Showing posts from March, 2012

It's like living with Pollyanna

I thought I would give a little update as to how we're all doing since arriving home last Monday. For the most part, things are going well. I came home sick with some sort of cold and I think due to jet lag, I just can't shake it. If I could just go to bed and sleep for about 12 hours I think it would go away, but life at the moment does not allow for staying in bed and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't sleep very well if it did. It's been a stretch to act like nominally pleasant mom, much less fun and energetic mom. At least I slept passed 5 am this morning.

It is so good to be home and be back with all my children. I missed them so much. Those who stayed home did really well at our friends' house and those older than two have transitioned back without a problem. The little girls did well, but it seems that life was pretty darn good for them on their little vacation. I can completely understand. As long as they can do what they want, they are the most pleasant, charm…

Denim quilt

Most of us start out life shiny and new and full of possibilities.

But life can be hard. We get torn up. Worn out. Used up. We aren't the same and are pretty sure we can never be repaired.

But God can do anything. Even fix worn out, used up lives. It isn't an easy process. A lot of the old needs to be trimmed away. Refashioned. Remade. But we have to be willing to let God make these changes.

If we let Jesus make us new, it doesn't mean we don't carry the scars of our past.

But He redeems them and when joined with others who have been remade, together they make something beautiful.

My practice quilt for my 'practice child'.  I made many mistakes with both, but I think the results turned out pretty darn good both times.

Happy 19th birthday, M! (A little bit belated)

Being a bit preoccupied with being in China and meeting my new daughter, I neglected to wish my first born a happy birthday on the blog.  M. turned 19 a couple of weeks ago, and sadly we were not in the country to celebrate with her.  I know she was given a lovely celebration by our friends, though.  Plus it was the beginning of her spring break and had a week long house party with some of her closest friends who were also on spring break.

I think it tells you quite a bit about M.'s level of maturity that we agreed to her staying in our house with her three (sometimes four) friends without an older adult presence.  It worked out well since one of the friends is the older daughter of the family who were watching our crew and with our children there, there was no room for their own daughter to sleep.  So she bunked at our house with M. and P19.  (Good friends, I tell you.)

I just can't brag about this child enough.  She is smart, responsible, fun, and caring.  J. and I have love…

Day 15 (part 2): I have the best friends in the world

After lunch we loaded up our stuff in the Shepherd's Field van and headed off to the airport. We thought we had left with plenty of time to spare. It would have been plenty of time if there hadn't been horrible traffic on the way. At one point the traffic came to a standstill and we inched along for perhaps a half an hour. At that point it started to enter my consciousness that this was taking too long and I should start to be concerned. Commence praying. Traffic jams are not too hard for God and not long after it started to free up. We passed what was the hold up and it looked to be either a major accident involving many trucks (but no sign of damage or injuries anywhere) or the trucks were doing something wrong and the police just stopped them right there in the middle of the road.  Either seemed entirely possible, but yeah Jesus, we were passed it and made it to the airport. We had no problems checking in or getting to our gate, but the plane started boarding about 20 minut…

Day 15 (part 1): Shepherd's Field Children's Village

Our visit to Shepherd's Field went very well.  H. was calm and happy to be there and showed no anxiety or confusion.  It was exactly the kind of visit I had hoped for her.  After breakfast we gathered the donations we had brought and took them over to Pam Baker's office.  We were able to meet Pam and also the head ayi.

H. was very eager to head to the house that she lived in so that's where we went next.  Here she is with one of 'her' babies.

Then it was off to the classrooms to see her teacher and friends.  We had bought candy for H. to pass out.  We went to her former class first.

And then we went to the younger class.

H. particularly wanted a picture with her and her friend, Eric.

We seemed to create a lot of chaos when we were in the classrooms and I wondered if order was going to be restored.  Evidently it wasn't restored easily since a little later we saw the older class outside playing.

After H. played with her friends a bit, she wanted to visit the oth…

Day 14 (part 2): A three hour tour

I am very happy to report that TM did recover. Since I was at a point where I was doing no good what so ever, J. sent me out with the girls to walk around. We happened upon the market stalls with all the tourist kitsch, which was good because I needed to get a couple more gifts.  Evidently, being all out of patience and in a cr*ppy mood puts one in a perfect state for bartering with stall owners.  Normally, I am the world's worst barterer; I'm too worried about making sure someone is happy and that they like me.  This morning, I really didn't care and if the price was too high would happily drop the object and walk away.  This, it seems is the perfect tactic for getting a good price.  At one point, I was looking at a watch that was nearly exactly like one A. bought when we had the guide with us in Guangzhou, so I knew what a fair price was.  When the seller quoted me a price four times as high, I actually laughed at him.  I got it for about the same price that A. bought he…

Day 14 (part 1): Uncle!

Our last full day in China started off a bit rocky.  I feel in writing this blog that I navigate a fine line between being considerate of my children's privacy and being honest about some of the difficulties that raising children brings us.  This is especially true when it comes to TM.  Many people who know my son in real life read this blog and I don't want to color their opinion of him by what I write.  But I also don't want to sugarcoat some of his challenges.

He had done pretty well through the whole trip, but something set him off this morning and we still have no idea what.  The whole episode wasn't pretty.  I won't go into details, but suffice it to say J. and I probably will never show our face in the hotel we stayed in again.  I was in tears by the end and we were all a bit shaken.  Thankfully A. was with us and was able to take H. on a walk around the hotel during the worst of it.

My son does so well so much of the time.  For instance, just the day before…

Back home!!

We arrived yesterday afternoon and it's so good to be home and see all my other children.  Travelling went well.  When I get my act together later I'll post about our last couple of days.  J., TM, and I were awake before the crack of dawn, but A. and H. seem to be sleeping still.  D. and K., our early risers, were thrilled to find company awake before them.

There's no place like home!

Day 13: And the gold medal for bravery goes to H... or Help! how did I get stuck with these crazy people?!

If you noticed I skipped day 12, it's because all we really did was travel. It was a two hour plane flight from Guangzhou to Beijing, so it should have been a simple matter. To borrow one of TM's phrases from when he was four, "But it not". I don't think that China believes in jet ways. They have them, they just don't use them.  At least they don't use them as I am used to them being used. Recently, flying in and out of Chinese airports goes something like this. Sit at gate and wait until called to board. Exit door to tarmac where airport employees are constantly trying to break current world records for number of people in airport bus. Ride bus in incredibly uncomfortable manner to what seems like your flight destination. Exit bus. Climb steps into jet way connected to airport building. Wait in line in jet way. Board plane. Then we got to add sit in the plane on the tarmac for an hour and half because the plane in delayed. (You know bad news is coming wh…

Checking in

A quick post just to let everyone know we have arrived safely in Beijing. It was a long day of traveling, though. We have been having difficulty logging into blogger and facebook, so am taking advantage of this moment of connected-ness.  Tomorrow we go see the sites of Beijing.  I am hoping that our VPN connection will keep working so I can post pictures of our day.  (That would be Virtual Private Network which somehow circumvents the system and allows us access to websites that are not allowed.)

Day 11: Mountain climbing

For our last day in Guangzhou, a group of us decided to go to the Baiyun Mountain Park, another very large park in the city.  Baiyun Mountain is quite tall and the park around it is very lush and some early spring flowers were out making it quite colorful as well.  Instead of walking up, which takes about an hour, we all chose to ride the electric trams up. 

The trams stop about halfway up, where this amazing vista is.  I know it is very hazy, but if you look carefully you can make out some dark shapes toward the horizon.  These are sky scrapers and it really showed us just how big Guangzhou is.  The entire width of the vista was an arc of tall buildings.

We then proceeded to begin the climb to the top.  It wasn't straight stairs... along the way were places to rest and things to look at.  Such as these carved dragons.

We didn't make it quite to the top.  I think we probably got at least two thirds of the way there.  The families who did make it reported that it was over 80…