Unexpected guest

IMG_0769We had talked about it.  Prayed about it.  Wondered when the right time would come…and then it just happened.  We began our journey as foster parents.  The foster care director at the orphanage called with a need for short-term care for 1.5 year old little girl, who we happen to know and adore.  Her foster parents needed to travel for work before her adoptive family could complete her adoption.

But there is more to the story.

Let me go back to my first day in the orphanage after a three year break.  I was given the full tour that day.  So much had changed including how open and accepting the nannies and teachers were of my presence.  Part of that tour included the baby room.  I had never stepped foot in that room.  I was trying hard to keep my wits about me as I was handed a new baby brought in that very week.

“You have experience with your son with one leg.  You have four children.  This new baby has no ears and isn’t eating well.  What do you think?”

What did I think?  I was in awe over the tiny perfect little girl who was new to the orphanage.  We shared something – both the newbies.  I have prayed for her ever since, expecting great things for her.

She is our first foster daughter.

Full circle.

We share something.

This time I am the lone newbie.  To her I am just another stop along the wait for her forever family.  Poor baby. She is my guinea pig.  I really am not sure how to do this foster care thing.  Loving this little girl is nothing like I have done before.  I am caring for her as if she is my own, knowing that she is a guest.  It is the ultimate act of hospitality and through her I am seeing a new side of love.  It is hard, but it is good.

Little Man wasn’t so sure about inviting another little into our mix, but he now is asking, “Do we really have to give her to someone else to be adopted?  We are a forever family!”

She is teaching us that you can love someone like family for as long as G.d places them in our lives.  She is reminding me that I love babies and showing us that five kids isn’t too many! She, for sure, is keeping me on my toes as she darts around our house and tries to climb our bookshelves, smirking all the while.  She is breaking my heart as she grieves the changes.  She melts my heart as she pats my arm while I give her night time bottle, and she makes me feel old as I walk the floor with her in the night.

But more than anything…she is reminding our family that we love not to get something in return, but because He first loved us.

Learning to love again…like a newbie.


As I was handing out high-fives and saying goodbye to my Thursday art class, one of my favorite students, a 13 year old boy, handed me a note.  It was a torn corner from a piece of notebook paper.  “Does your son read Chinese?  Please give this to him.”  So sweet, right?! When I delivered it to Soccer Dude at the dinner table, I had no idea what the words on that paper would do to my heart.

“May I come to your house to play and visit your family?” was the request scrawled across that torn paper.  As Hubby read the words out loud to our family, I began to cry sob.  My kids looked at me in dismay as I was loosing it over a playdate request.  But, it seemed like so much more.

By law in this country when you turn 14 you are no longer able to be adopted.  I thought of this sweet 13 year old boy who wants to “visit” our family and it hit me so hard that visiting is all he would ever do.  To him a family is something you visit, not something you have.  That my friends is something to weep over.  Something we need to fight against.

For the boy who handed me the note, it is to late.  But for many others there is still time.  Please pray with me for miracles.  The miracle of a family for Manning and for the two waiting boys I will share with you today.  “Jenning” an amazingly smart 10 year old boy who has overcome so many obstacles and 4 year old “Kipling” who seeps joy from his pores!

These children are able to be adopted through Children’s House International and the following information comes from CHI’s Waiting Children website.

Jenning_2_032715Jenning’s current obstacle is finding a family before it is to late and I tell you what, he will be amazing in a family.  There truly is something special about this boy!  He is a kind, polite, strong and eager boy who has stayed with his foster family for 10 years now. He is doing very well in school.   His special need is post-operative CHI, hyperdactyly of hands and feet.  After four surgeries on his legs he can walk normally now, but his protective foster mother says that he should not walk too long! She said that his legs grow tired and can be painful. However, Children’s House International’s own caseworker, lives in Jenning’s city, has seen him a few times and notes that he seems to be able to climb, walk, run, and carry on normally without complaint. He is healthy and seldom catches any illness; even colds are rare with this hearty boy! He likes to eat noodles, and he especially likes spicy food, but is very unique in that he doesn’t really like rice. His favorite fruits are watermelon, pineapple.

When the CHI team observed him playing with the other kids at the orphanage, he was very outgoing and willing to help the younger ones. He was eager to get people’s attention and showed a bit of a sensitive side. His foster mother said he feels a little nervous when he visits the orphanage because he doesn’t like where he comes from and doesn’t want others to know, especially those at school. He wants to be just like the other kids, and he feels pained that he is not. After the surgeries that at long last enabled him to walk, his confidence level grew greatly.  But he hasn’t forgotten the days when he could not walk.  When he comes to activities at the orphanage, he has been seen taking special care of the younger children in wheelchairs, pushing them into the sunshine and trying to make them smile.  I can just imagine how much joy and compassion will be added to a family when Jenning becomes a son!   His birthday is in April.  What a birthday gift to have a family committed to him when he turns 11!


Kipling_1_032615Kipling, is described by the Children’s House International social worker as “JOY in a 4 year old body!” Kipling has been fostered since he was 4 months old.  Kipling was born in May 2011 with a recessive cleft lip, brain scan difference and undescended testicle. His file doesn’t mention it, but he also seems to have low vision.  Although these minor needs put together might seem daunting, don’t let them put you off.  He is a laughing, smiling, singing, dancing bundle of lovable boy!  He has lots of energy and seems to very much enjoy being in the spotlight. This is part of the exuberant exchange between the CHI team and Kipling.  He came in to the room, greeted us warmly with a smile and a giggle, then set to work playing with blocks. When the team spoke with him to ask him questions, he would tread excitedly in one place, his little feet coming up and down in such joy that it was apparent he could hardly contain it!  He was happy playing and liked to throw things on the floor to make noise, and he loves music.  One of the orphanage staff played a very popular Chinese pop song, “You are my little apple” and Kipling was thrilled. He danced and sang the words of the song, missing very few. When cued by his foster mom he would shake his backside, and put his hands up in the air waiving them around in glee. He has two little cute dimples. When he was done performing he giggled and said, “Okay?” Our laughter only encouraged more dancing, singing and laughter.  The CHI team was smitten!


If you would like more information about adopting these boys or other children who wait, contact me and I will gladly put you in touch with the right person at CHI to answer any questions you might have.

Waiting Treasures

It has almost been two years since I returned to teaching art at the orphanage, and seven years since I began this journey. If there is one thing that I believe more today than I did my first day walking down the hall of the orphanage, it would be this: if everyone could look into the eyes of these kids, spend an hour coloring with them and hear their stories – there would be a line a mile long of folks begging to be the special, chosen, adoptive parents of these amazing kids.

Instead it is the other way around. We are begging people to take a look at a photo, a file, and to take a leap of faith to add one of these treasure to their families. Unfortunately, they are unfound treasures. Waiting.

Today I have hope.

I am so excited this paradigm could shift.

There is an American adoption agency, Children’s House International, who have started a relationship with the orphanage where I teach. They have a social worker who lives here, is updating adoption files for our kids and they are advocating for the future of my sweet little friends. How awesome is that?!!

They have seen the kids and seen what I have seen….their special potential.

This also means there is a way for me to advocate and I now can share the kids with you. Would you join me….advocate and give voice to those who are waiting and hoping. Look at their photos, take in their stories, consider adoption, give generously and mostly pray for miracles.

We need miracles – because the kids in my classes are not cute healthy infant girls who seem easy to adopt. They are older boys who need the second chance adoption would bring.

Let me share the story of one dear with you today that comes from the CHI website:

Manning_2_032615UPDATE:  Manning has a family!

At 6 years old “Manning’s” grandfather and father died. His mother ran leaving him to wander the streets until the police brought him to the orphanage. At 13 he still has never been chosen to be adopted because frankly families don’t want to risk taking in an older boy. He asks why families come for the young kids and not him. “I have waited longer. Why don’t they come for me?”

He is living in a group foster home on the grounds of the orphanage with three other younger children. His foster mother told us that he is the first one to get on his feet and help her when she asks for help. Because he is the oldest one in the family, he really works hard so as to take good care of the younger brothers and sister. The younger kids all love to hang out with him because he is so fun and so kind. He is a little introverted, gentle, and a bit shy. He loves art and riding his scooter around the orphanage grounds. Both socially and physically, he is a typical boy of his age. He is doing very well in school in all his subjects and recently received 4 medals in P.E; he can run fast! He likes Chinese class and art class the most. He is full of imagination and draws very well. He doesn’t like math. He doesn’t like “leftovers day” in his home, and always prefers noodles.

Upon entering the care of the Children’s Home he was found to have epilepsy, so he was given medication and now after 7 years, his medication is reduced to a half tablet each day and he has not had a seizure in over four years. He is small in stature, but mighty when it comes to responsibility, integrity, and personality.

The family who finds the treasure in this boy and adds him to their family will be blessed beyond measure.

If you’d like to learn more about Manning and the other children like him who wait, please contact me. I’ll be glad to put you in touch with the folks at CHI.

No one Reads Them Books

They thought I had lost my marbles.  I guess that isn’t anything new.  Many of the things I ask of my sweet students and the now trusting Chinese teachers make them shake their heads.  Did she really say…..?  They wonder if it is my bad Chinese or one of my crazy ideas.

“Yes, yes I did just tell the children they could use car wash mitts and loofahs to paint…but first let’s have a bit of sensory fun!”

Once little hands were coxed inside the wash mitts that seemed to dwarf their tiny arms the giggles did not stop.  Who knew a wash mitt could tickle so much.  Some were thrilled to then thrust their new toys into the paint, others were’t as sure.  The teachers themselves had their doubts and reminded me there would be a huge mess to clean up.  I had prepared for their doubts over our unconventional paint brushes.


What I hadn’t prepared for…the blank stares when I pulled out a children’s book that had inspired our art lesson for the day.  I forget.  It isn’t as common for a Chinese parent to sit and read books to their children and for sure the children living at the Children’s Home were unaware there might be the luxury of a care-giver having the time and space to draw them into a lap for a story.

“They won’t listen.” one of the teacher’s told me.

“Then let them look” I defended.

“They can’t understand.”

“Then let us teach them”, I whined back.

I had similar conversations all week as I pulled out my book for each group of children.



There are moments that I forget the children in my classes are orphans.  Seriously.  I know that sounds almost as crazy as using a car mitt for a paint brush, but it is true.  They are kids.  They are like normal kids that you might have in any classroom.

Then it will hit me.

I will pull out a book and their stark reality will hit me in the face again.

No one reads them books.





Little Man’s favorite book at the moment is one of those “find the plane hidden in the picture” type books.  I have read it so many times since my mom bought it for him in September (Yes, that would have been 5 months ago.  Uhh, Thanks mom!  Thanks a whole bunch.) I read it on auto pilot.  I have gotten so sick of it.  “Honey,” I try to reason with him, “you already know where all the planes are on the page!! It’s not even a great story and you know the ending!”  See I am kinda crazy.  I try to reason with a four year old.  He will have nothing to do with it.  His fat little finger flies over the page pointing out each hidden image (in order I might add) as I read the words…again.

His big sister offered to read the book to him this afternoon letting me off the hook, but somehow the book isn’t so bad anymore. I get to be the one who reads him a book.  How cool is that?


 No one reads them books.  How sad is that?


What are we going to do about that?



With us




The fall art projects have transitioned into a month worth of Christmas.  Not really sure where the weeks have gone, but I must say I am proud of my little artists who have turned out some fun projects and learned about Christmas as we went.  Evergreen trees, ornaments, Santa and stockings then by the end of the month we got to the heart of Christmas. They took it all in asking great questions.


I was so blessed by our Christmas classes I didn’t think it could get any better. But it did.


After talking about our Christmas tree and making cookies I had the idea of bringing a class to our home to experience Christmas at another level. So on a whim, I asked permission to bring my class home with me. I wasn’t really expecting to be allowed so when the permission was granted I was surprised and thrilled.


My Thursday class got to know me on a whole new level and I them. There is something about a home visit that brings you closer. Each of the kids took photos in front of our Christmas tree, they frosted sugar cookies and exclaimed over their sweetness. I made pizza for them and we played games. But my favorite part was having them sitting around the living room watching Tom and Jerry with my four kids. For a few hours we were one big happy family.


It was the first time Little Monkey and Little Man had met my students. I wasn’t expecting their surprise over the wheel chairs filling our living room. Little Man asked, “Why do they have legs that don’t work?” His question shouldn’t have caught me off guard. Makes sense in his four year old brain. He is missing a leg so of course he needs help to walk, but all legs should work!

I explained people are all different and some people are born with working legs, some with legs that don’t work and some are born without legs.

I expected a follow-up conversation about special needs, but as always he was many steps ahead of me.

“Mom,” he said, “those boys need to be adopted. You know. You and Dad adopted me and then got me a leg so I could walk. A mom and dad is what they need.”


The idea of taking my students back to the Children’s home was hard at first. We handed them a small gift at the end of our time. They were thrilled but I felt that it was a cruel consolation prize. The words of my sweet four year old were resounding in my heart.

I love my son for having such confidence in his parents, but as I processed the afternoon I was drawn to the fact that parents wouldn’t meet all the needs of these kiddos just as I can’t meet all of Little Man’s needs.  Although all children need and deserve parents, the answer is in the heart of Christmas.  Immanuel.  G- with us.  He heals.  He provides.  He is.

Once again my sweet kiddos and students teach me, taking me deeper into the heart of Christmas.  As I took the kids back to the Children’s Home I did it with peace knowing Immanuel is with them.


A crown on their heads

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”  Mother Teresa


When there are children without families living in an institution, it feels ridiculous to think that some foam stickers can help.  But this week, the truth “small things done in great love” hit home again.

Honestly, I was looking for an easy-peasy craft to do with the kids this week.  There is a huge remodeling project going on at the orphanage and the classrooms have all been moved, combined, and packed up to accommodate.  I wasn’t sure what I would find or where my classes would meet, which meant a huge messy paint project might not be the best of ideas.

It was time to pull out a simple go to craft and use some of the super fun foam stickers some visitors brought us this summer.  I had no idea that foam crowns could be greeted with such enthusiasm.  I pulled out the crowns in my first class and the children clapped.  I was taken back.  Really?  The project I feared would take half a class period was met with great focus and concentration.  The kids dug through the stickers looking for the perfect ones and meticulously placed them.  The Chinese teacher ran for a mirror as I hot glued the completed creations.  That is when I was truly floored.


I placed the crowns on the heads of my sweet students and watched their countenance transform.  They beamed.


The children took turns telling each other how beautiful they looked and then they voted as a class on whose crown was the best.  We even used the last moments of class for the children to line up for a class photo.  The joy didn’t stop as class ended.  Foster parents came to pick up their charges gasped at the students who had been transformed into royalty.  “Wow! Who gave you a crown?  You look beautiful.”  As I took it all in, I realized that one of my heart felt goals was being accomplished…unintentionally.  The children felt special, worthy, valued and wanted.  I beamed.


Later that day I was invited into the infant nursery.  A two year old boy, who is more like an infant due to his special needs, was placed in my arms.  He leaned his tiny head into the crock of my arm and my body instinctively bounced him gently side to side.  Within minutes he was asleep.  The nanny shook her head with a sad grin, “as soon as they are held they sleep.”

As I gazed into his sleeping face one of the foster care workers commented, “He is unwanted.  No one will ever adopt him.”

I wanted to argue with her, but deep down I knew the truth of her words.  His needs are severe.  He will never leave this place.  But it is only half truth.

I know the One who is Creator and Redeemer.  That baby boy is not unwanted or unloved.  There will be a day when a crown is placed on his head.  He will be whole, happy, healed and know the love of our Father.  Oh, what a glorious day that will be.

Until that day, rocking that sweet boy to sleep is like a bit of heaven on earth.

Four whole years


I have been feeling like tomorrow is a big day for us, but I was hesitant to say anything to our girl.  Maybe it is just me.

But my doubts were put to rest as Little Monkey slipped her hand in mine while walking back from the market.  “It’s been four years, right?”  she asked me abruptly.   It took me a beat to catch on to what she was referring to, but then I realized. She had been watching the calendar and processing along with me.  As I nodded she said, “You know for four whole years you have stuck with me.  Now we have been together longer than we have been a part.”

It took my breath away to hear her say those words out loud.

It is a big deal.



Crazy how life can change so much in four years.  Healing has taken place, love has grown, and now it is hard to remember life without our Little Monkey.  Maybe that is why four years seems like a big deal.  We now remember more togetherness than we remember apartness.  There are more memories as a family and pre-family memories (for good or bad) have dimmed.

I will never forget meeting our daughter for the first time.  She was scared to death of us; we were the first white people she had ever seen and she later told us she thought we glowed!  Such a brave almost four year old who was led into her new life that day.  I don’t remember her tears, but I will never forget how she stared straight forward with a determined look on her grim little face.  She looked so much older than her years.



I thought again today how she seems older than her years.  I promised her brownies to celebrate the day we became a family.  She smiled and said, “Family is the best present of all.”

This marks four years from a birth….the birth of our family as it is now.  That is the gift we are celebrating tomorrow.  Without her, without adoption, we wouldn’t know the depths of love and what family really can be.



A Magic Bean for Parenting

Can I just tell you what my eldest said during homeschool reading time this week?

We start our morning sitting around the living room reading.  Great learning moment.  Can you picture the kiddos lounging around curled up in fleece blankets coloring as they listen.  Well that happens sometimes.  Also there are mornings when I have two fighting over the same coloring book, another making such loud airplane noises I can’t hear myself think (and I am supposed to be reading) and the fourth is curled up in the fleece blanket with his back turned away from me.

Yesterday was one such morning.

I was trying to get us all back on track as I asked a question from our science reading to my son who seemed so disengaged.  “So what can you tell me about the part of our brain called the medulla?”

Without missing a beat he rolled over and with a grin replied, “I just learned that the medulla is responsible for all my involuntary reactions….like when I want to hit my sisters.”

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

Learning moment became even better as it evolved into a teachable moment.  Wouldn’t it be great if the medulla in addition to controlling our breathing and blinking would control our attitudes and how we treat others?


More than anything I want my children to learn to bring Glory to our Father by being responsible people who love and serve others.  I don’t know about you all, but I spend so much of my time and energy as a mom, striving toward that goal.  It is a maddening goal….one that I wish I could control, but know that I can’t.  You pour in hoping that it will stick, but realizing that ultimately it is up to these little people to make their own choices.  Scary.

I wish there was some list that included a silver bullet that would make our job as parents easier.  You know….10 ways to ensure your kids will become kind and responsible adults.  I have read blogs by those titles.  Yes, I do click on them….even though I know it is a bunch of whoeey.  (I made that word up.  like it?)

Let me tell you another story that stars my smarty pants eldest son.

We get two suitcases each as we travel from the States back to our home in Asia.  You can imagine the conversations we have as we decide what to include.  (With homeschool supplies I must admit the left over weight and space is minimal.)   As we unpacked our treasures at the end of our summer excursion to the States my son proudly handed me an early birthday present.  He bought me a waffle iron and put it in his carry on.  He was so excited to have such a special gift for me; he couldn’t wait until October.  “Mom,” he explained, “You don’t bring much for yourself, always packing things for our schooling, I wanted to bring something fun for you.”  As I held that waffle iron in my hands and realized how many books my reader must have taken out of his suitcase to make space for this gift….I was overwhelmed.

We now make waffles for breakfast every Monday morning.  As I pull that iron out and as we eat, I am reminded that kindness and selflessness are rooted in the heart of my pre-teen son.

There are some mornings that parenting is ‘pull your hair out’ hard.  But I am learning not to look for a magic bean that will make it easier, but to stay the course and keep reminders in front of me that progress is being made.  If I focus on the moments where I need to talk over the fighting,  if I keep count of the times I say, “We are kind and respectful to each other,” if I despair on the mornings that attitudes are bad and my goal seems so far off….then I know myself, I would quit.

Instead I am making a list of the moments that I see G0d forming the hearts of my children.  I am keeping that list in front of me as a marker of how far we have come and where we are going.






Happily Ever After


He was one of my first students.  A tiny five year old who we all recognized as having potential – I mean look at those bright eyes!  He was younger than the rest of the class but was allowed to join us because of his natural artistic ability.  As I got to know him, I also was learning as an orphanage volunteer, about the world of adoption, and about kids with special needs – specifically boys.

I wondered why he wasn’t being adopted.  I was told he was un-adoptable.  My heart broke for him.

Two years later the orphanage director decided to give him a chance and began the process of preparing his paperwork.

It will be a sleepless night that I will never forget.  I got the email saying his paperwork would be done at the end of the summer.  I tossed and turned through the night as the grave reality hit me.  A seven year old boy finally given a chance, but how often do you hear of a family able and willing to take a chance on an older special needs boy.

Last night, I tossed and turned again.  It will be a sleepless night that I will always remember.  This time it was not prayer of anguish on behalf of a boy without a family, rather I was awake excitedly saying a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving.  I knew in the morning there would be less one orphan – and not just any orphan – my favorite student now has a family!!  Last night, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep giving thanks for what was coming.



Can I just type that one more time….just so you understand the depth of my excitement, utter joy and unbelievable relief?!


He was chosen.  He was adopted.  It is forever.



Let me introduce you to Luke (his new english name!)  He is an amazing artist who is so very smart.   While living this past year with his foster family,who now is his forever family, he learned English and caught up to his peers at the international school.  Watching him roll and tumble with his brothers and running around at school, you seriously would have thought he has been there forever.  Now forever is possible.

Luke is the poster child of older adoption.




I know you have heard the horror stories….and older adoption can be difficult, but today I want to tell you a story that has an incredibly happy ending.  This guy dove into family life and never looked back.  His mom exclaimed to me a few months after having him with them, “I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is it supposed to be this easy?”

I stood in a governmental office taking photos of a family as they pressed their thumbs into a well of red ink.  They read the document they were signing out-loud to their boys.  “This means we will never abandon you.  We will treat you like a biological son.  We will give you a good education.”   Luke asked, “What does abandon mean?”  His mom pulled him into a hug and replied, “It means we will never leave you.  You will always be with our family.”



You can not see my tears through the photos I took.  But they are there.  I couldn’t hold them back.  Just one or two slipping from the corner of my eye as I captured the grin of a boy who now has a last name and a family who has been blessed immeasurably by another son.  It will be a moment this art teacher treasures in her heart…right up there with my wedding day, the births and adoption days of my own four children.


I think I might just carry this photo around in my art bag from now on as a reminder that there is hope.

When I returned to China to teach at the orphanage, I fell in love again – with a different seven year old boy named Renny.  I thought of him this morning as I took pictures of Luke.

There is hope.

Maybe you are a part of the hope that needs to be extended to Renny.   He is cute as a button, loves learning and has mild CP.  In China he isn’t allowed to go to public school because of his disability.  He needs a family so that he can have hope and a future.  His adoption paperwork is completed and waits to be chosen.  You can contact Annie Hamlin with Lifeline Children’s Services and ask to view Renny’s file to consider adopting him. Click here to email her.

Maybe Renny isn’t a match for your family, but God is calling you to be hope for one of the other 1393 boys who are right now on the waiting list to be adopted from China.  That isn’t counting the girls who wait…..in total there are about 1831 children currently waiting on the shared list which means anyone can adopt them.  (Did you catch that?! 1393 boys and 438 girls.  That is a sad statistic for a different blog post!)  There are even more children who wait in orphanages without paperwork and even more who are assigned to specific agencies.  It is staggering….but not hopeless.


Happy family day to the Tompkins family!  Thank you for being willing to step out in faith and for giving this art teacher hope!  Look at the grin on that boy’s face.  Nothing else needs to be said!


Homeschool wrap up

It is 10 a.m. and I am sipping a cup of coffee and munching on a cookie.  Ahhh.  Lazy mornings of summer have arrived and I am so thankful.  I think I need the break from homeschooling as much or more than the kiddos do, but I am glad to report that I am not in a place of desperation.  This has been a great year of homeschooling and I think for the first time I have loved it.  It has only taken me five years to hit a stride – a place where the kids are thriving and so am I.

I have begun planning for next year….ordering curriculum and prepping to school four kiddos (yikes!)  Before I can turn to much attention to our next season of school, I want to recap how far the kiddos have come.




Soccer Dude:  my 6th grade graduate!

Favorite subject:  “If I had to choose something besides reading, I guess it would be math.”  (We are loving Teaching Textbooks around here!  He still reads so much that it is difficult keeping him supplied in books.  Praise God for the Kindle!)

Most improved: His Chinese skills have blown me away.  He can sit down and read entire paragraphs of Chinese characters putting me to shame.  He has his daddy’s aptitude for languages.

Hobbies: training his pet birds, learning computer coding

This summer I would like to: go fishing








Roo: my 4th grade graduate!

Favorite subject: art and music

Most improved:  She has fallen in love with reading this year!  What a joy to find her hiding in a fort finishing up the last chapter of a book!  Her favorite book is”From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”  She mostly likes reading on the Kindle….”because you can read a long chapter book and not even know it.  On the Kindle you don’t see how thick and scary a book might seem.”

What I want to do this summer: learn to play the piano

What do you want to be when you grow up:  a hair dresser just like Nana used to be.  (The girl knows I need help with haircuts!)








Little Monkey: my 1st grade graduate!

Favorite subject:  Everything!

Favorite food: rice

Most improved: She went from sounding out letters to reading chapter books!  (I must admit that homeschooling 1st grade is one of my favorites!  It is so rewarding to teach a child to read!)  Her favorite books are Henry and Mudge.

What I want to do this summer:  eat at Chick-fil-A and go to a water park.

What do you want to be when you grow up:  a gymnasts and ballerina who plays the flute.









Little Man: is graduating to a larger prosthetic leg!

Favorite subject: Disney planes, coloring and reading Cars books

Most improved: He is coloring in the lines, is a verbal dude who now can ride a tricycle without his prosthetic being strapped to the peddle.

What he wants to do this summer: eat ice cream and go for wagon rides.

What do you want to be when you grow up:  “I don’t want to be big.  I will always be your baby.”  (No I didn’t prompt him to say that.  Yes, it made me cry a little and he will now get double dessert!)