Monday, April 30, 2007

In the House of Lincoln

This weekend I took the kids to Springfield, Illinois, to visit the new (opened just two years ago this month) Lincoln Museum. I have wanted to go since it opened, and we were not disappointed! It is a fabulous museum, fabulous because it makes a visual impact on all ages. There are some displays to be read, but for the most part Lincoln's life story is told through realistic scenes from various times in his life, from his childhood through the end at Ford's Theater. I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face at several different points. Definitely worth the trip!

Here we are outside the White House (inside the museum!) with the Lincoln family... can you tell who's who?In "Mary Todd's Attic", a portion of the museum that contained lots of hands-on stuff for kids... including costumes! The man working that room even convinced me to try one on.
Madelyn loved this part... especially the dressing up!
We found a dress that only needed the sleeves turned up a couple of times so Gwen could join us in costume in the frontier kitchen.
Abraham Seth Lincoln
Caleb and Seth join Abe outside his cabin.
The one room cabin that was Abe's childhood home. This is inside the museum, and when we went out the back door, it actually led to other rooms with scenes of his life before the presidency.
After leaving the museum, we went to the Lincoln family tomb in a cemetary nearby. Here Gwen touches Lincoln's nose on a sculpture in front of the tomb... look how shiny it is... suppose anyone else has touched it?
Outside the tomb
It was interesting to learn that Lincoln was for the most part very unpopular during his presidency. Only after his death did the nation realize what a gifted leader he had been. It seemed evident though his writings that he had an unwavering faith in God that lead him and our country through its very darkest hour.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mommy's Birthday

With Scott away, my birthday wasn't quite the same, but I decided we were going to celebrate anyway. Madelyn chose a Japanese steakhouse that she had been to with a friend's family. They cooked right at our table, which was wonderful entertainment for all! Entranced by the "cooking show".
The kids told our waiter it was my birthday, so we got a free dessert, complete with candle, to share!
I guess 38 isn't so bad! :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Park Day

Some photos of a sunny morning we spent at the park last week when my sister was visiting with her cuties!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Halfway to Daddy

Here is a snipet of a conversation Gwen and I had this morning. We're all missing Scott, even her.

Gwen: Where my Daddy? China?

Mommy: Yes, your Daddy's in China.

Gwen: My Daddy come back to me?

Mommy: Yes, he's coming back to you.

Gwen: I tell him, hurry to me.

I want him to hurry to me, too! :-) We're halfway there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Minor Details

This morning was busy. Among the normal Sunday morning activities, I had gotten up early to take my sister and her two children to the airport to return home after several days' visit at our house. Then there was the making of beds, ironing dresses, minor argument with pre-teen about appropriate Sunday morning attire, curling hair, removing greasy play make-up from 3 year old's face, preparing breakfast, finding something to wear myself, finding socks and shoes, vacuuming the family room (I know, I shouldn't have added that into the mix, but I thought I had extra time!) finding keys, and finally buckling into the car to head to church.

As I turned the key in the ignition and shifted the car into reverse, Gwen's little voice called from the back seat, "No panties?"

In all the activities of the morning, I had dressed my daughter in a cute spring dress, curled her hair, put her socks and shoes on her... but had completely forgotten about underwear.

At least she reminded me before we got to church.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Look What I Got!

An Easter basket find... a moment of joy!

How Could I Refuse?

So, if your son asked you to buy him a t-shirt like this, could you say no?!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Seth. You are definitely one of the good guys!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Single Parenting

It's got to be a really tough job. Those who do it full time or even just for an extended period have my utmost admiration. Surely God gives special grace and strength to these quiet heros.

We are finishing up Day 3 of a nineteen day stint with me as a single parent. Scott is getting started on his new job in Shanghai, and tonight I am really exhausted. Now that might have something to do with that fact that I did a lot of heavy gardening today, so my body is tired, but I think it may also have to do with the hour we spent in Sports Authority buying baseball stuff. Choosing the right spikes and finding the correct size protective "cup" is not my area of expertise, but I'm sure I would have been slightly less frazzled making those decisions had I not had a small person in a stroller along who didn't want to be in the stroller, didn't want her coat on anymore, had to go potty, wanted to touch everything, etc. That kind of thing produces mental fatigue that is greater than any physical.

But when we arrived at home, I had one son volunteer to make me a cup of tea, and the other offer to put the aformentioned little girl to bed for me. I am so grateful that my older kids can see my weakness and respond with kindness.

Thank you, Caleb and Seth. You guys made the difference for me tonight.

Thank You, Jesus, for knowing our needs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I worked in my garden one day last week. I raked out leaves, and cut back dried up growth from last summer. I found the places where the snap dragons had dropped their seeds and already tiny new two-leafed plants were coming up. I saw where the coreopsis that was new last year has spread, so it will be much fuller this summer. The bee balm, which is forever spreading, has many, many new little plants coming up in the area around the mother plant. Some of those will need to be removed so the bee balm doesn't take over. I trimmed back a low, creeping, blue flowering plant whose name I've forgotten. It is at the edge of the bed, which is lined with stones, and it loves to crawl over the stones toward the lawn.

My garden is in a bed I put in on the side of the garage a couple of falls ago. It is about two thirds perennials, with space to mix in some annuals, and then in the rest of the space I've put in tomatoes, peppers, and green beans. In the last two springs I planted mixed lettuces from seed along the edge of the entire space, and it made such a pretty border. We ate and shared with neighbors much of that lettuce, and let the bunnies have the rest.

I've had just two summers with my garden. As I cleaned it out last week, it felt a little funny to think about the fact that I won't get to see everything in that garden bloom this summer. The bee balm blooms around the 4th of July, so I might just get to see that. Some of the other flowers don't bloom until later, though, some not until near the end of August. I won't see those.

But I wasn't sorry to be working in the dirt, pruning the plants. I love that task. And as I did it, it was interesting to think about who else might get to enjoy the flowers this year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


If at first you don't succeed...Try, try..
...try, try..
...keep trying...
...keep trying again...
...and again...
...and then,
...just sit on the ground,
...and have fun flipping the hula hoop back and forth over your head!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

In Her Easter Bonnet

Madelyn was lovely today, in her Easter attire, and with her beautiful smile! Thank you, Nanny, for the hat! Thank you, Grandma, for the dress!

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Experiences Like This...

...seeing whole ducklings hanging by their necks and piles of chicken feet in a shop window in downtown Shanghai that prompted Seth to make this profound statement~

"China is very interesting."

I'm sure we've only begun to know how interesting it can be!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Little Miss Coordination

Here Gwen does a little balancing trick on the playpen she slept in at Nanny's house last week.

She's full of this sort of thing... always taking risks and succeeding at many physical activities that it would seem that she is too young for. She has recently taught herself to skip, and has the step, hop, step, hop pattern down pat. It's really cute to watch because she lifts her knees quite high with each hop. She's been riding a regular two wheeled scooter well since last summer. Tonight in the basement she and Madelyn were doing some tumbling tricks, and she surprised both herself and the rest of us by doing a pretty darn good cartwheel and then repeating it a number of times!

Maybe I'm easily impressed by my children, but all I can say is, she didn't get it from me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Scenes from Ji-An Park

These pictures were taken on a Wednesday morning, around 9 a.m. We were amazed at how many people were in the park at that time of day.

Scott and the boys watch a card game.A man dressed for work was doing tai chi by the pond.
A small group of ladies exercising together.
A pretty hillside.
This is one of the birds in cages that were hung in the trees that I described in a previous post about the park. Can you see why Seth thought they looked like they had on silver glasses?
The boys and I are standing in the place where I ate my lunch in the park one day on our first trip to Shanghai. See the little cave in the backgroud?

Thank You

Thank you, Pa and Nanny, for taking such good care of us last week when Dad & Mom and the boys were in China!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Easter Bunny~ Family Fun Foto Challenge

Here I am with my basket of eggs!Uh oh... they all spilled.
It's okay, I can pick them up in a jiffy!
Thanks to Donna at 2happy.typepad for another fun challenge!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Few More Apartment Pics

This is the entry way, inside the front door. Straight ahead the big room is the living room, with the study off of that to the right. The hallway to the right just before the living room doorway leads to the two kids' bedrooms and bathrooms. To the immediate right inside the entry is the dining room, with double sliding french doors that open to the kitchen. Behind the kitchen is the laundry room. To the immediate right of the entry circle is a short hallway that has a small storage room off of it and then leads to the master bedroom and bathroom. Even the tub has a window with a view!
The doorway to the kitchen, with one sliding door open. Note the tiny tile on the one dining room wall... it is slightly iridescent!
A view of the kitchen... we are really pleased with this kitchen as most of the others we saw were more of an aisle~ not room for all six of us to gather. I'd like to get stools for the open end of the island.