March 24, 2015

The "one"

For years now I've preached against dating, claiming that when you find "The One" you'll know, right off the bat, and that'll be that.

Because that's how it went for Daniel and me.

But what I'm learning in my old(er) age is that what is true for one person is not necessarily true for someone else. In fact, believing in the myth of "The One" might actually be detrimental to the sacrament of marriage. When things go amuck in the marriage (as things most certainly will from time to time), the believer in said-myth might be tempted to think, 'She must not be the one,' or 'He must not be the one,' and then be tempted to head off in search of this fabled "one."

I'm starting to think that I had the order wrong. First you marry someone, and that makes him or her the one. He or she is, after all, "the one" you married. Could there be anyone else out there for you? Who cares, because you'll never be single again to find out.

And you wouldn't want to be.

The point isn't marrying the perfect person, because perfect people don't exist. The point is marrying the person you love, and then working together toward a marriage that can never be perfect, but can be utterly amazing none-the-less.

And it is on that note that I would like to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Jack Rademaker. Lovely couple, don't you think?

Here's to your lifetime together, my dear brother and his dear wife. I love you both.

March 18, 2015

Zippy-zappy

Over lunch today, Gene said:

"Life goes like this. First we are zippy-zappy kids. Then we are confused tweens. Then crazy teens.  Then we become calmer adults, who stay up late watching movies, doing their finances, and making sure nobody eats sweets. After that we turn into really nice old people who tell stories. Then it's time to strap on our jetpacks and go to Heaven."

Alrighty then.

Here is the little philosopher now, wearing his new socks from Grammy, hand-knit with love. These socks are a product of Gene mentioning over Facetime recently that good socks are hard to come by. Now, what knitting-needle-wielding grandmother can resist such a cry for help? I measured his feet and Grammy set to work (from her RV in Arizona, of course). The package was shipped, the package arrived, and now Gene declares these the best socks ever worn by two feet.

Gene also told me I should pick up knitting, since I, "Get all my skills from Grandma anyway." I guess almost-ten-year-olds have it all figured out.

March 16, 2015

Big White

Going to the movies.

I remember the first movie Eugene ever saw on the big screen. Wall-E. It would be the last movie Sue-Sue ever saw on the big screen. She wouldn't have gone at all had her love for her great-grandson not been greater than the pain in her knees. Every step was an effort as she hobbled from the concessions to the ticket-collector, but Gene's little legs were so small he never noticed; their paces matched.

All through the movie - which many other kids found boring - Gene and Sue-Sue cuddled and pointed, smiling wide-eyed together at the beautiful animation. I may as well not have been there. They were in their own little world.

He was a late-two/early-three. She was in her 80s. His fascination with G0D's world was fresh, hers was renewed. Their hearts matched.

Gene has seen more movies on the big screen since that day, but not too many more. Living in East Asia, we don't get the opportunity as often as other kids might. This month, however, we had the chance to see Big Hero 6 at the theater and we jumped at it. All 6 of us headed to the mall, along with carloads of our friends. It was a good show! Because the movie was in English, there were Chinese subtitles along the bottom of the screen. Baymax's name was translated for Chinese viewers into the name, "Big White." We loved that.

Brave and Jubilee cried (they aren't used to seeing villains come to life on such a large scale!) and the popcorn we bought for each kid as a special treat was hardly touched (waste of money there), but it was probably the first movie our five-year-olds will remember seeing on the big screen. And that is something.

March 08, 2015

Comings and goings

Good people come into our lives all the time. That's the good news. The bad news? Good people go out of our lives all the time.

Farewell.

We say it waaayyy more than anyone should have to. And we said it again this week, to our dear friends who are moving to his homeland, where she doesn't speak the language and doesn't quite fit in (boy, do we know what that's like). The least we can do at these tearful partings is throw a party, complete with a sponge cake torte. Heck, if we plan to boo-hoo all evening, we may as well do it over food.

And yet, good people come into our lives, too, as I've already said. Prime example: this week Daniel and I are gaining a sister-in-law and the kids are gaining an aunt! My brother Jack will marry Melissa in the presence of his kids while on a cruise ship! I got a text message from him this morning saying that they had landed safely in Florida and were preparing to set sail. Welcome to the family, Melissa!

Another welcome is in order, too, though on a smaller scale:) We now have two bunnies! Our three-year-old lop, George Fuzzy, has been paired with a gorgeous caramel-colored European cottontail (purely for companionship, as George is neutered). The female, to whom the kids have given the name Winifred, is what you might call "big boned" (she outweighs George by quite a bit) but she is the SWEETEST thing. We think George is crazy to be so standoffish. Daniel tried having a talk with George, man-to-man, telling George that Winnie is the best thing that has ever happened to him, that he'll never do any better than her, that he's not getting any younger, yada yada yada, but so far George hasn't listened. Oh well, the internet says it will take a couple of weeks for the bonding to be complete, and then they'll be inseparable. We hope so! We will be away from home for six months starting in June and we didn't want George to be lonely.
George after his prenupual grooming (I trimmed his dread locks and toe nails, and wiped out his eyes with a warm cloth). 

Daniel bringing Winnie up the stairs.

A little meet-n-greet.

Daniel and Gene turning our veranda into a bunny enclosure.

The pair in their new home.

February 26, 2015

We are part-shark, apparently

Taken just before heading to the dentist.

We noticed it last week during our nightly routine. Everybody had peed - the boys peeing altogether as usual, standing three abreast in front of our little makeshift urinal, while Jubilee sat daintily on the toilet seat and the whole lot of them filled the concrete bathroom with the sound of tinkling. After that, they had all stacked their clean clothes on my dresser for the next day and tossed their dirty clothes in the hamper. Then they lined up for their nightly tooth-scrubbing (they brush their own teeth in the mornings, but at nighttime those ivories are mine).

When Brave parted his poofy red lips, I saw what his brother Zion had at this age, and their brother Gene before that: shark teeth, when permanent teeth pop up behind baby teeth rather than pushing up under them. Two rows of teeth are the result. A visit to the dentist is the solution.

So I called Dr. Torres, our friendly Filipino dentist. We had a hard time finding his office, since we had only ever visited his Tongzilin branch, but when I called his personal cell phone, he met us in the parking lot dressed in white from his neck down to his toes (I'm serious, his loafers were tooth-white leather).


Tooth pulled! First tooth lost for our third child. 50 kuai slipped under his pillow while he slept (the tooth fairy is generous with the first one, after that it's 10 kuai per). Way to be brave, Brave!

February 22, 2015

Regards, Emma

Eugene and Zion were invited to a young lady's 11th birthday party.

Young ladies of eleven years no longer want princess parties, where all the guests are girls enrobed in sequined gowns dragged from the dressup drawer, ripped in the armpits and losing the tulle around the hem.
Emma reading on my couch.

Which is why when our neighbor Emma, short for Emmanuel (who speed-reads but struggles with spelling, who wears scarves on her head and dons flowing skirts, who frequently bakes little cakes using my vanilla and my recipes, warming all of our hearts with her reluctant smile and her Jane Austen ways) prepared to celebrate her eleventh birthday, she delivered the following invitation to our door:

Our boys, who HATE wearing anything but sweatpants, didn't complain about wearing button-up shirts, tucked-in no less, for Emma's "fomal" dinner party. Zion carried a bouquet of gerbera daisies and Gene carried a gift, wrapped in blue paper, which was a raquetball set. The door to Emma's apartment was opened for them and we heard their raspy boy voices croak, "Happy Birthday" in unison.

Sweet, sweet days in the lives of our boys.

February 17, 2015

It won't be long now

Though Daniel and I have each snuck back to The States since our last furlough, the kids will have been away for three years...THREE YEARS...when we fly to the U.S.A. this summer for six months of home leave.

Brave doesn't remember anything about America. How sad is that.

So while we gear up for another semester serving in East Asia, we look forward to seeing our families in just four short months!
Daniel with Momo, Kerry, Philip, and Eliana last summer in L.A.

My parents, newly retired, who are currently RVing all over the southwest.
The newlyweds! My big brother Kody and my sister-in-law, Carrie.
Grandma with my neice, Sharlet, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Melissa.
Grandma with my little brother, Jack, his son Jack, and his daughter, Sharlet.
We're coming home, fam! It won't be long now. XOXOXO