Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Christin's Birthday, In Pictures!

Yesterday we celebrated one wonderful year of Christin's life! I can hardly believe a year has passed already!! We are so blessed to have sweet Christin in our family. Here's a (rather comprehensive, thanks to our new camera!) look at her birthday.

We began the day with blueberry pancakes. These were made possible thanks to a can of imported blueberries! It's always fun to dip into the import stash for special occasions! Christin thought so too--she ate two full pancakes, as much as John!

Clara Anne loves blueberry anything, and looks a little too excited in this photo!

Mommy ate her pancakes in the kitchen. . . the trouble with pancakes is that someone has to be making them as others are eating them! That's ok, though, I certainly enjoyed mine as well.

"I only have eyes for Daddy, especially when he is singing me a song . . . something about a birthday. What is a birthday?"
Look, Mommy! New Crocs from Auntie (my house helper)! They are much more fun to play with than to put on my feet!

The girls and I went outside later in the day to play. Clara Anne and Chloe have new umbrellas; they insisted on taking the umbrellas with them to shade them from the "hot" sun.

Coy Chloe.

Sweet girls, all three!

Of course, we always attract a crowd. So many little friends to meet!

"Hey Mommy, what ARE you doing with that black thing anyway? It looks interesting. . . "

There's my one year old!

Supper was homemade pizza and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. We sang happy birthday again and I came out with this candle. Christin wasn't sure what to make of it all, but the other girls sure thought it was fun!

"Ha ha, foiled you again! You can't kiss me, I'm the birthday girl!"

"What IS this stuff anyway?"

Apparently not her favorite. She really didn't eat any of it! Clara Anne ended up swiping it for herself! Christin was more interested in the noisemakers.

Noisemaker fun!

John then favored us with a special event--a rendition of a past recital piece, famously titled "Bake a Cake for Charlie." He did a pretty good job playing an approximation of it!

Desultory applause from a discriminating audience.

And, the ever-exciting BIRTHDAY GIFT! Something else to add to our kitchen/plastic fruits and vegetables/ utensils collection--a new shopping cart! I thought Christin would enjoy standing up and pushing the cart, walking along behind it. Turns out, it's too flimsy. But, once she learns to walk it'll be great! For now she'll just have fun playing with all of the groceries inside!
And there you have it--the day in pictures!
Happy Birthday, Christin! You are a unique part of our family and we love all of your little funny mannerisms--saying "mmm-mm-mm" in your throat as you eat, your strange laugh which is more like a chortle, your coy looks with your lip tucked in, the way you wrinkle up your nose. We are so glad you are our dear Christin Arielle! We pray the Lord will give you many, many more years of life, and may you come to know Him at a young age. We love you, Christin!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Blogging about Bunnies

A whole chapter in our lives has come . . . and gone, and I didn't even get the chance to tell you about it while it was still current. Yes, if you can believe it, we were once the happy caretakers of two adorable white bunnies. Both of them now have gone to better places. Curious? Here's the story!

We were enjoying a lovely family day the day after Easter when we stopped by the zoo at the end of a long bike ride. Outside the gate of the zoo was a vendor selling small pets--bunnies, birds, a few mice, even a chipmunk! The girls were instantly smitten with these cute white bunnies. Some of our friends in town have bunnies, and though at first they had trouble keeping their bunnies alive (bunnies are really fragile and can die of fright, break their bones easily, or various mishaps like that), their experience seemed quite positive. I tried to convince John that we should buy them with the logic that the bunnies probably wouldn't be a long-term commitment anyway! [Terrible logic, by the way, though it turned out to be true!]

So, on the spur of the moment, we impetuously decided to let the girls each buy a bunny. We brought them home and discovered that one was male, one was female! As well, the male had a deformity (or injury?), his right hind foot was gone! It did not deter him, though, he happily hopped all around the bathroom where we were keeping them. Clara Anne named him "Hoppy" and the other bunny's name was "Silly." For the first few days, all the girls could think or talk about was playing with the bunnies, asking about the bunnies, preparing the bunnies' food, etc.

However, by the third day, reality set in. We really didn't know anything about caring for bunnies before we bought them, and we really hadn't considered well our circumstances--no backyard, a small living space, two bunnies who could potentially reproduce, etc. We told Clara Anne that we were going to have to return the bunnies to the seller.

Clara Anne took the news well, but then when we encouraged her to say good-bye to her bunnies, she sat on the bathroom floor and was weeping bitterly over them! Daddy then relented and said that we could keep one bunny. "Silly" was the girl and was already doing quite well using the kitty litter I had set out for them, and she also seemed to be less aggressive and more mild-mannered than her friend Hoppy. So we decided to keep Silly and return Hoppy.

I brought Hoppy back that very afternoon and though the seller probably thought I was a bit strange, I just told her (here's a direct translation) "It seems that we can no longer continue to raise this bunny, but I didn't want him to die so I brought him back to you." She willingly took him back, especially after I told her I didn't need my money back!

So, life with Silly continued and the girls were really enjoying her. We discovered a little grassy corner of our apartment complex which is not frequented much, and took the bunny out to play and eat grass several times. The weather has really been nice, so that was so fun! Sunshine, green grass, a cute little white rabbit munching away, what could be better?

Well, last Thursday, unfortunately, was to be our bunny's last day. She had enjoyed some time outside in the morning, and had plenty of grass in her cage in the afternoon, but I'm sorry to say that by the evening, she was dead. I had noticed her leg sticking out in a funny way the last time I saw her in the bathroom, so perhaps she broke her leg, or perhaps she ate too much grass or ate something poisonous, I don't know. That's the thing with bunnies--they're so fragile!

I was so sad to tell Clara Anne the next morning, and in disbelief she ran from one bathroom to the other to look for the bunny. But alas, she was nowhere to be found. Surprisingly, though, after a long hug from Daddy, Clara Anne very philosophically said, "Well, I guess God didn't want her to live any more." She didn't even shed a tear! I was more choked up than she was!

I don't think there will be any bunnies in our future, at least for a long, long time. They were cute and fun for awhile, though! Though I may have initially sounded rather heartless, I am sorry that we didn't get to keep the bunnies longer. The girls really enjoyed the bunnies and Clara Anne, particularly, did a great job being careful with them, giving them food, even cleaning up their messes. She also loved to hold them in her arms like a baby, and they were totally willing! They'd lie with their feet up with expressions of bunny bliss on their faces. Chloe was half fascinated and half scared of them--they would sometimes nibble her toes and she really didn't like that! Other times she was totally delighted by their bunny antics--hopping around, chomping on their food, wiggling their noses.

So here are a few pictures of our bunnies. I didn't get so many since we didn't have them very long!

Even Christin was totally interested in them, though I didn't let her touch them for fear of her handling them roughly. She loved to watch them, though!
So, farewell, bunnies. We are glad you were with us, even if only for a little while.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Second Annual...

Great Easter Egg Hunt!

My friend, the incomparable Rachel, did a fabulous job of organizing, planning, and pulling off our egg hunt this year! We had a beautiful, though a bit windy, day for it, and had such a fun time together! Rachel had lots and lots of plastic eggs, some filled with candy and some that had numbers inside that could be redeemed for prizes later. There were lots of pretty dyed eggs as well, so all the kids could collect a full basketful. We had eight kiddos participating this year, with the two youngest (Christin and baby Abby) around for the fun but pretty much unaware.

The hunt was held in the green grassy spaces around the stream that winds through our apartment complex. There was also a man-made cave, lots of trees, and a stand of bamboo in the general vicinity as well. Everything is becoming beautiful with the warmer temperatures and the bits of rain we've had here and there. We are so thankful to be living in this place! It is so unusual in our urban setting of glass, concrete and people people people to look out of my kitchen window and see trees, flowers and flowing water! What a refreshing blessing!

Well, without further ado, (i.e. blathering on by me!) here are some pictures of our day!

Assembling for all the fun...

All the kids lined up and listening to Aunt Rachel's instructions!

"Where, o where, could those little eggs be?"

AHA! Found one!

Found a few more than one, I'd say!

Sheer joy, I tell you!

Here's the whole group with their bountiful baskets!

The only picture (out of more than 100 taken) where I got all three of my girls together!

Daddy helps Clara Anne open the plastic eggs.

Wow, prizes! The kids also had to look especially hard for their own personal egg, and if they found it (all of them did, with maybe a little help along the way), they got a special prize. Clara Anne loves her new bracelets and Chloe is now happily using a new Minnie Mouse chopstick, spoon and fork set.

Baby Abby slept cozily through almost the whole morning!Thanks to a cake that crumbled and the pioneer woman, Rachel made these delicious strawberry flowerpot cupcakes.

They really were quite adorable.

Clara Anne's special name egg was found in this cave.

Everyone enjoyed their cupcakes!

And the fun didn't stop there! Everybody was excited to do an egg-on-a-spoon race.

Don't drop it, now!

Happy Easter, 2009!

Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere!

Last Saturday at this time I was in the thick of boiling and dyeing almost 250 eggs for our Easter parties. Three of my national friends came over and actually we made very quick work of it! Leigh, my neighbor friend, had her stovetop going as well and so we were able to boil, dye, and clean up all within the space of two hours! The girls thought it was great fun and were actually quite good helpers.
An American friend had given me several packages of plastic "sleeves" with Easter themes that can be shrink-wrapped onto a boiled egg--have you seen these? They were adorable and we did about 100 of the eggs this way. Enjoy the pictures of our decorating fun!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Singin' for the Soul

Last Saturday evening John was working late and I was giving the girls supper by themselves. Having had enough, Christin began to systematically throw her bits of food on the floor, then look at me to gauge my reaction. I gave her a firm, "No, Christin" and then went to get the washrag to clean up. As I was in the kitchen, I heard Clara Anne singing to Christin...all about why she needs to obey Mommy and what she should do. I stood and listened for a moment and then thought, "This is too great NOT to write down!" So I started transcribing as Clara Anne kept on singing. Here's a portion (only a portion!) of what Clara Anne was singing that night. . .

"You must, you must, you must, do what God says, you must o-be-e-ey! So obey Him right now, you have to do it with your whole heart, with the strength that God gives you . . . obey, God wants you to obey, you must learn your lesson or you'll go to hell. Sin is waiting at your door to eat you up! So use your strength to trust in God . . .

You only have two choices, one to go to hell, and one to go to heaven because Jesus died on the cross for your sins. Jesus Jesus Jesus, only He can save you, Jesus is the one for you-oo-oo! [That last sentence to the tune of Dinah, won't you blow your horn!]

If you obey God for the whole long week you can go to heaven. . . you know the rules Christin, so you must obey, you have no choice if you don't want to go to hell, so you know what to do, you have to pray and ask God to help you, and don't lie or you'll get spanked . . . Don't lie, that is not what the option is to go to heaven.

Jesus Jesus Jesus, he's the only one, that you can believe in!" [Again, to the "Dinah" tune.]

And then I stopped writing and went out to finish cleaning up. Clara Anne said, "Mommy, I was singing a silly song to Christin!" I told her it wasn't silly, that I was really glad to hear her singing!

John came home and saw my notebook on the countertop and got some good chuckles as well as being slightly amazed at how well a four year old can understand the basic message. It gives me hope that what we are trying to teach her is sinking in a little bit!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remember When...

Remember a long, looooong time ago when Chloe had a single night of dryness and received her special gift? Well, since then we've had a few more dry nights, a lot more slightly damp nights, but we've also had not a day go by that the special gift hasn't been played with. Are you curious yet? Here it is...

These little dolls are like the princess version of "Polly Pockets." They are tiny plastic dolls with rubber dresses to put on, little tiny accessories like shoes and jewelry, and even a few tiny sidekicks thrown in like Sebastian for the Ariel doll, Chip and Mrs. Potts for the Belle doll, and a tiny bluebird for the Cinderella doll.
Clara Anne got an Ariel doll for Christmas and because of the nature of its tiny parts, she was only allowed to play with it at the dining room table. Even then, we lost a couple of the tiny,tiny, tiny shoes. Have I mentioned that they are tiny? They are about 1/4th the size of my thumbnail.
(Aside: My guess is that they ended up in Christin's stomach. Christin is a menace when crawling around on the floor by herself. She finds something and immediately tries to stick it in her mouth and eat it. She has eaten a sticker, which stuck in her throat and wouldn't come up until about three times of throwing up; she's eaten a penny, which she threw up almost right away, and many of the little shoes from these sets have "disappeared" which truly makes me wonder . . . They aren't big enough to choke on, but still, if she didn't eat them, where could they be??)
However, since Clara Anne enjoyed her Ariel so much, we bought these two sets for the girls as Chloe's special treat. I have not been disappointed. They have already provided hours and hours of fun! Here are some "action" shots for your enjoyment!
This is a serious business, I tell you, it takes hard work and concentration!Working together.
Fun for everyone! Look at those tiny pieces!