Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Valentine's Day-A new tradition?

This year Valentine's Day was a bit unusual. For the past 18 years or so, I've been doing scavenger hunts with the kids, which entail me writing down clues which they solve and follow until they are led to a treasure of candy or small gift. But this year, for the first time, we don't have any proficient readers participating. But, Abbey and Elijah remembered the fun, and were happily expecting to have a rousing scavenger hunt this year, as in years past.

Thanks to the internet, Mom was able to get more creative and provide my little scavengers with a hunt. I found simple pictures of things in the house and printed them. So, Abbey and Elijah had a grand old time.


This year, John also had a little surprise up his sleeve. Most years he gives me flowers, and this year wasn't different in this respect.

But, instead of the usual love note, he sat me down after the kids were in bed and played guitar and sang to me! He sang, "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg. Oh, how very sweet and romantic! I loved it! 

So, maybe 2013 is the year to begin a new tradition?? 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meeting Layne

Once John and I had seen Anna, Jamie and Layne, we left and went home to get a little sleep. After a shower and 4 hours of sleep, we went back to the hospital, along with my Mom and Dad.

Because we were smack dab in the middle of flu season, the hospital had strict visitation rules. Only two people plus the father were allowed to visit at a time, and no one under 18 could come into the rooms.

After a little sleep, I felt much better.

Then it was Great-Nana and Great Grand-daddy's turn.

Poor Abbey and Elijah were just dying to meet little Miss Layne, but they had to wait until she left the hospital. We went over to Anna and Jamie's as soon as we could.

They both were so excited to finally hold the long awaited baby!

It took a little while for the rest of our crew to meet their niece. Beth flew in on Sunday, (2/18). She
came to visit with, and help Anna for a few days.

The boys came to town to celebrate my birthday, (more about that later), and got to meet our new bundle of joy.


We all are over the moon in love with this little cutie!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

He's got into the "swing" of it!

Last week, during one of our, "to die for", sunny almost 60 degree days, (So sorry, Beth and Kelly), Anna invited us to go walk around the lake with her and Layne. After completing the pretty long loop, we rewarded Abbey and Elijah with a trip to the playground. Abbey went straight for the swings. Being the little brother that he is, Elijah immediately followed her. I braced for the usual, "Push me, Mommy!". Instead I got, "Hey look Mommy, look what Elijah can do!", spoken by Elijah's favorite cheerleader. I went over and saw him doing this...

Pull in

Push out

Proudly soaring on the swing all by himself!!
All by himself!!

And I was there to see it!
If you don't understand the significance of that statement, look at this post.

Way to go Mr. E!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy New Year!

Chinese New Year, that is! Officially it was February 10th this year, but our local Chinese/American support group celebrated the beginning of the year of the snake, with a big to-do on Jan. 27th. 

Earlier in the week,  my good friend, Jody, and her three Chinese girls invited some of us over to their house to celebrate the New Year.

We made dumplings, or jiao zi, a traditional New Year food.

The kids made dragon kites.

and had a wonderful time hanging out with their friends.

Abbey also had a special treat this year. She got to perform a traditional Chinese dance at the large celebration. She had been begging to take Chinese dance, so she was ecstatic to have the opportunity. She relished every Saturday when they practiced.

She anxiously waited for her turn to be on stage. And when the big day finally came...

She was so ready to perform!

She knew all her moves, and never lost her smile while performing. When it was over, she stayed behind for a few moments to bask in her applause!  

Grandma was in town for Anna's baby shower and got to see Abbey dance.

Nana and Grandaddy were planning on coming, but we had a little winter storm that prevented them from making the drive.

At the festival, Abbey and Elijah got to try their hands at other skills.

Using chopsticks
Drawing pictures 

and see lots of interesting performances.

We got together with a lot of friends.

and did some impromptu dancing...

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Copy Cat

John was getting ready to give the kids their bath. He told Abbey to get ready to get in the tub. When he came back, he found her posing like this!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Open Letter to My New Grand-daughter.

Sweet baby Layne,

Wow! What a feeling, knowing that you are the baby of my baby, your Mom! It's really rather odd to look at you and know that I'm now a grandmother. Of course, you better not call me that sterile name, instead, I'd love to be called your Mimi!

Your Papa and I sat in the waiting room, anxious for news of your progress out of your mom, from 7 pm on Feb. 6th to 3:30 am Feb. 7th. Then we waited for 2 more hours, just for the pleasure to see your wonderful little face. It was a sweet time for us. A time that we reminisced about the births of your mom and your aunt and uncles. A time that we reaffirmed our deep love and devotion to one another. (He's a keeper, that Papa is!).

For a moment, he thought he would get some sleep. I soon made him realize differently. I needed someone to talk to.

 Your mom has always had the distinction of being the one that, according to just about everyone that we meet, looks just like me. I often refer to her as my "mini-me". As is true to form, her delivery of you had many similar instances to the delivery of my babies. About a week before you were born, she had already dilated and we knew you were busting outta there soon.  She had a very quick delivery of you, that really began in earnest after they broke her water. Two hours later, she was holding the fulfillment of many of her childhood dreams. Also, like me, she's always wanted to be a mom!
When your Dad texted, "She's here", my heart skipped a beat, Papa and I hugged and I quickly wanted to know that my baby--your mommy was ok. There were several tense moments after I texted back, "and Anna?". Finally your mom sent me a text giving your weight--6 pounds 12 ounces.  I figured if she could text, she must be ok. (Although, I'm not sure that is a fact. I do think that she could be on her deathbed, and she'd still be texting her last words!)

I waited patiently, for about a minute, and then I began wanting to see you. At one point, I texted your mommy and said, "I'm dying out here! When can I see her?" Finally, we were able to go and see you.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.  How my heart overflowed with love for you, precious little one! I got to hold you and you kept right on sleeping. Your little body cuddled right into the crook of my arm. How beautiful you are. I drank in all of you, your tiny little pointy nose, your itty bitty ears, your slightly chubby cheeks, your dark hair, the D. family's mouth, the B. family's chin and your perfect little fingers and toes. Such a miracle! Such a wonderful gift from God!

About 2 hours old

Now a family of 3!
At last, I get my hands on her!
Smitten Papa

Love those hands! In ultrasounds, you always had your hands in your mouth.

I can't wait to watch you grow. To play with you and see you giggle. I've got such big plans for us, dear little one.  You are going to love to see Mimi, cause she's going to think the sun rises and sets in you!  I've watched and learned from some pretty expert grandmothers--Nana (your great-grandmother), and my grandmother, your great-great grandmother,  Brandon. I've been taking notes and now it's my turn!

I want you to grow and know Jesus. He's the answer to any problem you might have, and any joy you may experience all comes from Him. He loves you more than anyone else. I want to watch you learn to trust Him. I pray that I can help you know Him better and better. I will constantly pray that God will bless you, not in a way to spoil you, but to draw you closer to Him. I will pray for your future, that you will recognize and submit to His leading.

I love you, Miss Layne Elise S*******! I will always love you! There is nothing you can do that will change my love for you! I will always be there for you, as long as I am able. I'll be your cheerleader, your biggest fan. We're going to have so much fun!

Welcome to your family!


Monday, February 4, 2013

I should be ashamed of myself.

At the beginning of the school year, I posted a blog where I basically bellyached about starting to home school again.  Blah, blah, blah I whined and complained about starting over again.

I should be ashamed of my shortsightedness!

It took about a month before I realized how much fun this is! Yes, it's work. Yes, I don't have very much time alone, but in the grand scheme of how fast kids grow, it's sooo worth it!

I realize with joy that I get to be the one that sees their academic firsts and their look of pride as they accomplish new skills.

I was there to see her make it across the monkey bars for the first time.

 And see him pull himself up on the bar.

 I'll be the one cheering when he finally masters "pumping and pulling"

I'm the one they look to for answers and help. I get to plan fun things that allow them to discover and master new concepts.

Like fingerpainting in chocolate pudding.

 and making butter

 then eating the butter they made

We watched ants make trails in an ant farm, and we will watch caterpillars turn into butterflies.

 It's a blast to participate in activities with them. To let go and act like a child alongside my children. To dance around the kitchen to classical music. To hop like a kangaroo, slide on the floor like a penguin or try to carry an egg between my feet like a daddy penguin. (I'm glad I'm not a penguin!)

To teach them God's truths and watch them as they begin to forge their own relationship with the One who loves them more than I ever could. To be there to answer the questions they have about life, where they came from and the big world around us. Not that I have all the answers, but I hope that this fact also teaches them that it's ok to not have all the answers.

I know these two better than anyone else. I know what frustrates and fascinates each of them. I know how they both learn the best. I can tailor our school to their individual needs.

So I officially retract my former complaints and insert grateful thanks to the Lord, (and my husband, who works so hard in order than I can stay home), that I get to homeschool my kids. It isn't the only good school situation available, but it's the best for us. I've re-realized a simple truth these past few months... it's a wonderful privilege and honor to be a full time teacher to my kids!