Thursday, December 17, 2009

if you have 4 minutes

Remembering how we felt this time last year...

And praying for all the children who are still waiting for someone to call them their own...

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Homeschooling at its best....

History timeline project (this had been on my "to do" list for the kids for 3 years!)
Behold, a child at her desk. Am I dreaming the best dream ever?!
Look at this cutie trying to "do (s)kool" like his brother and sisters...
Yes, I would say that is a masterpiece, wouldn't you?!

The best part of any school day...

waiting for Daddy to come home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the reasons why

I started this post a few weeks ago. Hasn't gotten finished until today.

Ahh, here sits my lonely computer. It's missing me. See the mess all around it? The MESS is constantly calling me...Pick me up. Organize me. Make things all better in the kitchen. I hear these things. I swear I do. See the open calendar there? It's begging me to cross something off. Pleading really. And sadly, blogging isn't on my calendar. I'm about ready to put it on there. For real.

Welcome to my new life.

I love it. I really do. But my life + blogging doesn't really add up nicely together right now. Thus the reason for my hiatus. See, funny thing is that I had tons of time to spend on my blog while waiting for Caleb but nothing really to write about b/c life seemed to just stand still. Now I have tons of really great Caleb-stuff to write about and little time to do it.

Other than the voices I hear calling me in the kitchen, this is what's been getting in the way of my leisure time on bloggerland...
A house full of things to do and what is seeming like less and less time to do them. More specifically, a house full of random cars, trucks, planes, and trains to welcome you as you walk in our front door...
And hidden in every corner of every room. Really. Not exaggerating here...

Oh, wait { } insert cute pic of Caleb here to remind me that all of those random car messes have been lovingly placed there by one loved boy!

Of course, I have a system that would take care of all of the random cars lying around throughout the house. There is a designated basket for anything with wheels. Here it is on a good day. Full.
It generally doesn't look like this. It's usually nearly empty and the floor of our house is littered w/cars. I'm telling's a miracle none of us have broken a leg. Plenty of stubbed toes. No broken bones. Yet.

On to beds. Never made.

And one of the main reasons they are never made is b/c when I actually attempt to make them, I generally get side-tracked by laundry.
And to make every little detail in my life take just a few minutes longer...Caleb has apparently decided that his laundry basket would be a good bookshelf. Mind you, the actual bookshelf and book basket (TWO systems in place, TWO!!) are just inches away from his laundry basket. But he seems to think that his books fit nicely in his laundry basket. Cute, huh? Maybe cute in 10 years for me. Not now.

Then, the never ending saga of the school books...
They are everywhere in this house. The stairs, the couch, the kitchen table, my bedroom, my closet, everywhere. Well, everywhere except on a school desk.

The kitchen. Need I say more?
It is a never ending "to do" list for me. I'm not sure that will ever change. As soon as I call it done in there the battle begins all over again. Good thing I like my kitchen because I spend the majority of my day in it. One of my "I'm gonna do this if it kills me" goals of each day is to have dinner ready when Andy walks in the door. And then he cleans it up! Well, he and the kids. They all have a cleaning party after dinner and I get a few minutes on my computer w/out interruption. Good thing/Bad thing: They have such a good system going on that they're done way before I'd like. I'm not complaining. I'm just not blogging as much b/c of it!

The basement. I dare go down there. More of the same.
However, there is one small space down there that is making me smile. Ahhh...all organized. Gives me hope.
And a random fact for today...
As I was standing in the kitchen deciding which task to tackle first, Anna pops up in front of me and says, "Mom, this is how many pages I've read since August." Because, bless her heart, she's keeping track of how many pages she's read, not how many books. Because, you know, a book might be 100 pages or it could be 300 pages and who would want to know that you just read two books. It is MUCH better to know how many pages. Isn't it? Yes, Anna. In some weird sort of way, I get ya. It's a system. And I like it. And such is my life right now. Doesn't leave much time for significant blogging.

Friday, August 28, 2009

still here!

A quick photo update on our life.
One lost tooth:
One very happy 4 year old who is spoiled rotten by his sisters.
This is Anna's beloved "Claire" bear and she even allows Caleb to sleep with it if he asks.
Anna has even been letting Caleb play with her digital camera.
Little does Caleb know how huge this is. Anna...joyfully sharing with a brother? Huh? Bizarre. But true.
Can you tell Caleb took this photo?!
And apparently Anna discovered "sepia" setting on her camera. Lovely, huh? that a school book in the background (above AND below!)? I thought Kara was quietly being studious upstairs in her room.
Uh, ya. Definitely a school book here. And from the looks of things...not one studious child here. Not one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

bad shoe choice for state fair

Although our state fair involves plenty of my top 10 things in life that I could do without (heat, humidity, animals, heat, crowds, heat, foods that seem like a good thing at the time yet inevitably end up making me feel sick and several pounds heavier, heat, and...need I go on?!) we have made it a yearly tradition in our family. I'll just say that the pictures always turn out way cuter and perfect looking than I am ever feeling at the moment. Last night it was my shoes. I hate walking around the fair in flip flops or sandals b/c there are just too many nasty things on the ground. But I also hate wearing anything BUT sandals/flip flops in the summer b/c I'm always hot and having my feet feel hot as well generally puts me over the edge. And over the edge is not a happy place for me to be or for my family to have to be around. So I had this dilemma last night. Cool flip flops + nasty animal crud on my feet or semi-tennis shoes + clean but hot feet. I chose the latter and it ended up not being the best option. My semi-tennis shoes that LOOKED fairly cute and were supposed to keep me from feeling dirty and hot ended up giving me blisters about 1/2 an hour into the evening. We were there for over 4 hours. AND....I nearly had blisters on my hands too b/c the stinking stroller that we used for the first time was nearly impossible to steer. So although I spent most of the time complaining about how hot it was (it was SUPPOSED to be just 82 degrees way. it was NOT that cool at the fair.) and how much my feet and hands hurt, it was still fun. Sort of. In a hot, miserable kind of way.

Of course, none of these photos would ever make you think that we had anything less than a grand time last night. The kids had a fabulous time. And maybe in a few years I'll look at these and think that I did too...

Really. Does it get any sweeter than this next one? Caleb is in his happy place with two of his favorite things in life: things with wheels and his thumb.

More wheels...this time without his thumb!

And the fair wouldn't really be quite as fun without our friends the Shanks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

can you even believe?!

Really. Is it even possible that this scared, frowny faced boy is our Caleb?

Just look at him now!

Sweet as could be...

and obsessed with anything that has wheels.

He even spotted a blue Honda Odyssey the other day and started freaking out in a crazy excited kind of way b/c that is the car Mama drives and it rocked his world that there would be another person driving it. He kept yelling things in Chinese and pointing to the other van and then pointing to me (I was driving at the time) and seemed all confused yet somewhat giddy about the fact that there was another car JUST LIKE HIS MOM'S CAR and someone else was driving it. Hilarious, huh? He certainly thought so.

Here is a rare family photo of all six of us.

It was from the VBS kick-off at church the other week. And, boy did Caleb love VBS. In fact, we have the CD with all the songs from the week and we use it as his wake-up music on his CD alarm clock, which, by the way, has solved all of his sleeping (or rather non-sleeping!) issues. I'm telling you, Caleb is one smart boy. We spent about 15 minutes trying to tell him that he has to stay in bed until the music comes on. Not an easy task considering we don't speak the same languages! So we did some creative role-playing/acting to try and get the message across. And, by golly, that boy got it. Even if he is wide awake, he just lays in bed waiting for his music to come on. And when it does, he jumps out of bed, comes running down the hall w/this huge grin on his face and yells, "All done night night" complete with all of the role-playing hand gestures that we used to teach him what to do in the first place. He closes his eyes and "lays" his head on his hands and then pops up his head and opens his eyes and starts dancing. Then I have to follow him back to his room so he can dance and sing and do all the motions to the song. Every day, twice a day, without fail. Can I just say that we are blessed beyond blessed? Because we are. Immensely.

Oh, and I almost forgot to share this one. Caleb got tubes in his ears this week. The surgery was quick and easy (for him and for us). This picture was from bath time the day of the surgery. When he awoke from his anesthesia, the nurses told me the first thing he said was "Mama." It warmed my heart.

Friday, July 24, 2009

one month

Caleb has been home for exactly one month. Seems like he has been part of our family for much longer. He just fits. Doesn't hurt that he is beyond cute (don'tcha think?!!)and has one of the sweetest little voices you've ever heard. Even if we have no idea WHAT he is saying most of time!

He said his first English phrase about a week ago: "every letter makes a sound" from the Leap Frog Learning Letters and Sounds DVD. He sings that phrase over and over (with a Chinese accent!). So STINKIN cute! He still hates naps. This afternoon was the first time ever that he didn't throw a massive crying fit when I laid him down. Thank goodness! A month of daily nap battles has been my limit. Now we need to get him to sleep ALL the way through the night and not just until 3 or 4 or 5 or even 6am. All are way too early for this mama. I bought a CD alarm clock this week for him. We are trying to teach him to stay in his bed until the music starts playing. I think that after only three days he has finally understood! We're hopeful for longer naps and nights.

Summer break is dwindling away and I'm definitely not ready to go back to work (so to speak!). I am almost caught up on laundry from our beach vacation last week and am now faced with having to get school started soon. I usually like to start by August 1st, however, considering that I still haven't ordered all of the curriculum, it isn't looking too promising that we'll make that date this year. Where has the summer gone? Oh ya, it went to China. And South Carolina. And a few weeks got lost somewhere in there too. Maybe a trip to Target to buy some new school supplies will get me excited about it?! I DO love new pencils and journals and Post It Notes and colored folders and new crayons and...

We did have a wonderful vacation at the beach. We all needed some time to bond together as a family and just hang out together.
So our not so perfectly timed vacation ended up being just about perfect. And thanks to the generosity of my parents, it was about as cheap as a vacation as we could do (which was good b/c a night out for ice cream for a family of six costs about $20.00. YIKES!).

And, lest you think that our real life is drama-free or always as cute as the pictures I choose to post here on my blog...
This is what the first day looked like for Caleb. A lot of this

and a little of this...

Before he finally warmed up to the idea of the beach (and all of it's sand and scary crashing waves!).