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

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