Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pancake Flippers

Mary's first time to flip cakes 

The girls and I are doing a 2 week stint at "my other job" -- living there -- 
I'm teaching school each day.

It's pretty much 24/7 for a few weeks.

Nanny Carol is staying here with us, OR I'd not even be able to do this.

She takes over at 6:50 a.m. when I leave for my "day job" - teaching. 
Mary goes with me b/c she attends school where I teach.

Molly and Emily stay at "other job" with Nanny Carol until 8:30 a.m. when all my special needs friends go to their workshop for the day. 
Nanny Carol takes Em and Molly to her house for homeschooling (on video). 3:30 p.m.
I leave work and go home to tend to our critters - dogs and cats.
I hook up with Molly and Emily.
Nanny Carol goes to my "other job" and greets the clients.

I hustle from home (with all 3 girls) and head to the other job to take over for Nanny Carol.


One friend said, "That makes my head spin!"

We're making it.
Everyone on my team is sacrificing -- for the sake of good.
There's a goal to attain.

I'm so honored to have these fab females pitching in and helping.
They're the best!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

On Our Playlist of Worship Songs

Good, Good Father
(Song by Chris Tomlin)

"Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am."

My Middle School Sweethearts

My Origami Making 1st Grader

My "We Love Flaslights" Gang (holding up wish list items at Walmart)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Good Buddy Got His Sight Back Today

There are times in life when you enter into a commitment and then think, "Uhm....what was I thinking?"
That's sorta the conversationI had when I adopted our dog, Skipper, from an animal shelter 10 years ago.

** The  shelter workers gave him the name "Skipper". Oddly enough I have a brother named Skipper. It was always hilarious when I'd go fetch Skipper from the vet for boarding or check ups. The veterinarian staff would get on the intercom and say, "I need Skipper ____________ (insert last name) from kennel #6." **
It was a hoot.

I called the sweet pup Skipper Dee - with "Dee" meaning D as in Dog.

Back to the story....
Skipper was an adorable 5 y/o mid-sized dog with diseased eyes. He'd been waiting, and waiting, and waiting at the shelter. His owners did not take care of him...and let the shelter take him. No one had come to claim him as a new family pet.  So - in 2006 he rode with me in the car to his new home like a little gentleman. I didn't have any kiddos yet, and I knew he'd be great company.

Once home, he became a snarling, defensive, "don't touch me" kinda guy.
He didn't bite, but boy he sure let folks know that he wanted no part of their petting, attention. 

I love animals. I knew it was fear.
He was AFRAID because his diseased eyes were DONE. He was in pain and couldn't see much of anything -- IF anything at all. He'd not been loved as he should've been.

I had to have the eyes removed; however, I had one removed -- the worst one....and waited a month before having the other one removed. I took him to a specialist out of state to consult with him to see IF the other eye could be saved.

It could not.

Surgery #2 - removed other eye.

So...I became the owner of a dog with no eyes. I began to arrange his area of the house with obstacles removed, help him acclimate to his surroundings, and give him time, time, time to trust me.

I would say it happened quickly, but it didn't.
It took years.
It took patience.
It took prayer.

Eventually, he let us "love him up". I did always sorta tell guests to pretty much pet him once and let that be that.
Family members could pet him and rub him. Familiars. Not strangers.

I'd take him with me to the group home where I work on weekends. I explained to the residents that his eyes had to be removed.
After his surgeries, one of the clients with mental challenges exclaimed excitedly, "I think Skipper saw my shadow!!!"
I just smiled and replied, "I bet he did!"

Another client asked, "Is he wiggly blind?" 
What she was asking me was, "Is he legally blind?"

One of Emily's first gestures of communication -- back when she came home in 2008 -- was that she closed her eyes and walked like a blind person might....with arms out touching chairs, tables, etc. She pointed to Skipper dog.
That was her way of telling me she understood that he was blind.
Oh my.

But today....
our sweet boy - 15 years of age -  went to heaven.
He got his sight back!!

His health had been failing over the last year - lost 99% of his hearing, kidneys not working right, arthritis in his hips, and several other aspects of his overall well being.
As his health declined, we had to attend to him -- pick him up, carry him somewhere, find special places for him to rest. I had to bathe him because he was having issues; however, I was glad to do this for him. I wanted him comfortable and content as possible.

It became the norm to care for our fella. It was just part of our day.
It wasn't a chore. It was an honor to 'serve' him this way - as an old boy whom I often referred to as "Paw Paw".
No snarling.
Just thankful appreciation for each loving stroke we gave him.

Yesterday --

We patted on him, played soft music (Pachelbel's Canon in D Major), gave him a pain med...but this morning before work, I had to take my good buddy to the vet. Sweet Olivia - longtime vet tech friend - was there to help me.
And to help Skipper Dee.

Folks have asked me as I was grieving mightily over a previous pet's death, "How can you put yourself through this when you know he's eventually going to die?"
My response: "For all the joy he gave me and all the joy we had together.....I'll do it. I'll do it again and again and again."

Skipper Dee - I'd do it again for you.

Love you, Good Buddy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Look! I drew a S-Q-U-I-G."

Not squid.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Key broken off in front door deadbolt
We're just locking the doorknob.

Garage door doorknob won't turn.
I've resorted to duck tape simply so we can use the door.

Never mind that the dishwasher no longer works as of 2 weeks ago. Ka-put!

And while I'm at it -- our A/C unit had to be totally replaced. Nice.
As Mary said, "It's sooo shiny."
Uh huh! It is indeed.

BUT - not complaining.
These are THINGS that can and will be replaced.
THINGS that can be fixed.

I don't put these types of circumstances at a high priority level.
Well....having cool air inside in the sunny south this summer DID come in handy.

I grew up hand washing dishes.
I can do it again for a while.

Both doors DO lock...with 1 of the 2 locks on the doors.

Looks like we'll be chatting up the folks at Lowe's -- at some point.

It's all good.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Birthday Party for Jenna - Emoji Theme

Too adorable!

The precious birthday girl is the cutie patootie with gray top and glasses.
We love her family!!!

Julie, Jenna's mom, and I were together when I got the call in 2005 that my international adoption agency would accept me in a "singles slot" for their agency -- so I could pursue adoption.

Very FEW singles were allowed to adopt "back in the day". It was a lottery-type system....or maybe quota-system is a better term.

A single mom could NOT just apply for a Chinese adoption - per CCAA Chinese regulations.
Their name might be placed on a list with their chosen American adoption agency...but only a few slots could be given to singles per year.

I spoke with agency officials -- in another state) via telephone conferences. I understood they'd open the yearly window to accept around 3 applications for the whole YEAR. 
Maybe less.
I told them, "If it's first come, first served....then I'm going to sit on your doorsteps the entire month of January if that's what it takes."

I also had to convince them I wasn't crazy as I made that statement.

There were no openings for singles that time of the year.

But then....
But God...
They called me after school one day. It just so happens I was meeting with Julie -- mom to LITTLE Jenna (toddler).
I rarely saw Julie., but she had helped guide me along the way with adoption advice.
And here I was with her when the agency called me.

What'd they say to me?
"One of the singles who contemplated adoption is relinquishing her slot due to personal reasons. We're calling to ask if you'd like to have that slot?"

Does the Pope wear a dress?!

Julie -- or I -- called Jane.
She came over to Julie's -- where I was.
Jane brought toddler Anna....the sweet girl to the right of Jenna in above picture.
We just sat around and talked - awed by the change of events now beginning in my life.

That flood of feelings -- I can almost feel it now as I type about that memorable moment.

It truly was a miracle.
"Bless the Lord
Oh my soul
and all that is within me.
Bless His holy name."
(Psalms 103)

Back to the skating party for Jenna....

I stayed beside Molly the entire time, but she's gotten independent at skating. 
I need to take the girls to the rink sometime.
Molly WILL be zooming Lockett split.
Mary was fearless and had a blast.
Emily skates well - slow and steady.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mary's 1st Day of First Grade

Such a sweet teacher - Ms. F.
It's gonna be a great year!

Mary's self-portrait from day 1 grade 1.

Little Miss did a good job of using the correct colors on the critters.

She's still at the school where I teach, and it's a joy to have her around as I work. 
It was the same with Emily and Molly.

My classroom is right outside Mary's classroom door.
I've been in that very same room for....drumroll....27 years.
I doubt many teachers could say that - probably ANY-where.
The same space.

I'm blessed to work in a place where my own kiddos could there, too.
God is good.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sunday Summer Wish List Event - Go to Cookie's House

This is NOT her house.
It's the playhouse her daddy built for her when she was little. 
He moved to heaven when she was young.

Years ago, Cookie went back to her hometown to attempt to buy the playhouse -- where it had been all these many years.

The property owner - who lived out of state - would not take action on her behalf.

Long story short -- an outreach ministry for people in need eventually bought the property.
Cookie had long time been donating money to support THAT ministry.

They GAVE her the playhouse!

Her hubbie had to disassemble it and rebuild it in the town/yard where she's (now) been living for many years.

It's a God story.

Gosh...her friendship is a God story.

The girls, Nanny Carol, and I traveled to see our dear - very southern belle with a go getter attitude - friend and her husband.

We all ate Sunday lunch (after church) at her house - drank tea, ate a petit four, walked, talked, and shared.

A day to refresh the soul....

This is Cookie's kitchen.
Vintage gone to seed.
Love it!

An outside area in Cookie's yard - whimsical 

We later ate ice cream frim a vintage 1950's ice cream stand.

Memories made!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bucket List - Eat Homemade Pizza at Whole Foods

This nice fella created a delicious, healthy-ish veggie/cheese pizza pie.
He loaded us up - at a cheap price.
I think he thought the girls were cute and appreciative.

They are.
They were.

Ate upstairs - great view of local area.

We'd been to my school to arrange desks in my classroom- on a Saturday.

Time to buy school supplies!!!
The girls are excited about the upcoming school year.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Look Who Came to Visit in Mary's Playhouse

Even got HIS own light shining down from above
This illumination, however, was a gift from 
It's meant to be worn on a person's head.
Mary wrapped it strategically around the playhouse chimney.

Here's a close up.
I believe I know these folks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

More Travels to Small Town America

A porch swing 
On the porch if an antebellum home

Church bell - reminds me of the school/church bell on Little House on the Prairie 

How funny, huh?
They simply tried on these matching dresses, but we didn't buy them. 

Made for a great photo op!

Out and about - exploring backroads of the south
Before school begins
Time with the girls and mom...and friends

August Has Arrived

Mary's cut out rendition of Nanny Carol...

The young artist - obviously at work on another stellar project for the Metropolitan Museum of Art
a.k.a. - our refrigerator 

Mary's stuffed animal horse - Hot Chocolate (gift from across the street belonged to their daughter -- a sweet treasure with special needs; she outgrew it)
Hot Chocolate is bridled up with a dog leash and collar
(In my girls' bedroom - yes...all 3 share one room)

Hot Chocolate's face is buried in an empty bowl that did have cat food in it a few hours ago.

Never a dull moment around here.

Monday, August 1, 2016

KK Took the Girls Shopping for Shoes

What a blessing.
Friend (KK - Karen....went with me China when I adopted Molly) took all three girls at one time and bought them a pair of shoes that THEY picked out from a store.

What a treat!

I was at home alone for about 3 hours.
That nevah happens.

What did I do for the 3 whole hours?

Watched the DVD of Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen) and drank Kombucha.

I actually won't just sit down and watch a movie - per se. I tend to get up and down a lot.
Go get something to drink.
Go to the bathroom.
Piddle around.

Kinda weird - I know.

But...I watched my old standby show... of them.
I usually watch it 1x a year, but that's not the case since I became a mom.
Seems I don't have the interest to do so.

This day - I had the interest, and I did.

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds  admit impediments.
Love is not love which which alters when it alteration finds
Nor bends with the remover to remove.
Oh no.
It is an ever fixed mark
Which looks on tempests..."

Characters in S and S (Mary Ann and Willoughby) are actually quoting a sonnet written by Shakespeare.

I realize that's not everyone's cup of tea, but it sure was a relaxing time vegging out on the couch.
I even teared up, and I've seen it a million times.

Of course there's the ever present reference to a spinster as "a flower that's lost its bloom".
Gee thanks, Jane!