taking charge

We’re getting back in the groove.  A 5th grader, a 2nd grader, and a spunky take-charge toddler.

This morning on our way to the bus stop, Josiah designated himself as caretaker of big sister’s backpack.  He proudly pulled it along behind him.  Focused.  Serious. He screeched and wailed if anyone so much as touched the backpack, even just to help adjust the course when stuck, or to set it right when he was pulling it upside down.  When his sisters finally boarded the bus and the bus pulled away, he sobbed.

Sad to see his sisters go?  Perhaps.

Sad – very sad – to see the backpack go?  Definitely.

When we met the girls at the end of their school day, he quickly took charge of the backpack once again.  But this time a popsicle did divert his attention.  I had originally bought the mango ice pop for myself, thinking I could get away with just sharing a bit here and there with our little man.  But Josiah had other plans, which he verbalized (screamed) with gusto.

I didn’t get much of that popsicle.  But that’s OK.  Especially after he dropped it, held it against his T-shirt while pulling the backpack, and then set it down on the sidewalk so he could more easily manage his way up the steps.


This little boy is SO awesome.  And has decided he’s a fan of popsicles.  A few months ago he wasn’t so sure!


an acceptable time . . . Ps 69:13

Last weekend one of our awesome photographer friends treated us to a photoshoot!  The photos, taken just a few days before Josiah’s 1st birthday, are intended to capture this period of waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .

I found these yellow Adidas sneakers at the market just a few minutes before we started taking pictures.  I wasn’t sure about the yellow, but went ahead and got them because they sort of matched Mark’s.  But the more we worked with those little yellow shoes in the photos, and the more I look at them in Josiah’s stash of things, the more I love them!  And it goes without saying . . . I can’t wait to put them on chubby little boy feet!


The umbrella is not just a prop . . . it really was raining!  But it wasn’t the downpour we thought we might get, much to our adventurous photographer’s dismay!  Thankfully the area under a nearby overpass provided great cover from the rain, and we took the rest of the photos there.



ImageThankful for fun projects while we prepare and wait.  Thankful for friends who bless with their artistic skills.  Thankful for the season of anticipation which grows our love for our son and little brother more and more with each passing day.  And most of all, thankful that we can trust Him, knowing that all of the waiting is not in vain.  He is bringing Josiah to us in His perfect time.

” . . . my prayer is to you, O Lord.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” Psalm 69:13

sewing lessons


This past summer, Rose was part of a week-long sewing class offerred at my hometown’s awesome public library.  Her teacher for the class was my former Home Ec teacher, and is also a dear family friend.  Thinking of that connection still makes me smile!

By the week’s end, our creative artsy girl was sold!  In just four days, Rose (together with aforementioned spectacular teacher) had made a pin cushion, a fleece hat, a pillow, and cotton pajama pants. She had even decided that she wanted to use her birthday money to buy a sewing machine!

ImageOnce we returned to China, the sewing projects continued, with varying levels of success.  Admittedly, it’s hard to reach the same end product sans sewing machine AND sans spectacular teacher.

Solving the first problem was easy.   With a bit of parental encouragement along the way, Rose had truly managed to save her birthday money.  And then with some contributions from mom, dad and little sister, she bought us all our first sewing machine!ImageBut alas, solving the second problem (lack of spectacular teacher) was trickier.  The girls had BIG plans to make all kinds of things.  But by this time Rose’s skills had already matched or surpassed what I once learned in 4-H.  So, we brought in spectacular teacher #2!  Our tailor, Xiao Huan, led us all in tackling our first major project:  A blanket for Josiah!



ImageThe afternoon was a grand success.  Xiao Huan did lament that some of the stitching was a bit crooked.  I told her that these imperfections were the proof that Josiah’s sisters and mother truly had a hand in the process!  So here is the final product, crooked stitches and all, pictured with sweet booties that our house helper knitted.

ImageWe sent off Josiah’s blanket last week, along with his stuffed giraffe, another disposable camera, and lots of cookies to enjoy and share with friends. We know from the last update that he likes his cookies!  Hoping he’s had a chance to try some, and that he’s safe and warm with his new blanket.  Come quickly, LOA! 

teacher training

It seems that from the time that she could talk and hold some sort of writing utensil, Grace has been pretending to be a teacher.  Even when she was just four, she would play school by herself and fill the white board with word lists and numbers.  This particular photo is one of my all time favorites — those backwards Js, creative math facts, and chubby cheeks add some special charm!  (if you know Chinese hand symbols for numbers, you may understand how counting on your fingers might lead a 4-year old to think that 6+6=4!)


During her kindergarten year, her school play became a bit more involved.  She chose several of her stuffed animals as her students and created take-home folders for each.  Each animal’s folder had its own calendar, behavior chart, and a place for journaling. Of course, the animals did need a little help to actually write in their journals.  Here is a shot of her helping Dino with his work. She told me she had to write a little messy on purpose, so that it would really look like HIS writing, and not hers.  “He’s still just learning,” she’d say.


This weekend she was playing school again.  When I saw the math chart I remembered the one from years ago and snapped a picture for a point of comparison.  She does come from a long line of teachers, so who knows . . . perhaps she will put these skills to use in the classroom one day!


sometimes he is very naughty

or so they say.

Most parents might not be happy to hear such a report on their son, but Mark and I were all smiles when we read these words tonight.  We’re thrilled to have a new picture and more information on our little Josiah!

Here’s what we learned:

“Fuzi not only sits well but also likes to crawl over in the room. Sometimes he is very naughty, he will climb onto other kids and make them cry. He will make “Dad, Mom” sound if he is happy. He learned to move along with handing in something. He likes sitting in walker and walking around, sometimes he will visit other kids next to his room. He will stretch out his hand and ask for cookies if he saw them in foster mom’s hand. He will cry if he didn’t get them.”

Rose and Grace loved all of this new information, too.  Grace wagged her finger at me, saying, “Better get more cookies ready, Momma!”  Ha!  The cookie theme is especially fun; Grace’s referral information mentioned a love for cookies as well!  Click here to learn more about that.

So now we know.  Sometimes he is very naughty.  He crawls over his friends and cries if he doesn’t get cookies.

Oh . . . these details are such a delight.

Can’t wait.  Can’t wait.  Can’t wait.


I stumbled upon these fun fabrics last month during a visit to the fabric market.  It was the giraffe print that first caught my eye and struck me as the perfect fabric for the chair that will be in Josiah’s room.

Technically speaking, Josiah doesn’t really have his own room; it’s more of a corner.   And since we’ll be moving a few months after he arrives, it doesn’t make sense to make elaborate plans or purchase furniture.  BUT — since we already had a chair that needed to be reupholstered, I decided that I’d keep our sweet little guy in mind when I bought the fabric.

At first I was thinking I’d look for a stripe or plaid . . . or even just a boyish solid.  But when I saw this giraffe print I was sold!

About seven years ago while we were waiting for Grace Noel, I found fabric with a brightly colored butterfly border at this same fabric market.  We used the fabric for curtains in her room.  Later I found a matching blanket with a butterfly print, and was given a butterfly wall hanging, too.  So although I didn’t start out with that intention, Grace had a butterfly-themed room!

In a similar fashion, the giraffe print fabric has become the inspiration for a bit more.   I bought the green grassy fabric because it seemed to fit the theme, (Mark immediately named said theme ‘African safari’) and the yellow I just really liked.  Perhaps a bit too feminine, I wonder?  Ah well . . .

After the chair was finished, we used the extra fabric to make a border on the curtains and an extra pillow. And the yellow for the antique chair cushion and more pillows.  I found some fun ideas for giraffe-themed wall art, too.  That should give me something to work on while we wait.

But what I’ve really been on the lookout for is the animal itself (the stuffed animal variety, of course) and over last week’s holiday, we finally found success!

Sort of.

I later noticed that our stuffed giraffe is missing the all-important long neck, and looks a little like a cow.  But hey, nothing’s perfect. Planning to send this off to our little guy in care package #2 next week!

note:  I am responsible for exactly NONE of the sewing referred to in this post.  We have a lovely and skilled tailor in our midst.