Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mina is 4

Our precious little Mina turned 4 today.
What an absolute blessing she is to us.

I have so many "favorite things" about her, but I think #1 would be...

Her laugh.
It is literally my favorite sound in the whole wide world.

It is impossible to have a bad day with this girl around.
She pours out hugs and kisses all day long and compliments everything.
"I wove your pwetty shirt, Mama!" "I wove your pwetty neckwace!" "I wove your pwetty fwip fwops!"
Seriously, she is pure sunshine.
If it was possible, she would have me hold her / carry her everywhere I go.
She thrives on physical touch and closeness.
I could just eat her up.

This past year I've noticed Mina becoming more aware that she looks different. She will excitedly point out whenever we see another Asian person -- in a magazine, on TV, or in person -- "Mama! They look like me!" She loves saying, "Mommy and Aubrey have the same hair, and me and Daddy have the same hair!" Hey, it's close enough... ;)

And these two girls.
They laugh, fight, play, yell, tell secrets, get into trouble, and tattletale on each other every single day. Total opposites, yet the perfect pair. I cannot imagine one without the other.

Oh, this precious child...

She brings me to tears.
Her little life riddled with such unexplained heartache, yet her joy shines brighter than anyone I've ever known.

Happiest Birthday to our sweetheart.
Wo ai ni, Mina Shisi.
You are a treasure.

(All photos in this post were taken by the wonderful Ann Wade while we were on vacation this summer!)

Friday, April 17, 2015


Since it's been my goal to get the "Easter" blog post up before the weekend, I'm going to have to hash this out in warp speed. My big girl gets off the bus in 30 minutes, and my little girl wakes up from her nap in 15. And I really want to go get my Diet Dr. Pepper out of the fridge from lunch.

So...let's get down to business.

Aubrey found some clip-on earrings, which you will see in all the following Easter pictures.
She said the jewelry really completed her outfit.
She's 6 going 16, obviously. 

And this one, oh my goodness, she's something else too...

These two are so vastly different.
One's Type A, Miss Perfectionist, BOSSY.
The other one is a free spirit, Miss Fearless, LOVE-BUG.
I'm totally obsessed with them both.

And as different as they might be...they are absolutely perfect for each-other.

After church and the drive to grandparents -- the girls had a fun surprise awaiting.
My aunt brought her bunny (named Clover, how stinkin' cute is that?!) over for the day.
It just doesn't get much better when there's a real-life bunny on Easter...

After lots of bunny love (and pics), it was time for the highly anticipated Egg Hunt!

Thank the good Lord above that this child found the Golden Egg. 
She had talked non-stop for two days about how a boy from her class found the school's Golden Egg, and how utterly devastated she was that she didn't find it. 
She doesn't handle disappointment well. 
Victory, on the other hand...

"Ooooh, $5! Just think of all the clip-on earrings I can buy!"

It was a good, good day.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Terrific Tuesday | The Dream Day

Tuesday was so unexpectedly perfect, I'm still a little weirded out by it.

I went to bed that night waiting for a child (or myself) to wake up sick or something because no-one has the day we had this side of Heaven without something going wrong.

But I'm here, days later, to report that it was -- in fact -- perfect.

It started out like any other day...
I woke up (reluctantly) to my phone alarm.
Trudged upstairs to wake the munchkins.

And then -- out of nowhere -- the whole day was perfect.

The girls were angels.
I don't think they fought once.
I never yelled raised my voice.
Teeth brushing was done willingly.
Bottoms were wiped without my assistance. (Praise Jesus, Hallelujah!)
Mina took a lovely afternoon nap.
I cleaned out my closet, the girls' closet, and organized it all.
Homework was finished without prodding.
Baths were taken with giggles and singing.
Bedtime was full of books, songs, prayers, snuggles, smoochies, and g'nite!

At one point Aubrey asked, "Is today a dream?"
I answered, "It might be..."

We even had a dinner picnic at the park, played on the playground, fed the ducks/geese, and had ice cream cones for dessert on the back porch ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.

I mean, what life were we living?!

Tuesday made me realize how rare "perfect" days are, and how crazy it is for me to expect that every day. I usually let one sibling argument, one messy playroom, or one plate of food get picked at by a whining child asking, "How many more bites until I can get dessert..." send me over the edge. I end up feeling defeated and chalking the whole day up to one big fat failure. 

I really need to stop doing that.
Because if our dream day taught me anything, it's that every day has its fair share of perfect.
And some days, you might just get an extra scoop.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aubrey's Night Owl Party

Aubrey has been begging to have a sleepover with her friends.
This is coming from a girl who has had a strict bedtime since she was six months old.
If you keep her up past a certain hour, be prepared for a total meltdown.

So, while sleepovers sound soooooo fun, I know Miss A wouldn't handle it well.
And, truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of sleepovers.
Especially not in kindergarten.

But, when possible, I try to find a compromise...

Dilemma: Aubrey wants to have a sleepover / I don't want her to have a sleepover.
Compromise: Aubrey gets to have an "almost" sleepover.
Translation: She gets to invite a couple of friends over to do all the fun "slumber party" things, only when it's time for bed -- everyone goes home!

Aubrey was happy / I was happy, and the "Night Owl Party" was set!

As with most things, Aubrey gets in her mind how she wants everything to go down.
She started working on the decorations that day. She was drawing, coloring, and cutting out stars all afternoon.

We hung up one of her sheets for a backdrop and taped up the cut-out creation.

This was all set up in the basement. We were supposed to have new flooring the week before this shindig, but due to a random snow storm the flooring shipment was delayed. The basement had been cleared out, and old carpet had been pulled up revealing an old, gross brown tile floor underneath. We just had to make due with the circumstances! Good thing 6 year-olds couldn't care less!

The girls each received a plush owl to snuggle and a little bin to fill up with all their crafts (color-your-own pillowcase, grippy socks, and homemade lipgloss) and trinkets from the party (a compact brush/mirror, faux owl nails, clip-on book light, and owl mask.)

Aubrey had created a list of crafts she wanted to do, which was good because we had from 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (staying up a full hour past bedtime) to fill up!

The first thing on the agenda when the girls skipped off the bus after-school was make their own lipgloss! I picked up these cute little containers from the bead section at Hobby Lobby for 4/$1. All you do is mix some un-petroleum jelly and to-go singles of a drink mix. While they mixed their lipgloss, we talked about how only "sweet" words should leave our mouths. :)

Next, the girls wanted to make their own grippy socks.
Just DollarTree socks 3/$1 and some puffy paint! 

Around 5:00, the girls decided they wanted to change into their jammies (they just simply couldn't wait any longer!) and ran around the basement with their owl masks.

After all that, their bellies started growling. Aubrey wanted to have breakfast foods for dinner since the girls wouldn't be waking up to have breakfast at our house. Funfetti pancakes, mini cinnamon rolls, donuts, mini waffles, scrambled eggs, and bacon along with chocolate milk! Whoooooo's hungry?!

Once tummies were full, the girls decorated their own owl pillowcases...

Before watching a movie, we played "Prancing Pedicures". I just set the nail polish around in a circle and sat in the middle playing music while they "pranced" around. When I stopped the music, I would paint one of their toenails the color they were standing by. 

Once all the little piggies were painted -- they all danced and ran around to "help" dry their polish. We turned on a movie and passed out pink popcorn to help wind down the evening. 

It was a fun and exhausting night with these little night owls!
They were certainly a HOOT! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

CNY 2015

I love Chinese New Year.
It makes me super emotional, over-joyed, sappy, teary-eyed, and abundantly thankful.

I think about Mina's birth family and mentally obsess over how they are preparing for the big holiday. Wondering what traditions they honor, who does all the cooking, what they're wearing, conversations they have, and deep down I wonder if they think of Mina and what she's doing on this occasion. I fantasize about us all sharing a meal together one day. 

A few weeks before CNY, I usually pull out the suitcase we bought in China and filled with all our Chinese goodies. The silk dresses and outfits for the girls are by far one of my favorite things...

The girls squeal and beg to try some on, which I never say "no" to...

Then the big day of feasting arrives, and we get ready to chow-down and par-tay!

Hey Mina, guess what we're going to have LOTS of for Chinese New Year?


She gets so insanely excited about dumplings.
A toast, to all the dumplings that will be going in my belly!

(Aubrey, as you can see in this photo, surprised us all by coming to the dining room wearing make-up for the big event. ?!?!)

Oh these girls. They are certainly my favorite dumplings of all! :)

Each year, it is my goal to try and make a Chinese dish with Mina.
The girls both love egg drop soup, and I found the best / easiest recipe here.
It was such a great day of celebration and family traditions!
Happy Year of the Goat!