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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday?!


It is the end of the month so I'm linking up with another addition of "What's Up Wednesday?!"

What we're eating this week:
Farro with roasted sweet potato/kale/pomegranates is a pretty standard staple around our house--I mean, just look at all those beautiful colors!!
We've also tried a couple of new recipes lately that have been winners--the 20 min. spicy sriracha shrimp and zucchini lo mein was a hit, but at the last minute I reduced the sriracha from 2T down to 1T--good thing, 'cuz it was still plenty spicy!
Shanghai Fried Noodles was also a new recipe, but suuper easy and also gobbled up.  Who am I kidding?  Most any kind of Chinese/Asian food with rice or noodles is devoured around here.  Ha!
What I'm reminiscing about:
End of May means the end of school.  The Noodle has been blessed to have had a wonderful teacher this year.  She's so positive and upbeat and just LOVES teaching.  We're really going to miss her, but perhaps Mei Mei will have her when she's in 2nd grade.
Speaking of, Mei Mei, she also finished her first year of preschool.  3 mornings a week was so good for her.  Next year she'll do 4 days a week.  Enrollment was cutthroat and she didn't get into a morning slot so she'll do afternoons.  I'm still holding out hope that there will be an opening, but either way I know that the Lord has her where she's suppose to be.
What I'm reading:
I am a big Lisa See fan (Shanghai Girls, Snowflower and the Secret Fan, China Dolls just to name a few) and when I heard that she had also written some contemporary fiction/mystery books, I was curious.  She has a trilogy and so I got the first one--Flower Net
and am about 2/3 of the way through the second one--The Interior. Both are very good and extremely well written.  The stories are set in the early 1990s and give great insight into what life was like in China during that time period.  Obviously some things have changed but others have remained the same.  So interesting to me!
What I'm loving:
Now that the weather is warming up, we're swimming, playing on the beach and kayaking.  The Noodle tried it on her own over Memorial Day weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's which was perfect because it was nice and shallow, therefore easy for her to get in and out and maneuver around. Swimming lessons start mid-June and I'm just hoping that it isn't freezing cold in the mornings!
What we've been up to:
Gardening, gardening and more gardening!  We got our pots planted over Mother's Day and J got the vegetable garden in with the girls' help.  The weeding is never ending but we've moved a few plants around, so little by little, the yard is shaping up.
Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, beets and kale. 
June's question:  What's your favorite thing to grill?
Ahhh, the question I'm always asking myself since during the summer, J grills meat, but since I don't eat it, I have to figure out an alternative for me.  For Memorial Day he put these tasty honey chili prawn skewers on the grill and we all loved them.
I try to steer clear of soy, so I don't do lots of veggie burgers, but I have found these Masala burgers at Trader Joe's which are pretty tasty too.  Portobello mushrooms, both stuffed and plain, are also go-tos for me.
As far as the other 3 go, he'll grill up either chicken (bbq) or hamburgers.  If they want hot dogs, they know they have to go somewhere else...Mama refuses to buy the nasty things.  Bleck!

What has been up with you this past month?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life lately and photo dump


So rather than go into tons of details, I'll just let the photos do most of the talking.  Basically we've just been wrapping up the school year (Mei Mei's first year of preschool is finished) and trying to enjoy being outside.
Also throw in some Music Together, a visit to the art museum plus a dedication/presentation for a buddy bench for the Noodle's school for good measure.
Jam session

We've been exploring on the beach and of course searching earnestly for beach glass.  Toes may or may not have been dipped into the water.
 
Brrrrr!  That water is COLD!
Spy partners in crime.
Finally, we've gorged ourselves on yummy food and enjoyed taking in the culture at the local, annual Asian festival.
I would definitely say that May has been a good one!
The Noodle had her move-up day and Mei Mei wanted to wear her matching dress.





Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The struggle is REAL!


Last week we decided that Mei Mei needed to give up her nap.  She was still doing a great job going down mid-day, but at bedtime, there was quite a bit of chatter going on, even an hour after she went to bed.

Just like I had done (and still do) with the Noodle, I implemented "quiet time".  Basically time in her room where she can play, read, listen to music, whatever, but she's doing her thang and I'm doing mine.  She was all for it!

Yesterday, while driving home in the car around 5:15 this happened.
Today she was up in her room and all of a sudden I realized it was tooo quiet.  Always raises suspicions where toddlers and preschoolers are concerned.  This was what I found.
Poor baby!  The struggle is real!!

I will say, 7:30 comes and by 7:35, she's out like a light.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

We got to celebrate moms all weekend long!
First, I was able to go into Mei Mei's class and play.  What fun!  It is so cute to see all of those adorable little preschoolers.  Definitely a fun age :)
Then, after hitting up the park for some serious playing, we headed out to see Grandma and Grandpa. The beautiful weather just begged for a beach walk.  How could we say no?!
Finally, on Sunday, we had brunch with Lollie and Papa.  The restaurant was so close to their condo that we could walk, which was a perfect way to walk off all that brunch food.  Can you say stuffed?!
Both J and I realize just how blessed we are that both our mothers live so close and that we can see them so frequently.  We love that the girls have our mothers to pray for them, influence them and love on them!!

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reflections on Mother's Day


Mother's Day is that time when we remember those females who have cared for us and have made an impact on our lives.  Moms, grandmas, aunts and even close friends.  It can be a time of complete joy--when you've just welcomed a new child into the family, but it can also be a time of sorrow.  A sense of ache because of a loss.
Recently, we were blessed to have the two books that Mei Mei's orphanage gave us, translated into English.  While they were filled with pictures (which we loved!!) from the time she entered the orphanage until the time she left, there was also quite a bit of text.  Reading through all that was written impressed upon me again how even though adoption is a blessing, it originates out of a loss.

Initially it is the loss of a birth mother and her birth child.  In Mei Mei's case, there was also a loss of the "grandmothers/aunties" or aiyis who lovingly took care of her in the orphanage as well as the loss of her foster mother.  I do not take lightly the impact that all of these women have had on Mei Mei. They held her when she was sick, laughed with her when she danced, praised her when she said "Aiyi hao" (Auntie, you are well) and scolded her when she was naughty.  I know that her remembrance of them is dimming and soon will be forgotten, save the photos and translations that we have.
"Grandmothers" who took care of Mei Mei
Mei Mei's foster mother
Based on the letters that they wrote to her, they loved her deeply.  She was their little Mei Mei. While they were happy she was going to her forever family, it was bittersweet for them.  One of the greatest acts is to love and let go.  They know this only too well.  The other woman, that we don't have any information about, who also knows this fierce act of love, is her birth mother.
An Aiyi with Mei Mei.
While I am hugging and loving on my two precious blessings, it is always with a heart tinged with sadness--the fact that neither Mei Mei's nor the Noodle's birth mothers will ever see what vibrant, loving, smart and wonderful girls their birth daughters have become.  My prayer is that the Lord can somehow reassure these women that their choice was the right one and that their girls are thriving.

While we were in the waiting stage for Mei Mei I read the book Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother:  Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran.
It was heartbreaking and raw and real all at the same time.  It didn't matter whether the women recounting their stories were college students, businesswomen, peasants or even the midwives that delivered the babies--each had a message to tell and so much love to express.  The constant throughout the book? You were and still are loved and are never far from your birth mother's mind.
This loss for my girls is deep and multi-faceted.  I want to continue being open and honest with them but allow them the time and space to work through their emotions as they see fit.  It is a broken and messy situation, but at the end, God makes beautiful things out of the dust.  I continue to claim this prayer for them.

***The Noodle's orphanage was not associated with the same organization (Half the Sky) as Mei Mei's orphanage, so unfortunately we only have a few photos from her time in China.
The Aiyi who took care of the Noodle.