Thursday, 30 June 2011

When Your Brother is a Playground

 Parenting a large family for a long time makes the parents old - sort of like antiques - valuable but fragile.  And that's where older brothers come in handy.  When the boys get together with David its full out wild.  And David is up for the task, picking them up and throwing them down till the little boys want to cry, but of course never would, because that's how you get tough in boy world.  Meanwhile, the girls and I sit and enjoy the spectacle wondering if the grass stains will ever come out of their knees and shirts. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Sent with Love

 Corinne chose the way she wanted to spend her last evening in America.  She wanted chicken soup for dinner followed by a family walk around the neighborhood.  We finished the night with a drive to the Cone Zone and Corinne treated everyone to ice-cream. One by one as the kids went to bed they came to her and hugged and said their final good-byes and this morning while we slept, James drove her to the airport for her flight back to China.  
  Last night we sat on her bed together talking and she said that she felt so different than the person who had arrived here a year ago.  She talked about how her life had been driven by a single goal - to excel in academics.  This year has opened her mind and heart to so much more.  She learned how to spend time playing and being silly.  She has put up with a huge family from anyone's perspective, let alone a citizen of a "one child policy" nation and that's been good.  Corinne had the opportunity to travel and see so much of our country and most importantly she had the chance to meet God.  It was no surprise to me that He had prepared her heart to be so open and her last prayer was that she would be able to be closer to God and tell China about Him.
  There is a little piece of our family making it's way, right now, across the skies back to her world and we will miss Corinne.  
  If you get the opportunity, consider sponsoring an exchange student.  Start your own missionary training school around your kitchen table!
  We love you Corinne.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

"There's this my class......"

  Sometimes the best conversations happen over breakfast.  While my granddaughter Scarlett was enjoying her Fruit Loops this morning she told me about her best friend Benjamin at school and Julia at church.  She also talked about the mean boy at school who called her a cry baby at recess. We agreed that it's hard when people call you names and how much we like our friends that make us laugh.  Coffee and Scarlett were the perfect start to my day.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

     During the school year the kids have activities 3 or 4 nights of the week - sports practice, church groups and lessons.  Dinner is often a "throw your food down your throat and out the door" affair. Not fun.
  But things wind down here in the summer.  I'm lucky to get dinner on the table by 7pm and we cancel all outside of our home activities.  And way past bedtime the kids love to have a night swim.  Somehow the pool becomes magic in  the moonlight.  And when they finally tumble into bed, the sleep is sweet and long and summer seems to last forever.
(when Isaiah saw this picture he remarked  "See, I do walk on water!")

Monday, 20 June 2011

Mommy Will Be Back Later

  Our local historical society is presenting a three day workshop on the role our county played in the civil war- including walking tours of battlefields, museums visits and lectures by experts on the subject.  We live in the Lower Shenandoah Valley of what was then Virginia and not only is this area beautiful but was a major border between the North and the South.  
  And I get to attend.  Just me, without kids, sitting and listening and learning.  It was nice to find that my brain hadn't completely died here under the pile of children.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Sweet Berries

  In our neighborhood, this is how many hand picked raspberries  you can get for $3.

  The price is determined by how many boys it takes to ride up and down the road on their bikes looking for wild raspberry bushes.  Each boy wants a buck and I want the raspberries.  It's a very agreeable business transaction for all.  The boys unfortunately get very purple stained hands and knees, but a good long swim in the pool after finding them, takes care of that.
  And I hide them in the back of the fridge until early in the morning, when I  swirl their sweetness into my yogurt, while my little berry pickers sleep.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Isabella is Here!

  In the middle of the night I got to welcome my newest granddaughter, Isabella Ann, into the world.  Kelly made childbirth look amazingly easy and Eugene is already the perfect daddy! 
  She is beautiful and sweet and I love her completely.  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Beaten Path

  I'm trying not to get discouraged but I've been down this path before.  Adopting kids from hard places means that they sometimes bring the bangs and bruises from those places with them.  And you can't see the hurts - just the outward anger and sadness that they cause.  Most of the kids let you love them and they heal little by little.  
  But not all.  And here I am again feeling hopeless and tired.  Maybe this time when I look down the path there will be a glimpse of sunlight.  Maybe this time we won't get lost in the woods.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Time Off

  Back at home and the boys are doing what boys do when time is endless....lazy days at the river, not catching any fish, but then again, who cares?  It's all about what you don't have to do.  I like to watch them and let the calendar in my head float away with extravagance of summer.

Friday, 10 June 2011

One More Sand Castle

  Just another day or two at the beach and then we all head home.  Cousins growing up with the same memories of our time together

.....a  tiny perfect place in the middle of regular life.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Bat'er Up

  The kids have been anxiously waiting for Stephen to organize their favorite beach game - softball.  Everyone can play - no matter that you're only 2- but Stephen doesn't bend the rules for any one.  If you strike three times you're out, even if you're cute and you cry.  The sand was super hot, which kept everyone moving around the bases and everyone cooled their feet in the ocean when the game ended.

Monday, 6 June 2011

"We're Here!"

  The beach scene has taken a serious commotion up- surge and I couldn't be happier.  The adult kids - the good ones that have reproduced - have all arrived and brought with them some of my favorite people in the world...grandkids.  The kids got busy digging holes, jumping waves and being cute.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Girl Needs a Hat

  Yesterday afternoon we visited Roanoke Island, famous as the birthplace of the first English child born in America - little Miss Virginia Dare.  The history was almost as interesting as the window shopping where Grace, AnnaClaire and Emma found some big hats to try on.  I bought a new book for beach reading and the boys were excited to find some "real shark fossils inside a mud egg and the teeth glow in the dark!"   History at it's finest.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Shark Boy

  If anyone loves the beach, it's Isaiah.  He owns everything that is shark and can quote all the lines from every Jaws movie ever made.  But you have to listen carefully to know any of this about him because he is our quiet guy.  Isaiah doesn't demand or complain and you won't hear him yell - he walks gently through this 10 ring circus.  
  And here at the beach I often find him contentedly enjoying it all.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Today was all about boogie boards.  The three littles have conquered the sea ....weren't they afraid of the waves last year?  Nothing could stop them as they had one sweet ride after another into shore with their adoring mother cheering them on.  I'm picturing surf boards in a few years!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

First in Flight or in our case Fight

  We decided it was time to throw a little education into the vacation and headed down to the Wright Brothers Memorial.  The kids were excited to find out that the first flight was right here at their favorite beach town.  James pointed out to the kids that Orville and Wilbur  worked together and were able to accomplish something remarkable. 

 Our boys, the "Wrong Brothers" argued and pushed each other coming down the hill from the monument and their only accomplishment was driving their very lovely sisters crazy.