Friday, December 25, 2009

Love Without Boundaries

I was thrilled to learn that parents of students in my class made a donation to Love Without Boundaries in my honor as a Christmas gift. I can't tell you how much more meaningful that is than the normal "teacher gifts".
I love my copy of the first edition of Love's Journey and can't wait to get a copy of of Love's Journey 2: The Red Thread. Learn more about how you can receive a free copy of these beautiful stories and photos here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

If You Think Candy's Sweet...

there's a gal you ought to meet. Sugar drips from her lips when she smiles...

My sweet little girl has been so much fun to be with in these weeks leading up to Christmas. We've had many magical moments where her face has lit up and been in awe of the sights and sounds of the season. We've been loving the lights, decorations, music, and treats. I can't wait to see her face tomorrow and watch her open gifts. What an incredible experience to have a four year old daughter at Christmas time!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yangdong Reunion

We were so happy to be able to reconnect with two families from our travel group whom we have not seen in the three years since our trip. It is amazing to see the transformations in our girls who were babies the last time we were all together. We were able to let the girls play all day and enjoy pizza, princess dancing, doll house toys, and shopping at The Grove. A few days later we were able to meet Kelly, Eric, Katie, and Ella at Disneyland for a day. It was freezing, but we had a blast. We hope to have more pictures soon. My camera battery died, but Kelly is the photo queen. I got teary eyed a few times thinking of the orphanage where our daughters were together and then seeing them now running around with the princesses at Disneyland. No matter how dark or difficult a season may be, God could have an beautiful plan for the next chapter in your life.

Loving all the toys at Elizabeth's house and the fun friends to play with.

Darling Ella. Her big sister Katie was from Yangdong with Abbey. Kelly was like our amazing travel team captain. This woman's got it together.

Shopping at The Grove. All the girls made purchases at the sticker store and enjoyed some wild stroller races.
First stop at Disney, princesses and make-up (face painting). Perhaps due to Katie's influence Abbey branched out from Fantasyland and enjoyed Thunder Mountain and Soaring Over Califoornia. Hope to include more pic's with Katie soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Pledge

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Brightest Little Sunshine

Three years ago today the most brilliant little light came into my life. She is as warm as sunshine, a cheerful little bundle of giggles, the softest little bunny to hug and hold, and in all ways a joy unspeakable and full of glory. I am always tearing up and thinking how did I ever become so incredibly blessed?

Abbey is in that incredible stage of soaking in the world around her. I am not sure who is doing the learning around here. She is constantly asking me to explain things about everything inside our bodies, how electricity works and gets to houses, how car engines work, how fruits and vegetables grow, etc. We go to the library and stack up on books and I now know all sorts of things about valves and pistons, crankshafts, and cooling systems. Now when I see a cherry picker I know about the boom, bucket, and outrigger. She is just a constant sponge for information.

She's also very into writing and wants me to spell things out for her all the time. She'll go through lists of words that she wants to write on the magnadoodle and they are so funny because it will be things like princess, cupcake, parking lot - just random, but in her mind it all works.

She loves making little books for me every day. She colors, cuts, tapes, and writes, many times adding in lift the flap areas and often putting little paper chocolate chip cookies to make it extra special.

Things she does that just melt my heart...

She got an blow up globe that she loves. She calls it her, "Great Big Ball of Love."

She always tells me, "I want to keep you forever and ever, Amen."

When she sees something beautiful she touches the item and then lays her hand on her forehead and then her heart saying that she will keep it with her and remember it forever. She asks me get sparkly fairy cards and other beautiful things she can't reach in stores and hold them down for her to lay hands on and then apply to her heart and mind. How she came up with this I have no idea, but it's fascinating to watch.

Her prayers are the sweetest words and I know they go straight to God's throne.

I could not be more thankful for all that we've been given.

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Day's of School - We're Lovin It!

For months Abbey has been telling me, "I don't want to go to *** *** School, I want to stay with you!" The night before her first day I was feeling frustrated that nothing I had said was helping and that she was dreading her new school. After her first day she came home happy as a lark and loving it all, as I knew she would. When I asked her what had changed her mind she said, "I thought they were going to make me concentrate very hard, but all we do is play!" I should have clued in on her concerns several days before when she asked me if she would have homework. Somehow she had gotten it in her mind that it was going to be quite academic, and we are both so happy that it's just FUN.
I have been working my tail off at my new job which I love. I am at a wonderful school teaching Jr. Kindergarten. It's a new program and really just a perfect fit for me. The school is wonderful - staff, parents, children - all of it. Here are some glimpses into my first day...

And as if both of our new schools don't have us busy enough, there is also Abbey's new dance school. She is thrilled to be taking ballet and tap and has the greatest little class and teachers.

She is so excited on Saturdays to go to class. She has turned into a little giggle box that just has the funniest, most contagious laughter that you've ever heard. Once she starts it's impossible not to join in. All things "ballet" and "wedding" now have equal ranking with all things "princess".
We finished swim lessons before school started and they were great, we really should do more. We've also been trying to work out Chinese school. We couldn't register for our local school online from China and the only option was to show up the first day of classes (you had to pre-register in person in the spring, which of course we couldn't do from China). Abbey was number two on the waiting list but I felt that it probably wasn't going to be a good fit for us. There were 32 4 year olds sitting in high school desks for two hours responding to the teacher one by one. This past week we went to another Chinese school a little farther away and the dynamics were better, but it only meets on Sunday morning, which wouldn't work for us because of church. I spoke with the teacher and she is willing to give Abbey individual lessons during the week so that's what we will do for now. I want to gather up some friends and start an American style Chinese class that's fun, interactive, and hands on. I'd love for it to have dance, music and crafts in addition to language. In the mean time I'm glad we've found someone that can teach Abbey.
So much more to say but I have to get some sleep!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Short and Sweet

Why we worship on the back row...

Cannot believe that we have not had a moment to post since we've been home! Besides being busy every moment, we still don't have internet access as we thought. Too long to go into but once school gets underway I will have time to get our wireless and computers all coordinated.

Abbey had her first VBS and it was awesome. She wanted me to sign her up again the next week and I told her we have to wait another year. The CD is all she wants to listen to and she asks me please not to talk during her songs because she needs to listen to the words. Makes me laugh because when she was a baby I was so used to being by myself in the car and just thinking and praying that I had to really work on learning to talk to her. She wasn't talking and everyone told me that the most important thing to do was just tell her about everything, but when you've been driving by yourself for years that takes some effort. Anyway, now she wants me quiet some of the time. Here are a few recent car conversations.

Number Sense: Abbey was very excited to have checked out a bunny puppet from the library. I was explaining that the name of our area means bunny in Spanish and that our whole valley is full of bunnies.
"Mommy, are there like 60,000 bunnies?"
"Well I don't know if there are that many but there are a lot."
"Oh, like 7?"
"Somewhere in between. More than 7 and probably less than 60,000."

"Mom, why is there a witch in heaven?"
"Honey, what are you talking about, there are no witches in heaven."
"It (the song) says, 'Our Father, which art in heaven..."
Ever tried to explain witch and which to a four year old?

Emotional development:
"Good job Mommy. You worked really hard on your classroom. I like the way you did that bulletin board all nice and straight."
Tons of sugary kisses all the time. She is loads of praise, encouragement and that kind of liquid love that just oozes out.

So much I'd love to say about China, about here, about all the fun we are having...but it will have to wait, off to another prep day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Please Help LWB

This is so easy, just takes a moment, and you can help those that are making an incredible difference to the children in China who remain in orphanages and foster care!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happily Home!

Saying goodbye to friends!
I love "Cafe Pafisic"!
We had to go check out the prayer room at the HK airport. There are mats and a big floor compass for Muslims, along with an area to shower off before praying
We are back and enjoying every moment of freedom, family, and starting tomorrow, friends. It's once again very surreal to be here. It's like we have alternate realities and they are so vastly different that one doesn't seem as real when we are in the other. As you can tell I finally gave up earlier in the month on trying to post. After months of Blogger and Youtube being blocked it was very disheartening when FB and Twitter were gone as well (of course along with Flicker, Typepad, etc.). The proxy situations were difficult and time consuming so we did what they hope you will do and quit trying. I love to research and network on all that is near and dear to us, so being cut off really bothered me. But it's over, and we are diving in : )

The flight home was great. We got bulk head seating on Cathy Pacific again and Abbey is a wonderful little travler. She is so into her passport (which is pretty full now) and loves going here and there on buses, taxi's, trains, boats, you name it. For her CP is all about Playhouse Disney, children's meals, and goodie bags. I had a migraine but also had and Imitrex shot which saved the day. I've gotten one now every time we've flown here to there, so I think it must be about the air pressure, because other than that they only come at a set time each month. I had $350 to spend on the duty free goods with vouchers from our last trip when there was no electrictiy on our ailse. I would have preferred an upgrade to first class, but still it was nice. Abbey got to meet one of the pilots and go upstairs to the cockpit, she wanted to know if girls could fly the plane and they assured her that girls can be pilots too.

Our re-entry has felt like heaven, everything familiar and comforting. It does feel extremely luxurious and there is some guilt that goes along with that. My first bit of culture shock was seeing a large group of People to People high schoolers on our flight. I was shocked at the number of obese teenagers. In China I always felt conspicuous for being "large". Our last week there I tried to buy some leggings at Wal Mart that were one size fits all, but they were tossed aside on the first attempt to put them on. It feels very nice to be average again. Looking around at all the overweight people here in the US, I wonder how it all must appear to my friends back in our China home.

And then there was Target, the first destination on my list. Trying not to sleep during the day we headed out and downed a huge SBX (which has replaced the Target snack bar), and spent almost 3 hrs wandering around. Coming home with all our belongings reduced to 2 suitcases each, we need everything. A first pass at the basics (cereal, vitamins, toothpaste) totalled $242. My mind was spinning as I went up and down the shampoo isle. I just wanted some Pantene and there were about 15 different versions. Straight hair, long hair, volume, color treated, silky, etc. I finally got some Suave, they only had about 10 choices to narrow down. My sister later told me that if you turn the bottle over and look at the ingredients they are all the same, which made me feel much better knowing that I could pick anything and it will work fine. We had so much fun there. It was so freeing to be able to read everything and not have to do mental money conversions. Abbey gave up all her things when we first moved to China, and then gave up everything from this year when we left, so she is thrilled that it is now time to get some new clothes and toys and keep them. The last week in China was a little challenging as she gave away her bike, princesses gear, scooter and books. We did keep her little castle and dress up clothes.

Two embarassing moments today...

I went to get gas for the first time (it's so exciting to drive!) and couldn't remember about the different grades of fuel. I had to yell and ask a rocker teenage boy if regular gas was unleaded. Everyone was staring at me with their mouths hanging open. I sheepishly mumbled that I had been out of the country for a long time and couldn't remember.

At the post office I asked the clerk how much stamps are now. I knew I had some old ones somewhere, but didn't know how much they were for and needed to know what to buy to bridge the gap. When he showed me the display notebook I tried to take out a sheet to purchase and he snapped at me as if I had touched the crown jewels. I forgot that you just point and they retrieve it from elsewhere. It was the same Chinese clerk that posted all my adoption documents. He maybe thinking I'm a little cuckoo. I have so much compassion now for people who are switching cultures, everything is so different. I really want to reach out to foreign students and new immigrants and befriend them.

Abbey's big thrills have been seeing our family, taking a bubble bath, listening to our favorite Tommy Walker CD which we forgot to bring to China, and eating Mexican food at Sharkey's. We also spent an hour yesterday at an awesome toy store. The toy situation in China is so sad, but that's another post. She's excited to go to a birthday party today, start swim lessons, and hopefully see Tina, her former daycare provider, soon.

Our tenants don't move out of our place until Friday and then we want to paint and have the carpets cleaned before we move in. We are taking this week just to stay with with those we love and slowly re-acclimate before the whirl of work and school begins.

Friday, July 10, 2009


It's all gone.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, everything...The point is to make it so hard that you quit trying. 
We fly out July 25th and I'm really looking forward to connecting with all of you and sharing all that we couldn't these past several months.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Horn of the Unicorn

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I now present to you the Horn of the Unicorn.  It's is very important that you remain in your seats.  I repeat, remain in your seats.  Do not attempt to touch the horn for it is very sharp...."
Just another silly part of Abbey's shower routine that we reenact each time. 
In other silliness, we always say lines to each other from the Beatrix Potter book, Squirrel Nutkin.  Our favorite is "Who's been digging up my nuts?" which we chant and say when we are looking for something.  I also call her Chippy Hackee, which really ruffles her feathers.  She always insists that she is Goody Tiptoes. She likes to hide her vitamins in her cheek like a little squirrel.
On a more serious note Abbey has certain things that she loves to go over with me time after time.  She asks, "Mama, do you love me?"  because she loves for me to tell her "You NEVER have to wonder if I love you.  I will always love you no matter what."  She loves to go over how much I love her (up to heaven and back again).  And she loves to discuss that I will still love her even if she does something very bad and she asks me to tell her, "You can never stop making me love you!"   It's very funny to hear her mirror things back to me like "You are my precious Mama.  You are my cutie."  The other day she said, "Mommy I love everyone in China, and the whole world, but I love you best of all."  Everyday I just feel so incredibly grateful to have her in my life.

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