Sunday, May 18, 2014

a bit of home

homeschool at the table… I love these learners
Our living room doesn't have much wall space (a window on one side and open to the entry way on the other side) so this hideout  under the stairs works perfect for a puppet theater, nerf arrow surprise attack center, and quiet place for lessons…. oh yea, and our K library and little piano.  

He's doing so terrific!  First day of school he never wanted to stop writing letters.  (ahhh… just the first day of school. ) I'm so proud of his perseverance and progress at the end of week two,  even though he's slowed his pace just a bit :) Also, he's taught himself to snap his fingers this past week.  "Mom, I can even snap "Jesus Loves Me."  yep… I heard it in there… What a great boy!

Our entry door is at the right, kids rooms and bathroom at the left.  That's the downstairs….
I planned for over a year for new rooms for our kiddos…  when we would finally move them from all four in "the kids' room" to a girls room and a boys' room.   So sweet that they all love their rooms (as much as I do.  That would be the hope, wouldn't it?)  More pics from both rooms soon…  (hopefully!)

Just a silly, fantastic boy here.
We're in the city, but it doesn't feel like inner city- skyscrapers- pure cement.  Every time I step out from our stairwell I am so grateful to see GREEN.  I think I might have a diagnosable complex/fear/ hatred of living in cement-only places, no green, sky crowded with towering buildings.  We Love This Apartment Complex!
And maybe there are social rules in the west about not hanging your laundry in public places?  Whenever I see neighbors' laundry like this it makes me smile that we have a (green!)  place for it, to see clean things, to feel community.  
This man often seems like the gate guard at our stairwell door.  He and his family live on the first floor and they've recently renovated their place to look like a mini palace (wooden arches, gorgeous carpets, heavy chandeliers- yea, I know, I wouldn't have guessed it either.)  Apparently, he's not allowed to smoke at home so he stands here by the door to get his smoke breaks and greets us every time we come in or out.    We even have spectacular neighbors too!
The girls…  this is their "store" where any interested buyer can find various grasses, twigs and dirt clods at a very reasonable price, or for trade.  Marian has also made a few sparkling finds from her grass hunting:  the quarter-pounder, plastic "diamond" from a chandelier, a braided purse strap that doubles as a necklace, and coins from China and Uzbekistan.  Bring your own treasures if you're looking for a good trade… Oh these spectacular, precious girls!

Our big guy has come alive and grown up a year I think, in the one month we've been here.   All our kids have had an onslaught of grass stains, scraped knees and ripped jeans… but this guy especially.   We love it.   Play hard, darlings!

He's learned Ka3…Do kids in the states play with round cards and try to flip each other's over?  It's all the rage here.  The mindless equivalent of marbles from Matt's childhood.  Isaiah has gotten rich on ka lately as he's rented his bike for kids to ride half way around the complex for only 2 paper cards and one plastic.

There is one special boy that Isaiah plays with most of all.  He's eaten many meals with us already…  we just love this kid.  We'll call him Ezra.  12 year-old, kindhearted and super honorable, son of a single-mom.  We are so happy to have him as a friend here and hopefully to get to know his mom well too in time.  

neighbors… I hope I meet this nice lady again at the center of our complex.   I didn't even learn her name!  She whispered and chuckled to me that her son looks like a little Chinese boy!  Most the local people have a tiny bit more Hispanic look (at least that's the way I describe this beauty from my So Cal perspective.)

There are so many precious ladies to know here... the one who was wobbling pregnant…. praying for her and her baby.  And the mom, covered all except for a slit for her eyes to see through, who has four kids just our kids' age range.  Oh…  to get to know these ladies and share with them...

So our place is on the sixth floor and it's two stories- the only places with two bathrooms in our complex.  (This is the view out the back, from our bedroom.)  Upstairs is one nice large room, that Matt and I get as our bedroom, and a bathroom.  It's a spacious enough room that had six kids for Sunday School up there this morning and it wasn't too pinched.  I never expected, never even dreamed to have a big bedroom like this… and get this… it has a vaulted ceiling.  Crazy I tell you.  I  never saw such a place in China before!  Oh… and I just have to mention, that my local friend told me that not only did we get a good deal on this place, we got a crazy good deal.  Our owner needed to sell quick to get married and it wasn't too desirable a place by local standards because it was so plain, with no fancy decor.   We couldn't be happier…..  It's just like Someone arranged this all with crazy kindness for us! 

And this girl… You might remember that she's been a bit of a Blay Blay (blankie) addict?  Well, when she cuddled it, she sucked on her finger and it was becoming clear, even to her, that it would be best to give that up.  I did not want to add addiction treatment to our early days here, but this girl did it!  I showed her the same pic that Marian looked at a few years back and she agreed that she didn't want wolf teeth either.  She was for it, but that didn't make falling asleep without sucking on her finger easy….  there were a few long nights there.  But it didn't even take her long and now she's sober.  She really did great.  We're set for an outing this week to celebrate!

This week I read in Exodus 28 (yea, I'm that far behind on my Bible reading plan- but I WILL get caught up this summer!) in verse 40 that the Lord commanded Moses to make garments for Aaron and the priests "for glory and for beauty."  I feel outrageously spoiled that I get to have such a nice home and I pray earnestly that our home would be first seen as giving glory to God and also a place of beauty for His people to be together.  May He make it so!

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