Sunday, May 31, 2009

Travel Approval !!!!

We FINALLY have travel approval!! We now wait for confirmation of our U.S. consulate appointment...but we could be leaving as early as June 11th. Yikes! That's only 12 more days!! We are ready, but then again, we aren't ready (meaning our boy still needs lots of things!). :-) We will be doing some major shopping in the next few days. Fun stuff!
Hang on Max, we're coming!
NOTE: I *do* plan on blogging about our trip, but I've heard that some people have trouble logging on to blogger in China. Due to this, I have set up a separate jellybeans site. It's still a work in progress, but I hope to have it finished this week, and I'll post a link in the left-hand column on this blog. The site will be password protected, so if you want to follow along on that site, just email me for the password. :-)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Young Chefs

Emily and Allyson have entered an age where they enjoy helping in the kitchen. OK, so they loved to "help mommy" when they were toddlers, but then they found other things that were more fun as they got older. They both helped with dinner last Monday, and decided they wanted to cook a meal by themselves. As you can imagine, this made me a very happy mommy! :-) The girls went through a list of easier dishes and agreed on lasagna. Emily even went so far as to make a menu board for their 'restaurant'. They worked well as a team and the meal turned out great! I vote they make a meal for the family at least once a week! :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"I" Chart

Another one of Allyson's writings...
The students were asked to fill out an "I" chart with descriptions of themselves. This is what Allyson wrote about herself:

Daughter
Little sister
Big sister
Mommy's girl
Love puppies
Granddaughter
Daddy's girl
Nice personality
Great friend / friendly
Love noodles
Love dumplings
Very caring
5th grader
Play piano
Asian
Adopted


As I read Allyson's list, I couldn't help but smile. It just made me happy that she described herself in many ways before listing "adopted". Yes, she was adopted and I want her to be proud of that, but it isn't the first thing she uses to describe herself....as she is SO much more than that! I know that at school, she is asked about being adopted a LOT lately, and I just pray we are helping her to deal with the questions in a healthy way. Reading her paper just made this mom's heart feel a little better. :-)

If I Was In Charge of the World....

Allyson brought home some of her papers from literacy class yesterday. As I was going through her Tuesday folder, a couple of papers caught my attention. This is one of the things she wrote:

If I Was in Charge of the World
by Allyson

These are the rules I would make:
  • Can't cuss in school
  • Don't kill animals you won't eat
  • Can't murder
  • Everyone goes to church
  • Free books!
  • No possums!
  • Have manners
  • NO kidnappers!
  • No cats

Wouldn't it be great if we could really adopt some of these rules? I had no idea she didn't like cats or possums though. :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun Friday

Feeling the need to get away for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance to take a short trip when dh suggested it. The girls still have 2 weeks of school, but we decided to let them take a day off on Friday (this is a rare thing for sure). We only went as far as Tulsa, but it was a much needed time away to just play and relax.
Our first stop was the Tulsa zoo. We were a bit disappointed that there seemed to be several "temporarily vacant" signs throughout the animal displays, but we had a great time anyway. The highlight for the girls was a camel ride.

3 strong girls...

After the zoo, we headed to lunch. We had originally just planned on stopping at Claire's favorite place (McD's), but saw that Casa Bonita was open and had lunch there instead. They don't have the greatest food in the world, but the girls love the atmosphere of the place. (Although, I think Emily and Allyson could eat 20 of their simple cheese enchiladas!) After lunch, we let the girls play for awhile in the arcade. When finished, they combined their tickets so they could get a nicer prize (a beach ball for the pool, and lots of candy).



Our next stop was at the Mardel store to get a new large print Bible for Randy. Claire enjoyed listening to the music while dad shopped for new songs to sing in church.

Our final stop for the day was the Doubletree Hotel. The minute we got to our room, the girls put on their swimsuits, and then we were off to the pool. The Doubletree had a wonderful pool...Randy and the girls swam while mom found a lounge chair and enjoyed a couple of hours of doing absolutely nothing! :-)
Claire is really doing well with her swimming, but she must have the most buoyant booty in the world! LOL No matter how hard she tries, she just can't get her booty to dive lower in the water. We've never seen anything like it...she swims along, but her little bottom ALWAYS pops back to the surface!! :-D
We did a little bit of shopping on Saturday and then headed home. So glad we took the day off on Friday, as the rest of the weekend was rainy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Soakin' Up the Sun

When we got home from piano lessons yesterday, the house was so quiet. Allyson was busy at the kitchen table doing her homework. I looked in the office, expecting to find Emily at the computer, but she wasn't there. When I asked where Emily was, Allyson told me she was outside doing her homework. Confused, I went into the back yard and this is what I found. Emily had moved some furniture out into a sunny spot and was indeed busy on her homework...while soaking up some sun! :-)


Backyard Friends

We've noticed a few new guests in our backyard lately. We have 3 lively squirrels (one is black), and some bunnies. The squirrels have been eating the walnuts and hickory nuts that are scattered on the ground. I think the bunny has a family under the wooden play platform.

Welcome to our yard little friends, but watch out for the dog!



Band / Choir Performances


Emily and Allyson's middle school band and choir performances were on Thursday. Both on the same night at the same school. Thankfully, the band performed first, then the choir came in. At the end, the band and choir did a number together (it was very nice). It was so fun to see how much this beginner band has improved since the beginning of the year! After the performances, we viewed a small art show in the cafeteria (Emily's teacher put one of her art pieces on display...I think I'm going to frame it for her room).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Video

My first try at uploading video from the little flip camera to the blog. (blogger's video processing time is taking forever btw) You may have to stop the music from my playlist at the bottom of the blog in order to hear the video.
The quality isn't great, but I'm hoping this works! My first try is a short clip of Miss C's solo performance in the 2nd grade play (back in December). She played the part of Freddie the frog - a young frog trying to find her place in the great big pond....

video
Now if I can just figure out how to get the video from the camera to a disk so I can save it forever I'll be happy. I'm on the search for a small video camera to take to China...so if anyone has recommendations, please let me know. :-) We just use the flip camera as a "play" video camera because it's a good size to carry in my purse, but I'd like some good videos of Max's gotcha day (if we EVER get travel approval!).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

AWANA Awards

We had our AWANA Awards program last night. This is such a great program for kids! We had over 200 kiddos in the program so the parents had to sit pretty far back in the sanctuary (meaning no good pics of them receiving awards). Just took a quick snapshot when we got home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Piano Recital

Emily and Allyson had their piano recital Monday evening at the Arts Center. Both girls performed their pieces well. Emily played Amber Glow by Vandall, and Swingin' in Style by Goodridge. Allyson played Mud Puddles by Kunitz, and The Escalator by Bastien.



After the recital, the teacher presented her annual awards to her students. Allyson received 3rd place in memory, and 4th place in workbook. Emily received 1st place in memory, 2nd place in practice time, and 3rd place in workbook.

:-(

Still no travel approval from China today. :-( Apparently, delays for TA's and referrals are due to the swine flu outbreak. Honestly, I am so tired of reading about the flu -- can't believe I'm actually writing about it myself, but all the hype is affecting me. I know this is all beyond my control though. Maybe the delays are just G*d's way of helping me to get in better shape for the trip. :-) Maybe I still have time to sign up for the Biggest Loser show.
Alright, alright! Enough of my pity party. I need to stop crying in my soup. Back to regularly scheduled programming.........
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Monday, May 11, 2009

NEW Photos of Max!

We have been blessed with 3 new photos of Max!
A wonderful lady who lives in The Netherlands visited the orphanage 2 weeks ago. She posted about her visit on the orphanage email group, so I asked if she might have seen Max. I was thrilled to receive a reply from her that she HAD seen him and had photos to share. THANK YOU Elise! You have given me a wonderful Mother's Day gift!!



Elise said that Max is very, very cute and appears healthy and strong. She also said he appears to get lots of attention from the nannies and is still the only one with the special hair-do. :-) This mommy's heart SO needs to hear that we have travel approval soon!!!!

Baby Chicks

We went to my mom's after church Sunday for a quick Mother's Day visit (visited mil on Saturday). Since my mom lives way "out in the boonies", we just grabbed some fried chicken and fixins' on the way out of town, and took it to mom's for lunch (so neither of us had to cook). I did throw an apple crisp together for dessert once we got there though.





After lunch, the girls had to go check out the new baby chicks. Mom put over 100 eggs in the incubators and they started hatching yesterday morning. The girls thought the chicks were SO cute. Claire decided she needed a chick of her own, so she picked one (or maybe two) out...but it has to live at Grandma's. I wonder if she'll be able to pick her chick out of the group the next time we visit. :-)


Mother's Day

Just me and my girlies on Mother's Day. :-) Really wishing our little Max was here too......

Mother's Day Tea

Claire's class invited all the moms for a Mother's Day tea on Friday. When I entered the room, Claire greeted me and escorted me to my chair (at her desk). She then offered me tea and cookies. (so sweet!)


After all of the moms had arrived, the students took turns at the front of the class. They were "supposed" to read a poem they had written about their mom, but most became too shy. BUT...when it was Claire's turn the teacher said, "Claire, I know YOU won't let me down. Please come up and read your poem!" So, off WE went to the front of the class. Claire read her poem and then I had to decide which drawing on the board was the one Claire drew of me. :-) The class then performed the song "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" in sign language.

The poem:

My mom is always there for me,
she helps me if I'm hurt.
She keeps everything clean,
and helps me with my homework!

The portrait:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weekly Catch Up

I've been under the weather a little, so haven't spent time uploading pics and updating the blog. :-( Just to highlight a few of our week/weekend events:

Claire's school had a "crazy hair day" fundraiser on Thursday. Claire really wanted to participate, but didn't want anything TOO crazy....so she settled on a bunch of ponytails and braids. :-)

On Thursday evening, we rushed from piano practice to school to watch the 5th grade musical "Go West". The kids were asked to dress in pioneer or western gear. Allyson ended up wearing the pioneer dress I made for Claire last year...it was a bit shorter than I would have liked, but she looked cute anyway.

We had an eventful Friday morning (more than I care to write details about right now). After all of the hoopla, I allowed Allyson to stay home from school. About an hour after returning home (dealing with our "event"), I found Allyson asleep on the couch with her giant stuffed duck....poor baby was exhausted.

On Friday afternoon, Emily participated in a piano clinic at the Arts Center. Since this was her first time at such an event, we didn't know what to expect. It was the QUIETEST event ever! There were only 7 students in Emily's group, so only 7 families filled the giant auditorium. The judges were seated in front of us, and only nodded when it was time for someone to play. There was no discussion among the judges as they filled out the review forms....and no talking by anyone in the audience. (Good thing I bribed Claire ahead of time with a promise to buy a box of Mike and Ike candy if she was quiet!) :-)
Emily was the fifth student to play, and she performed one of her recital pieces. She was nervous, but did really well. In the end, Emily received a Superior 1 rating, a ribbon and a certificate.
Over the weekend, we went to Mountain Home to visit Randy's dad in the nursing home. Dad wasn't having the best of days, so unfortunately didn't really know who we were, but we spent time with him anyway. We had a good lunch (provided by bil and sil), then took dad back to the nursing home. The girls were so excited because they then had some swimming time at the hotel! After 2+ hours in the pool, we got dried off and went to dinner with bil and sil....then BACK to swimming until the pool closed. (We really need to build a pool in our back yard!)

A swamp monster???
Now, we're back to our daily grind......

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