Wednesday, May 30, 2012

country style

summer snuck up on us and delivered a few hot and humid days.

daddy took pity on the wilted children by putting up a slip-n-slide while i cooked dinner on the charcoal grill.

only, because we live in the country now, he did it up in a fitting fashion...


B
S
notice he continues it with camo tarp...downhill...about 40 feet
A


that wasn't enough for daddy. sure it was fun watching the children trying to figure out the correct rhythm to propel themselves down the entire length. but, he always has something better in mind...

introducing  slip-n-slide 2.0 ...

video


daddy pulls the rope, the children go flying ((disclaimer-no children were injured making these films))


video


S
 B   1, 2, 3 GO!
 E takes a turn while the rest watch take-off
awed by her speed
 
 laughing at the dismount

think this was enough "fun" for daddy? you wouldn't say "yes" if you knew him. of course not! did you notice the swingset in the background of the pictures?

next, he rigged the hose up to the top of the slide. at the bottom of the slide, he positioned the slip-n-slide and tarps.

ruined the fun saved the kids by calling them inside to eat dinner.

one thing i can say for this household - it is always lively!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

baby makes 11

i am an auntie again. my sister delivered her eleventh child this afternoon...

                              introducing adelaide hope
may 29, 2012 8 lbs 6 oz

mom and baby are doing well. thank you to all those that were praying.

THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER FOR THE GIFT OF NEW LIFE. THANK YOU FOR DELIVERING THIS CHILD SAFELY AND KEEPING HER MOTHER WELL. WE LIFT HER UP TO YOU AND ASK THAT YOU TOUCH HER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CALL HER TO LIVE A LIFE DEDICATED TO YOU. WE SHOUT FOR JOY AT THE WORK OF YOUR HANDS. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. AMEN.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

farming and frogs

we belong to a local community garden/farm where put in 5 hours of labor a week during the growing season for a share of veggies and fruits. it is a little little slice of heaven. the place and the people are a valued community for our family. we are blessed to have it as a part of our lives.

this week we had an extra work day where many people come to farm together. there were about 18 of us. around noon we broke for a wonderful pot luck farm lunch...yummy!

the children disappeared soon after. they were so done helping with transplanting. near the end of our 4 hour shift, they brought me a bucket containing many, many, many frogs. i did not care to get close enough to count them. they were jumping out of the bucket and every which way. total frog mayhem.


 B
 obviously E took the t-shirt saying to heart(it says dry is not an option)
 S
 A

Thursday, May 17, 2012

heehee

while making dinner, i pointed out to B the dark bananas sitting on the counter. she made a drumming motion and asked, "mush bananas?" when i nodded, she did a banana mash dance spinning in circles and leaping about. not sure which she likes more...mashing the bananas for me or eating the banana nut muffins for breakfast.

anyone who knows me, knows my shameful secret.

i am no baker. i can cook, but baking is usually disastrous. the one thing i can pull off is a decent banana bread-then again who can't?

it has become a tradition(well if you can make a tradition in 7 weeks) for B and me to bake muffins at least once a week. maybe when they grow up they will have fond childhood memories of quick bread, if they can't have memories of freshly baked cookies.

here is what is so funny...

i set B up to mash the bananas and set S up beating two eggs...


then...

the phone rang...

10 minutes later S came in looking for me.

i went back in and there they were still working away. B had beaten the nanners clear out of the bowl and all over the floor. i told them they could stop now to their great relief.

B walked around the kitchen massaging her shoulder while i finished mixing everything together. S kept rubbing her fingers.

wonder if eating their banana  nut "meringue" muffins will be a traumatic experience tomorrow or if they have even figured out that is usually not how it is done? 

well, if they turn out especially good, i am changing the recipe to hand beat eggs and mash bananas for 10-12 minutes each. 

warning to future yous...do not accept my offer to bake for or with you...EVER. consider yourselves fair warned.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

sisters

when i think of the word sister, the first thing that comes to my mind is my own sister, L. it was just the two of us girls growing up. i was the little "ramona" type sister that drove her crazy. i copied everything she did. i followed her everywhere.  i loved her so much that i wanted to be her. she never enjoyed being my idol, but she is my big sis and i can't help it. she is STILL one that i model myself after.

now she has a BIG family. really... it is big. baby number 11 is on its way-any day now.



i try to visit her at least once every year or two. i have always loved being near her big family. the children are all good kids that help each other and you can actually take them places without getting us thrown out or banned. in stores, they follow along after her like a bunch of ducklings.

when i get home from a visit, my house is quiet. too quiet. i miss the mayhem and chaos of her big family. because it isn't bad chaos. it is loving. enviable. God inspired.

i never thought we would have a big family. just the two girls. just like my sister and i.

then God surprised me by giving us two more. i wasn't scared of having a "medium" sized family. i have had some practice with my nieces and nephews. i can cook and clean up after a dozen children. i can put eight to bed all by myself. i definitely can do laundry for an army. plus, if she can do it...so can i(not as gracefully or with as much dignity-but still i can at least survive) and if i have moments of terror, she can walk me through it, because having 10 children, she has seen and done it all(mostly-no one has stolen her car yet or set fire to a sibling).

i have teased her that i am going to catch up with her. one day my family will be as big as hers. probably not-that is why i say "tease." i am not dumb enough to challenge her. we always were competitive...that would be dangerous-for both of us!

she has been my inspiration as a mother, Godly wife, friend, partner in crime, home school parent, and Christian woman. she has been my advice, sounding board, conscious, teacher, and debating opponent. she has known me longer than any other person besides my parents...and she STILL speaks to me! did i list patient as one of her attributes? 

she is the first person i call to tell exciting news to.

she is the person who can hurt me most with just one critical word.

she is the person i wished lived next door.

it is because of her that i gave my first child a sister of her own. and then i gave them two more sisters to fight with love.

my life wouldn't be as rich or joyful without my beautiful sister.

so today i would like to acknowledge her birthday and say THANK YOU for being my sister, L! you are one of the first blessings God ever gave to me.

ABBA, THANK YOU FOR GIVING US FAMILY. MY FAMILY IS A BLESSING TO ME AND I THANK YOU FOR THEM. I PRAY THAT IT IS YOUR WILL THAT MY SISTER AND I HAVE MANY MORE YEARS TOGETHER. WE HAVE FOUGHT AND BEEN HURTFUL TO EACH OTHER AT TIMES. I AM SORRY THAT I HAVE NOT ALWAYS LOVED HER AS MYSELF. I APPRECIATE THE GRACES YOU HAVE GIVEN TO US, SO THAT WE MAY FORGIVE EACH OTHER AND BE A SOURCE OF LOVE AND SUPPORT TO ONE ANOTHER. I AM THANKFUL THAT WE CAN GROW IN FAITH AND FAMILY TOGETHER. THANK YOU FOR CREATING IN HER A HEART THAT PUTS YOU FIRST. SHE LOVES YOU LORD, AND WITNESSES IT THROUGH EVERYDAY EXAMPLE AND TEACHING OF HER CHILDREN. I LIFT HER UP IN PRAYER TODAY AND ASK THAT YOU KEEP HER AND HER FAMILY SAFE. I ASK THAT YOU RESTORE HER HUSBAND TO HER FULL TIME. I ASK THAT YOU GIVE HER HEALING AND STRENGTH AFTER THE NEWEST BABY IS BORN. I BOLDLY ASK YOU ALL THESE THINGS THROUGH CHRIST. AMEN.
  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

beautifying is universal

a few days ago, i was busy working a sewing project, so i sent the four girls out to play. i checked on them a number of times.


once, they were all playing on the swingset. B and S were on the swings, E was hanging from her knees on the swing bar, and A was crawling across the monkey bars along the top.


nostalgia time...it was the same scene i saw out my glass doors March 26-the day after we came home from China.

this time it was warmer so the kids stayed out for hours.


another time i checked and they were jumping on the trampoline...


and yet another found S on the swings, B and A on the trampoline, and obsessive E scooping up goose poo from the grass and chucking it in the pond. giggle.


the final time i checked, they were just coming in to show me what they had been up to...


S put a Chinese bun into E's hair and apparently raided the bleeding hearts, dandelions, and lilacs from the gardens.
A
they did it to A too. then they decided that they could do an EVEN better job with E sitting in a chair...




note the additions of chopsticks, a drink umbrella, and birdhouse. poor E got the look on her face like my cat gets when harassed by small children. S and B treated her like a lifesized American Girl Doll. later, she commented that she had felt like Beast, in Beauty and the Beast, where he gets done up in curls and bows. i think he says, "i feel stupid." i laughed at her and took pictures anyway. 

i forgot a vital lesson we are teaching the children, the one that states do unto others...

yup, they done it to me!

then the cruel paparazzi hounded me while making dinner.


four girls giggled and pointed at me, cackling in their MandarEnglish. go ahead girls, yuk it up, this is my camera and i can delete pictures whenever i want. I HAVE THE POWER! it is either my lack of self respect or vanity that I CHOOSE to share these gems, which will be deleted off my camera soon.   


today i got asked for the hundredth time, "how do you all communicate with each other?"

i gave my pat answer, "we live in an endless game of charades and pictionary. don't ask me to play-i will crush you!" 


BUT beauty and girls is universal. no language needed for dress up.

i lie! there was a lot of language going on. it was LOUD in my kitchen while i made dinner. still 'twas the sweetest form of Mandarenglish you've ever heard. i love my girls.


A



Friday, May 4, 2012

what goes up...

must come down. but i am enjoying the "being up" part right now. i revel in it. All is Well in my soul....

this morning i woke up to a voice that told me to get this silly social security number situation solved today. i was fearful of going to the Social Security Administration offices. don't ask me why, but the idea had me freaked. really freaked. how freaked? well, i am celebrating my 12 year wedding anniversary this weekend and i still have yet to change my social security card to my married name. crazy, i know, but there it is.

so when in China, at the US Consulate, they asked if i would like to apply for numbers immediately. I said, "YES!" whew, one less thing to worry about when i get home. i have dreaded the trip to the SSA for twelve years.

after doing the walk of shame (the fruitless walk back from the mailbox while waiting on important adoption paperwork...i think my friend maria might have coined the term, not sure though) for the last 4 weeks, i finally was going to get answers to where my numbers were, TODAY!

i called the SSA before, only to get a recording that the call wait time was two hours. so this morning, i put on a movie for the troops, and warned them to leave me alone- i was making an important call. little did i know that i would get a live person on the phone in less that 2 minutes. she explained to me that they had NO RECORD of us applying for numbers. what? she urged me to come to an office as soon as possible.

OK, i put on my big girl pants(after taking the world's fastest 5 point shower-not sure if my back ever did get wet) and yelled to E, drill sergeant style...get everyone dressed, grab some snacks, get some activities to keep everyone busy for a minimum of 5 hours and meet me in the car!! i flew around the house grabbing every document i could think of...i even grabbed my birth and marriage certificates...might as well change my own card to my married name-S can consider it an anniversary gift!

we pulled into the SSA parking lot 65 minutes later! go girl!

i walked in expecting a three hour wait. i waited for maybe three minutes. my heart thumped as they called my number. the fellow took my paperwork and asked me to fill out a couple of one page forms. when i asked him if i could change my card to my married name too, he responded that i would need my marriage certificate. i whipped one out of my bag(thank you adoption dossier paperchase) to his surprise. yes, this momma was on a mission and failure was not an option.

about 30 minutes later they called me back to the window and said a number would be issued by 10 PM tonight. i could expect my card in 7-10 days. if i don't get it in 14 days-call.

what? that was it? i jumped through hoops to file taxes all these years because my SS# has a different last name than ALL my other documents? you see how silly fear is? fear usually is worse than the reality. i am such a dope. when will i learn?

was i mad that we have waited all this time? nope. i was just grateful that health insurance is on the way. God has His plans. He waited on my numbers for some purpose. haven't a clue what it is, but i don't care. He knows what He is doing. i trust Him, so why do i have to know the why?

OK to be honest, those closest to me know i beg Him for a peek at His playbook often, but i am learning. this adoption stuff stretches and changes us in ways we could never have imagined.

we went out for lunch to celebrate mom's victory over fear and mad skills mobilizing the troops for this unplanned excursion. i chose chinese food, because the kids could pick their own food. little did i know i would choose the only chinese restaurant i have ever been in that had no chinese  characters on the menu. oh no! we got up to leave,when the waitress asked what was wrong. i told her the children cannot read english yet. she asked them in mandarin what they wanted to eat and they ordered cheap and healthy lunches. the miracles never cease! momma's even happier.

as we drove home, the clouds parted and the sun came out. score! i decided to finally put up the trampoline after having it stored for the winter. after an epic fail of sewing the net onto the frame,(duh! the door opening goes under the arches) we took the whole thing apart and reinstalled it. even S and B got into action and helped sew it up. what normally takes over an hour, we completed in 35 minutes(well if you ignore the first hour we spent doing it wrong). then the children took their first tentative bounces. oh what joy!

the bees were buzzing, there has been an explosion of green everywhere, the cows were happily munching by the water, the goslings were playing on the island while their cautious Canada geese parents supervised close by,  the sun was warm enough for me to shed my sweater...ah Lord, You are AMAZING! look what You have made. our own little piece of Eden.









in reality, not that much happened today, but things have been hard. this week was tough. it was nice to have a day that everything went my way. no fighting between the children, no hitting or bloodshed, no screaming mommy, no messing around at bedtime. harmony. time to take stock of all my blessings. time to revel in them. what more can we ask?

i know that all things change and there will be tough days ahead. but i am looking up because that is where HE is. i am singing his praises and my thanks because even one good day can erase the sting of a string of bad ones.

my prayer for you, my reader, is for an "UP" day tomorrow. God Bless Your Day!