages



Yup.
155 pages about Rachel, Peter, Miriam, and Andrew
Bess the horse
Blackie the cat
Prince the dog

Stories about helping mother 
Sharing dolls
Doing work around the house
Riding in wagons
Being together with family and friends

Simple
Old fashioned

Written by Amish-type folks

There are no pictures of people in the stories.

I used these books with Emily...along with Abeka readers.
Doing the same with Mary.
Seems to working well for us.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Major Focus in Life - To Pay Off Back to Back Adoption Debt

So this is my new best friend.


I'm attending a 9 week Financial Peace class.

I am laser focused on retiring loans that I "took out" to make up for the financial deficits I faced as I pursued adoptions for Molly and Mary. 

I worked lots and lots of weekends to acquire additional funds.
I'm still working on some weekends and plan to work during Spring Break.

** I'm not a fan of borrowing. I felt in my heart that if I'd do what needed to be done -- the Lord would be my Helper. **

Retiring debt is not something we are 'undertaking' as of now.
I've been undertaking it every single month since since sometime in 2012.

Sounds like a long time ago.

Our -- My -- priorities are in place.
At least I think they are.
I am a super conservative spender.
My girls are, too.

Tithing is #1 priority.

As I'm  doin' the Dave thing, I can follow his advice of what is proven to work.
Snowball debt reduction -
Starting with the debt payment that is the  lowest - not necessarily the one with the highest interest rate.

I'd penciled it all out in the past, so having Dave's wisdom is helping me fine tune the plan.

The instructor asked me -- on the first night what I was most looking forward to "getting" from the seminar.

My response, "A testimony!"

We're optimistic.


When I got home from last Thursday's 
session, this is the note my sweet girls had left for me.
That AND a clean kitchen.

So precious!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Had a Meeting - Put Mary on the Floor with a Puzzle


I invited another teacher's child to come and "play" with Mary as she worked the puzzle.
Teamwork.
He's 7.

I HAD to take Mary with me to this meeting - last hour of school and then into the afternoon.



Finished puzzle - 63 pieces
Interesting design
It was a gift.

At the end of the meeting, I won a 25.00 gift card to a great local restaurant.
Yay.
Feed the children!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!


Molly made this last year.


Cards We Received


Emily drew KK's gifts to us...red Chinese envelopes, chocolate cake, 2 balloons.
What a dear!


My Valentine's Breakfast


Everyone was treated to chocolate chip cookies at church.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dumpling Making Time for Chinese New Year



This has turned into a yearly event with Robin and Forrest's family.


We use those white dumpling presses.







We had a great time together
I told Robin and Forrest, "We are a major minority in this room tonight!"

Xin Nian Kuai Le.

Emily Made This Pin for Me When She was 7 or 8.



I wear it every year around Valentines Day. 
Sweet Memories. 

Food Court Fun



Ran into the Food Court at the mall to grab Family Night/Valentine Celebration 
'Takee Outee'. 
Thank you Mom/Nanny Carol for this Valentine treat!!

I'm not a mall fan.

Anyhoo - Mary asked me, "Which one of these (rides) do you want me to ride?"

My smart alleck  comment was, "The one you have money to pay for."
I Was Kidding.
She goofily said, "Mooooooooom!"

I had a flashback to Kunming, China - Nov. 2014.

When I was adopting Mary, my Chinese guide, Jerry, and I had an excursion day. We went to a small amusement park, and Mary wanted to ride some little rides (like the ones at the mall).

Long Yuan Ping very independently took some Chinese money from me and went boldly to the lady in the ticket booth to secure her tokens. She handled the entire transaction.

She was 5 y/o and in "I can take care of myself" mode. 
Thus the trait of a young child who likely WAS  taking care of herself in many -- not all -- ways.

*** She was mesmerized on the ride -- that day in Kunming -- but not giggly. She wasn't laughing. ***
My best guess was she'd never done that before. She probably was a little awestruck.

Sniff.

Yesterday I gladly scoured 3 quarters from my purse and got 'er goin'

She beamed and said, "I love donkeys."

Silly thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Crooked Glasses...Cute Kiddo



Miss M went to the school Book Fair.

This is one of her purchases...that chalk board book and Skippyjohn Jones ...with a winter theme).

We listened to the original Skippyjohn Jones on CD - in the car.

Hilarious.

It's about a little Siamese cat who fancies himself to be a chihuahua hero dog.

Mary cracks up as the author reads about the "chimichanga"...how the author says the word in her Hispanic dialect. 

That tooth is really getting loose.
The thrill is on!

Play-Doh Dog


Monday, February 8, 2016


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Somebody's Got a Wiggly Tooth



Or shall I say, "loose tooth"?!?

Might as well
CUZ
Mary has used the term "loose tooth"
753,499 times
Today
In the last 44 minutes

She's been waiting for this day
With baited breath

Fundraiser Chinese Dinner for KoKo



Friday, February 5, 2016

Super Scientist



Mary is learning some simple science -
Hard gel beads that turn into a Jell-o type matter when soaked in water.


She observed the sound of the hard pellets, felt them.


Then a day or two later, voila - smushy, mushy, cold, swollen, seemingly multiplied conglomeration of 'stuff".

It amazes me

Don't be overly impressed. Some of our little learning experiences last about 1 minute 15 seconds.
Often - it's merely exposure to "what can happen", what are some cool vocabulary words here, and what can we do to think and/or have FUN.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Took Emily to the Library to Gather Sources for Her Research Paper


We've checked out books.
We've ordered books from other libraries in our county system. They're on their way to our local/city branch.

**** As I told the very helpful librarian who was securing these books for us..."Hmmmm. I'd like that job -- being the courier who travels from one library to another to pick up books and take them places. Yup. ******

Today it was time to teach Emily how to access and navigate an academic database.
It's just a way for her to gather necessary information via articles, texts, and journals that are "digitized" = stored in one spot but accessed through the Internet.

I first had to get the tutorial from the handy dandy librarian, and then Emily and I worked together on her search.

One search might bring up 3,000 "hits", but only a small percentage may even be relevant to her topic in any form or fashion.

Emily's research topic as provided by her 7th grade Language Arts teacher....
Invention of the Telephone and Cell Phone.

She could've chosen any invention, but this is what she decided to research.

Her assignment is to write about --
The history of...
The benefits to society...
The dangers to society...

Not too difficult - good entry level research topic....with full MLA citations of references, outline, notecards, and a variety of sources. (Only 2 of approximately 12 can be internet articles. Good!!!)

While at the library, we found a book of maps. 
Ta da.
There's Meizhou - where Emily lived.
It's on very few maps that we've come across.
Actually - I'm not sure I've ever officially seen it on a printed map.


Emily's pointing to Meizhou - "May Joe".
Her middle name had Mei in it. I kept it from her Chinese name...Mei Xia Ying - "May Shy Ying".
Such a lovely name.
Such a lovely girl!


I did learn something else today.
I thought Meizhou was west of Guangzhou.
Like....I've thought this for nearly 8 years.
Uhm. No.
It's northeast.
As Gomer Pyle would say,
"Surprise. Surprise."