Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Field Trip Friday

This time we visitied the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

Loved it!

We met our new friends, who also homeschool, for an afternoon surrounded by God's beautiful handiwork, carefully cultivated into a delightful discovery of gardens and trails and observatories and habitats.

First things first: picnic lunch.

One of my favorite from the rose garden. Gorgeous! And so fragrant.

The kids brought their journals, and I encouraged them to sketch or write about their discoveries. They stopped often to observe and sketch.

The rose garden also inspired Gabe, and he took a moment to capture some of it's beauty.

All of the kiddos, forced into a group pose by two camera-toting moms. This stone seat was covered with a colorful tile mosaic.

Caleb and Seth peering over a two-story lookout tower. They were disappointed that Gator Lake had no 'gators. (And with the current Texas drought, not much lake either.)

It is always such a joy to watch my children learn and make new discoveries.

One of my favorite spots was the Arid Garden, a little corner with a wide variety of cacti and desert foiliage poking out of the hard soil. This garden felt like Texas!

God is so good to add such color and beauty to even the most desolate of places. We can't wait until springtime when blooms and blossoms will spring out from what we thought was dry and dead.

A desert congo line?

And this was my favorite picture of the day. Isn't she just lovely, my sweet Lily flower, bursting from among the rose bushes?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I woke up this morning with a sweet, chubby four-year in the crook of my arm. His fingers caressed my arm as he whispered in my ear:

"Jesus called them...and immediately they followed him."


Then, "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life.'"

Then he repeated both verses again.

His memory verses from the past couple of weeks at AWANA Bible Club.

Sweet. In its purest, most virtuous form.

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation" Psalm 5:3

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

We celebrated:

With decorations. (I bought this flashy silk lantern at a shop on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, trying to spend the last of our yuan before leaving the following day.)

With little red envelopes the kids and I made. I printed out a host of Chinese characters, and the kids each picked out their favorite one to put on their own envelope. Caleb picked "Fun," Gabe picked "Fire," Lily picked "Love," and Seth picked "Happy." They all wanted Rob to have "Father" and me to have "Mother." Inside each envelope I tucked a few coins and placed them all alongside their dinner plates, in addition to a special candy treat.

With a big meal, mostly Chinese fare, with American twists: Jasmine rice, General Zso's Chicken, egg rolls, steamed dumplings, fried dumplings, and ginger and garlic green beans. Yum!

Chopsticks are a must! Of course, by the end of the meal, each of the kids had requested a spoon and/or fork. At least they got a little practice.

Our Chinese New Year Prayer for you: May God bless you with a long life, good health, great love, and financial blessings to spare this coming year, in Jesus' name!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Field Trip Friday

First stop: the library. . .for a book on the shells of coastal south Texas.

Because this is what the beach on the base looks like.

A few extra finds, like beached jelly fish and hermit crabs, add delight to the day.

And what would an afternoon at the "shell beach" be without a Black Hawk fly-by? (Seriously, these things are amazing!)

Sorry the light is really harsh on this one, but I wanted a group shot with before we left.

Who knows where next Friday will take us?

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Backwards Glance at 2008

I know that 2009 has been here for quite some time. I mean, you've all probably stopped writing "08" on your checks by now. Maybe not. Sometimes I still write "99." Don't laugh. That was the year I became a mother, and we all know that children suck brain cells away like X-Men's Rogue (who, by the way has the coolest name AND the hair of the gang) sucks away others' powers.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to go through the beginning-ish sentences of some of last years blog posts and see what kind of story they tell.

January 8 Okay, it's been almost forever since I've talked to you.

Today was a little hard, but not too bad.

January 9 I thought today would be harder than it is.

January 10 Today I spent a lot of time searching.

January 17 Last week was really hard.

January 24 Today is Day 17.

January 26 Caleb: "You know what Jesus is working on right now?"

February 7 "Gong Xi Fa Cai" or Lots of blessings and prosperity to you!

February 13 Two years! How they have zipped right on by.

February 20 40 days of prayer and God speaks...and this is where he is leading.

February 22 I just had to share this picture of my youngest two with you.

February 26 The kids begged me last weekend to let them have a cook-"in," so we rigged some wire hangers and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for s'mores over the fire in our woodburner.

March 3 "Gabriel is transforming...into a seven-year-old!"

March 5 Last week, on a Sunday afternoon, our neighbor called.

March 13 For Lily's third birthday, my brother Josh and his wife Lana bought her a cute Barbie doll, all decked out for the beach in her fairly conservative bathing suit, wrap and big, beach feet.

March 27 I LOVE Easter. Love it.

March 31 Is your refrigerator running? You'd better go catch it! Hee hee.

April 9 Such a glorious, warm, sunny, earthy, springy weekend we were given!

April 18 I hate coloring my hair.

April 21 I gave my little blog a face lift you like it?

April 23 So it's not as golden as I thought. Rob's new job is not going to work out.

April 24 I know it's officially spring, because literally overnight my weeping cherry trees erupted into full blossom.

April 30 Today Lily and I met my sister Jamie and her daughter Emmaly for a day of shopping (low budget!), lunching and just being together.

May 6 Seth Sightings

May 12 Why I love being a mother. A small sampling.

May 22 My heart is breaking today for a fellow adoptive parent.

This morning the kids and I drove out to Russ Forest to walk the trails.

May 23 I've taken Jeny's yellow challenge.

May 30 What happens when you leave your firefighters in the drier too long.

June 17 Right now, as I type, Rob is in Washington DC, either waiting for his turn to interview with the Navy Chaplain board or actually in the middle of the interview.

June 30 "Lieutenant Fasnacht." It's official!

July 8 I recently joined a yahoo group for military families who homeschool.

July 18 Have I shared with you Caleb's obsession with berries?

July 27 Yee Haw (Picture of Texas license plate, indicating that we will be moving there.)

Okay, so Friday my doctor found an "abdominal mass" the size of a softball parked in my midsection.

July 28 "Dog Show At the Fair" Gabe did really, really well. Disney...she decided she was not a performing monkey and chose obstinance over obedience.

August 5 I've had blood drawn, and I underwent an ultrasound and just yesterday a CT scan. They think it's a cyst, but I'm still waiting for the CT scan results to come back to confirm that's all it is.

"Horse Show" I'm so proud of my little cowboys.

August 11 "My Weenend In Photos and Captions" (Included are photos of Caleb's birthday and Rob's commissioning service at church.)

Blood tests for cancer: normal.

August 13 The Good: The OB surgeon is AWESOME. The Bad: Okay, I'm going to be cut open from above my navel, around my navel, and then down below my navel. The Ugly: 17 cm X 13 cm X 9 cm. Yeah, that's how big this growth is.

I have a surgery date: Tuesday, the 19th at 2:00 p.m.

August 19 "Today's the Day" (Surgery.)

August 21 Hi. I'm home. Very glad to be home.

August 22 Wanna See? ***Warning Graphic Medical Photo

August 31 "Rob's Gone: Day 2"

September 8 I'm still mending, but much to my boys' chagrin, a little tiredness on mama's part does not stop school from coming to our house.

September 17 "The New Justice League" Evil-doers beware!

I told the kids to go outside for "recess" and ride their bikes.

September 18 Pretty Lily

September 23 "Cardboard Testimonies"
::Watch this only if you want to feel so thankful to God for what he can do in a broken person's life::

October 9 The kids and I just returned from a 2100 mile round-trip road trip.

October 24 These autumn days are all running into one another.

November 3 I'm answering Jeny's pink challenge today.

Gabe's first toothless smile in seven years!

November 14 "Two." That's how many days I have left until the movers come and start loading up our stuff.

December 2 The bird has landed...and the mama bird is reassembling the nest. (Okay, that sentences really doesn't make that much sense, does it? Sorry.)

December 15 We're starting to get settled here in TX, though it's kinda hard to feel Christmasy when the needle outside points to 72 degrees.

* * *

A crazy kind of year. I've noticed lots of reasons to be SO thankful to God. I can clearly see His hand throughout it all. I can also see lots of areas that need improvement in my life...and in my writing patterns. We'll work on those things together, you and I, dear reader.

How was your year?