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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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

CNY decorations

So we're smack dab in the middle of the bleak, blah winter...Christmas has passed and spring is (what seems to be) an eternity away.  Grayish-white sky, grayish-white ground, bare branches all around. BIG sigh.

On the horizon is the promise of a little bit of color.  Red that is, in the form of Valentine's day and Chinese New Year.  Here's a quick, easy tutorial to inject a little bit of oomph and you can change it up however you'd like.
Basically, the pictures are pretty self-explanatory.  Find some Asian-inspired paper and cut out some larger circles.  I used a soup bowl to trace around.  Then find an alternate color/pattern and trace smaller circles onto that paper--one of the girls' snack bowls.
Next print out your wording in a font that you like.  I'm sure there's probably a faster way than the way I did it, but I cut out the words, traced them onto the contrasting red paper and then cut them out. The important thing to remember here is to flip the letters over, so in fact you are tracing the letter backwards (or in reverse?) so that when you cut the letters out, the pencil lines are on the back which will have the glue on it NOT on the front which will be on the bunting.  Does that make sense?!?!
Next I spray glued the letters and slapped them onto the smaller circles.  After hole-punching the circles to pass the ribbon/yarn/bakers twine/etc. through, I realized that I actually should have hole-punched 2 circles and spaced them a bit more, but it ended up working out fine.
Then start threading your ribbon/yarn/bakers twine/etc. through the holes starting from the end of the last word and working back (i.e. Y-O-H-C).  Since I always think pompoms are fun and festive, I made a couple of them to space between the words.  Side note, one of the Noodle's friends came over while I was making some and she said "What is it with you and pompoms?  You must really like them!"  Ha--you're right K!
Finally, string up your bunting and step back and admire it.  A splash of color as well as a way to celebrate Chinese New Year.
FYI, I had always thought Gung Hay Fat Choy was the way to spell the New Year's greeting.  While this is somewhat true, I also learned that since this is the way they spell it in Hong Kong, many in mainland China somewhat look down their noses at this spelling.  Gong Hei Fat Choy is what Cantonese speakers generally say and since both of my girls most likely heard Cantonese, I decided to go with that.  No biggie--whatever way you decide to roll with it.
Good Luck--May Fortune Come Your Way!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You came back!

This process of bonding and attachment is a funny thing.  Just when you think everything is good to go, something will happen and you'll realize, oops, no, there's still shaky ground here.
We are coming up on our one year (!) anniversary of Mei Mei coming home.  Hard to believe that we met her last February, but there you have it.  It feels like she's always been part of our family.
I don't have any doubts that she is bonded and attached to us (or we to her for that matter).  What we have been noticing lately, however, is that she is having a very difficult time when we have to leave her (generally at home) especially in the later afternoon/dinnertime.  She gets very clingy, especially to me, and a few times, has become super emotional too.  We're not just talking whining and crying, but literally clawing herself up me and holding on for dear life.  It seems that she is so fearful that we won't return.  Bless her little soul, it just breaks this mama's heart!  Interestingly enough, she hasn't had any difficulty separating to go back to preschool or to Sunday School, thank goodness.

How horrible to live in fear that the people you have grown to love and trust may leave and never return?  While we know this isn't true, it is an ever present anxiety in her little mind. Such is the reality of children who have been abandoned and spent time in orphanages and foster care.  People often leave unexpectedly--and it is horrible.
When one or both of us do have to leave, we continually reassure her that Mamas and Daddys always come back for their children and that she's part of our family and will never leave and things of that nature.  When she wakes up in the morning she'll say "Mama!!  You came back!" or "Daddy, it's so good to see you".  You can hear the relief and excitement that she's seeing us again.  Poor thing.

Some evenings her anxiety has gotten so high, even when we're just going about our normal routine getting dinner ready and not going anywhere, that I've just picked her up and held her tightly against my chest and rocked her.  This seems to really help soothe her and it serves as a stark reminder to me, that even though things look good on the surface, there's still a lot of uncertainty lurking just below it.
All we can do is continue to work through it with her, reassure her and pray with and for her, all the while, holding her close and loving on her.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Star Student

This past week it was the Noodle's turn to be the Star Student in her class.  On the last day, the child can have a member of their family come in and read a book, do a craft, bring in a treat, etc.  She and J talked and they decided it would be cool for him to come in and talk about being an architect.
When we arrived, the class was still at library, so while J set up, Mei Mei took the teacher's hand and went down with her to pick up the group.  Here she is, marching back in--hilarious!
J talked for a few minutes and showed the class some drawings, sketches, models, etc.  He answered their questions and also explained all about the kind of schooling they would need to have if they wanted to be an architect.
Both of them were pretty pumped!
After his little talk, he had the kiddos go to their desks to create their "dream" house.  They could cut out various rooms and house features (driveway, deck, garage, etc.) and design a floorplan. 
I know the Noodle was very proud to have J there and he loved every minute of it too!