Friday, March 20, 2015

Best Day Ever!


Last Saturday, we went to Yosemite and saw Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls in the spring. Crystal clear mountain run-off filling the river. Ice cold and so clear you could see to the very bottom. It was a perfect day! Absolute best company. You don't see one member of our party until the very end, but he was behind the camera, My Firefighter's life-long friend from childhood.









I'm trying to wash my feet and put my shoes on without putting my foot in the sand again, but I kept sinking and losing my balance. Then i noticed I was on candid camera and My Firefighter came to help me.













See how tiny the people are compared to the magnificent falls?




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sun Tails Monofin


Have you ever seen anything like this before? I haven't. My friend is launching her new business and if you click HERE you can enter to win a free monofin and I get another chance to win, too. At least I think that's how it's supposed to work. My HTML is pretty bad, so I hope I linked it up correctly.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Apple Update



Apple is getting more and more confident and adventurous as she grows taller and her center of gravity changes and she becomes more stable. She's been walking for a year now! She's been with me longer than she lived in her orphanage. She's been surgery-free for 9 months now. Without the pain and trauma of surgery, blood work, imaging scans, etc., her personality is exploding and she's joyful, animated and absolutely delightful! Everyone is commenting on how happy she is. Best of all, she is SUPER attached and bonded to me and I to her. What a difference lack of trauma makes. I grieve more deeply for my older girls who lived for so long in their orphanages. I love it when she looks back for me or chooses to stay with me, imitates me, shares food with me, comes into the kitchen to see what I'm doing then I see her imitating it with her toys. She's starting to play with other children her size, and play with her sisters in more complicated, deeper and more meaningful play, she loves to color with crayons and often sits at her little table and colors when her sisters are at their desks doing their school work. Though her hands will always have very limited mobility, she is finding ways to make the most of what she's got and her dexterity has taken a mighty leap in the last couple of weeks.

She has gained weight well since healing from her last surgery and I love her rounded toddler belly. She looks so normal and healthy now, not a trace of the starved baby bird in her at all. Even her hair is finally growing!

Now that she's got a few words to say, she's out of diapers. She's been potty-trained since before I adopted her, but she couldn't talk to tell me when she had to go and now she can, so she ditched her daytime diapers in a day the minute she could say the word "pah-ee." Today she put her underpants on all by herself and got them pulled all the way up. Not easy at all when your fingers can't bend and are very, very short.

Talking is still difficult for her - it appears to be motor issues most of all - but she makes progress almost daily and she's working hard. I love listening to her practice speaking on her own after I put her in bed. One of her favorite and best words to say just happens to be apple!

She has taken some spills lately, too, not related to being adventurous, but due to repeated carelessness on the part of one sister not securing her highchair tray properly and the other due to slippery church shoes, hence the two lovely bruises on her forehead. So, I kept the shoes off of her while in the house and her sister is no longer allowed to put the highchair tray on.



Monday, March 2, 2015

Beware of Your Vacuum!


Mine tried to eat me today. I have a new one and the price was right - free. It's a Kirby with 90% power assist drive with an automatic clutch. Yep, I'm not talking about a car but a vacuum. A very powerful vacuum.

I'm used to my Dyson, which I love, but with my new high pile carpet, the Kirby is better and easier. I only forgot one important thing: The beater brush on the Kirby keeps rolling unless you remove the belt. The roller on the Dyson stops when the handle is in the upright position.

So, I got down of the floor to smell the carpet to check for a cat no-no, and before I realized it, the Kirby grabbed the ends of my hair and shot toward me and bonked me in the head with half my hair wound up around the beater brush and drive shaft. Big ouch!

I didn't panic, but fumbled for the off switch. I did fumble because it was new and I'm just getting to know it. Then I rested a moment, took some deep breaths, figured out how bad bad was. I asked the girls to bring me the phone and I called - yep, you guessed it, My Firefighter, who wasn't conveniently across the street on duty, but was 6 miles away at home.

He came. And, just by lucky chance, he'd watched and helped me change the belt in the Kirby just a few days ago so he knew the anatomy of it well. He had a plan all figured out by the time he arrived and it didn't involve scissors. He even asked nicely if I wanted him to take a picture. I declined.

However, he freed me with great care and skill. Brushing hurt my bruised scalp, but so much of my hair had been pulled all the way out, broken or fried, that detangling wasn't as bad as I feared it would be, the tangles just came right off or clumps of hair did. There are a few small bald patches hidden on my scalp that might show up more when the hair starts to grow back in and sticks up, but I don't think anyone can see any damage right now. Then, My Firefighter gave me a nice trim to even it all up and make it look nice again.

I still love my Kirby and had even been sending up a heartfelt prayer of thanks for it moments before it tried to eat me. I just need to remember to feed it very carefully in the future!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Looking Back


This was us only 19 months ago.


This Christmas picture was taken two months ago. Look how they've all grown and changed, especially Blossom and Apple!


It's hard to imagine, looking at the photo, that, just today after church, Sissy (16.5) got to take the minivan around the empty church parking lot a few times (me right beside her, of course) for the second time ever.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Smart Cat


Rose was sitting on my lap and the very second she heater start firing up, she hopped down and sat on the vent. A moment later when it warmed up, she laid over it. She's not my only cat that does this, but it seems she's the fastest and definitely knows the sound of the furnace clicking on and tries to get to the vent first!

Sewing Project #3: Travel Tissue Pack



What should have taken an hour took two days, but the girls managed to measure, draw and cut out two rectangles for the pattern and sew up these cute little tissue pack covers. They only have four seams and are SUPER easy! I made one in only 9 minutes in case anyone wants to make a super quick gift and has a few fabric scraps handy. HERE'S the link to the free tutorial, but I did make some adjustments since my tissues (Kleenex brand packs) were longer and narrower than other brands. My outer fabric rectangle was 5 3/4" x 6 1/4" and my inner fabric rectangle was 5 3/4" x 7 1/2".


Sewing Project #2: Lazy Pants



The girls began this class at our local fabric store with an elderly, mostly deaf, teacher who was more inclined to do the work for them rather than teach them. It was a four hour class, spread out over two days. Had we done it the teacher's way, they'd have finished a rotten pair of pants in about an hour without learning a thing. I asked my girls if they wanted to learn to sew well and, if so, to follow my instructions. They did and they got a nice little pair of jammie pants that have an elastic waistband, seams finished with a zigzag on the raw edges, proper hems, and they did it themselves almost completely. We used Simplicity Pattern #2290 and they are generously full. We'll make another pair and make them 2" narrower since my girls are pretty thin.

The other student in the class went home with something pathetic and without the knowledge of how to make them again. I can see why the three other students never showed up - they obviously knew to wait for the next session that would be taught by the younger gal.

Shin Nian Kuai Le



We spent Chinese New Year going in search of snow. We had to drive up past 8000 feet to find it and what we found was just patches in the shade and some man-made stuff as a ski resort where the owner was walking around in shorts! The girls had fun, though, and that's what mattered.



My Valentine!


In case you haven't heard, California is in a very, very serious drought right now. This is a boat launch ramp at a popular mountain lake. Notice that the dock isn't floating because there isn't any water?


Sunday, February 22, 2015

11 Years Old


It's so hard to believe, but Jie Jie turned 11 last week. I love how she's just glowing in these pictures and looking so happy. She's 48" tall now and about 48-50 pounds. Quite a lot different from the little girl who came home at age 7 wearing size 3-4T clothes, but still very small for her age.