Sunday, September 01, 2013

Emma turns 8!

 Talking to Kami in Barcelona on Emma's Birthday
 Opening the present Kami sent
 What is it?
 Kami I love it!
 A picture with Kami when we were in Europe this summer.
 We went to dinner at Le Basil and then Emma opened up her presents from the family.
 A camelback from Aunt Debbie and Tom
 Clay charms from Meilynn
 Snorkel from Jilliana
 Sketch book from (she calls it her scratch book) from Mommy and Daddy
 Hairband kit from Lily
 Something special from Mommy
 A locket!  I really wanted a locket!
 It has Emma Sophia Mingjing on the front.  Inside it has Born in my heart and a favorite Bible verse from psalm 139 and a picture of mommy and Emma.
 After school party on Friday
 Decorating cookies and eating fruit Kabobs

 At Color Me Mine
 Jilliana painting her fish
 Meilynn of course chose Hello Kitty
 Lily a cupcake
And Emma chose a Dog.

Whew!!! It was not just a birthday but a birthday week!  I cannot believe that Emma is already 8.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have a Kindergartner!

My last Kindergartner!  It is hard to believe!  Of course if I had it my way there would be more, but the line has been drawn.  So here I am saying good-bye to my last Kindergartner:(  I will miss my little buddy.  We did everything together.  I just love this little one.  

 On Friday we went to "Meet the Teacher Day".  Of course we already know her since she was Emma, Meilynn's and Lily's kindergarten Teacher.  Jilliana found her cubby and where she will hang her backpack.  There are only 10 in the class and with an aide.

 I had this on my camera and had to throw it in.  The girls spend almost any free time doing art projects.

 Her first year with a backpack and going everyday.  It is bigger than her.
 The back to school outfit she chose.  This little one loves animal prints.  I personally don't wear them, but she is attracted to anything with a leopard print.
 Jilliana Elise Jihong is a Kindergartner!
 J for Jilliana
 Mommy is going to miss her
 Kiss form Daddy on the first day
 and a little fun...
 At School
 Jilliana with Mrs. Noble
 She is getting so big.  She grew 5 inches this year!  She is not far behind Emma even though she is two years younger.

All lined up and ready to go in.

We love you Jilliana and know the future is unlimited for you.  You are a funny, smart, joyful, appreciative, and sympathetic little thing.  I couldn't be happier that God placed you in our family.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ramblings.......and Grandma's hands

Why is it that I have the best intentions to get so much done after the girls are in bed and then when that time comes I just don't feel like doing anything but getting into my bathtub and reading my book?

Today I felt so productive.  You know, one of those days where you just seem to get a lot  done.  As my day went on I kept adding to my list since I was accomplishing so much.  So here I sit with a list of things I planned to get done, but now I  just don't feel like it.

I got up early.  Mike is out of town so I am solo.  I got the lunches started and oatmeal on before it was time to wake the girls.  After doing all four heads of hair the girls ate breakfast.  I don't know about breakfast at your house, but these girls can eat.  They had oatmeal, eggs, toast, banana bread, fruit and juice.  We have some new rules in our house due to things getting really, umm...lax around here.  Is lax a word?  The girls eat at the counter in the morning and they were starting to just get up and take some of their dishes to the sink.  I was beginning to feel like the waitress again, so the rule is, if you leave any part of your breakfast dishes out and this includes your trash, you have to wash or dry any dishes in the sink.  Today Meilynn left her dishes on the counter, so after school she will put away the dishes.

The other rules we are working on are:
Running in the house- I have tried almost everything to stop this.  It is just a safety issue.  We have hard tile floor and a step up form one room to another, stairs, and just the danger of running into someone else.  So the consequence is one lap for each year of your age in our back yard.  Lily broke this rule the first day and had to run 10 laps around the backyard.  The first few laps she was laughing and thinking it was fun, but by the 7th she was already dragging.  No one has broken that rule since the first day it was in place.  Now I  know that is too good to be true, since it is something we have been trying to stop forever.

Wiping your hands together to get food crumbs off your hands or wiping them on the floor=sweep whole kitchen.  One of the girls started wiping their hands together to get the crumbs off and then the others began doing this.  I can't stand it.

Eating with hands.  We have one that just can't stop doing this.  So if she does it she has to go eat outside alone.  I mean if you are going to eat like an animal then you should eat like an animal.  At least I won't have to watch it.

Ok, I think you get the idea.  There are just two more but I have got completely off subject.  I was talking about my productive day.  It doesn't help that I have had one wake-up with a bad dream in the middle of typing this.  So now I just want to finish this post to get into my book.

Back to my day.  I got the lunches made, the girls off to school.  Jilliana and I dropped by the piano teachers to pick up a few of Emma's new books, and then we went to the grocery store.  When we got home we played play dough,  I made a slow cooker chicken to have another night.
This is actually the things I put into the pot after the chicken to make chicken stock for chicken soup.

Jilliana and I then made jello for dessert tonight.  (It is not on our real food plan, but it is a sometime food)
I made Jilliana a quick lunch of pea soup, cheese, fruit kabob, carrots and hummus.
Then Jilliana and I worked on a little school work that I do with her.  She beat me at the memory game three times.

We talked to Kami on Skype, and then it was time to get the girls.
I could go on with this day, but boring.  The point is I felt really good about getting so much done.
Fast forward to bedtime and someone had a major breakdown and missed the story.  I guess the name of this post was appropriate.  Ramblings, since that is all it seems that I am doing.

I was really going to write a post on "Thats Not Fair", guess I will save that for another day.  And, oh yeah, the Italy trip.......hmmm, not enough hours in my day.

I will leave you with a few pictures.  My favorite is the last one!
 Jilliana licking the whipped cream for the Jello

Who would believe that one of these girls would have a major breakdown an hour later.  And it was not the little one.
I love this picture!  It is my Mom helping Jilliana on one of her projects.  Jilliana spent so much time trying to get this right.  The box said it was for 6 and up.  She is 5, but she stuck with it.  I love the way she has her little arm over Grandmas.  Looking at their hands reminds me of an e-mail I got years ago and saved.

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench.
She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the
longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her
at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and
looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she
said in a clear voice strong.

'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here
staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I
explained to her.

'Have you ever looked at your hands,' she asked. 'I mean really
looked at your hands?'

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them
over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at
my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making..

Grandma smiled and related this story:

'Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have
served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled
shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to
reach out and grab and embrace life.

'They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my
mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled
on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off
to war.

'They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were
uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated
with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I
buried my parents and spouse.

'They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and
shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the
rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried
and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works
real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to
fold in prayer.

'These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out
and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to
His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God
reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my
children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and
caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my

Author Unknown

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Study Hall and hanging on to summer!

I have been trying to decide what to do about a  homework place for the girls since last spring.  We have a playroom and a workout room.  In the spring I moved all of the baby dolls, baby crib, little kitchen etc. into our workout room.  I thought we would use the playroom as the homework room or study room.  But what we really ended up with was two playrooms.  Now, not only was I complaining about picking up the playroom, but now there were two.

We had been using our kitchen table for homework, but with our varied schedule someone was always working there and then their stuff had to be moved to eat dinner.  Then it would just get stacked up on the kitchen counter, which then really frustrated me.

So with the  school year starting and knowing how much more work 3rd grade is, and now it is independent work (mostly), we needed to find a place that was quiet for the girls to work, but not too far away.  When I taught 3rd grade that was one of the first things I told the students to do.  Find a homework station.

When Kami and Meghan were little, we bought desks for them and they each had them in their own room.  With two girls sharing a room now there just isn't any room for a desks.  Plus, their rooms are upstairs and too far away.

When we bought this house it was something like 2700 square feet. (I am not really good with numbers so this is approximate, and it was a long time ago1)  We were a family of four and we had come from a smaller house, so it felt huge.  We had 3 bedrooms, and an office that could be a fourth.  We had 3 bathrooms.

After several years, we added a little on to the laundry room, downstairs bath, and added a workout room that could also be a bedroom if needed.  Now our house was 3200 feet.

After we adopted Emma and Meilynn we added on to our house again.  If you have been reading my blog a long time that was when we lived in the motorhome at the beach with two three year olds while our house was  being remodeled.  (A very challenging time, but now I look back with such fond memories of that  time.)  We added on a playroom, converted our old bedroom into a guest bath with a bathroom, and added on a huge master suite and bathroom.  Now our house is 4300 square feet or maybe 4700 square feet.  I don't know and that is not the point.

But with all of this adding on, the girls are in Kami and Meghan's old rooms sharing, because we now have a guest room for when the older girls come home or for guests.  Mike still has his office, we have the gym or playroom and the playroom.

Mike and I decided that even though the gym was further away, it would be the better place to set up the girls homework area.  So I found some cute desks, moved all of the playroom baby stuff out, and have started setting the room up for studying.

 I couldn't believe how fast the desks came.  Jilliana was home and the girls were at their second day of school, so she helped Daddy put the chairs and desks together.

 Jilliana loves helping Daddy

 Mine is the first one done!  I love it!

 Adjusting Lily's chair.

 It was over 100 degrees, so we set up the fan while we worked.  Guess who got too close to the fan after just telling Jilliana not to get too close.

 Yup, me!  It pulled my necklace right off my neck.  Mike was able to put it back together.
The girls home from  school and so excited!

 Back to ballet after being off all summer.

 Back to "real foods".  I made homemade ice cream for dessert.
Emma eating hers just before swimming.  We are trying to get as much swimming in as we can.
Jilliana enjoying hers.

Meilynn ready to swim.
 Peach smoothies to freeze for school this week.