Friday, March 25, 2016

She's Five!

Birthday girl, you are worth a celebration of the highest thanks and joy that the Giver would give us YOU.

Birthday breakfast!  As fancy as we could dream up (for a school morning especially!)  What a treat to celebrate Vivi!
She gushes joy and sweetness and silly goofballisms all the time off camera but she's quick to avoid it when the lens is pointed her way so I guess I just have to treasure all that up in my heart since I can't share it with you here.  
The next day we celebrated "Breakfast at Vivian's", her party, with all her fancy friends... 

Stuffed crepes and yogurt parfaits (with oatmeal cookie bar crumbled inside...  great use for a recipe that wasn't A+ on it's own) and strawberry lemonade scones (they were top notch!).  We had a yummy, dress-up fancy time!

this is when she knew I wanted to get a pic of her with her birthday crepe and her #5 candle.  Almost as bad as last year, sweetheart!  

After breakfast, Vivi's best friend from school had to leave because she wasn't feeling well.  She was missed!  But the party did go on...

there were at least 4 wardrobe changes.... all of them stunning (don't miss, the dress layered over dress look modeled here.)

This is her camera look these days.  I wish I could show you her smile because it's sparkling, but this is all she gives me.  I'll have to try to be sneaky...

And I do hope you know that all hairstyles, jewelry and dress arrangements were done all by herself.  I hope that goes without saying!  Wouldn't want credit to come to me for any of that!! :)

Her brothers really were there.  They just, sadly, didn't get in any photos on my camera.  But boy, do these boys love their little sis.  A gift to have their protective care shown to our littlest.  

It felt like a gift to us to be able to find a gift here that we wanted to give our girl.  (If I were really savvy with online shopping in Chinese, I could find stuff here too, but I don't dive deep in those realms.)  But this Alice in Wonderland book with super fun pop-ups super delighted her heart.... so, of course, it delighted us too!

Isaiah's Double Digit Mark

His siblings were proud of the gifts they found for him, including some nerf guns that were still on the way.    (Gifts are hard to find for me here, so these great finds from all of us made each one of us glad!)  

What joy to see our firstborn growing up.…. an outrageous gift to have such a fun, healthy, smart son that is a good friend to others, learning to work hard, growing to the love the Lord and cherish His Word.

The evening of his birthday, we opened up a bigger load of gifts than we’ve ever done for birthdays before.  It was a fun celebration.  And there’s more celebration ahead.  We've received news that Grandma and Grandpa's package is in our city, and we. will. surely. get. it. soon! 

For a party, he let me space out our birthday madness  (3 B-days and our anniversary in 9 days) by choosing to do a MLB baseball party soon after the season starts.  Glad I have a bit more time to prepare for that crazy fun time.   There will be pics of that time too...

Here’s just a few of the mile markers for Isaiah, his growth graces recently.

My favorite thing about this awesome guy right now is his smile and the special things he lights it up for.  One morning, after we said our family pledge to begin our homeschool day, Isaiah smiled deep and bright and said, "I really like that, mom."    He said the same when I introduced the poem we just finished memorizing, "Flame of God," by Amy Carmichael.  

There was the time when I was driving down the road here, thinking over how many in ministry can loose track of loving their families well.  I said out loud to the kids, "You guys, I love you more than I love China."  One quick glance to the back seat and it shone out at me, bright as day, that smile of his knowing, understanding gladness.  Best gift he could give me.   

Again, he blazed that glad stretch when we connected about our morning readings and he and I discussed Apelles, who is "approved in Christ" (Rom 16:10) and how he is approved in Christ, because of Christ too...

He's a devoted baseball, lego, nerf guns, Ballpark Myseteries fan.  He usually picks nonfiction for reading on his own, unless I assign him a fiction book, and then he can get totally wrapped up in fiction too.   Sherlock Holmes (a young reader's edition), a gift from Marian, is his favorite story lately.  

He recently took his first standardized test ever and it showed him doing very well.  His general English scores were fine.  I knew his math would be high because he's always loved "number games" (what we call math problems) and he gets to meet one on one with a math tutor- he's learning math in Chinese, using local Chinese textbooks.  And I knew he's kind of a word nut.... thinks about words and asks me all sorts of odd questions ("Can you think of a word that has three U's in it?").  So I should have known that he would test high on spelling too.... but I wouldn't have guessed that he'd test more than four years above grade level in spelling.  How fun for a 4th grader boy to be a word pro like that!  I've told Isaiah several times how Pastor John Piper has joked about how he learned to love grammar and words in middle school so he could grow up to be a preacher.  Maybe so for our boy?  

The kiddos' allowance is beginning to add up- if they save long enough!- to some pretty worthy gifts for each other.  Such a joy to see their pleasure in giving gifts to each other!  John picked well on this nerf gun.  

Growing Big!
From ten to teen sounds so much closer than I ever thought he was just a few weeks ago!  I LOVE seeing him grow in skills, wisdom, interests, friendships...  What a privilege to know him and to get to be this fine young man's mom.  

our first outing of spring!

sometimes a bus ride is just a time to relax and observe...
... or get some brother fun...
... or it might bring on some super seriousness.

But by the time we got to the park, they were all ready for fun.   (Even braving the mud and the occasional ice patches and the trash everywhere.)  
Our snuggly little two.  I really should have had her in a pink T shirt and let them switch sides... I might still have to work on a repose to match the pic below of the big two.  
One of my favorite pic of our big two, taken 4.5 years ago (Oct. 2011)  Same track suit! 

these two sillies...  posing together even when we returned home!