Say "YES!" to God's call.
When He calls, He always enables.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Growing Family

We had a wonderful Christmas ! All the kids were here and we had the first white Christmas in many many years - it was Julia's first ever. We had so much (7-9 inches so far) that Ryan and Julia can't get their car out to get back to Atlanta so we will get to enjoy them one more day.
After each getting dozens and dozens of presents (there is Some advantage to having all these siblings) on Christmas eve and Christmas day Rosie asked me last night if there would be more tomorrow. lol I guess when you are an optimist you believe that amazingly wonderful things can continue indefinitely. Rosie told me that her foster mother told her she should come with us to the 'beautiful paradise'. In spite of a few unpleasant doctor visits, some school work and having to help with chores, maybe she thinks she has finally arrived.
I confess that I did torture everyone on Christmas day by making them dress in Red (can you believe it? when some people look So Terrible in red) and taking family pictures. Nellie made everyone adorable red hats, Rosie wrote everyone's name on their shirts and I bought the matching pants (Dominic and Andy made Russian tea for everyone). Getting 20 people to look happy all at once when they are hot, smushed and their mother is standing on a table yelling at them is probably not possible, but, in my opinion at least, was worth a try. And all that red will look so good with my curtains. So much for paradise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I was awakened early this morning by Andy , telling me that it snowed last night! Some years we go all winter without ever having enough to go sledding, so we get pretty excited about it. We managed to scrounge up enough snowclothes for everyone and had a great time in the yard of a neighbor. I discovered what a great yard she had for sledding when I went to a yardsale there after her death. We have lived here almost thirty years and I had no idea what a treasure was across the street. It is possible that she might not have welcomed my multitude of children. I prefer to think that she just never thought about it.
Rosie told me early today that it never snows in China. We had a nice teachable moment, with a globe about the climate near the equator and the climate at the poles, looking at maps of China and the USA and talking about where it snows. She only went to school through second grade so I wasn't totally surprised by what she said, although I did wonder if there are second graders in Florida who think it doesn't snow in America. I was pretty proud of myself for explaining it so that she seemed to understand - At least until, after playing outside the kids came in for hot chocolate and I heard Dominic,who completed fourth grade in China, in the kitchen telling Everett, 'it no snow in China'. Time to get the globe down again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Piano Recital

The kids had a great time playing in their first piano recital, followed by a covered dish and Christmas caroling. Group piano lessons are so much more fun than individual lessons !

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am so excited about celebrating the Christmas season with Dominic and Rosie. As we opened each new box of decorations that they helped bring down fromthe attic , there were ooooos and aaaaahs of excitement. We drove up towards Highlands to choose our tree and cut it down - it was appropraitely freezing, but unfortunately no snow. On Sunday, the kids rode on the firetruck in the Christmas parade and then watched the rest of the parade, delighted to pick up the candy thrown their way.

Thanksgiving 2010

We had our smallest Thanksgiving celebration ever . We all missed having Camila, Ryan and Julia ,and the Hare family with us. And yes, I was standing on the hutch.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, the brainchild of Franklin Graham, with the simple idea of asking people to fill a shoebox with things a child might want/need and then delivering those boxes all over the world. More than 77million boxes have been delivered. We sometimes watched videos, online, of children opening those boxes and wondered where our boxes might have ended up. My friend, Cheryl, who lives in China, once got to deliver some boxes to children living in an orphanage near her. I thought that was pretty amazing, but she is an amazing person anyway, and has done even more amazing things than that (she is now in Nepal and will soon begin opening homes for girls rescued from brothels). But, now, by the most wonderful grace of God, I have two children who received one of those boxes last year! This year, Dominic and Rosie were able to go shopping and choose things to put in the box to send to a child who is in the place they were in less than a year ago. I cannot even begin to express the JOY over what God has done! PTL !

Friday, November 19, 2010

America's First People

Can you tell I found my camera cord?
Our main focus in school this year (in addition to English acquisition) is to learn a little about the USA. The kids can all say/sing the states and locate them on a map but they can't write them all yet without looking. We have talked about Indians being the first people who inhabited our country but I have had a hard time finding videos for them to watch. While we grew up on cowboys and Indians, kids of today only know pirates and princesses. (When I was little, I longed to be an Indian maiden and was most happy on those very rare occasions when I could persuade my mother to put my hair in braids instead of my regular curls. My costume was a pillowcase with Indian designs written with lipstick. I had a good mom.)
The kids and I had a great time visiting a nearby Cherokee village and learning how they lived. We followed up with a visit to the surrounding tourist traps to buy some of the fun things that no real Cherokee ever saw. Last night we watched Davy Crockett. That probably wasn't exactly historically correct either , but I am just trying to give general impressions here. Dominic spent the first day Andy got his coonskin cap telling him he looked like a girl (with a pony tail?).
Next week we will focus on Thanksgiving. Dominic is building a paper model of the Mayflower. It is hard for me to get my mind around the idea that D and R don't have any better picture in their mind of what a European puritan/pilgrim is like than they did the Indians. (Try explaining about Columbus 'discovering America' 200 years ago to someone whose country has Recorded history for thousands of years.)

Everything continues to go amazingly well. We are so blessed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


A friend of mine recently told me that she is adventurous and would like her children to be, also. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not have an adventurous bone in my body - especially where my children are involved.
When I told Jerry that I wanted to take the kids to Duke's Nuclear Energy Station in South Carolina, I knew they would be shooting bows and arrows and fishing but I thought it would be someone else who would be doing the kayaking.
As it turned out, although Dominic thought it was bumper boats, no one got more than the seat of their pants wet, and a good time was had by all.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Piano Lessons

I have said, in recent years, that the one thing I would do differently with my first nine kids, would be to spend less time on sports and more time on music study. Most of them took violin, piano or flute lessons and five or six had the opportunity to play with an orchestra but music was still very much an after thought. Sports Mattered - music practice happened when we could fit it in.
Since we own every size violin, I had expected to first start the kids in violin lessons but when I heard that a local teacher was doing group piano lessons for beginners , I called her. She is a homeschool mom who speaks a little Mandarin ! (that might not be unusual where you live but since there probably aren't more than 20 Mandarin speakers in our whole county, and most of them are busy working at restaurants, this is pretty amazing ) The introductions at the first lesson were so funny. The poor teacher met - the Chinese mother (Ric's mom, Chumsi) who speaks mostly Chinese with two children, one who looks Chinese(Ric's Chinese brother, Brandon), one blond Brandon's American sister, Rachel), neither of whom can speak a word of Chinese - and the American mom (me) with two children who cannot speak a word of English - and Ric, who thinks he belongs to both of us and who calls Andy, Dominic and Rosie his American brothers and sister. Confusing? Yes, but so much fun. The teacher is energetic and enthusiastic and we all love the lessons, even Nellie who gets to play outside in the woods with our teacher's daughter.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Serendipity.....I had this as a vocabulary word in high school. I love the meaning of the word and the way it rolls off the tongue. It is what my life is filled with. Not just the children , but also something else I'll talk about later. Katrina first set up this blog and named it. I love naming things. Now I have given it a new name to reflect the realities of our life. :) Now, if someone could explain how I can get my whole picture to show up behind the title I would appreciate it. :/

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting Ready for Camping

We are going camping. We have camped several times in the distant past but we decided it wasn't our cup of tea. My own bed, with clean sheets and all the windows open, with the smell of smoke from our cookout coming in the windows captures for me all the best features of a camping trip. When we travel I am a "yes I do want you to change my sheets and give me clean towels every day!" kind of girl (who do those people think they are fooling? saving the environment? right. saving their almighty dollars, but not they are charging a hundred dollars a night for a room!) . Many years ago, we sold all our camping equipment. Any camping friends we had have all upgraded to moving homes with kitchens and bathrooms that need regular cleaning- I could live the rest of my life without ever entering the one kitchen I have, I certainly do not want another.
But, like childbirth and long airplane flights, after enough time, you forget, and when someone says, 'let's do that again', you agree. So when our church announced a group camping trip, I remembered how often Andy had asked to go camping and I signed us up.
Today we told the children we would be going camping in 3 weeks and we were going to see the campground first. On the way there I heard Andy say to Ric, "I hope they don't have ghosts". I knew that telling them there are no ghosts would only provoke an argument, as all their knowledge about camping comes from Disney's Sing Along Camp Songs where they learned everything they know about ghosts. And, although I recently heard Nellie telling Andy that Mickey Mouse -who says there are ghosts -is not real, he didn't believe her because he had his picture taken with him. This, in a family that doesn't do Santa or the toothfairy because we do not want our children to be confused about what is real and what is not...sigh...So , I told them there are no ghosts in North Carolina and aren't we blessed to live in this beautiful state.
While we were at the campground the kids decided to try out the creek. Later in the day I found a great deal on a tent and sleeping bags for the kids, which provided an hour giggling while they tried them on rightsideup and upsidedown. It is entirely possible that the preparation might be alot more fun than the actual event. More on that later. C

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week Three - Climbing trees/Karate

We do alot of things that don't require language. This week that included climbing trees and, for Dominic, karate. After the kids conquered what we have always called 'the tick bush' (you can probably guess why) they attempted the two maple trees in the front yard. I had to tell them that using the slide is cheating. The rule is, if you can get up without artificial aids, you can climb it. Dominic has good coordination and upper body strength so he had no trouble pulling himself up. If Nellie can get a good enough foothold, she can scramble up, too. Then I had to make a rule regarding carrying animals up into the trees. It is not allowed. I am sure 2 or3 animals are relieved.
School has gone very well this week. Dominic can work in the first Primary Phonics workbook and read the first reader aloud with Andy and I. Instead of trying to teach Ariel Chinese, today Rosie began to ask her how to say words in English ! Hooray, perhaps she has decided she will learn English after all. It is probably a good thing since our translator is no longer working. It acts like someone emptied everything on it. If anyone reading this has a guess what might have happened please comment.
Both kids made calls to China again this week but the calls were even shorter this week - probably less than 5 minutes each. I am glad because I am anxious for some of Dominic's relationships to be a thing of the past and it will be much easier if the initiative is his. Rosie did have a wonderful Skype talk with a friend she grew up with who was adopted by a family in Oklahoma last November. I met Mary Kate and her mom in Atlanta before we went to China, MK gave me a letter to take to Rosie which Rosie read over and over again. The only time she ever cried was when we got home and she couldn't see Mary Kate. MK has as many siblings as Rosie does so the conversation was very much a family affair with faces hovering in the background of Skype and many introductions on both ends. MK has learned alot of English and lost alot of Chinese so I think we probably got more insight into their conversation than we would have if they had both been fluent in Chinese. There was talk from Rosie about Chinese mama , who she loves, but MK said she did not want to talk to hers, because she hit her. Then Mary Kate asked if Rosie knows about God and tried to tell her about Him but she couldn't remember enough words in Chinese and said we would have to talk about it more when we meet in November. MK recited to us the first verse she learned for AWANA this week, Genesis1:1. I think it is so glorious that He took two little girls who grew up together in an orphanage in China (we have pictures of them together as babies and later) and set them down halfway around the world into families which are so alike. I hope they will always be able to encourage each other,in the Lord.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

American Technology

One of the most fun things about bringing home older children is getting to introduce them to new things. However, since daily life here is so incredibly different from what they are used to we want to add new things gradually. Andy was here over a week before he even knew that our house has a playroom. He had enough new things in his bedroom and the rest of the house to keep him entertained. Rosie and Dominic have still not been to the Theater, the Factory, or Dairy Queen - or Chickfilet, or the Fire Dept. or Wesley's Park. They have met alot of people, a surprising number of whom are brothers or sisters.
Yesterday, they were introduced to the wii. Jerry is out of town reffing soccer games so I needed a new entertainment factor (we also went to Sonic for the first time). As I expected, Dominic is a pro. Rosie will watch for awhile, but in general, nothing on the TV interests her, possibly because her eyesight is so bad. Our local eye doctor refered us to a specialist in Asheville but he doesn't think she will ever be able to see out of one of her eyes although the other is correctable.
Home schooling now begins with the question "what is the name of our country?" Since Nellie, who has been in public school in the USA for 5 years did not know the answer to that question, I thought it would be a good place to begin. We do puzzles of the states and label maps and sing 'Fifty, Nifty, United States' and the words aren't much more foreign to Dominic and Rosie than they are to Nellie and Andy.
We have also had some lessons in the wonders of modern American technology. Today I taught Dominic how to use a vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, when I meant to communicate where to put it away, he thought I was asking him to vacuum the back porch which undoubtedly filled it with things I wouldn't have wanted sucked up. sigh..During the bathroom cleaning lesson earlier in the week, we had a little mishap when Rosie threw all the paper towels in the toilet. :( It was perfectly reasonable from her perspective, as after all, in America, we put toilet tissue in there! It is possible they never used toilet tissue before, although we did visit a home where it was put on the table for the Americans to use as napkins. The water system in most places is not good enough to flush it- it goes in a can. I also doubt if they ever had a bath or a shower. I still am not sure if either of them is using soap or shampoo, although I have demonstrated it several times. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say. They have each had a laundry lesson -I am certain neither one has seen a dryer. When Dominic gets his load out of the dryer tomorrow (I let him put them all in at once, sorting will be for another day) we will probably have a talk about how many pairs of underwear should have been in there. (sorry, if thats TMI, but some of my audience is probably considering older child adoption and they might be interested in the details). Nellie has been the main one to teach them about kitchen cleaning but it has just occured to me that perhaps I should explain the limits of what can go down the garbage disposal and mention that we only have one!
In general , things continue to go very well. I think this is called the honeymoon phase - hope it lasts ! Thank you for your prayers. C