Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Visit to Vermont

The girls got to spend a few days with their cousins in Vermont in July!

L-R: Christopher, Hannah, Abbie, Rachel, Mi'Shell, Naomi (Nico was off having a "moment"). Check out the background scenery!

L-R: Mi'Shell, Hannah, Rachel, Christopher, Naomi, Nico (Abbie's turn to have a "moment"!). More gorgeous background scenery!

Cousin Christopher, age 8

Cousin Mi'Shell (Misha), age 6
Cousin Naomi (Omi), age 3
Cousin Nicholas (Nico), age 2

Rachel and Mi'Shell are the best of friends!

So are Christopher and Hannah. This picture reminds me of the line in Forrest Gump: "Me and Jenny were like peas and carrots."




Our cousins, after months of living in their dining room, finally have their beautiful new kitchen! (I understand the experience!) Look at all that wonderful counter and cabinet space! I'm so thrilled for them, especially Kathleen!

We visited with my aunt's 97-year-old mother, Ida May. The children just love her, and I could sit and listen to her stories for days! She's a terrific lady with a lot of wisdom!

So Many Pictures, So Little Time!

Some highlights of our summer in pictures!

We spent a morning at a wonderful wool shop called Esther's Place in Big Rock. Miss Natasha taught the children the process of turning raw wool into yarn.

Hannah trying her hand at carding wool.

Mmmmm... that feels wonderful!

Now Miss Natasha spins the wool into yarn.

We took a trip into Chicago with friends Lydia and Audrey (and their mom, Sara) for a city park picnic and a visit to the Chicago Historical Museum.

Fun in the sun with good friends.

The beautiful Chicago skyline provided a great backdrop for our picnic. (Note Audrey and Rachel making faces for the camera!)

The girls had fun sitting in a giant Chicago-style hot dog at the museum. (Maybe Audrey's mom won't notice that she's about to eat that giant stuffed tomato slice!)

The girls had a couple of riding lessons this summer, too!

Abbie taking Gracie out for a ride.

Now it's Rachel's turn!

And here's Hannah on Rosie.

Hannah's a real natural on a horse!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm not familiar with that version...

Me: Abbie, what are the names of the first man and woman God created?

Abbie: Adam and Steve!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I can't believe I'm saying this - school starts in two days! Where did the summer go? Hannah and Rachel are unbelievably excited and ask daily, "How many sleeps until school starts?" I realize that life will be a bit less complicated once they are back in school - this family just seems to run better when we have a routine and schedule. But I am going to miss having them around so much! We did a lot of fun things this summer (see this post), but there are still quite a few things we didn't get to. Now we're limited to Friday evenings and weekends. But I'm so glad they enjoy school so much - they just about cried whenever we had a snow day last winter. They're excited to see their friends, meet their teachers, and learn some really great stuff.

Abbie will, however, still be with me this year. We decided not to enroll her in preschool. While we love Hand in Hand Preschool, Abbie didn't have quite the same feelings. She enjoyed herself, learned a lot, had fun and made friends. But her heart wasn't really in it, and she would much rather be home with me. So when she "announced" that she would not be returning to preschool in the fall, but would be homeschooled instead, Al and I seriously considered the possibility. In addition to her not wanting to go, there's the incentive of saving money on the tuition. Not to mention the 20 mile round trip three times a week at $4.00 per gallon. And I really look forward to "doing school" with Abbie! We're going to cover one letter of the alphabet per week, using books, cooking and field trips to learn about things that begin with that letter. I've collected lots of preschool learning games and toys over the years, as well as tons of books, so we'll have many different subjects to explore. And then, Abbie tells us, she'll be ready to go to Kindergarten at school with her sisters. Alrighty, then!

I have bought all the big girls' school supplies, and a few items of clothing, though they'll be in capris and short-sleeve shirts for the next few weeks, as temps reach the 80s until into September. They have last year's back packs all ready to go (LL Bean - this is Hannah's fourth year with hers, they last that long!). I bought them new lunch sacks at The Children's Place - $6.50 each, and they look great even after a year of daily use. New sneakers (Rachel's feet are now nearly two sizes bigger than in the spring!), new school shoes, and they're ready to go! I'll get them more stuff as fall approaches - I do enjoy the shopping aspect of back-to-school!

This afternoon is supply drop-off and Meet the Teacher day for Hannah and Rachel. They're so excited, and Al and I are looking forward to meeting their teachers and seeing the classrooms they'll be enjoying for the next nine months. Hannah will take the bus on the first day, but Rachel has asked me to drive her in on that day. She'll ride the bus home with Hannah. Rachel had half-day Kindergarten last year, so she'll now be attending school all day. I'm expecting her to be pretty tired for a couple of weeks while she gets used to the long days.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures - and lots of tissues!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Years

As of today, that's how long our dossier has been logged in at the China Center for Adoption Affairs in Beijing.

That's also about how long we still have to wait before we receive Sarah's referral (at the very least).

I can look at the glass as half-empty (two years already, and still two more years to go). Or I can look at it as half-full (hooray! we're halfway there).

I'm making the conscious decision to be joyful today, to enjoy my life and family as it is today, and to "look to the future with hope" (the meaning of Hannah's Chinese name).

Besides, I am "Chinamama4", you know!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

VBS Highlights

A week of fun, friends, and learning about God's Truths!

Hannah playing a game

Rachel, just hangin' out

Rachel's Crew

Snack time for Abbie

Monday, August 04, 2008

We're Still Unpacking...

...but I just wanted to say that the girls and I had a wonderful trip to New England to visit family! I helped my mom unpack her belongings in her new house. The girls played with their cousins until their tired, dirty little bodies could play no more. We worshipped with my cousin and his family at their church. We visited the Trapp Family Lodge, the Old North Church, and Paul Revere's house. We ate delicious pizza in the North End of Boston. We explored the Providence Children's Museum. We made wonderful memories.
We also made a lot of laundry...