Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharing a Tip from a Professional Photographer

Where Cherish takes swim lessons, there is a lifeguard who is a professional photographer. His name is Hercules. Last week he saw me with my camera and gave me excellent tips on how to take better pictures. The biggest tip he gave me was “rack the lens”. In other words, crank the lens to its fullest potential and fill up the picture frame.

So this weekend while Cherish was playing around, I tried out his tips. Here are some of the results:

This child cracks me up!

Thanks, Hercules, for your help and the camera magazine! I hope to become a better photographer from your tips and encouragement. J

Friday, August 26, 2011

Swimming Lessons

Cherish had two swimming lessons left for the summer (she still has one left), and though she was feeling ill this week, she refused to miss her class. Thus, she asked me to take her, and she gave it her best. Smiles, weakness, triumphs, and more smiles....
 Taking a needed 45-second break:
 Back at it:
 Her favorite part of her lessons: Jumping...
Being held up, preparing to dive for a ring:
 Got it:
Well, Cherish has had about fourteen 30-minute lessons, and she has come a long way. When she began, she was afraid to get her head wet. Her teacher had to work with her over several lessons to coach her head under water. Now, she loves to jump, dunk, dive for rings, and swim underwater.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Well, I am currently reading two books. One book is Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. This book was recommended by our social worker--who has been to China with groups many times. She asked us to read this book before bringing Andrew home. I'm only on chapter two, and it has been having a profound impact on me (regarding my childhood). So far, I recommend this book highly!
At the same time I am rereading A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. This book has moved my heart, mind, and soul in the past, and I am rereading it now to get another taste of the amazing Saviour I serve.
Cherish, on the other hand, is busy reading away on the Bob Books and loving them! She reads to me, her daddy, and her dollies. She loves the independence.
The phenomenon of learning to read. Wow! It's amazing how God works in the minds of children (and people in general) to bring letters into words. I marvel each time I hear Cherish read.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cherish's Education

So, in my 20s I was against homeschooling my future children for various reasons. But as I worked in various schools and saw the current prices of private schools, I began being open to the thought of homeschooling—especially given the groups here in town that have many people to be accountable to.

Even with a degree in education, I have felt inept in my ability to be Cherish's sole teacher. So much so, that yesterday I talked to a couple of people about abandoning the idea of homeschooling for at least several years.

But then, God.

The next day—today—Cherish picked up a Kindergarten reader and began reading the book! The WHOLE book! I was in absolute shock! (I did the "happy dance" many times.)

She doesn’t start Kindergarten for another year and now she can READ (that sounds so weird to say), she can count up to 100, add, and subtract. Thus, I am reconsidering homeschooling all over again. God has opened her little mind, and I don’t want to waste her thirst to learn.

I get nervous thinking of being my husband’s helper + caring for little one(s) + homeschooling my daughter + being a homemaker (cleaning, cooking, etc.) + being a Sunday School teacher...but I know The LORD will guide us/me.

Hey, I know! A maid would help! ;-)

Adoption Update

I had my fingerprints taken at the USCIS on Monday, August 15th, and I just found out today that they failed (due to not having enough fingerprints). It's strange, but they want ALL fingers--go figure--to have prints. Now, I have to wait for another invitation.

However, I know God’s timing is perfect, and in due time we will have Andrew in our arms.

In the meantime, I am on a quest to find magic fingerprint-growing pills. Please let me know if anyone finds said pills.

Sending prayers for a quick invitation turn-around....

Fun with Friends

Love this expression:
Friendship + Fun = Sweetness!
Happy Birthday, Spencer!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Andrew's Name Update

We'd like Andrew to be able to go back to his homeland as an adult one day and use his middle name as his Chinese name over there. So, we have been doing research on his name:  Zan Cheng Dang. We've talked with Chinese nationals and translators, and we have found that if we name our son Andrew Zan, he would only be receiving part of his name, and "Zan" would not may sense. In other words, he could not go by "Zan" in China, because "Zan" is only part of a name. "Zan" and "Cheng" must stay together to make sense. (Chinese people do not have middle names.)

Thus, being equipped with this information, and talking with a lady who is from China and translates for the US, we have been advised to name him Andrew Zan-Cheng--which will be acceptable by the Chinese people in China.

This seems better for us, anyway, since Cherish and Derek constantly refer to him as Zan Cheng. So, Andrew Zan-Cheng it is and always will be from here on out....

Side note: Our daughter's name is Cherish Rose--a direct translation of her Chinese name: Ai Mei. So, she too may go by her Chinese name if she ever chooses to live in China as an adult.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fort Days

I've been keeping quite busy doing grout work in our kitchen lately, so here's how Cherish has remained occupied:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vacation Update #3--final

Pennsylvania. Where I lived for almost 20 years. It still feels like home.

Cherish picking corn from my dad's garden:
 Dad and Cherish (behind dad's house):
 Dad securely holding Cherish away from the electric fence for the pose:
That night we stayed at a lovely country inn complete with Amish quilts, etc. Talk about cozy and homey! Loved it!

The next morning we began the day with an authentic Amish buggy ride--driven by a man who was Amish but is now Mennonite. The used buggy was purchased from an Amish family.
 Cherish and I sat in the back. It was surprisingly plush and cozy!
 The three of us got in the front seat for a picture at the end of the ride:
 Then off we went to visit my brothers and their wives. Here's John preparing an amazing barbecue:
 Aunt Shannon with Cherish:
We missed seeing my brother Dave, so Cherish left him a little note:
 Uncle James sneaking a kiss:
 Then, sadly, it was time to fly home. Cherish at the airport: 
We had a wonderfully relaxing vacation.