Friday, February 26, 2010


Wow. Such a strong, heart wrenching word. Abandonment. Something that at some point our adopted children are going to have to come to terms with. No matter what word you might choose to use in place of it, at some point, we will all deal with the effects of it in one way or another.

Our little Zabi, home for two months yesterday, deals with it. It isn't pretty, either. She panics when she thinks that there is a possibility that I might be leaving her. Yesterday Dad met us at the tire store to get new tires on Mo (our suburban). He was driving The Bloody Red Car (the red Focus that Chicka seemed to always get a nosebleed in, so she named it!). We met and I got out and started to put one of the car seats into the BRC while Zabi was still strapped in Mo. Wailing ensued. Once I reassured her that she was coming with me in the BRC, she stopped crying immediately. Safely buckled in BRC, I walked around the car to get in, she couldn't see me, she panicked again and started screaming. The crying stopped as soon as I got in the car. My heart hurt for her :-( My Mom came up for a few day visit and we decided to bundle up and go outside for a walk. Grandma put her hand out to hold hands with Zabi - uh huh - no doing - she started "the cry". She thought that Grandma was taking her away!

Last Friday was our first day back to Friday School - our homeschool co op. Chicka, Zabi and I walked into the girls' classroom, which I planned on staying in, also. Zabi happily went into the room and began to play. That lasted about 3 minutes. I don't know what triggered in her little mind, but she came running over to me - I had made no move to leave - and clung to me, sobbing. I moved around to each play area, trying to engage her in playing with me, to no avail. She wasn't enjoying it a bit! We left the room and calmed down, then went back in - me holding her. We were able to sit down and listen to story time, with her on my lap, with no crying. I teach a class in Hour Two, so she happily accompanied me to my class, which is what we had planned on doing anyway.

This morning as we were getting ready for school, I had an inspiration. Although I planned on staying in her class the entire Hour One, but felt that she still might not feel comfortable, fearing that I might leave her. My great idea was to take a silk scarf and tie one end to Zabi's wrist and the other end to mine. Not to keep her from running off, but as a tactile reminder that I was right there with her. Thank you, Jesus, for planting that idea in my head, because it worked like a dream! She initiated playing with many areas in her classroom, gently tugging me along behind her! Again, she came with me for Hour Two, and wanted me to tie us together again as we left my class! She had a smile on her face as we went back into the class to pick up Chicka. I think we will continue our silk scarf binding until she wants it off!
I was thinking that this idea might work even around the house for a child who is very unsure of where Mom is - one of the sweeties that is just so unsure of the new surroundings in which they find themselves when first joining their forever family! Please, if you find this idea helpful, drop me an email or a comment - I would love to know that this idea that God sparked in me has helped someone else!

Something else that Zabi did the other day made me cry. I have no idea if she witnessed or experienced what she did to her baby doll.

She lovingly tucked her baby into the crib, gave it a kiss, then tied it in. Right across the baby's chest. So it couldn't climb out. Woven through the slats and rail.

Maybe she was just practicing her knots. I think "knot".

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A sunset view from the front of our house.

Derby queens?

Again, we find ourselves having WAY too much fun! We had a group of 16 teen guys (and 1 teen gal and one mom) up last night for an overnighter.
A workout to clean the floor!

We had a great arrangement - the other mom (THANK YOU SO MUCH, A.M.!!!!) did the cooking and I provided the house and games.

Somehow I think I got the better end of the deal! Well, then we have to consider that Dad had to work. Hmmmmm. Choices, choices!
A little chocolate in/on the mouth never hurts, right?

Somehow I don't think Z was into sharing this particular snack! I don't blame him, Sara!
Not all 16 of them fit on the bench, but it wasn't for the lack of trying!
A rolled up athletic sock in the toe of a stocking over the head - the object is to tangle your opponent's sock and get it off of his head without using your hands.

The stalker.
Zabi trying out the game.
C graciously volunteered to help with the littles. Not sure who had more fun - the littles or C!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Why we receive the ashes

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

"Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return."

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins -- just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days' penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Shrove Tuesday: The Pancake Fest

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of shriving, when the faithful confessed their sins to the local priest and recieved forgiveness before the Lenten season began.

As far back as 1000 AD, "to shrive" meant to hear confessions. (Trivia note: the term survives today in the expression "short shrift" or giving little attention to anyone's explanations or excuses).

Historically, Shrove Tuesday also marked the beginning of the 40-day Lenten fasting period when the faithful were forbidden by the church to consume meat, butter, eggs or milk. However, if a family had a store of these foods they all would go bad by the time the fast ended on Easter Sunday. What to do?

Solution: use up the milk, butter and eggs no later than Shrove Tuesday. And so, with the addition of a little flour, the solution quickly presented itself in... pancakes. And lots of 'em.

Today, the Shrove Tuesday pancake tradition lives on throughout Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, but is most associated with the UK where it is simply known as Pancake Day with a traditional recipe, although these can be as varied in the UK as there are British households.

In France, (as well as here in the US - or more famously - in New Orleans) it's known as Fat Tuesday which kicks off the Mardi Gras festival with wild celebrations just before the austere Lenten season.

In Sweden, Fat Tuesday translates to Fettisdagen, and in Lithuania it's Uzgavens. In Poland, traditional celebrations take place on a Thursday a week before Ash Wednesday and so it's Tlusty Czwartek, or Fat Thursday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chinese New Year

Whew - what a busy day yesterday! We left the house at 8 AM to make it to Mass only a wee bit late. Of course donuts and coffee afterwards are a given. OK - yes, I admit to whispering in little girl ears that they won't get a donut if they can't be quiet! So far, it has worked.

Dropped off IBoy and MissE at the lake to visit with some friends, while Dad, the girlies and I went to Auntie's house to visit for a bit. Picked up the teens and headed to Portland Convention Center for the FCC Chinese New Year celebration, where we met up with some friends.
Zabi thought the inflatable slide was great fun!
Zabi meeting Ann (originally from Shanghai) for the first time.
Chicka did NOT think the inflatable slide was a good idea. MissE nearly had to drag her down it.

Out to dinner at Wong King's - the first Chinese restaurant that most closely serves real Chinese food, not American/Chinese - YUMMY!
Our friends, Rick and Ann.
Dad is famously known throughout Guangzhou to be one of the only American's known to actually eat a fish head. He was tempted once again, but this one wasn't cooked just right, so he decided not to go through with the consumption. Here is the photo taken of him in March of '08 - this is the one that he DID eat!

Since we were in town, we had to make a Fubonn's Asian Market visit and browse the aisles. This time we were successful in locating olive leaf paste - a Korean condiment that is delicious spread on steamed buns. Breakfast this morning was steamed eggs, steamed buns, steamed rice and olive leaf paste. That's what I'm talkin' about!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

St. Valentine's Day AND Chinese New Year

Tomorrow looks like it might be pretty busy. One special event a day is plenty - two? Goodness gracious! Fortunately, I am ready for Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year is actually celebrated over a period of days. It just happens to work out with schedules, that we will be observing both traditions on the exact same day. Fun!

I baked a cinnamon roll heart for breakfast.

Matchbox treats - how cute could that be? It was not too time consuming and they even turned out reasonably well. Anyone who knows me can attest that I despise tiny craft projects. I am all thumbs! I figured that this is about the perfect amount of candy for each person, too! Bah, humbug!

There are many guesses as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Here is the one that we like!

    St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D. At that time the Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshipping the Roman gods. During this persecution Valentine was arrested. Some write that he was arrested because he was performing Christian marriages, but others say it was for helping Christians escape prison.

    During the trial they asked Valentine what he thought of the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury. Valentine said they were false gods and that the God that Jesus called Father was the only true God. So the Romans threw him in prison for insulting the gods.

    While in prison Valentine continued to minister. He witnessed to the guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. Because these people had come to know Jesus, Valentine praised God right there in his prison cell. When the emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he had Valentine beheaded.

    Valentine knew that he might get caught in his Christian activities. He knew that if he told the court the truth about the Roman gods that he would be thrown in prison. And he knew that if he continued to witness to Christ in the prison he would make his captors angry. But he continued, because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans. He was willing to risk his life to free the prisoners and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who needed to hear it.

    The Bible Says: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."(John 15:13) God showed us this love by coming in Christ to die for our sins. And St. Valentine demonstrated this love when he died for his friends. This is the kind of love that Valentine's Day is really about.

Country Store

Yup - you know that you shop in a little ol' country store when the candy racks are next to the bug killer and oil!

Our one and only store is a gas/video/grocery/hardware/
hunting/deli/miscellaneous all in about 1,000 SF!

We had to go the dump today - WAY cheaper than a city pick up - we pay $3 for the entire back of the suburban, twice a month! So, we made it an adventure and went to the store, too. Each of the girls had $1 in their pocket and we let them shop.

Goofies - of course they HAD to get the same as each other - a bug juice drink and a lollipop. Yum!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Birthday IBoy!

Yup - it has happened. Our youngest son is toooooooo old! He turned 16 this week. Absolutely not possible! He chose to have a quiet family birthday day, then next week celebrate with a friends party. Actually, he and a friend are going to have a birthday party together. Here. Overnight. Fortunately, both IBoy and MissE have a GREAT group of friends, and we never mind having a ton of them over. You couldn't ask for a nicer collection of teens!

Here is what IBoy requested for his birthday dinner, and what Dad so yummily prepared:
It still amazes me that two little girls who never knew each other before Christmas Day can be so close. They don't let each other out of their sight. Their skirmishes are so minor, they are nearly inconsequential.

The girlies wanted to make cookies. Marshmallow cookies. What fun would making cookies be if you just mixed the stuff and spread it in a pan? Heck no - they made marshmallow krispy balls!
They were busy the other night pretending. I have no idea what they were pretending, but it had an elaborate set up! Serious business, apparently.
Zabi takes such delight in helping and pleasing - she anticipates when Chicka needs a tissue - before she asks for one! She hears me emptying the kitchen trash and comes running from the other side of the house with a big ol' grin on her face and helps me carry it out. She wakes up in the morning with her face a big, bright smile. What a lovey!
Chicka is down with pneumonia again :-( She has been very whiney and clingy the past couple of days, poor sweetie!
We are putting up our Chinese New Year decorations. The holiday officially begins on February 14 this year. I sure hope that I put this up the right way - I was told that it makes a difference which banner goes on the left and which goes on the right!