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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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today was picture day at the Noodle's school.  I'm not one of those people who goes hog wild over buying school pictures.  The basic, cheap-o package generally suffices.  Usually they are decent.  Sometimes they aren't.  Every once in a while you get a really cute one.  So it goes.  I've got enough photos of the Noodle, so a formal one isn't too big a deal for me.  When she left the house, she was all ready.  Hairbow in straight.  Combed, untangled hair.  No stains on the shirt (phew...made it through breakfast without peanut butter glopping down), no milk mustache.  You get the drift.  We had reviewed what a "nice" smile looked like verses a "goofy" smile or a "scrunched" smile.  Bottom line, she was ready.

Everything was going fine (I'm guessing).  Her class had gone to their "outside classroom" where they go for a portion of the day, before going in for pictures.  As they were trooping back inside, the Noodle tripped over her boots and fell big time.  Poor baby!  Her teacher dried her eyes, gave her a cuddle and helped clean up her scraped face.  Then it was picture time.
While I haven't seen the pictures yet, I'm sure they will be priceless.  The photo will capture a snapshot of her in this moment, a bit more banged up than normal, but every bit as lovable. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hello, goodbye

Hello bright blue skies, warm sunshine and crisp fall air.  Hello yummy pumpkin pancakes--what a delicious way to start the day!  Hello trip to C*stco...we'll sample our way through the store.
Hello to livin' the "easy" life.  Hello to dinner with extended family that we haven't seen in a loooong time.  Hello giggles, hugs and games of tag!Hello sleepy little girls.
Hello being challenged to be bold and live vibrantly for Christ, at church.  Hello to the excitement that comes with attending birthday parties.  Hello ice cream sundaes in the middle of the afternoon and warm, filling soup for dinner.   Hello to getting ready for a new week--goodbye to a fun-filled weekend!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The creeping crud

One thing that I have always been a stickler for, is "following the routine".  J teases me that I'm the one who needs the routine more than the Noodle.  He's probably right!  Ha ha.  I do know, however, that all most kids feel comfortable, secure, safe and therefore happy, when they know what to expect and what's coming next. 
Even now that I'm back to work, we still follow the same basic structure and routine.  Take quiet time for example.  I know that I had it pretty lucky that she napped until this past summer.  "A 4 plus-year old napping?  Lucky you!" I'd always hear.  When we finally did away with the nap, but moved to "quiet time", I didn't know how she'd do.  But again, the structure and routine was already there, so that really helped.  I just introduced the timer and the big ol' bag of library books and we were set.  She really is so good at entertaining herself.  Much better than I'm sure I was at her age.  Probably more like her daddy.  He's still good at entertaining himself...and me, still not so much.  Some things never change.
So you're probably wondering where all this rambling is going.  And why I'm posting at 2:15 in the afternoon instead of being at school.  And why the title of this post is "the creeping crud".  Weeellll....I think the Noodle has pink eye.  Poor thing!  J took the morning off from work and I got the afternoon shift (along with the doctor's appointment).  At least she feels fine, just a weepy eye (insert yuck chorus here).  We'll see what the doctor says.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Forever Family Day

We had a lot of fun celebrating our Forever Family Day yesterday.  The Noodle ended up waking up a bit earlier than usual, and so she opened up her presents in the morning, rather than having to wait until later in the day.  She was pumped and so got a little extra time to play with what she had gotten.  Bonus!
I think she looks so "Chinese" here...that serious face with the hands behind the back...classic!
For dinner, she got dressed up in her new "silks" that Papa had brought back from China on one of his last visits.  Once we finally rolled back home, we had cake (a panda's face was the request) and then collapsed into bed.  She was rather wound up and so had a hard time settling down.  Isn't that always how it is?  They are so tightly strung and obviously tired, but just can't seem to calm down.  Anyway, she's sleeping like a little bug in a rug now.  All cozy for the night!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

I know that as our "forever family day" approaches, that means that the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is also right around the corner.  Sure enough, when I walked out this morning and saw the full moon, I realized that today's the day!
Since I knew we had a relaxed evening in store, I thought we could make our mooncakes.  In years past the Noodle and I have gone down to the market to buy "offical" mooncakes, but after buying them last year (at $3.00 a pop) and not eating them (somehow lotus seed paste never sounds as appetizing at home as it does in the store--go figure) I decided that our own homemade ones would be just fine. 
We made the dough, let it chill in the 'fridge while we read a few books and then dolloped on the jam.  I popped the cookies into the oven that was cooking the fish for dinner, and so by dessert, we were ready to eat our mooncakes.  As an FYI, jam is definitely a preferred filling to red bean or lotus seed paste anyday...at least in our household.  Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Botanical Gardens

 This past spring, the Botanical Gardens, in conjunction with the AIA (American Institute of Architects ) put out a request for different firms to submit birdhouses that would be scattered around the gardens.  J works for a very small firm, but when he heard the idea, he knew it was something he wanted to spearhead.  He and the intern came up with the design and then one weekend, he put the whole thing together and painted it.  Any opportunity to get out the power tools is always a good thing, according to him!
We finally decided to head over and wander around.  The threat of rain had subsided, slightly, and it seemed like the perfect, serene way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially one that falls on the anniversary of such a sad time in our country's history.
There is a darling Children's Garden with a sundial and fountain, tons of different paths to wander about, a pond which houses coy and cute, little green frogs, a "wendy house" and so much more.  We had fun exploring and experimenting before we continued on to the other areas like the Japanese rock garden, the hosta hill the sun patio or the waterfall.
Ha ha, this cracked her up...a potty with flowers in it?!
I'm gonna throw this picture in, for old times sake--it was 3 years ago today that we boarded a plane to China to go meet our Chinese Noodle and become a forever family of 3.  What an amazing trip!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A quick visit with Uncle

Uncle drove up for a quick, I mean quick, visit but we were able to hang with him for a little while.  Nothing like bonding over some Legos or micro-machines...yes, Uncle raided his closet to find his boyhood stash of mini-cars.  The Noodle was enthralled.  Every so often Uncle or the C.N. would hold up a car and ask J what kind of car was it...he had an answer every time! 
Thanks for the short but sweet time with you!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1st Day of School

The Noodle woke up this morning ready for a new year of preschool.  When I asked her if she felt nervous, she said "Nope!  Only excited!".  This will not only be a new teacher for her, but also a new school.  There are 2 boys that she knew from last year, who are also in her class, but other than that, everyone else is new. 
I was hoping to get a photo outside but no such luck.  Her preschool starts at 8:00 and at 7:20 it was still dark out!
J took her and all of the various bags containing her supplies.  He was a bit befuddled as to where to put everything since the lockers are so narrow.  The teacher reminded him to "read the directions" posted on the wall and then it made perfect sense.  Extra clothes inside the locker and everything else, into the room.  Since the Noodle is attending preschool in a Catholic K-8 building, there are lockers (but without the locks...thank goodness for that!).
When it was time to leave, she gave him a quick kiss and hug and then got busy being a preschooler.  Learning, exploring, playing, socializing and having fun.  I think this year is off to a great start!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reflections on work

Since it is the Labor Day weekend, and I've been now back to work for about 2 weeks, I thought I'd sum up my feelings.  Overall, the transition back to school has been very smooth.  Perhaps I said in a previous post (or perhaps not), but all of the students that I have this year, I had in elementary school.  That has made a WORLD of difference, since I know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are, what kind of behaviors we are dealing with and what they are working on academically.  Certainly they are in a different place and have progressed from 3 years ago, but many of the issues that they were experiencing in 2008 are still reoccurring themes now.  Such is life when you are working with children with Autism...at least that has been my experience.
The Chinese Noodle LOVES going to the babysitter's house and is quite happy to head off each morning.  Starting tomorrow, she'll be at a new preschool (5 mornings a week) so that will be a new twist, but I feel confident that she'll handle it in stride. 
In all honesty, I feel like going to the babysitter's house has been best thing for her, in this whole situation.  She is surrounded by children of different ages and has to interact and play with them in a less structured situation.  While the nursery school that she has attended the past 2 years was play-based, it was only for 2 hours and with peers that were her same age.  Unfortunately, she's not such a big fan of the tot group (toddlers and babies), mainly because she doesn't want them to get "their glop" on her stuff.  Learning tolerance, communication and empathy are something that can only be learned 'on the job'!  Besides, it is good preparation for when we go back for Mei Mei (settle down, no immediate plans as of yet).

J has been a great support for me, as I knew he would be, and steps up all the time to help out either with the Noodle or around the house.  We seem to have established a 'new normal', and overall it is working. 

While I still wish I was able to be at home with the Noodle, I know that the Lord has blessed me with talents that many people do not possess.  I don't write that to sound egotistical, but the truth of the matter is that most people hear what I do everyday and shrink away.  They cannot fathom spending 5 days a week trying to teach a child who is non-verbal how to read (it can be done!) or how to calm a 215 lb. student who is in a rage.  Many days I have no idea what to do or how to help my students.  Often I leave physically, emotionally and mentally drained (but honestly, who doesn't from their job?!) however I also know that I run a tough classroom, expect a lot out of my students and will not tolerate them not performing to their highest ability.  I can only attribute this to the gifts and abilities that the Lord has bestowed upon me.  I know that I bring him glory when I am at work, and so for this season of my life, I will do so.  Much like I know I brought glory to Him by staying home with the C.N. for that season and will (hopefully) do so again when it is time to get Mei Mei.

The last change that we have made was for the Noodle to stop the violin, at least for now.  Practices had been becoming harder and harder as the summer wore on, and she was starting to make comments like "I want to make ugly sounds with the violin" or "I reeeeeealy don't like the violin".  I had thought that maybe we'd stick it out until Nov. (which would be a year), but by last week, decided it was silly to keep going when she obviously wasn't interested...she is only 4 and a half after-all! 

So....that's what life has been like around these parts lately.  A bit more hurried and scurried in the mornings and late afternoons but still lots of laughter, hugs and love :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

She almost has it!

She's so close...so close!  The Noodle's got the whole "pushing off" thing down, she just has to work on riding straight ahead and keeping those handlebars square.  She's gone a good distance by herself, but there have been some big crashes...thank goodness for bike helmets!  By the time J gets home each night, she's already pretty tuckered out, but insists on trying!  She's not content to stay on the driveway but would rather zoom up and down the sidewalk...even though there are some wicked pretty uneven spots.
My prediction?  By the end of the long weekend she'll have it down.  I'm sure the leopard print top with the pink stripe shorts paired with the "Ka-Chow" pads guar-an-tee success!!