Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Celebrating the Mid Autumn Moon Festival

As Anna Mei and I were preparing to celebrate the Mid Autumn Moon Festival this year, she asked why I loved China so much, why we celebrated its holidays, and why I cared because I am not Chinese.  It was such a beautiful time for me to tell her that  a part of me is Chinese, though not through blood, because she is Chinese.  I was able to tell her that who she is and where she came from matters very much to me because she is my daughter.  
These days are some of the most precious of my life as I am homeschooling her.  I will forever cherish them.  The memories we are making, and the bond that we are growing, is priceless. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Budding Artist

 Last weekend, while Daddy took afternoon nap duty, I slipped away to a free art festival with my little creative spirit.  Having one on one time with my girls really fills my heart.  She loved the first station which was this squirt gun painting canvas.  She used red and white in her squirter to create pink.  She is a pink kind of girl.
 This girl of mine eats up our time together too, and this was the perfect way to spend a few hours just with her.  She used "loose" art parts of many kinds to create a mask masterpiece.
 They had a chalk drawing station where they learned about different techniques to use chalk in art.
 This was probably her favorite station as she loves mixing paint to create new colors right now. She loves experimenting with shading, and depth.
 She painted on glass, and then transferred her painting to paper by using a roller to press it on.  It was called monoprint design.
 There were instruments to explore and play.
 
 As you can see, this few hours made my babe very happy.
I know these moments are fleeting, and I am working to hold on to as many as I possibly can.  Five is just so precious, and watching her grow into the woman she is becoming never grows old.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fizzy Science

 We added a twist to a simple baking soda and vinegar reaction this week when we used glue to create apple forms, covered them with baking soda, and then used eye droppers to drop colored vinegar on top.
 We used red, green, and yellow vinegar because those are the colors of apples of course.
 As you can tell, this activity was a huge hit.  There was color mixing, fizzing, and so much fun.
It was just a bit messy, but was mostly contained to the trays.   
What is life without a little mess anyway?
Have I mentioned how much fun these beauties are to have with me all day?

Oh that five and three could just last forever...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Jillian Visits the Eye Doctor

Our Jillian..she is such a miraculous, incredible little being.  Yesterday, we headed to the eye doctor.  Because medical stuff has been so hard for her, we hadn't ever tried to take her for an exam before.  We just couldn't bring ourselves to put her through the stress that it would cause her when we didn't see any concerns, but as she gets more and more comfortable we are constantly seeking new ways to help her.  We haven't necessarily had any concerns about her eye sight, but she has been doing so well at conquering life that when we began to see a wonderful eye doctor for our Anna Mei we asked her about bringing in our special treasure.  As usual, this girl of ours absolutely rocked her appointment, and brought this momma to tears.  She signed, and signed, and signed some more.  I am overcome with so much emotion that she is able to share so much with me.  There were so many months in the beginning of her life that, because of neglect, she was happier to be soothing herself, silently suffering alone that I feared many, many days that she would never get here.  She LOVES watching cataract surgery on youtube so she asked if she had a cataract and would have surgery asleep which made me chuckle.  She asked a million times about seeing the microscope.  She talked about the drops in her eye to open it.  (She didn't like the drops, but recovered so quickly.)  She told me that the light bulb scared her.  She said so much with her signs, and I listened to every single one soaking in the miracle that has occurred in the heart of our girl as God has restored her.  She spent so much time not mattering, spending each day hopelessly alone, and cast off.  While it seemed like some days we would never be on this side of her, being here is just so good.  As always, she was a show stopper.  Many, many mommas watch her, ask me about her, and tell me what a beautiful thing she is.  This baby of mine shines in the most perfect, and beautiful way.  She radiates a worth, a hope, and a soul that is hard to ignore.  That God would allow me the privilege to be her momma is so far out of my grasp that my only response can be gratitude.  I am so grateful that God brought us this beautiful, amazing little girl.  I am so thankful that He allowed her to open our eyes, and our hearts to the orphan because these last five years with her have been full of miraculous because she has been in it.  After her drops, she lay in my arms with her head perfectly peaceful and still against my arm.  I rocked her in the waiting room wiping tears, and singing "How Great Is Our God" because indeed He has shown himself so great through this babe of mine.  I can't wait to get home just one more!

By the way, she has a wee bit of nearsightedness showing up, but it may be years before she needs a prescription.  That is a relief because it would take a miracle of the Lord to keep glasses on this girl.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Eats For Ellie Grace

Y'all, we had our first fundraiser for our adoption of Ellie Grace last night.  It was incredible!  We sponsored the tailgate at our christian school's first Friday Night Lights program.  We sold over 100 walking tacos.  We had a huge part of our village show up.  They bought tacos, made tacos, served, took money, washed our crock pot, and encouraged the socks off me.  We got to share our prayer requests for Ellie with so many, and share our adoption story with some new friends too.  Every time I do this, I don't take for granted the Lord's miraculous provision, and truly that is what every single dollar is to us.  We don't have the money laying around to bring home our newest treasure, but so, so many share so much so that we can get her home.  I stand in awe of the many that God is already gathering to provide for our Ellie's needs over the coming months.  That God would bless us so abundantly is far more than anything my mind could every fathom.  We made enough last night to pay for our homestudy update which happens to be due in two days.  God's timing is perfect, and He is beyond good.  I know He's got this..every single detail.  I wait in anticipation as His perfect plan unfolds before me.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Just Drilling

This girl continues to amaze us with all that she is able to do.  
Her hands may not be typical, but they certainly are extraordinary!
There isn't a thing that this precious babe can't do.
If you are considering adopting a sweet one with a limb difference, do it!
This peanut has taught us so much about embracing who you are, and working to be all you can!
I can't imagine this little house without her in it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Growing Crystals

After our cave visit, we did a super easy science experiment.
 It couldn't be any easier to engage this kid.
Just look at her goofiness.
 She poured, explored, and mixed long after the experiment steps were executed!
 I am so thankful I picked up this little science kit at a thrift store this summer.
 It isn't exactly necessary, but she is darling using it.
 These crystals were super easy to grow!
You can find the directions here.


Our Field Trip to a Cave

Our area has a fantastic Home School Association!  Basically, it is a district for homeschoolers that offers services galore!  There are about ten or so field trips a month, and we took advantage of one the second week of our school.  We went to Crystal Lake Cave which is very near to us. 

 Anna Mei was a real cave explorer.  She is so very eager to learn!
 We spent lots of time looking at the elements of the cave.
It was very wet and chilly down there,
 but exploring was so much fun.
 Molly was a bit afraid and very timid for most of the tour.
The last hall she decided to get down on her own leading the way for her big sister.
They both fell asleep on the way home, and took a nice long nap after walking the mile in the cave.  I can't wait to go on more field trips with these curious little learners.  It was a wonderful day.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

First Days of School

I have four babes all in different schools this year.  That means four different events calendars to coordinate, four drop offs each day, and lots of excitement!
 Em is a senior this year at our Christian School.
She is heading into senior year with a #1 class ranking.
She is even taking an accounting class as an independent credit because she thinks she might like to do that when she "grows up".  College is just around the corner.  My OH My!
 Jilly Billy is in second grade this year.
She has a staff of people who are so dedicated to her at her amazing public school.
She has come so far as they give her exactly what she needs.
She even has an interpreter this year as sign language is her preferred mode of communication.   
She can hear everything we say, but talking just isn't happening for her.  
I am so grateful that she can communicate through sign and with her NOVA though.  
We are especially blessed by all our local school district has done to make sure that she reaches her full potential.
 Miss Molly Kate is in the 3 year old preschool program at the local school district too.  
She attends a building about 20 minutes from Jillian which makes drop off a mad dash.  
They are super with her.  
This week during her assessment she showed them that she knows so much. 
 Her articulation is coming so slowly, but her receptive language, and vocabulary (when you can understand what she is saying) are catching up. 
 I can't wait to see how she grows this year!
My dear Anna Mei is homeschooling for her kindergarten year, 
and I couldn't be more thrilled to have the chance to be her teacher.  
To say that the past week of teaching her has been a JOY is an understatement.  
We are only a week in though, but so far so great!  
She is reading her first little book, and is eager to learn!


Stay Tuned..it should be an exciting year!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Some Exciting News

There is another sweet little one coming to our house!

IMG_8035.JPG

She will be two years old soon. 
She is waiting in a Ch*nese Orphanage.
Her name will be Ellie Grace.
We just got preapproval today!
We couldn't be more thrilled!

My Creative Loves

 Oh, these babes give me so much JOY!  Every day is a new adventure.  I love, love fostering their creativity, and we are blessed to have so many resources to do so.  The other day, Molly drug out these magnetic bingo chips to experiment with, and it wasn't long before Anna Mei created a fish on the floor.:)
Molly left her mark too..


 I always leave watercolors on the easel shelf in the corner of our kitchen.  Molly put on her school backpack and went to work the other day creating a master piece.
 Anna Mei wants to leave her mark on everything!  She is really into customizing all of her toys with paint in the craft room.
She hardly leaves that creative space these days, and I love when she emerges with paint on her nose.  My, she looks so grown up here. :)

Seventeen

 Just over a month ago, we celebrated our biggest girl's birthday!  I can't believe that she is almost grown, and ready to leave our nest.
 She has been an absolute joy to raise, and celebrating her on this day with a chocolate peanut butter pie was a delight.
Gone are the theme parties, little friends, and decorations as she is way too grown up for that, but this almost adult child of mine is growing into a pretty cool woman that I am happy to call my daughter.  She has been so patient with me as I made many, many mistakes testing out my parenting on her.  By God's grace, she has turned out okay.  I can't wait to watch where this life takes her.

A Moment Over Tea


As is ceremonial at our home, Anna Mei organizes our play.  She is definitely the leader of the pack, like it or not, and all seem to follow her lead around here.  She did set up a delightful tea party for Molly and I the other day.  It was splendid to take a few minutes to play with the littlest of my girls as they are growing too fast.  It was absolutely hysterical though when Molly Kate started hamming up at the table.  Anna very sweetly poured her pretend tea, and Molly took a sip only to spat it out as if it tasted awful.  This sweet little three year old has such a sense of humor.  We were rolling on the floor as it was so funny!










Sunday, August 21, 2016

This Man

This year, I had the pleasure of speaking a few times to different groups of moms in various churches.  I love speaking, and encouraging women through God's word, but at one particular group last year something that was said made me so much more thankful for this Godly man who boldly follows the Lord into the unknown of adoption.  One momma came up to me after and said..How in the world do you get your husband to agree to all of this?  Honestly, I don't, but the Lord does.  I couldn't be more thankful for this  incredible husband, and father who is constantly calling me into a room of our home to look at how adorable our children are in whatever moment he spots them.  Seriously, he is crazy for our girls.  He and Jilly spend a good part of every day together at the park, and all of my girls love, love their daddy.  You see, God designed us to be loved and cared for by an Earthly father so that we might be pointed to the great love our Heavenly Father has for us.  This man of mine is not perfect, but he is such a blessing.  A wonderful, loving father, a servant, a softie, and, most importantly, a man of God.  Because of this, it is no surprise that when I began to feel like it was time to add another little one to our home, he was on board.  I can't wait to tell you all about her!  Preapproval is only about a week away so hold on tight as I can share her details soon.  If you can't wait a week, come to service this morning as I think Daddy might sneak her picture into the slide show during his sermon this morning.  So beyond grateful here that God would allow us the privilege to love just one more precious girl in His name.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

God Songs

Yesterday morning Anna Mei and I were on our way to take Molly to speech therapy.  I started the car to hear one of my favorite worship songs playing on the radio.  After a few minutes, my five year old girl's voice chimed up from the back saying..Momma there are always God songs on in our car.  Her tone seemed like a question so this momma took the opportunity to explain that I want to always, always be filling my heart and mind with the Lord.  I want to hear His word, who He is, and praise Him every minute of my life.  I tell my babe how hard it is to not let other things creep in, and that listening to only God songs helps this momma stay as full as I possibly can.  I go on to explain that I hope so much to pass on that habit to her as she grows.  I also tell her that I pray that she will always choose to fill herself up with the things of the Lord even when momma isn't always with her.  Then she thinks for a minute, and asks..Momma, are we trying to teach these things to Molly too?  To which I reply..Why, yes baby.  I try to pass it on to each one of you as the Lord is the most important thing that momma could ever pass on to you.  Then, my beautiful girl says..Momma I am not always a good teacher for Molly.  Sometimes, I don't obey you.  (To which this momma is thinking, "sometimes" is the wrong adjective as you NEVER obey me my strong willed cherub.) Aside from my humor, this was such a sweet moment.  I love all things about being five.  I love that she is discovering herself, her heart, her Lord, and growing up right before my very eyes.  She is still a bit of a hand full, but in moments like these I feel like the Lord is softening her heart to Him.  How I pray that she surrenders fully to Him, and that I get a chance to walk beside her just a bit in this life as she lives in His will because she is so passionate, so strong, and I just can't wait to see how He could use her for His Kingdom.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Over Come By Her Loss

We have headed to the beach the last two Saturdays.  It has been wonderful on so many levels.  One reason, in particular, is that the last two weeks there has been a sweet grandfather and his granddaughter there.  The first Saturday when Anna Mei spotted them she came to me and said that girl looks Chinese just like me.  Indeed, the grandfather and granddaughter were full blood, mandarin speaking Chinese.  My Anna Mei was so drawn to them.  She spent a bit of that first Saturday playing with them, and enjoying their company.  On the way home, she was full of questions about her past. Questions that I will never be able to fully answer, but that I am always willing to talk through with her.

The next Saturday, much to our surprise, the grandfather and his granddaughter were at the beach again!  They smiled warmly at us, and Anna Mei instantly began playing with them.  As I watched from my chair on the shore while rocking Molly Kate, I cried softly, because out there somewhere is a Chinese grandfather who will never know my  Anna Mei as his granddaughter.  It was just too much for my heart that Saturday to contain, and so quietly, under my glasses, I let a few tears spill as happiness surrounded me.  The loss that my babies have experienced is sometimes much more than my heart can bear.  Seeing my baby girl expressing her frustration over not understanding mandarin, and discovering that some Chinese children still live with their Chinese families was a blatant reminder that this great loss will always be lurking.  It is a part of who my children are, and, while it doesn't define them, it does shape who they are as well as who they are becoming.

It is so hard to grasp the brokenness of it all, and the fact that, because of my children's devastating loss, I have gained so much.  My children are some of the greatest blessings God has allowed me in this temporal life.  I rest in knowing that God is completely in control, has never left my babies, and will use all of their moments for His good.   I am so thankful for these interactions in this life to remind me of this, and to bring about precious conversation with my treasured girl.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Saturday

In the summer, we live in the water around here.  Our nonverbal, seven year old treasure is at peace in the water.  Thankfully, our entire family enjoys it so much too.  This summer our beloved beach announced it would be closed this year because they had drained it last fall, and we just didn't receive enough precipitation to get the water level back up where it needed to be.  This was devastating news until we found another beach 30 minutes in another direction.  We LOVE, LOVE this beach, and will likely keep coming here even when Palo reopens.  It has never been crowded, and has a beautiful backdrop surrounding it.  Truly our days spent on these shores have been some of the most memorable to the summer.  Last Saturday, the house was falling down around us as it was in need of a good cleaning, but we packed up and headed to the beach anyway.  We spent a wonderful five hours swimming, relaxing, and just enjoying our time.  Oh that these summer days could last forever...
 This babe is swimming all over in the deepest of water with a life jacket on.
 Smiles abound whenever we even mention the beach!
 Our special babe is truly talented in that she can store water in her cupped hands, and then squirt it when you least expect it.  She has impeccable aim, and amazes those around her with her ability to shoot.
 This littlest babe has turned into quite the beach bum too.
 She doesn't even leave the water to eat her lunch.  As I watch her full of smiles, I can't help, but marvel at God's goodness to relocate us to this area with five..yes FIVE..beautiful beaches within driving distance.  This baby needs her some beach time, and she gets here.
 Digging for hours is a JOY!
 Baby toes in the sand.
 More digging for these two brings smiles their faces.
Counting the days until we are here again!