Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Please Pray

My dear dad has been hospitalized due to apparent complications from the appendicitis he suffered a few months back. At the time, the doctor decided to forgo surgery because his appendix had already burst by the time he got into the hospital, and follow up tests showed that everything had "cleaned itself up." Apparently, that was not really the case, as he started having pain in the same area last week and now has peritonitis. They'll decide what the next step is in the coming hours.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Enjoying Spring

Spring has sprung, and we went out on a hike to enjoy it. Another one of those great "firsts" for Abby. Even the drive there was filled with wonder for her, as she excitedly pointed out everything she saw "Cows, momma"; "Look, look, a horsey"; "Mommy, what is that over there, long, long away, it's blue????"
I love that all the things that have become mundane for the rest of us (even Cy) are so fascinating to her. And I pray that I can learn to see the world newly again through her eyes, and regain the wonder at my Father's creation.





Sisters






And one of Abby's musings today, which totally cracked us up:
"Daddy, I want to tell you something"
"What is it Abby?"
"You are very, very, silly."

Friday, March 26, 2010

No Monster

I don't know if I've written about this before, but if I haven't I'm sure you've noticed it in some of the pictures. Abby has large deep red birthmarks that cover a good portion of her right hand as well as both feet. They actually start in patches a bit around her legs, and then cover most of her feet. They are not a sign of any underlying issue, and they cause no harm; they're just birthmarks. Her doctor had told us that it is something that could be removed by laser, and that a good time is usually when it starts to bother the child, probably around the pre-teen years.

Since I met Abby back in January, she had not discussed the birthmarks with me. She loves to wear dresses and never seemed to have any kind of concern about showing off her legs or her feet. I thought she was very oblivious to the birthmarks and not at all bothered by them. That is, until this week.

As her language skills progress, Abby can share more and more about her life in the orphanage. She is also able to ask more and more questions, which she does incessantly. She is especially curious about things having to do with God, as her brain is trying to wrap around this new concept of a God who loves her and knows her personally.


At some point in a conversation this week, it hit her that God created man.

She said "Mommy, God made man?"

I said, "He sure did, Abby."

So her next question hit me like a rock: "Why did He make my hand red?"

And I had to be completely honest with her "I don't know sweetheart. I really don't know. But I know that when I see you, I see a beautiful girl. I see your red hand, and I still see a beautiful girl. And God sees your hand, and He sees a beautiful girl."

Then, more heartbreak. She went on to tell me how the kids at the orphanage laughed at her and called her "monster". And all I could think is how I wish I'd been there to comfort her then.

I also went on to explain that the birthmarks can be removed. She was so happy she ran into my arms for a full hug.


I wish we had answers for all the hard questions. We don't. Hopefully, as she grows, in both years and faith, she can see things the way I now do. Hopefully, she can come to understand that this side of life is the battlefield. Things aren't perfect, they're not always pretty, and they most certainly aren't the way we would choose. There are wars, and poverty, hunger, and crime, and a great deal of unfairness. Sadly, Abby has experienced more of those negatives at her tender age than I care to think about.

But for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is victory at the end of the battle. And we are blessed to know that ahead of time. We know what lies on the other side. And what a sweet day that will be, when we come to see our Father face to face.

And beyond that, we are not left to face the battle alone. We have the Holy Spirit within us to get us through this end of things.

P.S. I guess we'll be looking into that laser procedure a lot sooner than expected.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friends and Celebration

Well, here's the promised picture of the kids with their good buddies from out of town. It is always such a joy to be able to get together with them!! What a blessing to have like minded Christian friends (who happen to love Killer Bunnies). The best news is we might get to see them again in a couple of weeks : ) I'll miss these opportunities when we're off to Japan.


Today we had our end of unit celebration, closing out the past 9 weeks of school. We usually make a meal that has something to do with what we were studying, and the kids each do some kind of oral presentation on what they've learned. Some of us don costumes befitting of the time era. The highlight of the evening is getting to sit down and show Dad some of the work they've completed. Check out how much Abby enjoyed getting to participate for the first time:







Showing Daddy what she's done the last few weeks:



Small Victories

Getting little Abby to eat good well rounded meals the last few weeks has been an uphill battle. I've tried every creative thing I could think of, but was getting pretty worn out. However, she is now weighing 3.5 lbs more than she was at her check up in China!!!! YAYYYY she IS growing! I'm sure getting over her car sickness (or nerves, or whatever it was) and the weekly six pack of PediaSure is helping quite a bit.

It feels great to see progress in that area. What a great start to the week!!! And, she's only been sitting at the table for 37 minutes now and she's almost done with her one scrambled egg - and I suspect the strip of bacon won't take too long to get through. Even for her, it's hard to eat bacon slowly : )

In other news, we had a wonderful visit yesterday with old friends who had been very rude last year and moved AWAY from us. I didn't think I'd ever forgive them, but I can't resist it every time they call me up and say they're coming for a visit. Abby had a great time joining the rest of the kids in their usual movie making antics. She sure got a kick out of being cast for a part in the movie, and then watching herself on the computer screen. I think I'll have to get her involved in some kind of drama classes. Her smile WOULD light up a stage : )

I have a great picture of all the kids together last night, but that will have to wait until later.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lucy


This sweet little girl needs our prayers!! She is a 3 year old in China who not only needs a family, she needs a heart transplant!! Basically, she really needs a miracle - in finding a family that can help her meet her medical needs, and who can handle the many risks ahead for her. If you are a someone who is paper ready for China and you are able / willing to consider adding Lucy to your family, or if you would like to hear more about her story, please visit ASIA HOPE.
There is going to be a Day of Prayer for Lucy all day tomorrow (March 18). If you can commit an hour of your time to praying for this precious girl, go to 1001 tears and leave a comment with the time that you will spend in prayer.
I can't wait to see what God will do in Lucy's life.

Hard at Work


Here's Abby hard at work. Can you tell she's not crazy about it?? But, I've been very impressed. She's been working on an ABC book, and when I put these sheets in front of her the last couple of days, she's been able to tell me the right word for most of the pictures on her own. Either her vocabulary is increasing, or her reading skills are!!! She also does a great job at everything I put in front of her. And she DOES love school when it's time for Starfall (computer program that teaches reading) or puzzles. Or cuddling next to mommy on the couch for some reading. Too bad we can't just do those things all day!!!!




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smart as a Whip, I Tell Ya'

Note: I started to type this post last night, so it's yesterday I'm referring to here.

I'd been waiting around all day hoping to get some pictures to post along with my blabber today, but it seems impossible to find the time to actually pull out the camera, let alone upload pictures. So I figured I'd go ahead and write anyways. It's better than nothin', I guess.

It's been quite interesting around here lately. See, I think God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave my Chinese beauty a Latin mother. Because as everyone knows, what Latin mothers do best is feed their young. Actually, feed EVERYBODY - it's how we show affection. If we like you, we'll cook for you. And whether our cooking is actually good or not matters very little, it's the thought that counts.

So when this little cutie entered my life and I saw how incredibly tiny she is I felt, like my own mother would say, that the wind would literally pick her up and carry her away. And so that maternal thing kicked in and I decided I MUST feed her. After all, like I mentioned somewhere before, she only weighed 10 pounds more than my 2 year old, and that is just not cool.

And, yes, I understand people in China, in particular her province (Guangdong) are smaller on average. But even on the Chinese growth charts, her numbers aren't so great.

Well, Abby is no dummy. She picked up on my need to feed her right away. So, she decided to use it against me. As soon as she realized that school does not top her list of favorite things to do, she figured she would just hang around the table all day ever.so.slowly working through her meal, hoping to put off the inevitable. Because as soon as breakfast ended, it was time for school. And she knew Mom wanted all that food gone, even if it took a while. And so it did. A looooooong while.

So after trying all sorts of techniques to nip this in the bud, I finally hit the nail on the head this morning (with a little help from above, of course. All the good ideas seem to come from there). I gave her one hour to eat breakfast. When she wasn't done, she figured she was going to be sent to bed (done this in the past, but she'd rather be in bed than do school). I said, no, that's OK, we're going to go ahead and do school. Wish I had a picture of the look on her face! Priceless.

The amazing thing is, for someone who wants to avoid school so badly, she actually does an excellent job when she is doing it. She's smart as a whip. She's already reading four letter words without sounding them out, and her English amazes me more every day. But I digress.....

She did great in school, moved right along, and had finally completed every goal I had for the day by lunchtime. So at lunch I said "You're all done with school Abby. So when you finish lunch, you get to play." And I don't think I've ever seen anyone eat that fast. All she needed was the right motivation, I guess.

And now that she knows stalling at the table doesn't get her out of schoolwork, she's eating much faster. 'Cause she actually loves to eat!!!! Especially if Momma made noodles : )

Friday, March 12, 2010

Night Out

Last night, DH and I got to go to our base's annual Awards Banquet. Great to get out for a while without the kids. And by the way, we let James babysit EVERYONE for the first time - and they all survived!!! Granted, we were less than a mile away, and my next door neighbor was on high alert. But he did a great job, and I was very proud!!!! Plus now that I feel I can do this, even for short little stints, I feel very liberated!! I've only waited, well, almost 14 years for this day!!


CoC

Abby's Certificate of Citizenship arrived in the mail today, actually making it here a few days before I expected it. Although she officially became a U.S. citizen when our plane arrived in the U.S. on Jan. 28, it is nice to have solid "proof".

And, for those of you out there in the midst of a China adoption. Yes, we were I800. Yes, I was the only parent to travel. And obviously, yes, Hague has changed things and now with even just one parent traveling everything is complete in China. So, if this is your plan, be confident that just like us, you'll receive that CoC about 45 days after arriving home. I don't know how many different people gave me misinformation on this during the process. Everything is so new, most people just didn't know. Even the Consulate representative in China who led us on our Oath misinformed me. The information on the USCIS website seemed pretty clear to me about the fact that children now get an IH3 visa even with one parent traveling, but I freaked out at times because people kept telling me "no". Needn't have worried.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Pics

I thought the day would never come....... but, it's finally here!!!! Cy will now sit through a full episode of Barney - what a blessing!! I am NOT ashamed to say how please I am that he will do this for half an hour. It's the only waking moments when he is actually sitting still, and trust me, I NEED this time. And as long as it takes some of his siblings to get done with schoolwork around here, most days he doesn't even get a chance (no TV on at all during school). We both look forward to this opportunity:



Abby loves Starfall. She doesn't even realize she's doing "school". See the Precious Moments figures in the background?? She was so irritated when she asked about them and I told her they were mine. She wants them to be, well, HERS!! I think somewhere along the way, someone must have said that her mom and dad would get her anything she wants.

This one I'll be in serious trouble for posting if anyone finds out, but I'll trust you all to keep my secret!!! I couldn't resist this one of a certain 11 year old doing school in the tent that spent all of last week eating up my living room.

And someone's hair is getting pretty long. Check out the bedhead:
Side note: My grandmother would throw a fit if she knew I allowed my daughters to come to breakfast looking like this.


And last but not least, how could I not take this sweet picture:







Sunday, March 7, 2010

Abby - isms

This will be kind of random, but I just wanted to jot down a few cute things Abby's been saying / doing lately, more as a journal to myself because I'm afraid I'll forget them.

  • She calls Josiah "Josih" - no "a" sound
  • When she tries to say "very, very", it comes out "merry merry"
  • She shares a huge dislike for mac-n-cheese with Josiah. And here I thought every kid LOVED mac-n-cheese.
  • Today she got the hiccups, and she asked me "Mama, why today I - (hiccup sound)??"
  • One day while going through some schoolbooks we realized she didn't know caterpillars turned into butterflies. So what's a good homeschool mom to do??? Order a bunch of caterpillars from Ins*ct L*re, of course - and watch their metamorphosis right before our very eyes. I'll post pics later.
  • Last week she let me know "Mama, I no love school. I love play". Join the club, sweetie!!
  • I found the key to get her through her breakfast in a reasonable amount of time when we have to get somewhere. I tell her that if she eats too slow, she won't have time to do her hair. Perfect incentive for a "girly" girl. She absolutely freaks out. And breakfast gets finished. In.record.time.
  • Her baby doll is now "Baby Jesus"
  • She rode a bike for the very first time today.
  • I already can't picture life without her (or BEFORE her).

More to come!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Proud Momma

Guess what I got to do last night????

Every first Friday of the month, the Officer's Club on our base has some local bands come and play. Last night, I had the honor of going to the O' Club's "First Night" and watching my baby (OK, he's 13, but he's still my baby) play the drums for his teacher's band. It's the first time he has played for an audience, so we were all very excited. I happen to think he ROCKED THE HOUSE!!!! Try as I might, I couldn't get the whole video uploaded here, but I managed to get just a snippet to post:



video

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Future Home

I know everyone I personally know is very aware of this, but some of you that just visit me here might not know. I wanted to wait until we had official orders to announce it. And now we do. I guess Asia didn't get enough of us this year. And to the chagrin of a couple of grandmas out there, we will be moving to Japan at the end of June. I'm already planning the Heritage Tour of China we'll take Abby on before we move stateside again.
And yes, we're very excited. It's not only a fantastic opportunity for DH on the job front, but we think it'll be invaluable for the kids.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ordered!!!!

OK, I finally ordered my Hope for Haiti t-shirt. I was totally inspired by Chris at Layers of Life, who actually RECEIVED her tee today, and shamed me into remembering I hadn't even ordered yet. So I got my rear in gear and placed my order once and for all!! And just a word of caution..... my first choice of size and style was SOLD out - so these babies are going like hotcakes. Head on over to Wild Olive Tees and get yours today!!!!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Sorry for the Mess

Sorry for my mess. I'm working on how things look around here, but the schoolday sneaked up on me, so the rest of the changes will have to wait. Story of my life - waiting!!!!