May 20, 2018

Back on the homestead

We are on furlough! For four months now we will meet with the people who have joined us in what we do, update them with pictures and stories, meet more people who like what we do, and eat a lot of Chick-Fil-A. And drink a lot of Sonic cherry limeades.

And do lots of other American stuff we've been missing out on.

Because we're back.

Back at Heritage Church.

Back with cousin Eliana! Can you believe she's only six weeks older than Zion?!

Back with Pastor Wes. Look at these two men of God and their platters of meat.

Back with Momo.

Back with KK.

Back with Uncle Philip.

I'm back in the kitchen with my sister-in-law, whipping up some yellow curry paste.

Daniel has been reunited with American food.

He was also reunited with his high school graduating class, 20 years on!

Tyler Wood, Joseph Hurst, and Daniel Rupp. Friends since they had cartoons on their underwear.
I, on the other hand, haven't been around as long (though almost). but I still got to be in the pics.

He was the handsomest guy there, that's for sure.

The kids have been reunited with Arkansas wildlife.

BB guns are back in their hands.

As are blow guns (real blow guns with darts, handmade by Cherokee people).

Daniel's hands are back on his bow.

Man and boy alike have had their hands on the hatchet.

And I've had my hand on the salad tongs at Olive Garden!

And in the soil of our own little garden. Look at those cute Arugula sprouts!

Yes, we are back. Back in the land of the free. Back in the land of our forefathers.

Daniel, in particular, is back on the land that his forefathers homesteaded in 1872, whose graves still dot the meadows, and whose fieldstone house foundations still hold shape deep in the woods.

May 19, 2018

And we have a Gene-ager

He was born among friends and family in a birthing room in Kentucky, on a sunny spring day in 2005. They placed him in my arms and we gave him the name Bright Eugene Rupp. Happy tears spilled from my eyes. He was so solid and warm, breathing in and out, so complete. Another life, another person in this world, and this person was mine. I was now a mother.

Before he was out of diapers he was memorizing the countries on the world map. Before he was five he was addressing adults like equals. Before he was nine he had dropped his first name and embraced his "more sensible" middle name, Eugene. We've joked that he is a grown up trapped in a little boy's body.

And now he's no longer a little boy. Now he is 13. It's as if he was meant to be this age all along. The calendar is finally catching up to his personality and his heart. This young man of ours is the genuine article, a fine leader in the making. Did we ever think he'd be anything but? We're very proud of our son, our smart and witty, pragmatic, sincere, and staunchly independent Gene.

Happy Birthday, Eugenius! I love you with all my heart. - Mama

April 11, 2018

Late winter fun

Took a trip to Harbin with Sarah. Ice castles and shockingly cold temperatures!
St. Sophia Cathedral in Harbin.
Short stay at a beach with the Greenes!
Jubi Sue rocking the paddle board.
Zip lining over the water.

His first Thai massage.

A fruit harvester with his harvesting monkey and harvesting pole.
The ferry back to mainland.

Brothers in matching astronaut pajamas. 
Out on the town with Jessie. They are pregnant with their second! Yay for the new 2-child policy.
Making pickles with Sarah and Anita. 
The trees are dropping their blossoms. I love this picture (Brave conquering the tree while Jubi and Layla collect petals).

Ten of us women went camping together. We ended up getting snowed out and pushing that minibus uphill in the snow with no men to help us! We bonded alright.
Gene, Moses, Harry Potter, and the view from Gene's loft bed.
Scoutmaster Rupp hamming it up with Gene, Chesed, and Caleb.
Cooking his famous hash browns for his patrol.
My childhood friend Nicole's daughter April came to stay in our city for two months!
For Sarah's birthday we had a Pride & Prejudice viewing on our roof with tea and scones.
I love Sarah, to whom I get to be a "Miss Allison" and to whom I am grateful for making me feel young again.
We finished up home school early so we'd be ready to head to the States in just 5 days!
Let's not forget Easter! 
Let's also not forget Pi Day!
Here's the recipe for the pie I made for Pi Day. It comes from the kitchen of Amy Hedden. I miss you, Amy!!!