My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A conversation with Lucas

Last night as I was putting Lucas to bed, we got into a long conversation.  He was being very sweet and telling me how much he loved me, and that I was "nice" to him.  He proceeded to tell me that in China they were not nice to him and that sometimes if he was naughty they didn't let him eat food.  I reassured him that would never happen here.  I may say "no candy before dinner" (although I don't even really say that to him because it's not much of an issue).  But, I would NEVER withold breakfast, lunch or dinner from him as a consequence.  He got a little choked up by that.

The conversation went on and we talked about all sorts of things including how he would like to travel back to China someday.  But, the reason he wants to is to be able to give them a drubbing I think.  lol  He wants to go back after he becomes a police officer so he can let them know he is in charge.  hmmmm how would that go over do you think???  He did talk about taking his police gun along.  hmmmmmm...I told him that those army guys in China probably would frown upon that.  He seemed surprised.  I think he figures if they can carry guns so can he.  (don't worry I don't think the child is a psycopath)

On another less intense subject...we talked about the friend we made with someone that was from the US who lives there.  She was able to go into the orphanage a few times and I think this is the first time he realized who I've talked about in the past.  He asked..."was she wearing the black shirt?"...I've never met her face to face and obviously I have no clue what color her shirt was.  But, when I said she was the one who helped him talk on the phone to us when we were there, the lightbulb went on!  He was so excited to remember her.   He was also excited to know she knows Jesus!

The conversation continued about how many people in China don't know Jesus.  That makes him very sad.  And he particularly wants his one friend who he calls his "brother" to know Jesus.  We've talked about him before. He is one year older than Lucas.  And Lucas wants us to bring him "home".  He is the one person Lucas talks about with fondness and wants to see again.  So hard to not be able to do that right now.  Wish I could be on a plane tomorrow to get him.

He also asked about "who is in charge" of America?  I explained that our president is, but that we don't agree with everything he does and that soon we will be able to vote and see what happens with that.  He really was listening and trying to understand what I meant by the freedom to vote and how important that is.  Also we talked about how in China, there is not that freedom.  He asked who the leader there was and he attempted to come up with the name "Mao".  Unfortunately, being the "dumb American" I am I couldn't come up with the name Hu Jintao-the real leader.  I told him that "Mao" was an important man in China many years ago and that he made a lot of decisions about how China would be ruled and that they don't have the same freedom we do to do certain things.  I kept it pretty basic, but he listened.  

So why the post about all of this?...
because he has not had the patience and/or understanding to have these kinds of conversations before.  When I've tried to explain things, he would take it for a short time and then check out.  He is really beginning to grasp some more of the finer details and I'm beginning to have hope that this school year could be full of some rich and fun stuff.

Last year I was a bit stunned by how slowly we moved.  Peter would always say "think about what he has been through and has accomplished over the past several months".  I heard that, but it seemed something was missing.  I would say we did mostly preschool and kindergarten work last year.  I'm saying he is in 2nd grade this year--even though age wise he should be in 3rd.

After this conversation last night, I'm almost certain we are going to take some serious leaps and bounds forward with his education this year.  We might actually learn something about history and science in a more formal sense of the word.  Hold's gonna be a crazy ride.  Especially since Isaac will also be home for his senior year. (after having tried public school for 2 1/2 years) PRAY FOR ME!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

...and then there was Daisy...

about a week ago...
Isaac told us he had a friend whose cat had kittens and they were trying to give them away.
With one sentence....
"Can I have one?"
Peter succumbed in a moment of weakness...

May I introduce you to
Ms. Daisy...
an adorable 
8 week old kitten
(Opa fell in love with her right away)
and so did we all.
She is stinkin' cute 
has a wonderful sweet, playful personality.
Technically, it is Isaac's kittie.
But, oh how sweet she is with all of us.

 Isaac asked Opa for a name and he pronounced her a Daisy!! so let me introduce her to you...

 She has been "home" 3 days.  Today was the first day she has really been running around the house and Buddy the dog is keeping a close eye on her.  The "Fat Cat" (Nemo) is pretty much just ignoring her.  I'm just happy there's FINALLY another GIRL in this house!

Buddy and Daisy getting aquainted...
and a little closer look...

 kittie on alert

 posing nicely for some photos

precious sleeping baby 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gruner Borscht and Kuchle--

Gruner Borscht 
A Russian soup made famous in our family by Oma - Emma--my mother-in-law.
Not sure I'll ever be able to match the skills of her cooking but here is an attempt at the 
"recipe" and I hold that term lightly because measuring and timing are optional...

Let's start with some
Beef Bones with some good fat and beef on them 

Put water in a pot with the bones
with 2 Bay Leaves
4 hours or so

wash and cut up
Swiss Chard
Green Onions
(the dill pictured here comes a little later)

Put in pot of boiling water for just a few minutes
Oma doesn't really know why she does this step so I'm just putting it in here cuz it's what she does. 
(not the same pot as soup)

then add to pot with beef bones

chop the following vegis and add to pot
(she didn't drain any of the fat off or anything--no wonder this is so yummy)
 1/2 yellow onion
tiny slices of 1 large carrot
2 ribs of celery

approx. 2 hours later she added 
apx 1 c. uncooked barley
4 peeled and chopped potatoes
(hard boiled eggs come at the end)

Oma blowing away the fat on top of the soup to see if it's acceptable... or if it needs to be removed.
We took the beef bones/fat out at about this point and chopped up the remaining meat to be added back in.  Also tossed in some salt at this point--she is not a salt lover so we don't over salt this soup.  Salt to your taste.

Then in goes the chopped up dill and the house fills with the classic smells of Gruner Borscht.

Right at the tail end before serving we added the 4 slice, hard boiled eggs to the pot 

And then there is the
a "must have" alongside this yummy soup
It's like eating a less-sugary fried donut with your soup. 
Totally YUMMY!
Ingredient list:
(measurements not precise -- one of those "till it feels right" things
(quotes are from Oma)
3c. Flour
1c. "or so" Milk
1/4 c. Sugar
"not even a teaspon" salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
oil ("I don't measure it")-I'm gonna guess 2Tbs?
"you will have to figure this out when you make it. If it's not enough you will have to fix it next time..." --Oma

Mix dough with your hands--but there ain't nothin like the love of these hands and how many Kuchle they have made in their day--

Kneed the dough till it "feels right"--let it sit until right before you are going to eat the soup.

Roll out dough and cut into smallesh pieces like this:

 Notice how she puts 2 slits in them?  That is so you can sort of fold the dough into itself for the frying process.

 this is her folding technique, but really it's not a precise thing, just so it fries well...

 Drop into hot oil-I used peanut oil worked well.

Fry like a donut.  
Ok...I got scolded all night long that these 'were not donuts' but I put sugar on mine after they are cooked and they are stinkin' yummy!  Call them what you want..
Kuchle or Donut...
They are delish!

Oma 'n me frying away...

I have so much to learn...

I sprinkled 1/2 with sugar and left the rest without for those "purests"....

 and the table is set...
Notice the salad on the table?
That was "my" addition to dinner.
NOBODY touched it!!!  lol

And the final step to the Gruner Borsht...
At the table you can add
a little bit of vinegar (ie apple cidar vinegar or red wine vinegar)
a dolop of sour cream
to your individual bowl.
This is the soup without anything in it...

This is what it looks like when it is "done up right"

What could be better than fried dough pieces (donuts) with this amazing soup????

Even the teenagers plowed through several bowls...
no way we are getting their attention for a camera...

LOVE days like this.
Love learning from the Master
Love sharing a meal with family and friends
Love taking life and savoring the good things!

and tomorrow?
Lots of leftovers
(except the Kuchle of course--may have to make some fresh ones)

Our Very Own Security System

that's what the signs say...
they are posted all over the windows and doors of our house!
So there ya go...
Bad Guys Beware..
Lucas has posted signs and you are NOT welcome here!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Dynamics-an observation by Isaac

Last night, Isaac came downstairs and made a funny observation.
"I was just thinking about the dynamics of who is in this house right now...."

Oma and Opa speaking German to eachother--immigrants from Germany in 1952--accents still in tact.
A little crazy Asian boy-now our son for more than a year.
A "Punk" teenager--and all his clothing choices that his Oma questions.
A white suburban mom and dad.

It is kind of funny when you think about it.
Then he said,

"Look what you've created..."

I would venture to say..."Look what God has done!"

This brought to mind what God's Family looks like.  What a mixed up group we all are.  We come from every nation, every age, every variety of "style".
And to quote Isaac..."Look what [God] created..."
Look at how different and unique God has created each of us to be.
I just love that.
So let's not judge when we see someone walk into church that doesn't look like us.
Let's just simply "Look at what [God] has created..." and rejoice with one another at our differences.

Families don't always "look" like we might expect or anticipate when we start out life.  And others in the body of Christ may look different.  I think we all have "ideas" about what family or even church goers "should" look like.  But, God doesn't see it that way.

"His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure." (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

To God be the Glory for that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Wonderful Welcome Home and Provision--

I came home to God's Amazing Provision...
a spectacularly clean house...thanks first of all to my husband and teen son...
and also to the delayed use of a gift my husband gave me last year at Mother's Day for 2 hours of cleaning by 4 people.
He also had roses in our bathroom and flowers in our kitchen.
All the dishes were out of the sink (that NEVER happens in our house--cuz I stink at that but I LOVE it!)
ALL the laundry was done-except what I personally brought home of course!
Does it get any better??
oh YES!
The pile of mail I sorted through...
had a delayed paycheck for a little bit that I worked back in June.
Then 2 rebates came.
A "MYSTERY" Visa gift card.  Someone just randomly sent a rather substantial Visa Gift Card to me that arrived while I was gone.  How am I suppose to say Thank You???  Well, if you are reading this whoever you are...THANK YOU!!! What an amazing blessing!

God is so Good!

A wonderful welcome home!

July 17, 2012--heading home

Yesterday (7/17) we left Wisconsin and began the drive back to Georgia.  Oma and Opa are coming back with us so I had a car full of stuff and people for the drive.

and poor sweet "Bessy" my 12 year old mini van with 236,000 miles on her was weighed down!!!
I'm hauling us, oma and opa, and about 400 lbs of grain etc for me and a few friends in GA (yes I said 400 lbs and I mean it literally)

 and for your entertainment...I bring to you Underwear Boy!! talking on the phone to Aunt Linda...Yes that is underwear (clean) on his head

 here is some "photography" brought to you by Bored Boy in the backseat of the car about 2 hours into a 8 hour car ride...

 And FINALLY we arrived at our hotel.  I got a super great deal on a hotel--highly recommended for this kind of trip with a kid.  It is a Comfort Inn with a small waterpark in Shephardsville, KY--just south of Louisville.  Not a huge water park.  Just enough to entertain and get the crazies out of a kid who has been in the car far too long.  But, totally visable at all times to mom who is sitting on the bench since she drove all day.

 Sitting next to a "tree" at the waterpark, from a distance, I could see Lucas talking to a little girl.  She was the brave one that actually asked the questions at the pool this time.  I saw him put up 2 fingers and then point to his legs, meaning "I had 2 toes" and they did surgery, etc. etc.   Then off they went to play.  I had one parent ask me about his "club feet"--nice guy.  But, had to clarify that one a little.  Which is fine.  I love to answer the questions instead of having all that wondering go about.  The biggest thing I did notice tho was a lot of smiles.  I think the truth of the matter is --most people are just amazed cuz he runs around like a crazy man and just happens to not have feet.  I do have to tell one funny moment...
He was playing with a ball with some kids and having a blast.  At one point shortly after this photo, he stood up right on the edge of the pool and tossed the ball like a soccer ball expecting to hit it with his foot....ya, that didn't really work.  I think he realized you do need feet of some sort to hit a soccer ball....=) made me sort of chuckle because it was as if he didn't realize it wouldn't work but he might as well try.  He just jumped in the water and continued to play, but it made me smile.