Monday, July 23, 2012

30 days until school starts

The summer has gone so fast this year.  I know in reality it's the same time frame, but as I age I realize more and more how time seems to speed up.  There were no big family vacations this year just mini fun times.  We still have a few more to go.  A trip to the water park, another Chicago trip, Childrens Museum near U of Michigan campus (uncoupled with a Dr. visit), and a few more hiking trips at nearby state parks. 

Caroline just got back from her poms competition and did wonderful.  She got 4 ribbons.  As a team they got state recognition (I know that doesn't sound good, but it's a high honor), and placed high in their complicated and detailed moves category.  The coach is an amazing person. She believes in lifting up instead of tearing down.  She believes each girl is an individual and allows them to be just that.  She also does not tolerate cattiness.  I love this in a person.  Now it's time for my baby to get back to earth and back to health class.  She took a summer class and is so glad she did.  It's allowed her to really study the information and understand it since there are no other classes to study.  She is very diligent about her studies.

I had the opportunity to assist in a seminar at Notre Dame last week.  It was for Students from the University of Fudan, Shanghai China.  They were all engineering students.  The seminar gave the students the opportunity to view US campus life, sit in a few different classes, and learn a bit about Americans first hand. 

Well, I learned a great deal as well.  The competition level in China to achieve good grades is Very High.  The students study all the time.  They were telling me how the students do not party at college, they do not get into trouble,  the library is the hot spot and everywhere you look students are in books or on tablets studying.  Wow.  A little of that here would be nice.  They said it's like that from the time they were in elementary school.  The children do not mouth off to teachers or fight with other students at school.  It's all about the books. 

During the seminar the topic of American slang words was covered.  Well, to say the least I learned allot as well.  Now I know why my Caroline comes home and asks me about different words she has heard and why they use it in that context.  I took allot of notes.  The one question the students had was why people would knowing call each other other vulgar names in a friendly type setting. Hmmmmm good question. 

Our garden is doing OK.  It's finally started to take off now that God has watered it instead of me.  We needed the rain desperately.  The fields were suffering around here something fierce.  It's nice to see a bit of green instead of all the brown yards.  I was hoping to be able to put 100-150 quarts of tomatoes but it may only be more like 50-75.  We'll see what the next month brings. 

So many changes going on at home, I'm glad children are resilient and adjust well.  Although they don't get it all they still roll with it and tough through.  I have some amazing young'uns. 

Here are a few pics from 4th of July - VERY Hot day and on a burn ban so this was the extent of our celebrations with fireworks

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaching them to be Frugal

What can $25 worth of spray paint, 6 screws, and 8 pieces of duct tape get you?  Oh I forget to mention a stop on the side of the road to pick at someone elses trash.  "One mans trash is anothers treasure"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Update

It's now July 9th, and the girls have 44 days until the first day of school.  Wow it just hit me my Ma would have been 91 tomorrow. I lost her Dec. 16th, 1997.  I can recall the day just as clearly as I can recall the arrival of each of my children, via birth or adoption.   I miss being able to sit on the floor and have her stroke my hair.  We didn't talk, but that comfort alone was good enough.  I miss going over every morning for coffee and a bagel before I went to work.  I guess with all the personal issues I am dealing with right now I miss her a great deal these days.

It's been a steady summer.  No to busy, but busy enough to keep everyone from getting on each others nerves.   The girls went to Impact Camp.  It didn't go well.  I am so sad because their past experiences have been wonderful.  But, the adage "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" applies here. One bad experience has set the tone.

Genevieve and Abigail have vowed to NEVER go back.  There was a girl in their cabin that brought Genevieve to tears on a few occasions.  This did not go over well with Abigail.  Storms then rolled in.  Genevieve is totally fascinated with the weather but does not do storms well. Because of this, the girls became homesick and lonely, so they crawled in bed together the counselor told them they couldn't.  They explained they sleep together at home all the time.  The counselor told them that it takes 5 days to get a background check back on them and by then camp would be over.  WHAT, really, you are going to tell  8 and 9 sisters year this.  The real question is where was the counselor when the mean girl was upsetting them?  Where was the counselor when the mean girl was explaining to them they were they only Chinese kids at camp?  Where was the counselor when they were being taunted to talk in Chinese, because if they were from China they could do that?  GRRRRRRRR

Caroline also went to camp.  A different one than the girls, but the same week.   She too has vowed to never go back.  She said it was to clicky.  Of course she used the Chinese word, :>).  It was not structured and had a great deal of free time.  This allowed for the kids to do what ever they wanted, and they utilized this time to hang out in the woods.  Wow.  While in the cabin they all stayed in their little groups and hung out and talked amongst each other.   When they did talk to her it was to question her as to why her "real" parents did not want her and she had to go live in an orphanage.  I asked how they knew she was adopted.  A few girls were there when I dropped her off and they asked her who I was after I left.  Of course she very proudly said I was her mama.  When they asked about the difference in race she told them she was adopted.  She did enjoy the worship time and concerts but the rest was a bust.  

Next year we may look into camp, but it WILL NOT be Impact.  I'm so sad because it really has it's benefits in building on the Christian faith.  But, I can not allow my girls to be traumatized.  With Impact camp each week has different volunteer counselors.  We may go back to Camp Eberhart.  My Owen grew up in this camp  1 week every summer from the time he was 8 yrs old until he graduated high school.   It's not a Church camp, but it does maintain strong Christian values.

W are coming up to the end of our volunteering with It's been 4 years of fostering baby kittys.  78 adoptions have come through our home.  About 1/3 of the babies have been bottle feeders.  We have had the opportunity to watch several live births, one in my car. We have lost a few as well, I guess God needed a few more baby kittys running around, after all they are so sweet.  I've had a few injuries along the way.  I think the worst was the feral momma who wanted nothing to do with her babies and didn't want me to either.  That one required 3 rounds of antibiotics and a shot in the backside.  Thank God for much cushion to help the pain.  It's been wonderful experience, it really taught the girls so much about life in simple ways.  I think it also helped our Caroline transition.  Shortly after she came to us, was the around the same time as the feral mama, so those babies needed allot of love and she provided it for them.

But sadly because of all that's going on in my personal life,  time is up for us to foster anymore.  Here are a few pics of some of the babies.  Caroline is holding Mei Fen and Lo Mein, 2 of the bottle babies from the feral mama.


Caroline starts summer school today, she signed up for a health class.  Her poms clinic is coming up in a couple weeks.  She's nervous. I'm excited for her.  The coach for the squad is a great person.  She has strong Christian values and does not tolerate cattiness and backstabbing on her squad.  She teaches the girls an alternative but not at the expense of creating victims.   I really checked into this after our cheer leading experience.  This may really provide an opportunity for Caroline to meet people she could become friends with.  She tells me so often how the students act at school and she does not want those kind of friends.  Well the friends she wants are not in the spotlight, because they are doing the right thing, so she is missing them.   She is still teaching and working at the Doons.  She is now talking to customers and not ditching out when they come to the window.  I am so proud of her.  She's come a long way.

My oldest and his amazing wife had a baby girl a couple weeks ago.  Kaniyah arrived 5 wks early but still showed up weighing 5 lbs.   She looks just like her daddy did at birth, kinda eeary. He should call her
mini-me.  This gives them 8 beautiful children.
With the heatwave and the draught, our garden is sad.  Although I water, it can't withstand the 100 plus  temps we've had.  Now that the temps have broke, I hope it recovers.  We need all the produce we can get to put up for winter.  It nicewas using God' air conditioner last night.  Every window was opened up and the house aired out.   I love open windows as opposed to AC.

The girls have been spending their heatwave in the pool.  All the sunscreen in the world can not stop them from turning a golden brown.  It's s beautiful.  Abigail's ears are holding out, but just barely with all the swimming.  We go back to see the ENT next month. 

Well I think I've updated enough.  Have a Blessed Day.