Friday, July 27, 2007

A Visit from Amber

We had a visit from my niece, Amber, and my parents last weekend. Now that Amber is off on her own with her own career (gosh that makes me feel old!), we don't get to see her very often. She's an amazing (and beautiful) young woman and we're so proud of her! Thanks for visiting, Amber.

Miyah, Megan, Amber, Papa, Matt

My mom and dad

And here are a few photos of the girls enjoying the creek on a recent hike. Miyah was quite determined to catch a crayfish, but it took daddy's quick hands to finally get Dorothy II out of the water (her beta fish is also named Dorothy).

Bob and Petunia

"Now I understand. It was not enough to carry wisdom under my wing. I must put it in my mind and in my heart. And to do that I must learn to read." -Petunia from Petunia by Duvoisin

A profound little quote from one of Miyah's favorite storybooks at the moment. It's actually one of those books that I've come to dread reading after the ten dozenth time. But then I began to see a lot of interesting analogies from Petunia's proud phase.

But Miyah was impressed by the fact that Petunia discovers the necessity of reading. She soon began to ask me to help her read.

And she's done amazingly well reading her Bob Books. We made a little chart and I told her she'll get a little surprise when she's read all 12 books five times each. She started a few weeks ago and she's made it to book 10 already. I'm not entirely sure it's a great idea for a 3.5 year old to read a lot, but ever since I mentioned the little incentive, she's hard to stop. She amazes me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Than 100 Christians Expelled from China

More than 100 Christians Expelled – -China Aid Association-
Between April and June 2007, more than 100 foreign Christians accused of being involved in illegal religious activities were expelled from China. It is believed the campaign, called Typhoon No. 5, is part of the Chinese government's efforts to prevent foreign Christians from engaging in mission activities before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. China Aid Association (CAA) reports, "This is the largest expulsion of foreign missionaries since 1954 when the Chinese Communist government expelled all foreign religious workers after taking power in 1949. At least five different mission agencies and sources within the Chinese government report that in February, the government launched a massive expulsion campaign against foreign Christians." Pray for believers in China.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I'd like to say that I get bored, but I really don't have time. Megan, on the other hand, gets bored rather easily. But isn't that what summer is all about...actually slowing down enough to get bored? Isn't boredom (or a lack of entertainment) where creativity originates? Isn't that the mother of invention? No? Well, it could be.

Megan has a "busy personality" and comes by it honestly. My dad and sister, Tracy, are admittedly happiest when they're busy. I, on the other hand, love down time and a delicate balance of busyness and down time are required to keep me happy (and sane).

Daily, without fail, Megan asks what we're doing. So, I've made the kids the activities director and they come up with things for us to do instead of it being my responsibility.

They've also been responsible for at least one meal a week and I'm really, really liking that.

Matt and Megan making a taco dinner....

Megan and I went to a hotel one night last week to have some uninterrupted scrapbooking time together. A few people have asked why we went to a hotel 10 minutes away to do scrapbooking...none of them have toddlers.

My goal was to spend time with Megan and to finish Miyah's lifebook which has been 2 1/2 years in the making. I'm so happy to say that it's nearly completed with just a few finishing touches. Then it's on to Mei Lin's lifebook.

Megan's also babysitting for a friend a couple days a week, helps me a great deal, hangs out with friends, reads, emails, scrapbooks, and makes bracelets.

Matt's been busy with work, some mowing jobs, and spending time with friends. He had a tough decision to make last week and ultimately decided to quit football so he could keep his job. His job was conflicting with practices and he realized he couldn't do both. He really likes his job and football was losing some of it's joy. I hardly know what I'll do with my free Friday nights now! AND the $500 football fee we won't need to pay. Pat quickly declared the money spent before I got any ideas.

The little ones are keeping busy with
getting messy.....

playing in the sand box (sifting confetti).....

Recording memories.....
(our future cinematographer can shoot with both eyes shut)Playing (in the beans) for hours (when it's too hot outside)...

Playing in the pool.....
Piggy back rides from big brother.....

Laughing .....
Staying cool....
Hanging out....
or doing rolls off the sofa......

Enjoying the night life.....(The girls run and squeal all night with their flashlights)

Summer is for just being happy!Happy Summer, Everyone!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th!! And Catching Up...

Our new little American Citizen!

Miyah, Mei Lin, Hannah, and Grace at the neighborhood kiddie parade

Mei Lin and Miyah in their (overly) decorated rides

I hope you all had a great 4th! I love the 4th of July. It's a relatively easy holiday...if you're a mom you know what I mean. So many holidays require a lot of work and planning. The fourth of July is just lazier and sort of slow paced. No gifts, no fancy meals (the men even cook!), and no big traditions that you'll feel guilty about missing. Well, that's usually how it goes....

This year we (minus the two Sleepers-I'll let you guess who they are) were up at the crack of dawn for the annual neighborhood kiddie parade. If you remember from my website post last year, Pat promised to crush the competition in the bike and stroller decorating contest. So that meant we (I) were decorating Miyah's bike and Mei Lin's stroller the night before (there goes the easy holiday!). Well, Mei Lin's stroller won first place and $35 worth of decorations got us a blue ribbon and a free scoop of ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. I suggest next year we save the $35 and take the whole family for ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. But Miyah loved helping decorate, she loved the parade, and thought her bike was amazing all decorated...if the 4th was easy and without traditions before, that's all changed.

Later that day we took the kids to the pool and then went to some friends for ice cream and amazing fireworks. Our friend, Richard, really knows how to put on a fireworks show. One of them flew off near us and nearly killed us, but it was still amazing!

While I was putting Mei Lin to bed the family walked over to see the city fireworks and we ended the night with some of our own fireworks in the cu-de-sac.

It was fun to celebrate Mei Lin's first 4th of July even though she had no idea what it meant for her. I feel so blessed to live in a country where we're free and I'm glad to have been able to give that to our girls, as well.

A special thanks to all the service men and women who've made that freedom possible!

I know some of you are straining to see what is written on Miyah's shirt....well, I'm not so proud that it says "Future American Beauty Queen". I'll just admit was the last (supposed) patriotic shirt at Old Navy in her size and I didn't have time to look anywhere else. No offense to anyone, but I actually despise the whole "beauty queen" thing. As beautiful as they are, you'll never see one of my daughters parading for a pageant...that's just not my thing. But it was the right color, okay!
Off my soapbox and onto catching up....

Last weekend we got a visit from my sister and her family. We hadn't seen them in a year and it was so fun to catch up. Pat and Matt were on a white water rafting trip with the men's group from church, but came home in time to see them for a few days.

Cody, Michele, and Craig
The girls love their Aunt Michele

And they loved Uncle Craig

Matt and Cody playing XBox 360

Me and my sister, Michele

And today's tidbit of advice...if you have a toddler and you're considering taking them to see a movie, think again! At least not a crowded movie on the trial run.

Why would I even consider such a thing, you ask?

I'd been telling Megan that I'd take her and her friends to see Ratatouille (or however that's spelled) because Pat had off Wed-Fri. Well, I forgot that Pat had a final exam to study for today and wasn't able to watch the little ones. So, I thought I'd try to take the little ones with instead of disappointing her by asking her if we could reschedule. Mei Lin was a free ticket, after all!

So, after a day of dentist appointments and gymnastics, I packed up the provisions and we were off.

Well, It was a NIGHTMARE from the moment the previews began! I wish I had known this before spending $20 on tickets and $3.50 on a small Coke (I packed snacks and drinks for the little ones...shh!).

Mei Lin was SO afraid of the noise. I never realized how loud a theater really is. She didn't make it through the previews before she was crying with her face firmly planted in my chest. We were on an exit row so I thought I'd get up and walk a few steps near the exit and let Mei Lin walk a little while Miyah watched....I could see Miyah from there, she could see me. But when I suggested that to Miyah SHE started crying and so it was clearly time to gather all my things (two bags, a booster seat, drinks, snacks, two crying children) and get out of there as discreetly as possible.

We stopped near the exit and watched a little of the movie but moments later Miyah screamed out that she had to go potty with a voice that said, "NOW or else we'll have bigger issues" and so I once again gathered my load and headed to the bathroom.

I won't go into details, but the rest involves wet bathroom floors (not from Miyah either), nowhere to set my things down in that wet bathroom, Mei Lin on hands and knees in said wet bathroom peeking under a girl's stall, and me thinking about the nearly $30 I'd just wasted! Including the $3.50 Coke I left and never got to drink!

The good news: I stopped and talked to the nice lady at the front and she gave me two tickets for another movie so I can take Miyah by herself next time. Miyah was so sweet and understanding about the whole thing.

Lesson learned.

And even though Megan and her friends weren't thrilled with the movie, they had fun at the pool afterwards and are now enjoying a little sleep over tonight.

Whatever makes the girls happy, right?
Megan, Hannah, and Kirsten