Sunday, June 26, 2016


This was hanging in our doctor's office:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Week One

We're having all kinds of summer fun over here.

Patrick is now the proud owner of a new set of braces!

Mei Mei has her second set of braces (unfortunately, orthodontics and clefts go hand-in-hand).

Vu is still wearing his braces:

I look into my crystal ball and see many visits to the orthodontist in my future!

Lan Lan got contacts.  This was actually round two.  We tried once before and no-can-do.  This time, with a very patient contact specialist, success!

And Patrick went to another orthopedic specialist to get a second opinion on his knee.  It's still causing him pain but the good news is the doctor concurs that it's "just" a bone bruise.  Apparently the effects can last up to two years!  Who knew?

And that tradition of getting a little fastfood after an appointment?  It's getting rather expensive!

She how much fun we're having?  And guess what?  I spent all my money now so there won't be any more summer fun!


We did make it to the drive-in.  I forgot that it doesn't get dark until TEN!  Just had to spend more money at the snack bar feeding the restless troops before watching Dory.  She's my twin who also suffers from memory loss.  At least, I think that's who she is.  If I remember correctly.

And OUR GRANDDAUGHTER has been here!  So, we've been soaking her in and loving some fun! Also seeing Cookie and meeting our newest grandson with ETA in September.   Sweet memories with Sweetpea and Papa Cookie, the science museum, library, playground, and Mickey!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


If you've read my blog for any length of time you know how I love SUMMER!  It's summer peoples!  S.U.M.M.E.R!!!

For me it means no homeschool, no homework, no speeches, no science projects, no IEP meetings, no THINKING!  And no driving to FOUR different schools!  (IF I really want to call out the pity card it was actually FIVE counting Kim's community college--she had car problems so often needed a ride).

Now, we can relax.  We can just stay up late, and sleep in, and lounge around, and let our brains rot out!

At least for a couple weeks.  Then I will pull my, "I'm not going to just let you stay up late, and sleep in, and lounge around, and let your brains rot out all summer long!"

But for now it's nice.  And much needed.  This year seemed especially challenging.

Now of course, I do have this thing called WORK.  But I'll let you in on a little secret.

Work + Nothing = Happiness.  Whereas, Work + Too Much To Do Too Little Time = Unhappiness

I'm probably a genius to figure that out.  I should write a one-page book.

Anyhoo, before I can totally check into summer I wanted to post some of the school year happenings.

Vu ended the year with a sprained ankle and then a concussion (basketball).  He missed most of the last month of school, but he's finally recovering.  He switched to a charter school this year and it has been a wonderful, perfect fit for him.  Lots of hands-on "expeditionary" learning, field trips, and he's made many new friends.

Mei Mei received a school award for self-control.  As you can see, she demonstrated it at the assembly as she RAN to receive it, nearly knocking over classmates!

All laughing aside, it really is amazing to see how far she has come since those first months home, when just sitting in a chair at school was a challenge.

She did two great speeches!  One on the Chinese Explorer Zheng He--super interesting and we found an awesome book!  And another speech about what it would be like to work at Disneyland (the pay isn't great but you get to work at the happiest place on earth!).

And she had a wonderful time at the Father-Daughter dance.

Our little girl is growing up!

Patrick had another band concert and a field trip to a college and art museum.  You might notice that he has grown an attachment.

Our kids aren't technically allowed to date until they're 15.  But I'm getting old and tired of enforcing rules.  She's a very sweet girl, so I guess . . . .

Lan Lan had a rough end-of-the-year in terms of final exams and finishing homeschool and public school classes.  Hubby is her social studies teacher and I'm her language arts teacher.  She's also taking online Mandarin.  For public school she had science, math, PE, and art.  So proud of how far she has come!  She also had a really beautiful ballet performance of Alice In Wonderland.

Paul finished his junior year playing golf and more golf.  I really hope he spent a little bit of time on those final exams.  He's still working at the golf course and loves it.  He also has a special someone in his life--photos to come.

Hubby had some big changes.  His workplace offered retirement packages so he surprised everyone by taking it!  He met the cut-off by two weeks.  He's hoping to spend the summer playing lots of golf, fishing, and spending time with the kids.  He likes to say he's retired, but he's already looking at new employment opportunities.  

We are definitely ready for some fun and relaxation!  HELLO SUMMER!!!  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lessons From Dad

My first dad has played a special part in my life.  And my husband has been an amazing father to our ten kids.  

On Father's Day, I'm especially thinking about my second dad who passed away three years ago.  He was technically my step-dad, but in my heart he was my adoptive father.  He was so full of life and love. He always had TIME and an interest in our lives.  The one part that makes the loss easier is knowing he and Joe are together in heaven.  I know they are laughing, having ice cream, and talking sports.  

In honor of Father's Day, I thought you would enjoy reading something my sisters and I put together for our dad's funeral.  Lessons that still speak clearly in our lives. 

Top 10 Lessons We Learned From Our Dad

10.  Education Opens the Door to Opportunity.  Study hard, apply yourself, and always be interested in learning something new. 

9.  Actions Speak Louder than Words.  Most of the lessons we learned from our dad came through watching his example: make good decisions, be honest, work hard, show compassion, be kind, laugh, forgive, persevere, help people without being asked, and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

8. It’ll Fit!  You may not think that 10 cubic yards of luggage, fishing gear, college dorm supplies, or hunting stuff can fit into a car that has 2 cubic yards of cargo space.  But Dad always said, “It’ll fit!” and somehow, after he worked it like a 3-D puzzle, it did.

7.  You Don’t Have to be the Best at Something to Enjoy it.  Life was about enjoying the moment and being active with the people you loved.  Dad enjoyed many sports and wasn’t afraid to try something new: tennis, hiking, boating, fishing, golfing, skiing, water sports, mountain biking, white water rafting, and even sledding at the age of 75!

6.  Don’t Focus on the Problem; Focus on the Solution. Amidst any calamity, like a broken down motor home, while everyone was grousing about what had happened, Dad was three steps ahead.  He would calmly think about how to remedy the situation, what actions needed to be taken, and which phone calls needed to be made.   

5.  Don’t Waste Food and Don’t Waste Money.  Okay, we will admit it… some daughters have learned this lesson better than others!

4.  Make the Most of Every Day.  At the end of the day Mom and Dad wanted to be able to say they had accomplished something and appreciated the day. They made the most of every day, even if that just meant going out to breakfast, hitting a garage sale to find something for the cabin, or going on a drive to appreciate nature.

3.  Believe in Yourself!  Dad always said we could do anything we set our minds to including building a treehouse, returning to college, driving cross-country with a van of kids (and 8 months pregnant!), painting the exterior of a house, or building a cabin.  (And he said this even before we had You Tube videos to show us how!)  If we decided we needed his help (usually mid-project), he was always there to help! 

2.  LOVE is Thicker than Water.  Dad had his own version of the famous saying “blood is thicker than water.” For Dad it was LOVE.  Whether you joined Dad’s family via marriage, adoption, or birth you were his.  Dad never hesitated to say “I love you!” and “Your Mom and I are proud of you!”

1.  Some Men Really DO Have Superhero Vision.  You may not think so, but it really is possible to spot a coyote hiding in the grass up on the ridge, 3 miles down the road, while simultaneously driving 75-miles-per hour on the Interstate. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Baby Heaven

June has been a whirlwind!  Lots to catch up on, but first--I am soooo excited to introduce you to a most amazing human being.

Our beautiful grandson!

We received a phone call on our home phone in the middle of the night.  We knew that could only mean one thing--IT WAS TIME!

For a second the thought crossed my mind that it might be a wrong number.  I knew it was the real deal when there was a brief pause and then Hubby said, "But it's not June 10th yet!"  Hubby had been saying for months that Kim needed to hold out until his birthday.  I'm not sure Kim found much humor at that point.

We headed to the hospital at 3AM and were later met by Lizzy.  K's parents came too.  As the hours passed I let Paul skip half a day of school--it's not every day your sister/best-bud-growing-up has a baby!

It was an easy-peasy labor and delivery.  Thank you to the woman who created the epidural.  It had to be a woman.  Yes?

By mid-afternoon we welcomed our first grandson.  And of course, it was love at first sight.

He has a really amazing Mommy and Daddy.

Our days have since been spent holding this sweet little muffin of an angel.  He has a very big fan club!

He is very calm and easy-going.  It's easy to spend an hour just drinking him in and smelling his sweetness.